Protect the RET

UPDATE: May 4.

Federal Labor has given more ground on a pared-back renewable energy target to try to break a political impasse.

The government wants to slash the legislated 2020 target from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 32,000GWh while Labor is backing the clean energy industry's position of 33,500GWh.

The deadlock has stalled investment in the sector and cost jobs.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has now indicated Labor is prepared to move slightly if it helps to get a deal.

"If it's the last issue on the table and the government want to save face by saying 33,000 gigawatt hours as opposed to 33,500 - okay," he told ABC radio on Monday.

"This game's gone on too long."

Source: Business Spectator.


For maximum impact, please cut and paste the letter to the Prime Minister (please feel free to personalise it and add extra information) and send it to the PM via his website.

UPDATE: April 8. The federal government continues to try and destroy the renewable Energy Target. After a long standoff, the ALP has said it will support the Clean Energy Council's compromise position to reduce the target. However, this has been ruled out by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane. The Greens firmly oppose any deal that would lead to a cut. It’s vital that the community remind the PM that there is overwhelming support for renewable energy, and that most people want more, not less renewables. Recent polling on the RET shows that more than 88% of Australians would like to see the Renewable Energy Target either increase or remain at the current level of 41,000 GWh.

UPDATE: 26 March 2015. The renewable energy industry has made a bid to break the deadlock between the government and Labor on the Renewable Energy Target, promising to accept a deal that splits the difference between their positions.

The Clean Energy Council has told both sides it will accept a large-scale target of 33,500GW hours by 2020, which experts say would equate to an RET of about 24.7 per cent.

Last week, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane put a 32,000GWh figure on the table, which is equivalent to about 23 per cent. Labor rejected the offer as too low. It would accept a target in the mid to high 30,000s.

Friends of the Earth believes any cut will be a negative outcome for environment, jobs and investment, and is calling on all parties to support the existing target of 41,000 GWh.

We have joined with 22 other groups to urge the PM to keep the RET at the current target of 41,000 Gwh. Check here for the letter.

Check our video here.

Please add your voice


For maximum impact, please cut and paste the letter below to the Prime Minister (please feel free to personalise it and add extra information) and send it to the PM via his website.

2/ Post it on the PM’s facebook page

3/ Send him a message by Twitter. Eg:

PM @TonyAbbottMHR I support renewable energy for climate action, jobs, investment. No cut to the Renewable Energy target


The Hon Tony Abbott

Prime Minister of Australia

Dear Mr Abbott,

Like the majority of Australians I support renewable energy. I do not support your efforts to cut the Renewable Energy Target (RET). As it stands, the RET provides a pathway for Australia to start the transition to a low carbon energy system.

I urge you to honour your government’s pre-election commitment to keep the 2020 Renewable Energy Target at the level currently legislated, including the Large Scale Renewable Energy Target of 41,000 Gwh.

Your government must also make clear commitments beyond 2020 to accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy.

Showing leadership on the Renewable Energy Target will be a win for jobs, for households, for our health, our economy, and our environment.

Any adjustments to the Renewable Energy Target would need to strengthen rather than weaken the ability to provide a stable long-term outlook for investors, workers, households, and Australia’s pollution reduction efforts.

A strong Renewable Energy Target is an investment in Australia’s future.

[your name and address]


4/ Tell the ALP not to support a lower target

The ALP has said it will accept a lower target. Please tell the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, that this is unacceptable.

Possible tweets:

If PM @TonyAbbottMHR & @BillShortenMP agree to a RET deal of 33,500 GWh, then they are agreeing to cut the target by nearly 20%.

Don't sell out on the RET, @BillShortenMP. Too many renewable energy jobs have been lost & more will go:  #Auspol

New Essential polling shows 65% ppl support current RET or want it higher. Only 8% say its too high. @TonyAbbottMHR @BillShortenMP

Call Bill Shorten's office and tell the person answering the phone you want to leave a message for Mr Shorten. Give your name and address (or at least state you live in) and say that you do not support the ALP accepting a reduced RET. It is vital the ALP stand firm on this issue and stick with the current target of 41,000 Gwh.

(02) 6277 4022


5/ lobby the Cross Bench Senators

URGENT: The Abbott Government continues it’s attempt to cut the Renewable Energy target (RET) and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has now announced he will ‘compromise’ to get a deal.

It is vital that we encourage the cross bench Senators to remain strong and refuse any deal to cut the current RET from 41,000 GWh of renewable energy. The Coalition’s Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane is attempting to get agreement on a cut to 31,000 GWh.

Many of the cross bench senators have publically said they support the current target. Please send them a quick message of thanks, and urge them to refuse to support any deal to cut the RET.

Possible letter:

To Senator Ricky Muir, Glenn Lazarus, Palmer United Party Senator Dio Wang

Or call Senator Muir's office and leave a brief message: (02) 6277 3040

Call Senator Nick Xenophon: (02) 6277 3552

Dear Senator,

I thank you for your commitment to defend the 41,000 GWh Renewable Energy Target (RET). The RET has created 24,000 jobs and billions of dollars in investment.

Please continue to oppose the Abbott government’s attempts to gut the RET. A strong target will protect thousands of renewable energy jobs, safeguard billions in investment, and ensure all Australians have cheaper, cleaner power.

For those who have been less supportive of the RET, please send them a message as well:


Jacqui Lambie, Senator John Madigan, Senator Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm - Liberal Democrats Senator NSW

There is still time to do the right thing.

Renewable energy and the Target remain extremely popular in the electorate, with poll after poll showing at least 75% support across the board for the existing Target.

The RET works to bring down power prices for all consumers in the long term, whether they have installed solar or not. Multiple sets of modelling, including modelling commissioned by the Warburton Review of the Target, supports this fact.

Both the Coalition and Labor promised to support the RET ahead of the 2013 election. The Government should take its position on solar and renewable energy and let voters decide at the next election.

Australians are expecting our Senators to keep solar and the RET strong and you are instrumental to making that happen.




It is supported by the community.

Recent polling on the RET shows that more than 88% of Australians would like to see the Renewable Energy Target either increase or remain at the current level of 41,000 GWh. In the same poll, 84% of people indicated that they feel that it is important the Federal Government invest in renewable energy. Australians think it’s smart to invest in renewable energy instead of dirty coal. The Renewable Energy Target is also enabling more and more people to take control of generating their own power and managing their bills. Solar homes have grown from the hundreds to the millions in less than a decade.

The Renewable Energy Target creates sustainable jobs.

The Renewable Energy Target has generated more than 24,000 jobs, and is forecast to generate tens of thousands more. People working in the 1000s of small Australian businesses installing solar panels, as well as larger businesses building and maintaining wind turbines, solar and biomass plants are at risk. Sadly, renewable energy companies have already had to lay off staff due to the government’s plans to cut the Renewable Energy Target. Maintaining and growing the Renewable Energy Target provides a solid foundation for new sustainable jobs in Australia.

The Renewable Energy Target is good for investment.

The renewable energy target has been highly successful in mobilising $18.5 billion in investment. If allowed to do its job the target will double this investment to nearly $40 billion by 2020. Maintaining and strengthening Australia’s renewable energy target sends a strong signal to industry that Australia is a safe place to invest. It shows that Australia is open for business in one of the world’s fastest growing sectors.

The Renewable Energy Target cuts pollution.

The Renewable Energy Target is currently the only mechanism for driving investment in renewable power and cutting carbon pollution in the power sector. Carbon pollution is contributing to global warming and air quality-related illnesses. Keeping the current 2020 Renewable Energy Target will help retire old inefficient coal-power and make room for clean renewable energy. If the Renewable Energy Target is cut, carbon pollution would increase and the Government would need to purchase additional abatement through the federal budget, via the Emissions Reduction Fund, putting even more pressure on the Budget bottom line.