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Deal close on renewable energy target


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The Federal Government has cleared what could have been a stumbling block for a bipartisan agreement on a pared-back renewable energy target.

The government will ditch its demand for two-yearly reviews, which threatened to derail a deal with Labor to scale back the RET.

The move is expected to break a year-long political impasse that has halted clean energy investment and cost jobs.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane are meeting Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler in Melbourne on Monday morning.

An in-principle deal to slash the target from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000GWh stalled last week when Labor and the clean energy industry refused to back any proposal that included the reviews.

The sector’s peak body, the Clean Energy Council, says the latest move clears the final major stumbling block and should enable a deal to be reached.

“It’s been a tough 15 months, but this development will be a huge weight off the shoulders of the 20,000 people working in the industry,” chief executive Kane Thornton said.

The government has been trying to slash the RET after a review last year found the legislated 41,000GWh could overreach the policy goal of 20 per cent of all energy coming from renewables by 2020.

While Labor opposes the government’s push for wood waste burning as a renewable source in the agreement, it’s not expected to be a deal breaker.

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