THE Greens are calling for a reboot of a Victorian renewable energy target (RET) in a last-ditch effort that could save south-west wind farm projects facing the scrapheap.
Speculation over the Commonwealth’s review of the RET is reaching fever pitch this week — the Coalition itself divided over the future of the target.
Reports claim Prime Minister Tony Abbott is moving to axe the 20 per cent green energy goal.
About six proposed wind farms in the south-west have been thrown into limbo since the review was announced.
A multi-million-dollar solar project in Mildura was shelved last week due to concerns about the market and the review. Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber warned that wind farms would be next if the government gets rid of the RET scheme.
“If it’s dumped, certainly. If it’s wound back there will still be no new developments,” Mr Barber said.
He said a reboot of Victoria’s 2006 RET legislation could see the state “checkmate” the government and keep wind projects open.
“All we need is the commitment from another party to implement this in parliament,” Mr Barber said. The target would require market research and remodelling but could be enough to keep investment in the state, he said.
The Victorian RET was rolled into the federal target in 2009 but the Greens leader said it should be relaunched. Portland turbine maker Keppel Prince is warning that as many as 150 jobs are on the line if the policy is dumped, and local electrical firm R and M Menzel Electrical says 40 of its workers are under threat.
Federal coalition members have come out on either side of the renewable divide.
Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson has added her voice to the fray saying the RET could add jobs to Geelong’s struggling manufacturing sector.
Portland business leaders on Sunday hosted a forum on renewable jobs in the city. It was addressed by keynote speaker, former Liberal leader John Hewson. Upper house MP Simon Ramsay represented the state government, alongside Mr Barber and Labor energy spokeswoman Lily D’Ambrosio.