NSW Premier breaks Coalition ranks to support RET  

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has broken ranks with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Coalition government to support the continuation of the renewable energy target (RET).

Designed to encourage the adoption of renewable technology by utilities, businesses and home owners the RET is currently bring reviewed with many industry insiders concerned that it may not whether the storm of opposition.

In his submission to the RET review board, Baird his outlined his government’s preference that the scheme remain as a buffer against rising gas prices. Large-scale solar would suffer, with his recommendation that the scheme focus solely on rooftop solar for individuals and commercial enterprises with some slight adjustments.

In the NSW government submission, the negligible cost of the RET is conceded, setting the average household back $40 per year which is more than compensated by reduced wholesale energy rates.

Currently aiming to achieve 41,000 MWh of renewable energy, Baird believes the target should remain undiluted. Although he believes, due to the current trend of reduced energy usage nationally, the figure will exceed 20% of energy requirements by 2020.

“The timeframe for the target should provide industry certainty and a realistic investment period for attracting finance,” he said. “Together, the reforms proposed in the submission promote greater certainty for business; lower costs for customers; a competitive energy market; and energy security through diversification.”

Buoyed by the NSW government’s submission, the Greens have released a plan for NSW to achieve 100% renewable energy status by 2030.

The party introduced a Bill outlining plans for at least one of the state’s 500 MW coal-fired generators to be shut-down by 2017, and encouraged the government to back initiatives that would see employees currently working in traditional fossil fuel electricity production by retrained and employed in the reformed renewable energy sector.

Introduced by Greens MP John Kaye, the Bill outlines a bold vision for the state’s future.

“Everything we do in this bill will leave NSW stronger, will leave NSW wealthier… with more jobs, … with an economy that is more resilient, more robust, and less (fossil fuel) dependent” said Kaye.