Renewable Energy Target Explainer

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target is under review, which could lead the Government to reduce or even abolish it.

This would be a step backwards. The RET drives new renewable electricity generation, replacing high-polluting fossil fuels. Since it was introduced, the scheme has delivered $18 billion in investment and created thousands of jobs. Reducing the target is likely to increase coal-fired power generation and greenhouse gas emissions and undermine the nation's clean energy industry.

This page is updated weekly. It contains reports, factsheets, infographics and other content addressing key points around the RET and its review.


Latest News + Views

RET compromise no real solution / 08-05-2015
A reported compromise agreement between the government ...
Government has no credible clean energy and pollution plan for Australia / 26-03-2015
The government’s clean energy and climate credentials ...
Ballooning pollution shows Abbott’s climate tools aren’t up to the task / 23-03-2015
Although the government is forecasting an easier ...
Keep RET to decarbonise our electricity supply / 22-12-2014
The Climate Institute statement in response to ...
New modelling shows who really benefits from reducing the Renewable Energy Target.
While the big power companies stand to gain $8 billion in profit, we get 150 million tonnes of pollution.
We asked some 40 people around Sydney what they thought were the energy jobs of the future.
The Climate Institute expresses its overarching concerns about the RET review.
Victorian views on climate change, renewable energy and ideal energy mix.
What are other countries doing to drive investment in renewable energy?

What is the Renewable Energy Target?

The RET is a bipartisan policy designed to reduce carbon pollution from the electricity sector and build Australia’s renewable energy industry. The target is working: it has helped grow solar and wind energy triple since 2009, led to some $18 billion in investment, and grown jobs in renewable energy by 250 per cent.


Why is the RET under threat?

The Abbott Government is reviewing the RET, with a decision as to whether to maintain it, reduce it, or abolish it altogether due in September 2014. Several power companies and industry associations have called for the target to be reduced or abolished.


Who really benefits from changes to the RET?

Independent modelling has found that the winners from a reduction in the RET would be the owners of coal and gas power stations. Coal generators would make an extra $8 billion profit, gas an extra $2 billion. But this comes at the cost to the community of 150 million tonnes more carbon pollution, $8 billion in lost renewable energy investment and no reduction in power bills – in fact, bills could increase slightly.  

For a breakdown of what investment would be lost state-by-state, download the factsheet here.


What are the main criticisms of the RET and are they accurate?  

Critics of the RET have put forward a few reasons as to why it should be reduced or abolished. Below are factsheets addressing key arguments. Click on the link to access each factsheet.


What else is being said about the RET? 

Nationwide polling conducted in May 2014 found that 71 per cent of Australians want the RET to be kept at its current level or increased. See results of that polling here.

Clean energy jobs are popular with Australians. Watch this VoxPop video on what people see as the jobs of the future.

How do voters in your state compare?



Click images below to download these other infographics:










Other Resources


Contact Olivia Kember, National Policy and Research Manager, on or 02 8239 6299.



This project was conducted with support from:

  • +   Miller Foundation Fund, a charitable fund account of the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation 

  • +   Hamer Family Fund 

  • +   Digger and Shirley Martin Environment Fund 



    Email   Print   Subscribe
    Contact us. For further information. Follow us. Join the conversation.

    Level 15, 179 Elizabeth St.
    Sydney NSW 2000
    Tel   +61 2 8239 6299
    Fax   +61 2 9283 8154
    Site Map