A POLITICAL stoush is brewing over suggestions the renewable energy target could be rolled back.
Up to 100 people from around the region waved placards out the front of New England MP Barnaby Joyce’s electorate office in Tamworth on Friday.
They were protesting against suggestions the federal government should scrap the target, which aims to achieve 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
At the rally Mr Joyce said it was his priority to ensure electricity was affordable for residents.
His state counterpart, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said he was of a different opinion to Mr Joyce and the federal government.
He has thrown his support behind retaining the target, saying he wanted to see the state exceed the 20 per cent target.
“It cannot be refuted that renewable energy benefits consumers, helps energy security by diversifying sources and cuts greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Marshall said.
The scheme targets two areas: large scale projects, such as wind farms; and small scale jobs covering rooftop solar panels and solar hot water.
A review into the scheme recommended winding back financial support for small scale systems, affecting local businesses and residents.
The independent review also found renewable energy generation had almost doubled because of the renewable energy target, and while it had reduced greenhouse emissions moderately, the report said it was a “high-cost approach” to achieving its goals.
But Mr Marshall said any changes would create uncertainty for businesses.
“To shift the goal posts now would be to risk these projects being scuppered and a potential loss of economic and environmental gains for our region,” Mr Marshall said.