Renewable Energy Investments in Australia Falls to its Lowest Since 2001

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By Reissa Su | July 18, 2014 10:51 AM EST

Australia's renewable energy investment has declined to its lowest in 13 years. According to reports, the country has invested only $40 million in the first six months of 2014. The amount is said to be the lowest since 2001. The change in investment follows as the Abbott government prepares to repeal the carbon tax.

REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files
A worker pumps gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol at the UPI Energy gas station in Chatham, Ontario in this April 11, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

Renewable energy investment declined from $2.7 billion in 2013 to just $40 million so far in 2014 based on data from Bloomberg's New Energy Finance study.

The Australian government had previously assigned a panel to review the generation of renewable energy. One of the panel members was known climate change skeptic and former Caltex chairman Dick Warburton who made renewable energy industry representatives fear of not meeting Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Bloomberg New Energy Finance head Kobad Bhavnagri said the sharp decline in renewable energy investment began during last year's federal election. Investments fell further when Tony Abbott took over as head of the government.

By contrast, the rest of the world has spent a total of $63 billion on renewable energy in the second quarter of 2014, according to reports. China has become the largest investor in renewable energy with $19.3 billion in the June quarter. The world's largest economy is also the biggest producer of greenhouse gases based on climate studies.

In June, Labour and Greens parties had challenged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to a double dissolution election after the Senate voted down a bill to scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for the second time. According to reports, the Opposition, Greens and Independent Sen. Nick Xenophon were all against the abolition of the $10-billion corporation which has investments in renewable energy technology. This was the second time the bill has been shot down in the Senate.

A Bloomberg report said any change to the country's current renewable energy target will have a "devastating impact" on the clean energy industry. Australia's target is expected to generate $35 billion worth of investments in clean energy. Renewable energy sources are low-cost alternatives to fossil fuels and help reduce wholesale prices of electricity.

The uncertainty surrounding Australia's renewable energy sector has led to a decline in investments within the renewable energy sector. Investors are concerned about the future of renewable energy in Australia, and they said making decisions right now is not advisable due to "high uncertainty" in the political environment.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files / )
A worker pumps gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol at the UPI Energy gas station in Chatham, Ontario in this April 11, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files
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