24 June 2015, The Guardian, Renewable energy target: Senate sits late to pass bill without amendment. Chamber of commerce says deal surmounts ‘major hurdle’ as Greens and environmentalists attack Coalition pledge to create a windfarm commissioner. Legislation to reduce the renewable energy target from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000gWh has passed both houses of parliament. The Senate sat late on Tuesday to pass the bill. Labor and the Coalition struck a deal on the target in May after a months-long standoff that the renewables industry said undermined investment.
Plans to review the RET every two years and to include the burning of native wood in the target proved to be sticking points for Labor in the negotiation of the deal. The government eventually dropped plans for biennial reviews. “The 33,000 gigawatt hour renewable energy target will not be reviewed until 2020,” said the environment minister, Greg Hunt. “This will give the renewable energy industry the certainty it needs to grow.” The government won the support of some Senate crossbenchers for plans to include wood waste in the target by promising to appoint a windfarm commissioner. A letter from Hunt, revealed last week by Guardian Australia, shows that the commissioner’s main function will be to respond to complaints about wind turbines. Read more here