Climate Institute : Stop Scapegoating Renewable Energy

Australia’s Climate Institute is calling for an end to protection for big polluters under Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), with a new report revealing households and businesses will foot a $7.1 billion bill to prop up the high-emissions sector over the life of the scheme.
   
The "Shielding the Big Polluters" report also demolishes the argument that support for renewable energy programs, such as feed-in tariffs and other clean energy subsidies, are responsible for electricity price rises. It’s an important point that has often been flagged by other bodies, but also often ignored by some in the media who choose to instead demonise renewables.
   
"Some in politics, business and the media would have you believe that clean energy schemes have caused all the recent electricity price increases when recent regulator reports show that the cost of renewable energy schemes will make up just 4% of average household energy bills in NSW. This is around $1.20 per week," says Climate Institute CEO, John Connor.
   
According to the report, trade-exposed industries with a heavy carbon footprint currently receive a 60-90 percent discount on the cost of the RET, which is then reimbursed from the public purse. These discounts to big polluters have resulted in a 23 percent cost increase of the RET. 
   
Households consume around 29 percent of electricity in Australia; big-polluting, trade-exposed industries around 25 percent. But while households pay for 35 percent of the RET, the nation’s highest emitter’s only pay around eight percent.
   
Approximately $4.4 billion of the subsidy will be paid by non-trade exposed businesses, while around $2.7 billion will be paid by households.
   
Mr Conner says it is time the scapegoating of renewable energy ends and more scrutiny is applied to government support for the nation’s big polluters.
   
"The Renewable Energy Target is a critical tool to help clean up our ageing energy sector. Australia has the eighth most carbon polluting electricity sector on the planet and the Renewable Energy Target is essential to build capacity to cost effectively meet long-term pollution reduction targets and to unlock jobs and investment in Australia’s abundant clean energy resources like wind, solar and geothermal."
   
Earlier this week, the CEO of national solar solutions provider Energy Matters, Jeremy Rich, stated the Australian Productivity Commission’s recent report questioning the value and benefit of residential solar power was misinformed and the price attribute to carbon abatement through the use of home solar power systems greatly exaggerated.