The future of renewable energy in Australia is uncertain after the appointment of a staunch anti-renewables campaigner as Energy Minister in the new Morrison Government.
Angus Taylor has been dogged in his criticism of wind farms, the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and “ideologically driven” emissions targets. He was formerly Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security under Malcolm Turnbull.
Because Taylor is a strong opponent of the RET his appointment could spark its early demise. This would prematurely end the current rebate on the cost of solar installations provided by the Federal Government.
Solar installation costs likely to rise under new regime
Talking to 2GB’s Ray Hadley on August 14, Taylor said locking in a 26 per cent emission reductions target is “crazy stuff”. Obsession with emissions at the expense of reliability and affordability has also been a “massive mistake”, he said.
Future energy policy is therefore likely to change as the Federal Government takes a harder line on renewable incentives. The energy and environment portfolios are now split, indicating an ideological separation of the two.
According to Taylor, reducing energy prices must be the main focus. Focus on renewables like solar power through the RET has been the wrong choice, he added.
Taylor is from a fifth-generation farming family. He claimed farmers would have been forced to get rid of their livestock under the 26 per cent emission target proposed by the shelved NEG.
Energy minister leans to clean coal technology
Taylor told RN Drive in February 2017 that traditional fuels like coal should be used to reduce emissions instead.
He also told RN’s Patricia Karvelas that the RET offered incentives for solar panels and wind power yet none for investors wanting to explore clean coal technology.
His new boss, the then Treasurer Scott Morrison, even took a lump of coal into Parliament. The aim was to show the importance of fossil fuel to the Australian economy, and his support for the coal industry.
For the moment, however, the federal support for solar installations continues. With the added incentive in Victoria of the recent Solar Homes program, now is the optimum time to add rooftop solar to your home or business.