A Bloomberg report has warned it would cost Australia billions of dollars and thousands of jobs if the Abbott government chooses to scrap the country's renewable energy target. An expert panel is currently reviewing Australia's vow to produce 20 per cent of power from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Bloomberg said changes to the country's current renewable energy target will have "devastating impact" on the clean energy industry. Australia's target is expected to generate $35 billion worth of investments in clean energy. The report said renewable energy sources are low-cost alternatives to fossil fuels and help reduce wholesale prices of electricity.
The benefits of cheaper electricity will be enjoyed by consumers through lower power costs and greater competition among power sources. The report said the uncertainty over Australia's renewable energy target 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 policy environment.
Australia Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Chairman Greg Bourne has warned the Abbott government will be out "cleaning the decks" if the agency's remaining unallocated funds worth $1 billion were returned to consolidated government revenue. Senior officials and industry groups speculate that the Abbott government is moving to scrap the $10-billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation to weaken or delay Australia's Renewable Energy Target.
Australian Solar Council Chief Executive John Grimes said the clean energy sector has expressed outrage over the scrapping of ARENA's budget. Grimes added that the plan was an ideological agenda on the part of government to drop support for renewable energy.
The scientific community in Australia has express their fears as the Abbott government's first annual budget will have more cuts for research in world-class facilities. The further slashing of funds may cost Australia its reputation for conducting cutting-edge scientific and medical research.
Scientists in Australia have previously accused Mr Abbott of engineering and leading Australia to an "environmental train wreck." Past budget cuts had affected the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Research Council and university funding.