Palmer pulls back on renewable target support  

While still supporting the renewable energy target, Clive Palmer has clarified his comments regarding the scheme and subtly re-positioned his party’s policy.

While clearly stating that the RET review was a waste of tax payer money and that incentives for individuals should remain in place, he now claims the mandatory target of 41,000 GWh by 2020 should not make up part of the renewable legislation.

“I think these sort of things have got to be targets where people are incentivised to do it because it is the right thing to do,” he said.

Although supporting solar power for individuals the PUP have made it clear they will not be voting with the Greens on the issue, who want the target to remain mandatory and for it to be increased.

Commentators have pointed out that Palmer may have made his initial comments without fully understanding how the renewable energy target works. To say that his position is somehow contradictory or sends mixed messages is not entirely accurate. It’s possible to support the RET as far as encouraging subsidies for rooftop solar power customers, but stop short of legislating a mandatory roll out of large-scale solar projects as we’ve seen in Nyngan and Broken Hill.

Electricity retailers are not crazy about having to invest in incorporating large-scale solar into their business model, thus the current push-back against the RET and the decline in investment over the last year with the potential of a less renewable-friendly government coming in to office. Without a legislated mandate utilities are happy to ignore solar as a means of expending short-term profits.

Surprisingly, Palmer stated that he believes the Prime Minister has a fondness for wind and solar power saying, “We think everyone – even the Coalition – should support the idea of renewable energy for Australia, but whether you can force people to do it is another thing.”

Perhaps Clive has been too busy to keep track of the Coalition’s record with renewable funding since being elected.