Library filed under Energy Policy from Australia
Opposition leader Bill Shorten knew he was on to a winner when he declared his backing of a 50 per cent target for renewable energy in Australia by 2030 ...But many questions remain: is such a plan feasible, what's the cost and what's the best way to reach the goal? And how far will it go to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and limiting climate change? That after all, is why Australia and the rest of the world must cut fossil-fuel use.
After cutting the country's Renewable Energy Target by a fifth a month ago, Abbott took the green power industry by surprise by ordering the government's A$10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop investing in wind farms, the country's No. 2 clean energy source behind hydropower.
The fate of Australia’s renewable energy target – and the wind industry in particular – is once again in the balance, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised anti-wind cross-bench Senators that he would take action to restrict or monitor wind farms.
Matt Canavan, who has been sitting in on a parliamentary inquiry into wind farms, says renewable energy - particularly wind - is not only expensive, it creates more international than Australian jobs. He believes subsidising the industry with measures such as the RET is a gamble and won't necessarily result in cheap clean energy.
“I do take your point about the potential health impact of these things. …when I’ve been up close to these windfarms not only are they visually awful but they make a lot of noise. What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce, Alan, capital R-E-D-U-C-E, the number of these things that we are going to get in the future … I frankly would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more but we got the best deal we could out of the Senate and if we hadn’t had a deal, Alan, we would have been stuck with even more of these things."
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described wind farms as "visually awful" saying he wishes the Howard government, of which he was a member, had never implemented the Renewable Energy Target (RET) policy.
An eleventh hour government decision to retain two-yearly reviews has derailed a new bipartisan agreement that would have reduced the target from 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy production by 2020 to 33,000.
Last week, global funds manager Industry Funds Management, put the renewable energy company, which has wind farm projects in south-west Victoria, up for sale.
Asked if the carbon tax had an impact on disconnections, Ms D'Ambrosio said: "There are a range of factors that have seen an increase in disconnections across Victoria, including cost of energy in Victoria. As reported by the Australian Energy Market Commission last year, Victoria has the highest retail margins compared to any other state in the national electricity market".
In short, if campaigners get their wish and fossil fuels are phased out by 2040, the world will face an energy gap of at least 9.2 billion tonnes of oil equivalent. That is the equivalent of 147 countries with no energy. To illustrate, an energy gap like that would mean that the 56 nations of Africa, the 44 nations of Latin America, the 12 nations of the Middle East and 35 nations in Asia, including China, would have to exist without energy.
A forthcoming Senate inquiry into wind farms has been welcomed by outspoken south-west opponent Annie Gardner, who called for it to include a comprehensive examination of health issues. But the Clean Energy Council described the move as a waste of money in canvassing issues covered by previous investigations.
The new inquiry – the latest in a long list of investigations into renewable energy and wind power – is proposed by crossbench senators David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day and Liberal Chris Back, all of whom have argued for the abolition of the renewable energy target, which underpins wind energy in Australia.
Tony Abbott has won a deal to transform climate change policy after Clive Palmer agreed to support the government’s Direct Action plan, three months after voting to abolish the carbon tax.
A large gallery of wind farm critics cheered on Jim Doukas when he criticised the council’s response to complaints about noise issues relating to the giant Macarthur wind farm. “The report is so light on information and facts it seems like it is bias. Is AGL doing something for us we don’t know about, because it looks that way.”
Labor and the clean energy industry have rejected the Abbott government’s offer of a 26,000 gigawatt hour renewable energy target instead of the current 41,000 gigawatt hour goal.
Australia’s investment in renewable energy projects has slumped below that of Algeria, Thailand and Myanmar, new figures have shown, with the sector “paralysed” by the government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target.
The renewable energy sector has cleverly confused the concepts of economic costs, which are the costs of the resources used to produce renewable energy, with prices. They do this to disguise the real cost impact of the RET on the economy and to make themselves a smaller political target. ...The goal of the RET was never about suppressing prices, but this is now the cause célèbre of the renewable industry.
Electricity use has plunged so much that no new coal or gas baseload power generation will be needed over the next decade to comply with the nation’s famously conservative requirements for ensuring lights stay on.
What conceivable purpose is served by policies which have no effect whatsoever on global emissions but damage our prosperity? And were dangerous climate change indeed in prospect, how could making us poorer facilitate the adjustments Australia will have to undertake?
For Australia’s multi-billion-dollar renewable energy industry, marooned in the doldrums of investment uncertainty, the big calm before the renewable energy target review storm came last week. For two consecutive days a high-pressure system becalmed southeastern Australia, stranding the nation’s entire fleet of wind turbines.