Australia's solar industry prepares for battle


Australia’s renewable energy sector is feeling increasingly threatened by the government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

In a report on Thursday in U.K. newspaper The Guardian, opposition Labor Party environment spokesman Mark Butler took Abbott to task. Butler accused the prime minister of having pretended to support the renewables industry before the election but said he was now "launching a full-frontal attack" on the sector.

"The Liberals went to the election saying there was no difference between the parties on renewable energy, but they weren’t being straight with the Australian people because now they are launching a full-frontal attack," Butler said, according to The Guardian.

The Labor environment spokesman said Abbott had taken control of a scheduled review of the country’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), adding that the current ruling coalition may reassess the program due to increases in power prices.

Butler said Labor would continue to oppose the repeal of the country’s carbon tax when parliament resumes this month and added that the party was also preparing "to ramp up a community campaign in support of renewable energy."

The renewable energy sector has become increasingly alarmed at the possibility of the government drastically reducing or even abolishing the RET.

The Australian solar council has already launched a "save solar" campaign out of fear the government review will immobilize the industry by eliminating the target, which requires 45,000 gigawatt hours of power to be sourced from renewables by 2020 and provides a subsidy to people who install solar systems.