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The Tree:

The Coalition government’s war on renewables has slowed clean energy investment, undermining jobs, raising emissions, and making the task to clean up Australia’s energy sector far harder. New data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance has highlighted the damage a government determined to fight the future can do, with the Abbott-led Coalition government overseeing a two-year stall in investments in large scale renewables. While the situation has marginally improved under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, it remains party policy to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. This means confidence in the sector is likely to remain lacking, making the job of reaching the Renewable Energy Target harder, and hurting job development in a sector that the US, for example, has seen surge to employing 77 per cent more workers than coal mining.

Despite Coalition roadblocks, the renewable transition is still hastening in Australia as it is around the world. While large scale renewable investment has taken a hit, solar PV continues to boom in Australia, with bloomberg finding it attracted the fifth largest investment in small-scale PV in 2015 globall. $2.17 billion was spent on solar last year, putting Australia ahead of Germany, and behind the UK and Japan. Considering Australia is expected to become a world leader in the deployment of battery storage, it is hard to imagine anything but further booming growth for renewables ahead.

Cheap oil and gas are not stopping renewable development. While the Australian government has worked to slow renewable development and protect coal, wind and solar have ‘done the unthinkable’ and trumped fossil fuels to boom to record levels of investment in 2015. The reality is the renewable transition is inevitable, unstoppable, and as new Bloomberg data shows – happening faster than many (particularly those in the fossil industry) could have imagined. This transition will only hasten further as the Paris Effect sinks in.