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Australia to review RET.

Australia will review its mandatory renewable energy target (RET), the government said, sparking concerns among green groups that a weaker target could pave the way for new coal plants and increased pollution.

The target to ensure Australia generates 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2020 has been a boon to the nation's wind and solar producers, but has been blamed by the conservative Coalition government for increasing power prices.

"In particular, the review will consider the contribution of the RET in reducing emissions, its impact on electricity prices and energy markets, as well as its costs and benefits for the renewable energy sector, the manufacturing sector and Australian households," Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said in a statement.

The target was introduced by the previous conservative government of John Howard to cut emissions from Australia's coal-dependent power sector.

But a weakened RET combined with the government's plan to repeal the carbon tax would shift new energy investments away from renewable sources to more coal-fired electricity, causing more pollution and making it hard to meet the climate target, according to observers.

"With no emission limit and price to make major emitters responsible for the pollution they cause, sectoral policies like the RET become much more important in meeting the government's emission reduction commitments," said John Connor, CEO at think-tank The Climate Institute.

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Publication:Oil & Gas News
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Feb 24, 2014
Words:244
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