The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has urged the Abbott
Government to renew its commitment to the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
The bi-partisan RET policy mandates that 20 per cent of Australia's
electricity will be generated from renewable sources by 2020.
Green Building Council of Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Robin
Mellon explains that the RET has encouraged and supported diverse energy
solutions; abolishing it therefore could diminish forward investment in
renewable energy technologies.
According to Mr Mellon, the Renewable Energy Target has stimulated
innovation, set a direction for industry and provided the impetus to invest in
Independent modelling commissioned by the Climate Institute has found
that abolishing the RET could reduce investment in renewable energy by almost
$11 billion. Observing how industry requires standards, benchmarks and targets
to evolve, he said the building code sets the standards, Green Star sets the
best practice benchmarks, and policies such as the RET set the targets. In the
absence of such targets, industry will lack the incentive to do better.
Thanks to the RET policy encouraging investment in technologies that are
increasingly being integrated in buildings, Australia now has more than 700
energy-efficient, Green Star-rated buildings, which combine a range of energy
solutions and technologies. These buildings, on average, consume just a third
of the energy used by traditional, non-green buildings.
Several schools combine geothermal energy with hydro power from the
grid, offices and commercial buildings bank on wind turbines and co-generation
plants, and apartments and communities feature solar panels and tap into
precinct-wide tri-generation systems.
Mr Mellon concludes that incentivising good behaviour and good design is
not sufficient. Good technology is also needed, which has so far been driven by
RET through innovation and motivation.