WInd in their sails: Clive Palmer's bid for clean energy backed by providers

GUARANTEE: Renewable energy providers in Orange have welcomed Clive Palmer’s guarantee to stand up for the renewable energy target (RET).

GUARANTEE: Renewable energy providers in Orange have welcomed Clive Palmer’s guarantee to stand up for the renewable energy target (RET).

RENEWABLE energy providers in Orange have welcomed Clive Palmer’s guarantee to stand up for the renewable energy target (RET).

The mining magnate appeared beside former US vice-president Al Gore last week to announce his opposition to winding back the RET and abolishing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority.

Infigen Energy senior development and government affairs manager Jonathan Upson welcomed Mr Palmer’s announcement, saying the RET scheme was crucial to keeping renewable energy industries viable, because electricity companies were obliged to buy energy from renewable generators through large-scale generation certificates.

“It creates a level playing field,” he said.

“We need that to build projects. Flyers Creek wouldn’t proceed unless there was something to take its place.”

Mr Upson said the cost of the RET scheme passed to the consumer by electricity providers was just $2.25 a month.

“That’s pretty negligible, but the other impact of the RET scheme is that it reduces wholesale electricity prices,” he said.

Despite some Liberal backbenchers pushing for the RET to be abolished and a review under way, Mr Upson said the possibility was unlikely prior to Mr Palmer’s announcement. 

“After [last week], it’s probably impossible,” he said.

However, Central West Solar owner Robert Biviano said the announcement was the best he had heard since the RET review was announced in February.

“There are a lot of cynical views, and quite rightly, that the people doing the review come more from the coal industry,” he said.

“It seems we’ve now got a backstop in the Senate, but it’s one of those things where we are relying on a politician to keep his word so we’ll wait and see.”

Individuals and businesses who install solar panels are eligible for small-scale generation certificates, which cut about a third of the cost.

“For a three-kilowatt system, the saving is worth about $2000,” Mr Biviano said.

“It would create quite a shock if things went up 30 per cent.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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