Too Much Electricity Generation In Australia? The Real Solution

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The Renewable Energy Target is achieving exactly what it is designed to do – but instead of bathing in the glory of its success, it seems Industry Minister Ian McFarlane is wringing his hands.
According to the Clean Energy Regulator, the previously fully bi-partisan supported Renewable Energy Target was designed to:
“reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector and encourage the additional generation of electricity from sustainable and renewable sources.”
– reducing emissions? tick.
– additional electricity from renewable sources? tick.
For bonus points, the Renewable Energy Target has also created tens of thousands of jobs and billions in investment. It could continue to do so – and all at a reasonable and reducing cost.
The Clean Energy Regulator says the Renewable Energy Target contributed approximately 4 per cent to household electricity bills in 2013-14 period – approximately $60 per year, or just over $1 per week for someone with a $1500 per year electricity bill. That cost will decrease further in the years ahead if the RET is left untouched.
However, instead of the government claiming some much-needed kudos for this massively successful scheme and assuring its future, Minister McFarlane apparently sees what’s happening as A Bad Thing.
According to Business Spectator, he suggested the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target of 41,000 gigawatt-hours needed to be reduced to address substantial excess capacity in the power market.
Greens leader Senator Christine Milne swooped on the suggestion.
“The Industry Minister has belled the cat on the RET review. He’s made it clear this attack on renewable energy is nothing more than a cynical move to prop up old coal-fired power stations,” Senator Milne said.
“Minister Macfarlane has said that there is a surplus of 9000 megawatts in the system and that’s why he needs to reduce renewable energy. He wants to make existing coal more viable. Wrong, Minister. This is the best opportunity we have to phase down coal fired power, without running any risk to energy security.”
It’s becoming increasingly clear that to slash the RET would be throwing the baby out instead of the bathwater.