Report: Renewable energy target costs $28b in subsidies

BIG power and mining industry groups have claimed the renewable energy target is costing Australia $28 billion in subsidies to less carbon-intensive energy generation.

Analysis by Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business Council and Minerals Council, was released in Canberra today.

The release of the report comes as the Abbott Government reviews the RET, and several industry groups lobby the government to drop the target altogether.

It quantified the effect of the RET on the economy widely, as well as the cost of electricity, but did not measure the effect of the policy on carbon emissions.

ACCI chief executive Kate Carnell said that on current estimates, Australia had already reached 17% of the 20% target for all energy generation from renewables, and it should be limited to 20%.

That was despite the report showing the RET was likely to push the renewables sector to generating up to 28% of all electricity in Australia by 2020, eroding the power of coal and gas-fired generators.

She said while the lobby was not pushing for the abolition of the target, the main last climate change policy in place at the moment, it did want the target not to exceed its "stated policy purpose" of reaching only 20%.

The report found that under current policy, the target would cost the national economy about $28 billion a year, between 2014 and 2030, and cost up to 5000 jobs.

Of the three models used, two were based on an assumption that "no new investment in renewable sources are incentivised" - whether by abolition of the target or limiting it to a "real 20%" target.