Renewable energy jobs drop sharply in Australia amid political uncertainty 

Source: By Sydney Morning Herald • Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015

In the last two years, renewable energy jobs in Australia have declined by 15 percent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. More than 2,000 jobs have been lost since the industry hit a peak of almost 15,000 full-time workers in 2011 and 2012.

Last year, there were 12,590 jobs in renewable energy.

According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, job loss can be attributed to political indecision over the Renewable Energy Target, which calls for 20 percent of Australia’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the indecision was having a negative impact on investments.

“Uncertainty over the future of the [Renewable Energy Target], or over the size of the renewable power percentage, is likely to have a flow-on effect on future investment in renewable energy infrastructure,” the organization said in a statement.

The government and the opposition party disagree over the renewable energy target mandate.

The government wants to slash the legislated target of 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable power — which is expected to surpass the 20 percent target — to 32,000 GWh. Opposition leaders are in favor of making the target 33,500 GWh. The opposition’s renewable targets are backed by the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Aluminum Council.