Australia’s clean energy industry urges Federal Independent MPs to back whichever party will deliver a carbon price as soon as possible and provide the optimal conditions for investment in renewable energy.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren said the independents had a rare opportunity to negotiate a win for their electorates, regional Australia and the environment.

The Clean Energy Council has welcomed positive comments by Independent MPs on climate change policy, particularly those made by the member for New England Tony Windsor who described an emissions trading scheme as an opportunity for the bush, rather than a problem.

Mr Windsor told media yesterday that climate change policy has been the ‘elephant in the room’ throughout the campaign. All four independents have also supported more investment in renewable energy.

“An emission trading scheme is widely recognised as being the most efficient way of reducing emissions across the country,” Mr Warren said, “It is a policy that has been supported by Professor Ross Garnaut, Former Prime Minister John Howard, former Coalition Leader Malcolm Turnbull, the National Farmers Federation, the Greens and the Labor Party.

“This is about risk management. We have to stop speculating about the validity of climate science and see the issue for what it is: an insurance policy for our future.”

Mr Warren said it was crucial there were no major changes to the Gillard Government’s renewable energy target, increased investment in the grid and emerging technologies and a clear pathway to a price on greenhouse emissions.

“Most new jobs and more than $20 billion of new investment in clean energy will be located in regional and rural Australia,” he said.

Northern NSW and Queensland are well placed to expand clean energy generation using bioenergy and large scale solar, along with other clean sources of electricity such as wind, wave and geothermal.

“Renewable energy is great news for country Australia,” he said. “It will create growth, greater economic diversity and help drought-proof farms and regions.”

Source: Clean Energy Council.