Moyne mayor, James Purcell says RET is vital

RENEWABLE energy made a significant contribution to Moyne Shire and it was vital the present renewable energy target (RET) be kept, Moyne mayor James Purcell told a Hamilton rally yesterday.

Cr Purcell told the gathering that Moyne shire had the most wind farms of any muncipality in Australia and renewable energy projects contributed about five per cent, or more than $1 million, to the shire’s rate revenue.

Wind farms also generated substantial employment in the shire and elsewhere in western Victoria and were vital to combating pollution and climate change, Cr Purcell said.

“Apart from the economic side, maintaining RET at its present level is the right thing to do.”

 He said any move by the federal government to reduce the RET to about half the present target would effectively abolish it because of the target gains already made.

Australian Wind Alliance national co-ordinator Andrew Bray said the target was to produce 41,000 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2020.

The 41,000 gigawatts presently comprised about 27 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption, Mr Bray said.

He said about 80 people attended yesterday’s rally and presented a “big letter” to the office of member for Wannon Dan Tehan, calling for the retention of RET at its current level.

The rally was organised by an alliance of renewable energy groups to lobby the federal government as it prepares to make a decision in the next few weeks about the fate of the RET. Mr Tehan has said he supported the RET for 2020 being set at 20 per cent.

However, he wants the aluminium industry exempt from the target so smelters such as that at Portland do not face big increases in power prices.

Mr Bray said the call by the recent Warburton report to the federal government to scrap the RET should be rejected.

He said even though the report found the RET was increasing competition in the energy market and not increasing power prices, it still wanted it scrapped to protect the fossil fuel industry, such as coal.

Mr Bray expected any move by the Coalition government to reduce or scrap RET would face strong opposition in the Senate from Labor and the Palmer United Party.

ehimmelreich@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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