RET Review goes public

28th April 2014

Giles Parkinson reports (REnew Economy 24/4/14) on the opening of the RET public deliberations:

"Tony Abbott’s controversial review of Australia’s renewable energy target (RET) made a 'farcical' start to its public deliberations on Wednesday, attracting new accusations of bias and of having a pre-determined outcome.

"Clean energy representatives were shocked by the panel’s appointment as chief advisor and modeller of ACIL Allen, a consultancy seen as close to the fossil fuel industry, and whose highly contested research formed the basis of the coal industry’s attempts to dismantle the RET in 2012. Not only will ACIL Allen do the modelling for the RET Review panel, some of the assumptions that will form the basis of that modelling have also stunned the clean energy industry, and been branded as a farce. This includes an apparent refusal to measure the benefits of renewable energy – including the health benefits, job benefits, and the network benefits – which the panel has dismissed as 'too hard to model' and little more than a 'transfer of wealth', presumably away from the coal generators and network providers. ...

"This largely reflects the problem that the renewable energy industry faces – incumbents and ageing engineers and business people who reject the science, simply do not understand or accept that renewable energy sources can be effective and cost competitive, and cannot imagine an energy system any different to the centralised model that has dominated for the past 100 years, and/or who are merely seeking to protect their vested interests. The problem is that not only do they now have the ear of the current government, they have their hand on the wheels – and their foot on the brakes."

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Meantime Nigel Morris writes (24/4/14):

"The Oxford definition of consultation is 'a formal discussion between groups of people before a decision is made about something' but apparently, that definition doesn’t apply to this process if reports on the meeting are anything to go by. A whole lot of decisions about the process and more than likely the outcome, have clearly already been made. ...

"The panel left many attendees stunned by their utter ignorance around how much capacity the renewable industry could deploy, if only we were allowed to get on with it, let alone supported in doing it. The panel suggested that 'no more large renewable projects would be built in the next 18 months' and that 'only 1GW-1.2GW of wind could be built each year'. This is either a terrifying prediction of how they intend to stop the industry in it’s tracks or staggeringly ignorant of what we are capable of. Ironically, they used this as an example of why the Renewable Energy Target could not be reached, which makes you wonder what the point of the review is……"

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