RET review should keep a focus on pollution reduction and investment benefits Media Release

Feb 17, 2014 - 4:12pm

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) review should focus on a clear objective of the policy, which since Prime Minister Howard has been to reduce Australia’s emissions, The Climate Institute said today.

“The Howard Government implemented the Renewable Energy Target with a primary objective of reducing pollution from Australia’s emission intensive power sector,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute. 

“Australia’s power sector emissions are among the highest in the world. Reducing emissions brings economic and environment benefits and these must be clearly examined or the outcomes of the review will lack balance and credibility.”

Contrary to many claims, the costs of renewable energy are minor. In 2015, probably the earliest any major changes to the policy could be made, the RET would cost the average household around $1 a week.
“Attempts to remove the current legislated emission limit and price mean that the RET only grows in its importance to help achieve Australia’s emission reduction goals. With no emission limit and price to make major emitters responsible for the pollution they cause, sectoral policies like the RET become much more important in meeting the Government’s emission reduction commitments.”

Some key points around the Renewable Energy Target are:

  • Under current settings, the RET will deliver around 76 million tonnes of emission reductions by 2020 – about 18 per cent of Australia’s minimum five per cent target.
  • The  RET will deliver around 200 million tonnes of emission reductions to 2030. This is roughly the same as the total annual emissions from Australia’s entire electricity sector.
  • A major beneficiary of changing the RET would be the coal-fired generation sector. If the RET is removed, that sector is projected to produce an additional 20,000 GWhs of electricity in 2020 – over a 10 per cent increase on current policy settings. (Download graphic below.) 
  • Over  130 countries around the world now have domestic policies in place to encourage renewable energy investment. The largest investors in renewable energy are China and the United States, with US$61.3 billion and US$48.4 billion investment respectively in 2013.

“Contrary to many claims, the costs of renewable energy are minor,” said Connor. “In 2015, probably the earliest any major changes to the policy could be made, the RET would cost the average household around $1 a week." (Download graphic below.) 

“As announced, the review is also skirting legal requirements for the independent Climate Change Authority to be the body to conduct the review.” 

“A one-sided review benefits no one.” 

“Stop-start energy policy in Australia has led to more expensive and less efficient energy sector investments. This is exactly why we have bodies such as the Climate Change Authority, who have the independence and expertise to analyse and test the propositions put forward by vested interests.”

“The Government notes that current law requires a review in 2014, but omits the fact that current law requires that review to be conducted by the Climate Change Authority (s.162 Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000).”

For more information
Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute, 02 8239 6299  — 

Download graphics below:














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