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Govt's renewable energy target attack 'increasingly futile'

18 September, 2014

The Abbott government is increasingly isolated in its continued push to axe the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Australian Solar Council (ASC) has said in a statement.

In an extraordinary attack on the government's campaign, Australian Solar Council Chief Executive John Grimes has said there has been overwhelming public support for solar power and little to no prospect of political support from other parties in the Senate to axe the RET.

Grimes said the government was subjecting itself to massive political pain with little or no prospect of delivering change to the Target through the Senate.

"The message for the Abbot government is clear – stop siding with the big power companies who stand to benefit from destroying the Target," Grimes said.

"Rooftop solar cuts household electricity bills by 65 per cent. Cutting the Target will increase the cost of rooftop solar by up to 50 per cent, putting it out of reach of ordinary Australian households.

"If the government kills the Target it will deliver a $7 billion revenue windfall to the big power companies over the next 15 years but households will continue to pay more.

"Removing the Target would cause thousands of Australians to lose their jobs as small solar businesses shut up shop and big solar projects stop dead in their tracks or move overseas.

"Dismantling John Howard's Renewable Energy Target is not what the people thought they were voting for, and certainly not what they want."

A firm stance from other parties

The Save Solar Community Forum in Sydney held on Wednesday heard from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Greens Leader Christine Milne and from a written statement from the Palmer United Party – all backing no change to the RET.

"No case has been made for a change to the Renewable Energy Target whatsoever," Shorten told the Forum.

"Labor is standing strong behind the RET … we are not for turning on the issue of renewable energy."

Clive Palmer, Federal leader of the Palmer United Party, and Senator Glenn Lazarus, Leader of Palmer United said in a statement that the Prime Minister and those in the government who wanted to wreck the RET were "on the back foot".

The statement said: "The Palmer United Party will block any attempt by the government to remove or reduce the Renewable Energy Target.

"This is our commitment to the people of Australia and we will do everything within our power to ensure the target is retained."

Greens Leader Christine Milne confirmed the party's commitment to the RET and called for an increase in the Target to 90 per cent by 2030, with the ultimate goal of 100 per cent renewable sources of power.

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Graeme | Friday, September 19, 2014, 10:49 AM
A few minor problems with the above article. Firstly, yes it CAN reduce bills for users of solar generated electricity. That is if they did not have a smart meter! However, it increases the bills for all those that do not. Solar generated power is still more expensive and less reliable than coal fired electricity. The RET is driving up costs for all consumers especially industry users. Palmer is a galah and the Greens want us back in the dark ages. Australia is becoming more non-competitive because of these types of taxes. I do agree that more research into alternative and economical energy sources needs to be carried out.
Michael | Friday, September 19, 2014, 1:08 PM
Hi Everyone likes to pay out the RET and the cost to the commercial sector. If anyone would bother to read the Gratton institute report 2014 you would realize that Solar is not the scapegoat that everyone blames. It is important as a nation to evolve, how much money over the years would have been put into rolling out coal fired power stations or gas, how much research has gone into Nuclear. Solar is a young power generator, yes at the moment it causes problems to the Grid.From the Gratton report, the issue that cost the most Australia wide is Peak Demand, this is because we are using more and more power between 4pm and 10pm. Queensland alone is expanding right now by 70,000 New home, each will put around 15-20kwh of extra peak demand on the grid. Every 5kwh cost $1550 per year to provide, the consumer is paying around $350 to buy that electricity, its not rocket science. Solar has to have support from consumers and the government to let it evolve into a completely viable power source to balance out the peak demand, Storing the extra power is the next step. We need to remember coal power will always need coal gas will always need Gas Nuclear we have enough 2 headed babies to be smart enough to realizes it is dangerous, ask why Japan, China,Germany europe are leading the world in renewables. A comment mentions the dark ages, saying this is the way its been done for a hundred years is living in the dark ages. Solar you put it on your roof, with a little bit of noise pollution from cordless drills and its done Sun Comes Up Sun Goes Down tomorrow and the day after that and so on.... once a year they may need a wash for the next 25 years. Even if you were to say, It Causes pollution to make them, the reality is they are completely Carbon nuetral within 2 years, 23 years carbon free. (No Brainer) Every other Country is providing incentives for poeple to move to energy storage to combat peak demand. Reality is This is where the problem lies, not the RET, not solar. if you are harnessing a free energy one day soon we all have to be better off.
Bert Stahr | Saturday, September 20, 2014, 8:45 AM
Renewable energy is expensive and unreliable. Solar panels deteriorate and wind power is so bad it's an abomination. Australia is a nation of cities and cities need constant power and one hell of a lot of it. Cheap electricity will never be achieved by wind and solar. What will be achieved is that Australia will have the highest electricity cost in the world because base load power stations have to supply what renewables cannot. In doing so they will have to charge consumers more per unit of electricity or go broke. Power transmission lines need to be maintained regardless of renewables and who pays for that? You and I will, through higher rates and taxes. Anyone who takes the time to look at the total picture of power supply would have to agree that the more renewables there are the higher the price of electricity gets. Check it out before you deny. As for politicians Green is the new Red and Palmer brought Gore (who really is an inconvenient truth) to Australia. To learn how the greater public is being robbed blind the book to buy is identified as ISBN 978-1-62157-161-2
Michael | Monday, September 22, 2014, 10:09 AM
I am Not saying that it should be just one supply of electricity, i understand the necessity of the grid and that it needs the ability to provide ridiculous amounts of electricity at any given time to meet demand. This world cannot be sustained if we just continuously take. Any source of energy that requires an input can only get more expensive, yes coal is cheap, yes gas is cheap Now..... Mining will go up in price driven by the oil price, when mining machinery can cost around $50 per hour and that is just a guess, how much does it go up when the oil price goes up. the trucks delivering the coal etc,The cost can only go up. There is no putting your head in the sand, saying fossil fuels will always be there is a farce. Are we fools to say the rest of the world is wrong in there support of renewables. Yes solar degrades so does the grid so does the power stations. and solar being expensive the facts are a 5kw power system costs around $7000 allowing for degredation over a 20 year period which is 5 years less than the warranty even though solar panels that are 40 years old still produce a certain amount of power. But on these sums the KW produced cost around 4c per kwh, its not rocket science when the input it free somewhere along the line it has to make more sense. Reality is if we do the sums for 20 years of coal production or gas its already around the 7-8c mark. i ask will it stay this price, the answer is not a hope in hell, our growing list of industry rules themselves will double that cost, the cost of Maintaining the grid is only going to go up not because of renewables, but because our population is growing. we need more power. Our population needs to grow because we need to be able to move forward as a nation, or we are not viable and will just get taken over by somebody else. If the input is free, some where along the road we have to pull our head out of the ground, stop living on the argument that we dont like change, we say if its not broken dont fix it. take a long hard look around , it is broken, very broken. drive around and look at the aging infrastructure, it will get more expensive. 1,400,000 Australians have put up part of there own funds and we are a pittance to the rest of the worlds efforts, all of 3% of the world market. about the same amount extra it cost on a power bill to support the roll out of renewables, Wake up its time to find a better way.
Sue Meinhold | Thursday, September 25, 2014, 9:34 AM
I am all for Solar power and wind generation. The trouble with wind turbines now used are they require power input even to get started. There are smaller vertical axis turbines available which do not require any power input and are noiseless. The new ANZ headquarters in Docklands have them on the roof but for some insane reason have not connected them to the buildings power supply. Go Figure!!! As for our ongoing power use, good building design and insulation should reduce these predictions. Maybe we should all spend a month or two each year on French Island in Westernport Bay. Every property there has to provide its own power as there are no services to the island. It may well teach us to use less rather than more, more and more. Sue