Picking winners and policy uncertainty: Stakeholder perceptions of Australia's Renewable Energy Target

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Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET) mandates investment in renewable electricity generation through a renewable energy certificate market. A legislated national consultative review of the RET was carried out in 2012, resulting in 8660 submissions. Respondents were invited to comment on the value of the legislated target, including whether the legislated target should be a fixed GWh target or a fixed policy-based percentage-of-demand target, and the impact of review processes on the renewable energy industry. This paper presents the first analysis of submissions and evaluates their implications for the future of this policy. There was a consistent alignment of opinion amongst respondents, with industry and fossil-fuel generation/retailer groups opposing the RET objectives, whilst these were supported by NGOs and the renewable sector. However, most respondents favoured maintaining the overall goal of providing 20% renewable electricity generation by 2020. Concerns were raised by most groups of respondents regarding policy continuity and excessive reviewing procedures. In its response to the review, the Climate Change Authority made a total of 34 recommendations, 18 maintaining the status quo. Only six recommendations were endorsed by the Australian Government that would result in changes to the scheme. It is concluded that such review processes can be significantly harmful to maintaining stability and certainty in an industry requiring long-term commitment for investments, and that the Australian Government continues to favour the status quo in responding to consultative review processes relating to renewable energy policies. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-135
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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