Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has addressed what he referred to as ‘misguided’ calls for the Renewable Energy Target to be wound back or even scrapped because of the introduction of a carbon price.
Speaking at the Clean Energy Council’s Clean Energy Week; currently being held at the Sydney Exhibition Center, Minister Greg Combet said the calls fail to understand how the carbon price and enhanced Renewable Energy Target were always intended to work together to drive clean energy.
“Put simply, a carbon price without a Renewable Energy Target means Australia would not achieve its goal of having 20 per cent of electricity supply coming from renewable sources by 2020. And a Renewable Energy Target without a carbon price, would increase the economic cost of achieving that goal.”
Mr Combet believes even a Coalition Government would not make a serious attempt to undo carbon pricing – “no matter how much political blood is pledged on the subject” – stating the Coalition had no alternative policy to decouple economic growth from increases in carbon pollution, no alternative policy to drive investment in clean energy and no alternative plan to transform Australia’s energy sector.
Reassuring the many representatives of the renewable energy industry at the event, Minister Combet reiterated the government’s commitment to a 20% Renewable Energy Target.
“We do not support calls from some quarters of industry for the RET to be scrapped – this would fail to deliver the transformation needed in our energy sector and only increase the cost of that transformation in later years.”
However, he said the Government will not support calls for increasing the Renewable Energy Target, saying “this would impose unnecessary additional costs on the economy.”
Minister Combet said the Government expects the renewable energy industry to continue to press for policies to be implemented effectively and for energy market reform, to engage in review processes and for it to play its part in communicating why the transformation is important and how solutions contribute to the transformation.
While Mr. Combet generally strongly supports renewable energy, his feelings on small scall renewables specifically are perhaps another matter. He recently stated the cost of deploying rooftop solar panels “costs anything up to $400 a ton of greenhouse gas emissions that are reduced”; a grossly exaggerated figure according to solar provider Energy Matters.