Posts tagged ‘renewable energy target’
The latest CEDEX assessment by Pitt and Sherry shows an increase in Australian electricity demand in June and July with rising supply from coal and gas since the Abbott Government abolished the carbon tax and talked about abolishing or emasculating the Renewable Energy Target with the Warburton Review.
Emissions rose by about 1 million tonnes – about 0.8 per cent. It is the largest 2 month increase since 2006 according to Peter Hannam in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The monthly Pitt and Sherry CEDEX report tracks carbon emissions, electricity contribution from different generator types and electricity demand.
The August 2014 report, with data to the end of July, concluded:
With the carbon price having ended and report of the RET Review expected in the next few weeks, it is timely to assess the contribution of the various drivers to the fall in electricity generation emissions since the peak reached in the year ending December 2008. The fall in emissions since then has been 18%, all resulting from the decrease in coal fired generation, making for a relatively simple calculation. Reduced demand has contributed 49% of the total emissions reduction, increased hydro and increased wind each 19%, and increased gas generation 9%. The remaining 4% is attributable to increases in the average thermal efficiency of coal fired generation, as older, less efficient generators have lost market share or been withdrawn from operation altogether. These changes in demand and generation mix are the result of the RET (in its various forms), other pro‐solar factors like falling costs and feed‐in tariffs, higher retail prices, energy efficiency policies and the carbon price. Many of these policy, technological and consumer demand factors remain highly dynamic.
Abolishing the carbon price and the Warburton review has greatly impacted on business investment certainty in Australia. While there are still some wind and large scale solar projects in NSW and Victoria under construction, after which there is little investment in the pipeline for large scale renewable energy.
This change also signals an increase in the profitability of the coal generators, at the expense of the pollution and social impacts of coal mining, transport and power generation. Just ask the people in Morwell or Anglesea how they feel about the continuation of coal pollution instead of more sustainable and non-polluting energy generation.
The dinosaurs are roaring, but it is stalling the inevitable with reports from the Worldwatch Institute that Renewable Energy at the Tipping Point and according to a Clean Technica report Renewable Energy Momentum Has Passed The Tipping Point.
These fossil fuel companies know their Kodak moment is coming and are trying to extract a little more profit from consumers which will only make people’s willingness and preparedness to transition to alternatives when they are available more prominent.
This is the second part of our special series on the Labor Party’s 2010 climate policies. Part one is here. This edition, we discuss the funding shuffle dance that is Labor’s renewable energy policies.
Renewable Energy Future Fund (is this superannuation for wind farms?)
Well, it’s $652 million to support renewable energy projects, and development of low emissions technologies. It will also be used for energy efficiency programs for households and business. Sounds good, investing in new renewable technologies, doesn’t it? Except, as the Beyond Zero Emissions report outlines, we already have the technology to transition Australia to 100% clean energy.
But hey, we can always improve on existing technology, right? And household energy efficiency is a really effective, cheap way to reduce emissions, so that’s a great use of taxpayer dollars. Only problem: $9 million of this renewable energy money will be used to pay for the Big New Focus Group (BNFG) Huh. Wonder what else they’ll drain this one for. Don’t worry, it’s just a Future Fund, and the future never arrives! Right?
Connecting to the matrix
This is a new policy announcement – $1 billion over a decade to connect renewable energy projects to the electricity grid. Now, if we could only take that $2 billion going into ‛clean coal’ research and put it into actual renewable energy, we might have something substantial to connect to the grid. And how about the rest of the $9 billion we spend on fossil fuel subsidies? We could connect up a lot of renewable energy projects with $9 billion!
Solar Flagships (conjuring up confused images of ships with flags and solar panels)
This was announced in last year’s budget and was supposed to be a $1.5 billion program to establish large solar-power stations. This is great, yes? This is what Australians want – large scale renewable projects! So how’s it going so far? (more…)
The renewable energy target bill has now been passed in Parliament, legislating that 20 percent of electricity will come from renewable sources by 2020. The scheme works by compelling electricity retailers to buy electricity from renewable sources.
Investment in electricity from tidal and wave technologies will get a boost, but the geothermal industry is voicing disappointment that no portion of the target was set aside for it. Considering the huge potential of geothermal energy in Australia, this is a kick in the teeth for large scale renewable energy production.
Industry has again put out its hand, demanding yet more government money. Under new concessions demanded by the Coalition, the number of industries to be compensated for higher electricity prices was increased from three to about 40. Once again the government kneels down before the already massively subsidised fossil fuel industry.
Incredibly, electricity from coal seam methane gas – a coal mining waste product – has been classified a renewable energy source and will earn rewards under the scheme. So coal miners are given renewable credits for burning fossil fuels.
While the government will now be patting itself on the back and promoting its green credentials to anyone willing to listen, there is a long, long way to go before Australia is free from the stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry. And a renewable energy target wouldn’t even be necessary if the market was set up to accurately reflect the true cost of carbon emissions. But that day seems a long way off.