The federal government recently launched a formal review of Australia's 20% Renewable Energy Target (The RET), headed by a well know climate change sceptic - Dick Warburton.
Given that the RET and its associated instruments have been the single biggest driver of renewable energy uptake in Australia, any reduction or modification to the RET will dramatically effect the fragile and battered domestic Renewable Industry and significantly hamper our national approach to addressing climate change.
With this very real existential threat to the RET at hand we thought it would be timely to have a discussion about the current landscape of Renewables and the potential consequences of any reduction to the existing targets.
To shed some light on this we invited Dr Mark Diesendorf of the Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW and Lindsay Soutar, National Director of Solar Citizens and 100% Renewable, to attempt to enlighten us and guide us through some of the murky and confusing issues around national energy policy and future of renewables in Australia.
Mark Diesendorf is the Deputy Director of Institute of Environmental Studies at University of New South Wales. He teaches and researches on ecologically sustainable and socially just development and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. He is the author of 'Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy' (2007) and 'Climate Action: A Campaign Manual for Greenhouse Solutions' ( 2009). His new book, 'Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change', has just been published by UNSW Press in Australia and New Zealand, and will be published for the rest of the world by Earthscan in April 2014.
Lindsay Soutar is the National Director of Solar Citizens - Lindsay became familiar with the hopes and challenges of households (and community groups) going solar through her work at renewable energy organisation 100% Renewable of which Solar Citizens is an offshoot. There she experienced first hand the continual solar-coaster of changes to solar programs to Australia, and the efforts of the big power companies trying to stop the further expansion of solar. She recently started the process to install solar on her Sydney home and thinks it just makes sense that Australia puts a panel on every rooftop!