A Federal government review of the renewable energy target scheme appears to be making industry investors nervous.
The Environment Protection Authority approved a $200 million wind farm proposal for Tasmania’s west coast earlier this month.
Despite the approval, the proponent of the Granville Harbour wind farm, West Coast Wind, is not confident of securing investment until the outcome of the Commonwealth review is known.
The renewable energy target scheme, set up by the Howard Government in 2001 aims to ensure 20 per cent of Australia’s energy is produced from renewable sources by 2020.
The scheme is required to be reviewed every two years.
Reports the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has faced strong internal pressure to scrap the RET from both the Nationals and the Liberals have led to fears it will be watered down.
West Coast Wind Director Royce Smith says he does not expect to secure investment for the 33 turbine project while the review is underway.
“It’s certainly got a few investors a bit shy at the moment, until we get the review in from the Federal Government everything’s on hold certainly at the moment,” Mr Smith said.
“It’s just a bit hard to invest money if you don’t know what the outcome is going to be, they’re just a bit nervous.”
The former head of Hydro Tasmania and current chair of the International Renewable Energy Alliance Peter Rae is confident there will not be any major changes made to the scheme.
“The RET scheme is something that was supported by all parties,” Mr Rae said.
“The 2020 target was a commitment by both the outgoing government and the incoming government at the last election, I don’t see any likelihood of them not honouring that obligation”.
Mr Rae says the renewable energy target scheme is vitally important for Tasmania.
“It is the basis upon which we can expand wind generation and do some further improvements of Hydro by increasing the efficiency and output of some of the Hydro schemes,” he said.
In a statement, the Energy Minister Matthew Groom said the state government will continue its active discussions with the Commonwealth to secure the best possible outcome for Tasmania from the current review.
The review is expected to take a few months.
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