Is Abbott out of touch with regional Victoria on Renewable Energy Target?
Hints from the Prime Minister yesterday that he plans to scale back the Renewable Energy Target raise questions about whether Mr Abbott is in touch with farmers and manufacturers in regional Victoria who want to see wind energy flourish.
While Mr Abbott said that he supported the “sensible use of renewable energy”, he made further comments about the effect of the RET on power prices that suggested the Prime Minister was not fully across how the RET is working.
“The Renewable Energy Target means jobs, investment and income into farming communities in regional Victoria,” said Andrew Bray, State Coordinator for the Victorian Wind Alliance.
“There are farmers who have been waiting ten years for wind farm projects to start delivering for their communities but the primary barrier has been this constant moving of the goal posts.
“If the government just left the RET alone it would create the business certainty needed for wind projects to bolster regional economies.
“A sensible use of renewable energy is to do exactly what the RET is doing right now - favouring the cheapest forms of renewable energy so we become less reliant on our dirty and aging coal-fired power infrastructure.
“As the world moves towards cleaner sources of energy it is a big risk for Australia to continue to rely on one of the dirtiest power generation sectors in the developed world.
The Prime Minister’s claim that the RET “is causing pretty significant price pressure in the system” is disputed by Australian Energy Market Commission research which shows that the RET makes up only 3 percent of residential power bills and lowers wholesale power prices.
“As South Australia has shown, a solid supply of wind energy in the system lowers the wholesale power price.
“Supplying our power from wind that has no fuel cost guards us against expected sharp rises in the price of gas-fired power.
“Manufacturing workers who construct towers for wind farms in Portland will take a very dim view of this kind of talk.
“Construction of components for renewable energy plants is clearly an industry of the future.
“It is puzzling that in the same week that the government says it is looking for new industries to replace car manufacturing, they should be toying with the future of one of its most promising replacements,” concluded Mr Bray.