Australian news, and some related international items

Labor prepared to exempt aluminium from Renewable Energy Target

Labor willing to back plan to exempt aluminium industry from RET ‘We’ve agreed to engage in discussions on the basis that the government doesn’t try and wreck the renewable energy target,’ Bill Shorten says   and, Tuesday 7 October 2014 Labor has confirmed it is prepared to accept a proposal to exempt the aluminium industry from the renewable energy target……..

For months, Coalition MPs have been calling for an expansion of the existing partial exemption for aluminium smelting, an industry that uses a lot of electricity. In September the Australian Workers Union backed the aluminium exemption calls.

Labor’s general position is to oppose changes to the RET, but it signalled on Tuesday that it was prepared to negotiate on an exemption for aluminium.

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, underlined the importance of having a “meaningful renewable energy target” while leaving the door open to a limited compromise.

“We’ve agreed to engage in discussions on the basis that the government doesn’t try and wreck the renewable energy target,” he said on Tuesday. “Specifically, we’re open to the suggestion that the aluminium industry, with all the jobs which are involved there, deserves to be looked at in a special case……..But the Greens leader, Christine Milne, accused Labor of bowing to pressure from the AWU to exempt aluminium from the RET, thereby teaming up with the government to “brown down” the scheme.

Milne said the government was determined “to attack the renewable energy industry”. “I’m very disappointed that the Clean Energy Council has decided to cave into pressure from the big polluters,” she said…….

October 8, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s renewable energy investment at record lows, but global investment rising

Global clean energy investment up, Australia at record lows, Perth Now  STAFF REPORTER OCTOBER 06, 2014 World clean energy investment in the first three quarters of this year was 16% ahead of the same period of 2013, at $US175.1bn , making it almost certain that 2014 will produce a bounce-back in dollars invested after two years of decline.

Figures published today by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, based on its real-time data transactions and projects, show that clean energy investment in the July-to-September quarter was $US55bn, up 12% from the $US48.9bn achieved in Q3 2013. The third quarter is generally weaker than the second quarter, as it was this year, with the Q3 total 16% down on a strong $US65.2bn in Q2 2014.

Meanwhile, BNEF says Australia’s has continued its dismal 2014 in the most recent quarter. Only $A193m was invested in new large-scale renewable energy projects in the calendar third quarter of 2014 in Australia, bringing year-to-date investment to $A238m. The Q3 figure is down 78% on the $A861m invested in the same quarter last year.

BNEF said of the the seven projects financed this year, none were backed by non-government lenders.
“The severe downturn in investment – and total freeze in private investment – has been caused by the Abbott government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target. Its controversial review panel recommended scrapping the target or radically diminishing it in August, but the government is yet to announce its position and faces blockage in the Senate to changes,” BNEF said.

Meanwhile, back on the international scene, the highlight of the global third quarter was a leap in Chinese solar investment to a new record of $US12.2bn, up from $US7.5bn in Q3 2013 and $US8bn in Q2 2014. Continue reading

October 8, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment