A push by the Federal Gov-ernment to kill off Australia's renewable energy target could cost WA "at least" $1.5 billion in investment and thousands of jobs, green power producers claim.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the WA Renewable Energy Alliance has warned scrapping or paring back the target would be short-sighted and counterproductive for consumers. The plea comes amid a wide-ranging review into the target by businessman Dick Warburton.
Set up by the Howard gov-ernment and expanded by the Rudd government, the scheme mandates that 20 per cent of Australia's energy needs are to be met by renewable sources by 2020. But with falling demand for electricity there have been claims the target's fixed nature - for 41,000 gigawatt hours of green power - will force far more electricity into the system than is needed.
It has led to growing speculation the Government will move to effectively shut down the scheme by closing it to new entrants when it announces a decision next month. WAREA chairman Richard Harris urged the Government to stick to the target, arguing the mooted changes would devastate the industry locally.
He said scrapping it made little sense given the good prospects for renewable energy generation in WA and the fact it was forecast to lower electricity prices.