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closing down of Australia’s renewable energy industry « Previous | |Next »
August 29, 2014

The Renewable Energy Target has been a success. It's built up a wind and solar power generation industry at a very low cost to electricity users and, along with carbon pricing it has helped to reduce pollution and energy efficiency. It has helped to create Investment in windfarms, solar PV'S and other large-scale renewables, created jobs, and help to start the shift to decarbonize the Australian economy.

But its killing the coal-fired power generation industry. So the Abbott Government comes to the defence of the fossil fuel industry. The abolition of the carbon pricing gave coal-fired power generators a windfall and the proposals to kneecapping the Renewable Energy Target will give them a second windfall.

PopeDRET.jpg David Pope

The Warburton RET Review argues there are cheaper ways to reduce greenhouse emissions than by changing the way we generate electricity – clearly implying no change in electricity generation is necessary. Hence the defence of the fossil fuel industry and the status quo. There is no need to change the dominance of electricity generation by the fossil fuel industry.

The Warburton Review has called for the closure of Australia’s renewable energy target to new entrants as one of two options it is recommending to the government. It is also calling for the immediate closure, or rapid wind back, of the small-scale renewable energy scheme, which supports rooftop solar and solar hot water. Although any legislative changes will be resisted and probably stopped in the Senate, the uncertainty will be enough to kill investment in large scale renewables.

With the mining boom over and mining investment in decline it is clear that 'the what next' is not going to include the development of the renewable energy industry. Nor is it going to come from the digital economy given the Coalition's dumping of fibre broadband to the premises and its replacement with a dogs breakfast of a model.

As Paul Buddle observes that you can still support fibre to the premises (FttP) and praise its virtues while at the same time develop a path towards that ultimate goal through Multi Technology Mix (MtM). However, with the Coalition:

there are no plans, no investment strategies and no vision on how to move Australia on from MtM to FttP; a development that is inevitable. Under the current plans Australia will be stuck in a half way house for quite some time.

In doing so the Coalition is turning away from give Australia a chance, to lead, to innovate, or be at the forefront of the digital developments. Australia, for them, is to be a mediocre country in ICT developments.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:59 AM | | Comments (14)


So the Warburton review found the RET was putting downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices and over time would have relatively little impact on household bills.

But, since it “leads to a transfer of wealth among participants in the electricity market” (that is, from the fossil fuel sector to the renewable sector), the renewable energy industry has to be kneecapped.

Hacking into the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is an economic favour for generators who rely on fossil fuel and disastrous for a growing renewables industry.

The Warburton Report's conclusion that the costs of the scheme to the community outweigh its benefits and that significant change is required is inconsistent with numerous economic studies and, indeed, the panel’s own commissioned modelling.

The RET review does not accept the fundamental purpose for the RET – to increase the supply of renewable electricity – which it is doing in a highly effective manner. The obvious consequence of the RET is that coal burning and carbon emissions will decrease and coal power stations will close.

This is what the RET review opposes. It ignores that coal power stations are heavily subsidised because they have a free licence to pollute following the removal of the carbon price.

The Warburton RET review is a fossil fuel report on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. It is not an independent review that is at arms length from the vested interests of the fossil fuel generators.

It is pretty clear that coal power stations designed to burn Australia’s massive deposits of brown and black coal pose a serious threat to the continent’s decarbonisation efforts.

Most of Australia's coal reserves are low-quality, high-emitting coals such as brown coal (lignite). Australia is addicted to coal.

"Nor is it going to come from the digital economy given the Coalition's dumping of fibre broadband to the premises and its replacement with a dogs breakfast of a model."

The Vertigan Report supports the image of Australia as a quiet little broadband backwater, comfortably conservative and not particularly interested in grabbing the opportunities provided by the ongoing digital revolution

I heard Warburton claim on ABC radio this morning (Radio National Breakfast) ) there was no need for more renewable energy when there was so much (coal-fired) generation supply in the market.

That's the view of a climate skeptic who did not mention that he WA and Queensland governments will have to pay to subsidise the delivery of fossil fuel generation to their consumers.

"Nor is it going to come from the digital economy given the Coalition's dumping of fibre broadband to the premises and its replacement with a dogs breakfast of a model."

If the original FttP plan (Labor's) was to lift Australia from the bottom of the OECD ladder of broadband quality to the top, we can now be certain that, with the Coalition's multi-technology broadband Australia will continue to linger on at the bottom for decades to come.

pushing investment from fossil fuel generation to renewable generation is what the RET is supposed to do. It's been a success.

So it has to be abolished in order to protect the high emitting coal-fired power stations indefinitely.

Once again the mighty dollar wins. Yahoo!!
Put another greeny on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans....

The Warburton RET Review didn’t give a hoot about renewable energy, or the reduction of carbon emissions. It's primary concern is the profits of coal fired power generator.,

The economic reality is that renewables have become “much more competitive” with traditional forms of electricity generation, such as the centralised fossil-fuel plants that incumbent generators rely on.

These power generators are struggling in the Australian national electricity market where there is oversupply and low wholesale prices.

Their response to the competitive pressures? Kill of renewables.