Renewable energy investment drops 90pc

Renewable energy

The sun is setting on jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector, new results reveal.

By Courtney Pearson

April 15, 2015

CLEAN energy investment fell by 90 per cent in 2014 on the back of policy indecision surrounding the renewable energy target, according to new analysis.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reported the hefty drop in investment for large-scale Australian renewable energy projects, with just one project securing funding in the past six months at $6.6 million. The final quarter of 2014 saw zero investment activity.

“The Australian large-scale clean energy industry has become practically uninvestable due to ongoing uncertainty caused by the government’s review,” the BNEF report stated.

The Federal Government announced it would not set the RET above 32,000 gigawatt hours; a big change from the original 41,000GWh, which was forecast to represent more than 20 per cent of Australia’s energy by 2020.

Labor directly opposes the government’s stance, instead supporting the clean energy sector’s proposal of 33,500GWh.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed the sector lost 2300 jobs in the past two years – a 15 per cent drop from its 2011-2012 peak of 14,890.

WA’s workforce was hit the hardest, slashed by 53 per cent during the period. However, employment in the sector rose in Tasmania and the territories.

The ABS cited government policies, including taxes, subsidies and pricing, as influential factors on employment levels.

“Uncertainty over the future of the RET, or over the size of the renewable power percentage, is likely to have a flow on effect on future investment in renewable energy infrastructure,” the ABS stated.