The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has described the Government’s move to reduce the Renewable Energy Target (RET) as a retrograde step.

Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, and Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, recently outlined the Australian Government’s position that it will ‘support a Renewable Energy Target that represents a real 20 per cent of electricity production in Australia’.

GBCA says this would result in a ‘floating’ RET, effectively slashing the amount of renewable energy generated in 2020 from 41,000 Gigawatt hours to around 26,000 Gigawatt hours.

Expressing the Council’s disappointment with the Australian Government’s position on the Renewable Energy Target, GBCA’s Chief Operating Officer, Robin Mellon said the RET has supported investment in renewable energy solutions across Australia, contributing to reduced emissions intensity in the national energy market and reducing energy bills for building owners and tenants alike.

The Renewable Energy Target has encouraged more than 15,000 businesses to invest in solar power which has, in turn, supported more than 13,000 jobs, benefitting the Australian economy and boosting the country’s international competitiveness. Many of the 770 Green Star-rated building projects around Australia have invested in renewable energy solutions.

Observing that future investment in renewable energy depends on RET support in the form of upfront or annual renewable energy rebates, Mr Mellon said any significant change to the RET will put future renewable energy projects at risk.

According to Mr Mellon, the RET is a vital part of a coordinated approach to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the agreed 2020 target of emissions reduction by five per cent. However, reducing the RET will severely hamper Australia’s ability to operate and stay competitive within an increasingly low-carbon global economy.