Australia's peak body for renewable energy has welcomed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's renewed commitment yesterday to the national 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target (RET).
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren said the Howard Government introduced the original Mandatory Renewable Energy Target in 2001.
"The Coalition has been a key supporter of both the expanded Renewable Energy Target in 2009 and the changes to the scheme last year. All sides of politics are committed to delivering 20 per cent of Australia's electricity from renewable energy by 2020, a policy that will unlock more than $20 billion of private investment," said Mr Warren.
"Australia has some of the world's best clean energy resources, including sunshine, wind, waves, geothermal hot rocks, biomass and more. It's in the public interest to harness them better. The RET is a critical policy that will help us develop our natural clean energy advantages and reduce approximately 380 million tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2020."
Mr Warren said that although the Australia was still in the early years of the Renewable Energy Target, there had already been some encouraging signs.
"South Australia's greenhouse emissions have dropped by 18 per cent over the last five years, mostly due to the increased use of wind power," he said.
"Solar power systems and solar hot water systems have helped hundreds of thousands of Australians to save on their power bills. In the process, these investments by householders have also helped to reduce electricity demand and delay major investment in new electricity generating assets in several states for years. This ultimately represents a saving for all energy users.
"Thousands of new jobs have been created across the country, in diverse sectors like manufacturing of towers for wind farms in Victoria, research and development of solar power in NSW and construction of biomass power plants in Queensland. This industry has grown despite the global financial crisis.
"The Coalition has repeatedly expressed its support for the RET, and this bipartisanship is absolutely crucial for creating the confidence investors need to make billion dollar investments," Mr Warren said.