We're committed to 20 per cent RET: govt
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says the government hasn't walked away from a 20 per cent renewable energy target, but a drop in power consumption has required a "recalibration".
The coalition is locked in negotiations with Labor over the future of the RET, with the opposition saying a rethink equates to a 40 per cent cut on the 2020 target.
The government wants to adjust the RET to a "real 20 per cent", in effect slashing it from 41,000 gigawatt hours to about 27,000 gigawatt hours.
Mr Macfarlane says a recalibration is needed because the overall consumption of electricity has fallen by about 15 per cent.
The coalition's target "was, still is, and will be 20 per cent", he said on Sunday.
"The overall consumption of electricity has fallen by 15 per cent and therefore the target must fall by 15 per cent," the minister told ABC television.
"But the amount of renewable energy produced in Australia in 2020 will still be 20 per cent of the amount of electricity consumed."
He denied that the push for a lower gigawatt target would harm the renewable energy industry, saying he flagged the change three years ago.
"They will be more than accommodated in that target," he said.
"You can't expect Australia to accept a 27 per cent renewable target. Twenty per cent was the deal, 20 per cent is where we are."
Labor has described the "real 20 per cent" target as a fraud.
Having as much as 27 per cent of power produced by renewables should be applauded, it says.
Greens leader Christine Milne accused the government and the opposition of working together to undermine the RET.
"The community wants the renewable energy target to stay as it is," she told Sky News.
"In fact, they want more renewable energy not less."