A rare and welcome chink in GreenLabor armour – Labor’s whip Joel Fitzgibbon calls for green target cut
We have often discussed these issues here – check the Renewable Energy list.
Although not mentioned by Mr Fitzgibbon – if we keep aiming for the existing RET target while gross electricity use is declining we will for sure end up with a less stable grid sooner than expected. Welcome to the new GreenLabor world.
My comments from February point out where an ever increasing RET component of our electricty grid is taking us.
So – if you want an increaing possibility of brown outs, black outs and more expensive electricity, Vote GreenLabor.
- if you particularly want more expensive electricity, Vote GreenLabor.
- if you want to be getting up in the middle of the night when you might be able to afford to run appliances, Vote GreenLabor.
- if you will enjoy owning a portable engine driven Electricity Generator, Vote GreenLabor.
- if you will enjoy the sound and smell of portable engine driven Electricity Generators all over your suburb, Vote GreenLabor.
- if you are mechanically handy and will enjoy rigging up a household wind powered generator and like the idea of paying for that plus banks of large and heavy batteries, then paying for their upkeep and replacement, Vote GreenLabor.
Readers might suggest other reasons to vote GreenLabor.
Andrew Bolt says – Fitzgibbon goes cool on pricey green power
Alan Moran has expert comment at Catallaxy –
Renewable Energy and the Carbon Tax: Government and Coalition Both Half Wrong
Labor’s whip Joel Fitzgibbon calls for green target cut –
The Australian 31 Oct 2012
LABOR’S chief whip and former cabinet minister Joel Fitzgibbon has called on the Gillard government to “forget the ideology” of the renewable energy target and cut its fixed target to give households relief from rising electricity prices.
Mr Fitzgibbon, who represents the NSW coal-producing seat of Hunter, said he was “tempted” to call for completely doing away with the RET to make up 20 per cent of electricity production by 2020 but didn’t want to create uncertainty for business.
Responding in parliament to the Climate Change Authority’s recommendation not to alter the target for energy from wind and solar power, Mr Fitzgibbon said changes to the economy, including the start of the $23-a-tonne carbon tax, meant there had to be at least a lowering of the target.
“I do question the $23-per-tonne fixed price on carbon running concurrently with a renewable energy target that now goes through a quarter of our total energy consumption,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
The RET, a bipartisan target, has been found to be pushing up power supply costs through subsidies to promote development of solar and wind power, at the same time as demand for electricity falls because of rising prices.
The Coalition is continuing an anti-carbon-tax campaign and arguing that it is pushing up electricity prices but it supports a renewable energy target without a carbon tax.
The government has argued that compensation paid to households outweighs the price rises and is committed to the 20 per cent 2020 target. The Greens have called for an increase in the target because of its “success”.
“I am tempted to say we should not have a renewable energy target at all, that we should stick with one market mechanism for dealing with this issue to reduce our carbon price and to encourage investment in renewable energy,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
He called for a review of the scheme, including lowering the target from 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources.
Mr Fitzgibbon said as energy demand fell the fixed renewable energy target of 45,000 gigawatts hours – not a percentage of energy consumption – meant “the 20 per cent target is now possibly going to 25 per cent, possibly 26 per cent” as a percentage of energy consumption.
“Fossil-fuel-rich Australia is now seeking to source one-quarter at least of its energy consumption from renewable sources,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “Of course, it is our abundance of fossil fuels which in part makes us economically competitive.”
As far as consumers were concerned, Mr Fitzgibbon said the returns to renewable energy generators were funded by existing electricity users.
“We have to be really careful here that we are not just subsidising what some might describe as the rent seekers and have consumers subsidising those who are investing and making big returns in the renewable sector,” he said.
Households and businesses were concerned about cost-of-living issues and about the rising price of energy, he said.
“All of us (in parliament) should be ever-vigilant about the costs on some of those more traditional industries and on households in our electorate and I think that, as energy consumption changes. . . it is appropriate to have a look at the renewable energy target.
“We should challenge the (climate) authorities’ preliminary recommendations, have a rethink, acknowledge that things are changing in our economy, forget about the ideology and contemplate the idea of reducing the fixed gigawatt-hour commitment so that the percentage falls with it.”