A statement made by Prime Minister Abbott on Monday should be sending chills down the spines of all renewable energy supporters in Australia.
Perhaps invigorated by his recent crusades against crucial climate and clean power programs, Prime Minister Abbott appears to be beating the drums of a bloodier war on renewable energy.
In an interview with controversial radio commentator Alan Jones and with regard to Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, the Prime Minister said:
“We’re taking this review very seriously and one of the things that we’ll be looking at is the impact of renewable energy on power prices because not only is the carbon tax adding about nine per cent to everyone’s power bills – and we’re going to get rid of that as quickly as we can – renewable energy targets are also significantly driving up power prices right now.”
Was the Prime Minister testing the waters or worse still, ‘conditioning the market’ for what he perceives or wishes to be inevitable? It will come as no surprise to hear this sort of view being ramped up in the time ahead.
Talk like this will do nothing to improve investor confidence in the Australian renewable energy industry.
However, the truth of the matter is renewable energy is a bit player in power prices – in July we published an electricity price breakdown; which states the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) estimates the Renewable Energy Target comprised around just 3 per cent of household electricity prices on average in 2012-13.
If the Prime Minister is so eager to alleviate the strain on households caused through skyrocketing energy costs; perhaps he may wish to turn his attention to GST; which whacks on a further 10% on top of an electricity bill. In fact, as we mentioned recently, the Federal Government has raked in a huge amount of cash from the GST component on electricity price rises alone in recent years.
With fears increasing of Australia becoming a renewable energy backwater under the current Government; as has been the case in the past when support for renewables is threatened, the best time to install solar panels may be now.