Hollowmen on the RET

2nd September 2014

What is hard to abide amongst all the dishonesty is the double speak. Before the last federal election Tony Abbott stated that: "There will be no change to the RET".  

Giles Parkinson reports in REnewEconomy (1/9/14):

"Environment Minister Greg Hunt says slashing the renewable energy target to 25,000GWH from around 41,000GWh will not amount to a broken election promise. ...  'Our promise was – and our policy was that we supported 20% and we’d have a review. This report sets out two main options. One is 15% and the other one is 20%. Precisely in line with the long-term bipartisan commitment'. Of course, that is not true. The RET legislation – supported by both major parties made very clear it was for a minimum 20%, and it was at the insistence of the incumbent utilities that this was defined as a fixed target of 41,000GWh. It was this figure that became bipartisan policy."

Read the full article: http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/greg-hunt-says-slashing-ret-will-not-bre...

And just a few weeks ago we had another story ...

"The government has moved to hose down speculation that it will scrap the renewable energy target saying it remains committed to the policy. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said on Monday that the government's position was to 'keep the renewable energy target (RET) in place' amid speculation Prime Minister Tony Abbott and senior frontbenchers were moving to dump the RET. .. Until now, it was considered that the review, led by climate sceptic businessman Dick Warburton, was more likely to recommend the target be scaled back rather than abolished altogether.

"Environment Minister Greg Hunt is reported to be unhappy with moves by Mr Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Senator Cormann to abolish the RET under a scenario that would close the scheme to new entrants.

"Senator Cormann told ABC radio on Monday that no such plan was afoot. 'Our position is to keep the renewable energy target in place', he said. 'The government remains committed to the renewable energy target, that is our policy'."

Ref: Lisa Cox, Farm Weekly, (18/8/14)  www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/general/news/renewable-energy-tar...

What we need is an Environment Minister that stands up for the environment. All of the dancing about is pretty embarrassing.  It smells like a broken election promise because it is with regards to the ‘real’ and unreal 20%. Senator Simon Birmingham, Liberal Senator for South Australia and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment made it pretty clear before the election in his address to the Clean Energy Week Conference (24/7/13):

"... the real driver of investment in renewable energy has been and continues to be the Renewable Energy Target. We have always supported the RET and continue to offer bi-partisan support for this scheme, which I will say a little more about shortly. ...

"I will now turn specifically to our Commitment to Renewable Energy. The Coalition has a strong track record in its support for renewable energy and addressing climate change. [?] ...

"The Coalition remains committed to the 20% Renewable Energy Target.  It is a position we have re-stated on multiple occasions and following the last review conducted by the Climate Change Authority.  The next review is legislated to occur in 2014.  ...  If elected, the Coalition would undertake that review, as required by existing legislation. It has been interesting to note the claims being made about what the Coalition will or won’t do.  All of it is simply conjecture.  The Coalition supports the current system, including the 41,000 giga-watt hours target.*

"We know and appreciate that the industry wants certainty and I assure you that any review will be conducted in an open and transparent way [?] , guided by experts [?], with all parties encouraged to make submissions.  There are no hidden agendas in this process [?], just a determination to ensure the Renewable Energy Target is operating as effectively as it can.

There is no doubt that renewable energy will play an important and growing role in delivering the future energy needs of Australia.  In fact the renewable energy sector already is, something the participants in Clean Energy Week are living proof of. 

We should not be confused about which policy is driving this uptake in renewables.  It has been the RET and not the Carbon Tax.  Modelling demonstrates that the RET is the primary driver of change in electricity generation in the period to 2020.  ... The RET will be a key driver of change under the Coalition, complementing our direct action initiatives."

Ref: http://www.senatorbirmingham.com.au/Media-Centre/Speeches/ID/1736/CLEAN-...

* My bolding