Australia's Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Senator Penny Wong, has welcomed the passage of the enhanced Renewable Energy Target and Building Energy Efficiency legislation through the Parliament.
'These are important milestones for Australia as we move towards our clean energy future,' Senator Wong said. 'We know we will need to transform our energy sector and our buildings if we are to tackle climate change.
'The Renewable Energy Target enhancements passed by the Parliament will provide certainty to large renewable energy projects and to households wanting to do their bit to tackle climate change.
The legislation splits the Renewable Energy Target into two parts from 1 January 2011. The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme will provide support to households installing technologies such as solar panels and solar hot water systems. The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target will drive investment in renewable energy projects like wind farms, commercial solar and geothermal.
The Government successfully moved three further amendments to the RET - relating to excess banked RECs, a household RECs review and Solar Credits.
Further amendments were successfully moved by the Opposition and the cross benches in the Senate, including amendments relating to further assistance for emissions-intensive industries and the imposition of a cap on the size of heat pumps supported under the RET.
Senator Wong also welcomed the passage of the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Bill, which will ensure information is provided about the energy efficiency of office space whenever it is sold or leased. The requirement to disclose information will commence later this year.
'This scheme will drive energy efficiency in Australia's cities and towns by introducing a market incentive for upgrades in large commercial buildings,'' Senator Wong said.
'A better informed market will drive demand for energy efficient offices and investment in Australia's commercial building stock.
'The Government will continue to consult with industry stakeholders and the community on the Regulations to be made under both these important pieces of legislation.''