Written by Toby Crockford, edited for online by Hannah Kotaidis
Australia has regained its spot in the top ten most attractive renewable energy markets in the world.
A report ranks countries by their appeal to potential renewable energy investors, and Australia has jumped three places in the last nine months.
But according to Climate Council Spokeswoman Jessica Craven the new ranking is not necessarily a positive sign.
“On the face of it, it sounds like a good thing but when you look closely at the report it seems that Australia’s attraction is driven in large part by our sluggishness with meeting our renewable energy targets.
“New figures have shown investment has to increase seven-fold this year, to make the 2020 target as the market is rushing in to help make the rest,” she said.
Ms Craven said investors will take advantage of the gap in the market.
Australian Wind Alliance National Coordinator Andrew Bray said he supported Ms Craven’s message.
Mr Bray said the survey was a reflection of Australia’s recent lack of action on renewable energy, compared to previous years.
Australian Solar Council CEO, John Grimes, said the installations of solar were on the decline, but said there was still some good news for commercial and industrial solar.
“The market has dropped by about 23 per cent in the last 12 months alone and that comes on top of a drop in the previous year of around 20 per cent, so a significant reduction to the amount of solar being installed in Australia.
“The one bright spot though is commercial and industrial solar, particularly solar being used on businesses and we are seeing an uptake in that part of the market, which is encouraging,” Mr Grimes said.
The Labor party and Greens have set targets to encourage further renewable energy.
Labor has pledged a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, while the Greens have aimed for 90 per cent.
While the Liberal’s target of 23 per cent by 2020, is unlikely to be met.
Ms Craven demanded the government focus on the transition from coal-burning energy production.
“We need to see not only policies that encourage renewable energy, but also policies which are going to create an orderly closure of Australia’s aging and polluting coal high power stations to make way for renewable energy because we need to free up that space in the market for renewable energy to step in,” she said.
Mr Bray called for Malcolm Turnbull “step up”.
“I think as part of this election campaign, what we need to see if Malcolm Turnbull step-up and really differentiate himself from the Tony Abbott-era policies that dragged Australia down in renewable energy,” he said.
Mr Grimes said he wanted to hear definite policies from Canberra on solar.
“We want a positive plan for solar in Australia, we need policies that are going to really capitalise on fantastic sunshine and some of the best solar brains in the world,” he said.