Report warns axing RET could cost thousands of jobs

Up to 6750 jobs could be lost or foregone by 2018 if the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is abolished, according to analysis commissioned for the REC Agents Association (RAA), an industry body for companies trading in renewable energy certificates.

The report, which is based on analysis by SolarBusinessServices, outlines the future of the Australian solar PV industry and provides projections to 2018 under three scenarios: no policy change; cut to the RET; and RET abolished.

Under a ‘no policy change’ scenario, the report estimates 8000 additional solar PV jobs are expected to be created between 2014 and 2018, with 600 jobs lost the following year if the RET is cut.

Furthermore, if the RET is abolished, more than 2000 direct and indirect solar PV jobs could go next year, according to the analysis, with another thousand jobs to follow in the following three years. A similar 30 per cent decline in solar hot water jobs could lead to the loss of more than 300 jobs in that industry, with many solar hot water and PV retailers and installer companies forced to close down.

RAA vice president Fiona O’Hehir said axing the RET is “on the government’s agenda”, a move that would have a “diabolical impact on jobs, industry and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who want to put solar on their homes”.

The report comes as the government has appointed a group of industry experts to advise on the design of the Emissions Reductions Fund, which is the centrepiece of the Abbott Government’s environmental policy.

According to the Government, the Group will inform the Emissions Reduction Fund’s design and provide the Government with expert and practical advice for consideration.