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NSW goes renewable as Federal government bets on coal

With the Abbott Government’s repeal of the carbon price, the survival of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and key remaining clean energy and climate bodies have become a potential bright spot in what is a huge backwards, isolating step for Australia.

While investment in large-scale renewable energy have stalled, uncertainty around the RET continues to threaten billions in clean investment, and comments from Dick Warburton, the head of the Government’s RET review panel, that indicate that the government is preparing to water down the target; a series of developments during Clean Energy Week has reinforced Australia’s renewable energy future.

Uncertainty is certainly hurting investment, but the reality is renewable energy is all but unstoppable. More and more studies show that Australia can rely on renewable technology for 100% of its energy needs, and do so at lower cost to consumers. That battery technology is expected to race forward while falling precipitously in cost, and fossil utilities are entering a death spiral will only hasten the transition.

So while the Federal government and prominent advisors such as Maurice Newman are hostile towards renewables, the news that State governments are increasingly choosing clean technology is very welcome. New South Wales has become the latest to jump on the renewable train, with an announcement this week that it wants to be “Australia’s California”.

“We are making NSW number one in energy and environmental policy. When it comes to clean energy, we can be Australia’s answer to California.” NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes.

“Other governments around Australia should watch what NSW is doing and follow its lead.” Clean Energy Council chief executive Rob Murray-Leach.

The move follows the relaxing of restrictions on wind farms in Victoria, new renewable generation records in South Australia, and renewed investment moves by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation after it’s survival in the Senate.

It just goes to show how dangerous the Coalition’s move to bet the house on coal is, not to mention the futility of fighting the future.

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