Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Greens urge that Western Australia get a nuclear emergency plan

safety-symbolGreens want Barnett to make emergency nuclear plan for WA http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/greens-want-barnett-to-make-emergency-nuclear-plan-for-wa-20140919-10iutv.html September 18, 2014 Brendan Foster With Australia on the brink of new conflict with Iraq, Greens MP Lynn MacLaren says she can’t believe the Barnett government doesn’t have an emergency plan if a nuclear accident happened at Fremantle Port.

On Monday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia would send 600 troops, including SAS soldiers and eight FA18 Super Hornets, to the Middle East in preparation for military action against the Islamic State terror group.

And on Thursday, more than 800 police officers raided homes in Sydney in an attempt to foil a plot to “commit violent acts”, including plans to behead a member of the public.

Ms MacLaren asked Attorney-General Michael Mischin on Wednesday night in State Parliament if the Liberals had an action plan for workers and residents living near the port in the event of the nuclear reactor incident from a nuclear-powered warship. Mr Mischin said a nuclear detonation was not a defined hazard prescribed within the Emergency Management Act 2005.

“The state emergency management arrangements allow for a controlling agency to be appointed for any hazard not prescribed in the act,” Mr Mischin said.

Ms MacLaren said as Australia prepared to send troops to Iraq, “we cannot afford to have a head-in-the-sand approach to an emergency response”.

“Since nuclear-powered vessels visit our shores, we need to be ready in the event of an accident or incident. The report tabled in response to my question was last updated in 2010,” she said.

“Nuclear weapons have been a major threat to world peace for decades, how can the state government not have an emergency response to the risk of a nuclear weapon detonation or accident?

“The consequence of even a small incident would be catastrophic. Yet, we should have a plan which factors in health care facilities and staff to provide triage care in the event of a nuclear detonation or other nuclear incident.” Ms MacLaren said with the Mayors of Peace Conference in Fremantle next week, the call to prohibit nuclear weapons was more important than ever.

Junko Morimito who will describe her experience as a 13-year-old in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb went off is one of the guest speakers at the conference.

“I will be attending the Fremantle Peace Walk which will take place on International Peace Day, Sunday 21 September – celebrating the opening of Fremantle Peace Grove. Tthis issue must be kept as a priority for leaders and the community,” Ms MacLaren said.

September 20, 2014 Posted by | politics, safety, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Tasmania has vital need to keep Renewable Energy Target – Bill Shorten

map-tasmania-wind.1Bill Shorten says Renewable Energy Target vital to Tasmania’s north-west  Yahoo News September 17, 2014 Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has called on the Federal Government to support the Renewable Energy Target (RET) during a trip to Tasmania’s west coast……Mr Shorten said the Government needs to retain the RET to ensure the proposed wind farm at Granville Harbour goes ahead.

“It beggars belief that you have got up to 200 jobs just waiting to roll: 33 wind turbines, one of the windiest areas in Australia,” he said.

“The community want them, they don’t share Joe Hockey’s view that somehow wind farms are sick-making.

“They want the jobs, they want the wind farms but what they need is a government in Canberra who understands that renewable energy is not some green plot but part of the sustainable mix going forward.”

Liberal Senator David Bushby gave assurances the Federal Government had not yet decided what to do about the RET……….

 projects such as the Granville Harbour wind farms remain in doubt.

In her meeting with Mr Shorten this morning, West Coast Mayor Robyn Gerrity stressed the importance of the RET to the region.

She told 91.7 ABC Northern Tasmania that while there was not much Mr Shorten could do for the region she wanted him to support the retention of the RET to ensure the Granville wind farm went ahead.

“They could employ within weeks about 30-odd men to start doing the roadworks for it,” she said.

“The problem being, for them to source and get the final tick-off regarding financing, they’re relying on the Renewable Energy Target.”…….https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25005137/bill-shorten-says-renewable-energy-target-vital-to-tasmanias-north-west/

September 18, 2014 Posted by | energy, politics, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Labor committed to keeping Renewable Energy Target unchanged: Palmer also

Labor rules out making changes to scale down Renewable Energy Target 7 News,  BY ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE REPORTER JAKE STURMER September 18, 2014 Labor has ruled out negotiating with the Federal Government to scale back the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The Government is believed to be searching for a bipartisan compromise to scale back the green scheme, which was put in place by the Howard Government.

It was tweaked in 2010 to ensure that 20 per cent of Australia’s power would be generated by renewable resources by 2020.
It effectively gives industry support to renewables at the expense of established fossil fuel electricity generators.

A Government-commissioned review last month recommended closing the large scheme to new entrants and shutting it by 2030, or that it be ditched with the renewable sector limited to a 50 per cent share of new growth in electricity demand.

The Government is yet to reveal its position on the review but it is understood to be looking for a middle ground…………

 The Australian Solar Council is not waiting – it has already held three “save solar” meetings in marginal electorates.
The most recent meeting was held in the Liberal held seat of Barton in southern Sydney, which is held by just 489 votes.

Labor leader Bill Shorten used the opportunity to hose down talk that he would accept any negative change to the RET.
He was asked by one of the 200 audience members to promise that he would not negotiate down from what the current position is.

“We’re not about to abandon all the principles and the details of what you just said,” Mr Shorten said………Mr Shorten’s office later told the ABC that there would be no negotiation that would result in the scaling back of the RET.

The Palmer United Party also reiterated its position that it did not support any change to the scheme………https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25037753/labor-rules-out-making-changes-to-scale-down-renewable-energy-target/

September 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Shadow Environment Minister Jackie Trad exposes foolish decision of Queensland govt on uranium mining

Queensland--antinukeLNP under fire as companies target Qld uranium http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/lnp-uranium-green-light/2384465/  | 12th Sep 2014 THE ALP has slammed the Newman government decision to grant mineral development leases to two companies planning to mine uranium in Queensland.

Shadow Environment Minister Jackie Trad accused the LNP of lying before the last election when it gave what she described as a clear commitment not to endorse uranium mining.

“The Premier gave a clear election commitment but the granting of six exploration licences shows once again the value of an LNP promise,” she said.

“In breaking the promise, the Newman Government is ignoring the widespread objections of Queenslanders, ignoring the substantial environmental risks associated with uranium mining, ignoring the risks associated with the transportation ofradioactive material and ignoring the risks to public health and safety.

“It is a massive betrayal of trust.

“We are just a few steps away from having trucks and trains filled with uranium making their way through communities to ports and waterways.”

Ms Trad accused the Newman Government of arrogantly ignoring the wishes of the majority so it could pander to the demands of powerful vested interest groups.

She said there had been no uranium extraction in Queensland since 1982. Any future State Labor government would move swiftly to reinstate the ban. “It remains our view that the risks and hazards inherent in uranium mining far outweigh the economic benefits,” Ms Trad said.

“Even if all known deposits of uranium were mined the expected royalties would only be around 1% of the state’s current royalty revenue.”Uranium mining simply doesn’t stack up on either economic or environmental grounds.”

Ms Trad will be on the Sunshine Coast as special guest at her party’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland branch forum on the environment and the Newman Government’s track record on green policy.

It will be held at Maleny Neighbourhood Centre on Saturday, September 27 at 2pm.

September 13, 2014 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland State Labor pledges to block hazardous uranium mining

Queensland--antinukeQ, North West Star Sept. 10, 2014, “..[Queensland's OPPOSITION environment spokeswoman] Jackie Trad was adamant there was little benefit from uranium mining.

“Even if all known deposits of uranium were mined the expected royalties would only be around 1% of the State’s current royalty revenue,” she said.

“Uranium mining simply doesn’t stack up on either economic or environmental grounds.

“We are just a few steps away from having trucks and trains filled with uranium making their way through communities to ports and waterways.”

Ms Trad said there had been no uranium extraction in Queensland since 1982 and confirmed that a future State Labor Government would move swiftly to reinstate the ban” .

September 11, 2014 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

The 3 demands at the top of the IPA’s 75-strong wish list for a “better Australia” were the repeal of the carbon price, the abolition of the Department of Climate Change and clean energy funds.

IPA-Advert

Parkinson-Report-Tony Abbott’s Year of Leading Dangerously, REneweconomy By  on 8 September 2014 Just over a year ago, after it became clear that Tony Abbott’s Coalition would sweep to a federal election victory, the predominant thought among many in the clean energy and climate policy space was: Well, he won’t be that bad, will he?

Yes, he will, and he has been. As we noted in our pre-election summary on September 6 last year, there was every reason to believe that anAbbott government could be worse than people feared. And not it should be noted, by doing anything Abbott hadn’t already flagged, but by doing exactly what he said he would do.

Several months earlier, RenewEconomy flagged Five ways Abbott could kill renewables in Australia. They were: Kill the carbon price, the Clean Energy Finance Corp and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, make the renewable energy target unworkable, and disband the Climate Change Authority.

He has acted on all five. Here’s how he has progressed.

Can the carbon price. Tick.

Can or dilute the Renewable Energy Target, and make it unworkable. Tick. The Abbott government now has the recommendation it needs, from the controversial Warburton Review, now it just a matter of implementing them. The uncertainty in the industry has brought all large-scale investment to a halt.

Axe the Climate Change Authority. This was one of the government’s first acts. It hasn’t yet succeeded, but the CCA has been gutted by the departure of many key personal. It has been sidelined from the RET Review, and its key findings on climate policies and emissions targets are ignored by the government, and ipso facto by mainstream media.

Can the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. It’s still trying, with a vote to be presented to the Senate later this month. Funding has already been cut, but Abbott wants to cut all future funds and absorb the running of the committed projects back within a government department.

Can the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. It tried, but once again the Senate has stymied its attempts. Still, the CEFC can be directed where to direct its funds, and it is increasingly likely it will be given modified mandates to help out with the discredited Emissions Reduction Fund, the key plank of Direct Action policy.

A lot of what Abbott has sought to achieve in his first year was mandated by the Institute of Public Affairs, the conservative think tank that has become a voice for extreme right views and vested interests. Continue reading

September 9, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Christopher Pyne has opposite view to Abbott, on Renewable Energy Target

Pyne,-ChristopherGovernment increasingly divided over plan to scrap renewable energy target Christopher Pyne said to have given full support to RET scheme at a private meeting, amid signs cabinet at odds over issue  theguardian.com, Monday 8 September 2014 The government appears to be edging away from the closure of the renewable energy target (RET) scheme, with the education minister, Christopher Pyne, reportedly giving his full support to the scheme at a private meeting.

This comes as pressure mounts on Labor to reach a “compromise” position on the issue. However, Labor appears unlikely to compromise its opposition to any change to the RET.

“The Abbott government shattered any notion of bipartisanship on the RET when it walked away from its election commitment to keep the existing 41,000 gigawatt hours by 2020 target,” said Mark Butler, Labor’s environment spokesman.

Guardian Australia understands that Pyne told a group of solar panel installers that he did not want to see any change to the RET, which requires that 41,000 gigawatt hours of Australia’s energy comes from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2020.

Cabinet is divided over what to do with the RET, with Tony Abbott understood to favour its closure, while others, such as the environment minister, Greg Hunt, advocating that it be scaled back……

Analysis released by the Clean Energy Council on Monday showed that $15bn in investment would be lost if the RET was cut. The NSW economy would be worst off among the states, according to the analysis, losing $4bn, while Victoria would lose out on nearly $1bn. Queensland leads the way in terms of clean energy employment, with 4,600 jobs in solar power and more than 6,500 across the state’s renewable energy sector. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/08/government-retreats-on-renewable-energy-target-closure

September 9, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Some Labor party heavies likely to join Abbott’s anti renewabl eenergy crusade

The worry for the renewable energy industry is that Labor would be tempted to cut a deal: Its energy spokesman Gary Gray is no fan of renewables and once described himself, Macfarlane and former minister Martin Ferguson, another who wants the RET cut, as three peas in a pod.

Parkinson-Report-Abbott reveals his true colours on renewables By Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy 7 Sept 14, 

If there was ever any doubt about the Abbott government’s antipathy to renewable energy, then a Senate report into the proposed abolition of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency mus surely put it to rest.

It has given a fascinating – and somewhat frightening – insight into the coalition government’s antipathy to renewable energy, and how it has thrown its support behind extreme right ideology against green energy.

Abbott-destroys-renewablesThe Abbott government keeps insisting that it is ‘pro-renewables’, a facile description it is hanging on to because it has not yet acted on the diabolical recommendations of the Warburton review of the renewable energy target.

But the government’s conclusions on the ARENA Senate committee shows it is anything but supportive. The coalition sided with two of the most committed anti-renewable lobbies in the country – the gas association and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. These were the only two submissions supported that the government’s move to abolish the agency, which will see all future funding stripped and current projects managed absorbed by the department.

The other 129 submissions supported retention of ARENA, Continue reading

September 8, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s top engineers call for keeping Renewable Energy Target as it is

Engineering peak body backs Renewable Energy Target  http://sourceable.net/engineering-peak-body-backs-renewable-energy-target/ 2 Sept 14  Following the release of the government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target, peak professional body Engineers Australia has reiterated its support for maintaining the RET in its current form.
“Not only are there major environmental benefits to be had under RET, but there are significant employment and economic benefits to be gained from RET projects, especially in regional areas,” said Chair of Engineers Australia’s Sustainable Engineering Society, Dr Alice Howe.

“The RET is clearly delivering benefits for Australia, and Engineers Australia does not support moves to dilute or weaken its operation.

“Engineers are central players in delivering Australia’s energy infrastructure, and we stand by the need to create a long-term and sustainable energy sector in this country. Ongoing investment in renewables is a critical component of our energy security mix.

“Heavy reliance on fossil fuels creates a major vulnerability in our economy. If significant global action on greenhouse gas reductions occurs, the consequences for Australian energy exports and even Australia goods and services, due to their high carbon footprints, may be severe.

-“While we welcome strong public debate on this topic, we urge the government to stand by the RET in its current form. Engineers Australia believes that the RET should be retained to at least its present level,” said Dr Howe. -

September 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Australian government allows BHP new uranium mine to avoid environmental impact statement

Abbott’s Olympic dodge on environmental protections  The Australian Greens say the Abbott Government is shirking responsibility by waiving a new environmental impact statement for the proposed expansion of Olympic Dam.

“The Federal Government needs to do its job and stop putting the private profits of the big mining companies ahead of the environment,” said South Australian Greens Senator Penny Wright.  “This is a short-sighted measure, which shows how little the Government cares about environmental protection.”

Senator Wright said BHP’s original environmental impact statement did not mention acid leaching but there were serious concerns around about this process in South Australia, with previous leaching in a copper mine near Copely resulting in leaks and contamination.

“We need to be sure that chemical pollution from BHP’s trial will be contained. If the Federal Government is cutting corners, what’s to stop BHP from skimping on environmental protections?

BHP-on-Aust-govt

Senator Wright urged the Weatherill Government to guarantee environmental safety, but said their record was not cause for optimism.

“Just because the Commonwealth doesn’t care about the environment, doesn’t let the State Government off the hook. They should demand a full environmental impact statement before taking any further steps,” she added.

September 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Tasmania urging Federal government not to scrap Renewable Energy Target

map-tasmania-wind.1Greens urges Hodgman Government to ‘utterly reject’ RET review recommendations http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-31/tasmania-energy-minister-canberra-ret-renewable-energy-target/5708488 31 Aug 14,  By Ellen Coulter  Greens leader Christine Milne has urged the Hodgman Government to stand up for renewable energy and “utterly reject” the Warburton report’s recommendations.

The review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET), chaired by Dick Warburton, has recommended the scheme be drastically cut back.

The prospect that the findings will be adopted by the Abbott Government has cast a pall over the renewable energy industry Australia wide.

In Tasmania, Hydro Tasmania has warned any winding back would threaten billions of dollars in investment and doubt prevails over proposals such as the Granville Harbour wind farm on Tasmania’s west coast.

Liberal Premier Will Hodgman says he is worried about the Commonwealth’s response to the review, which is expected in about a fortnight.

State Energy Minister Matthew Groom is planning to fly to Canberra this week to urge the Federal Government against scrapping the RET. “We’re very anxious about any decision that the Federal Government might make to this scheme that could disadvantage the state,” Mr Hodgman said.

“I urge the Federal Government to look very carefully at Tasmania, consider our investment and also further opportunities in the future.”

Mr Hodgman said he has been arguing Tasmania’s case for months and that Mr Groom would again be pushing the cause to his federal counterparts.

But Ms Milne said the Tasmanian Liberals were not doing enough.

She maintained that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was determined to “destroy renewable energy”.

“It was his idea to abolish the Renewable Energy Target altogether,” she said.

She said the Tasmanian Government was “attacking the Federal Government with a wet lettuce leaf” and needed to present a strong rejection of the Warburton review.

“I think it is time that if Matthew Green supports a clean energy future, supports renewable energy, that he stands up and really condemns the direction of the Abbott Government and rejects utterly the Warburton report on renewable energy,” Ms Milne said.

“Frankly, it is pathetic. If they are going to make a stand they need to stand with the jobs, with the university [UTAS], with the renewable energy future and against Eric Abetz.”

August 31, 2014 Posted by | politics, Tasmania | Leave a comment

No surprise! Abbott’s RET Review Panel comes up with a climate sceptic report

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmCosts of Australia’s renewable energy target ‘not justifiable': review, SMH, August 28, 2014 –  National political reporter Tony Abbott has been given cover to break an election promise not to touch Australia’s renewable energy target after his hand-picked review panel recommended the scheme be dramatically cut back.

Clean energy industry leaders said the findings of the review, headed by businessman and climate sceptic Dick Warburton, represented the “worst case scenario” and would cost thousands of jobs and more than $10 billion in investment if the government adopted its recommendations. Clean Energy Council acting chief executive Kane Thornton said the proposals would “shut down the future of the industry” in Australia………

The panel recommended two options for Australia’s renewable energy target, which is currently set at 41,000 gigawatt hours of electricity from large-scale renewable energy by 2020 – now equivalent to about 27 per cent of expected generation.

Under the first option, the scheme would be closed to new investment beyond those under construction or winning full financial commitment within a month of the change. This scenario would slash the target to about 15 per cent.

Under the second option, the target would be set at 20 per cent. The target would be reset each year and new renewable energy power stations be given approval only if electricity demand increased. The target was one of the few climate change-related measures to enjoy bipartisan support before last year’s election………

Any change proposed by the government will set the scene for another parliamentary fight, with Labor, the Greens and Palmer United Party all opposed.

Analysis conducted for the report found coal-fired power stations would be the biggest beneficiaries of a cut in the target. The review acknowledged that the scheme had lowered wholesale electricity prices and that its impact on household bills over time would be “relatively small”. But the panel found the cost for emissions-intensive companies was not justifiable, and called on the government to find lower cost alternatives to cut carbon emissions.

The Greens said it was no surprise that a review led by a climate sceptic had “trashed” the target. Greens leader Christine Milne said both options put forward would destroy the renewable energy sector. “I’m glad this dangerous and ignorant report is finally public so everyone can see it for the climate denier drivel it is,” she said.

It is expected to be at least a fortnight before the government responds.  http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/costs-of-australias-renewable-energy-target-not-justifiable-review-20140828-109m04.html#ixzz3BoVhIvbL.

August 29, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Review of Renewable Energy Target helps fossil fuel lobby, aims to close large scale renewable energy schemes

Parkinson-Report-RET Review panel calls for large-scale, solar schemes to close REneweconomy, By  on 28 August 2014 The RET Review panel appointed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott has effectively rubber stamped the lobbying of the fossil fuel industry and called for the closure of Australia’s renewable energy target to new entrants as one of two options it is recommending to the government.

It is also calling for the immediate closure, or rapid wind back, of the small-scale renewable energy scheme, which supports rooftop solar and solar hot water. It says this scheme should either close now, or by 2020 at the latest. It also says it should be restricted to installations of less than 10kW – effectively cutting out the commercial-scale solar market. (It was previously open to 100kW systems).

As for the large-scale scheme, the panel says the two options are effective closure to new entrants, or a form of modification to restrict it to a “real” 20 per cent of demand.

If the government accepts either of the recommendations, Australia would become the first country to either ditch a renewable energy target, or wind it back – in much the same way as it was the first to scrap a carbon price.

Abbott is said to be in favour of the most drastic action, which is effective closure to new entrants. He personally appointed the panel, rather than follow the statutory requirements to have the review done by the Climate Change Authority, which just 18 months ago rejected the same arguments that the new panel has now accepted.

Although any legislative changes will be resisted and probably stopped in the Senate, the uncertainty will be enough to kill investment in large scale renewables. Changes to the small scale target could be done without the need for parliamentary approval……..

Here is the full list of recommendations:……..

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/ret-review-panel-calls-for-large-scale-solar-schemes-to-close-39648

August 29, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Australian Solar Council will campaign in marginal seats over Abbott’s broken promises on renewable energy

logo-australian-solar-councAustralian Solar Council attacks Prime Minister’s ‘broken promises’ on renewable energy support ABC News, By Matt Eaton, 21 Aug 14  The Australian Solar Council is beginning a campaign to target marginal federal seats over so-called broken promises on support for renewable energy.

Solar council CEO John Grimes has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey of breaking a series of election promises by moving to abolish the renewable energy target (RET).

“This comes as a big surprise to many people in the community,” Mr Grimes told 612 ABC Brisbane.

The RET scheme commits Australia to a target of generating 20 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

“Before the election he [Mr Abbott] was committed to renewable energy, he was committed to the RET, he was committed to a million solar roofs,” Mr Grimes said.

“After the election, promise after promise broken, million solar roofs gone, the RET he wants abolished – he and Joe Hockey are working hard for that outcome……….

Mr Grimes said Mr Hunt and the Government would continue applying pressure to get their way.

“They will destroy any character, to stop this movement, to stop this gaining hold in the electorate,” he said.

“In that call, [Mr Hunt] told me that if I didn’t shut it down, that he would be launching a pointed, public attack at me and my character – that’s what he said to me on that call.”

Mr Grimes said Mr Hunt was under great pressure on the issue and needed to “attack his personal credibility”………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-21/solar-council-attacks-broken-promises-on-renewables/568606

August 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar | Leave a comment

From the beginning Abbott as P.M. was determined to kill the Renewable Energy Target

Parkinson-Report-Why the Renewable Energy Target never stood a chance, Smart Company, Thursday, 21 August 2014 GILES PARKINSON THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW, CONFIRMED THE WORST FEARS OF THE RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRY IN A FRONT-PAGE STORY ON MONDAY, REPORTING THAT THE PANEL CHARGED WITH REVIEWING THE RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET HAD BEEN “INSTRUCTED” BY PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT TO LOOK AT WAYS TO SHUT DOWN THE SCHEME.

Shutting down the RET would bring to an end a $20 billion industry, cost thousands of jobs and force household and business bills to soar. But that is what the government has wanted from the beginning. It appointed a panel composed of climate sceptics, pro-nuclear advocates and fossil fuel lobbyists.

Killing the RET would satisfy the right-wing ideologues and deep-lined antipathy to renewable energy within the Abbott government. The AFR also confirms what has long been suspected: that Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have been effectively sidelined from the process, despite the issue crossing into their portfolios.

The PM’s office has had carriage of the project since the start, and his intentions have long been clear. The secretarial support has been housed within Abbott’s office — and within reach of his principal business advisers, including climate sceptic and renewables opponent Maurice Newman and Abbott’s own energy adviser, former AGL executive Sarah McNamara.

Government insiders who have worked on the RET Review say the intent of the review has always been to cut the current 41,000GWh Renewable Energy Target to a maximum of 25,000GWh (what might be called a “true” 20% target), and possibly close it to new entrants altogether.

There were glimmers of hope that the RET could be retained, particularly when the panel’s own modeling dismissed the two major arguments to drop the target  …….

A report released today by consulting firm Jacobs, on behalf of The Climate Institute, Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF Australia, says that the biggest beneficiaries to dumping the RET would be the fossil fuel generators. The Jacobs report suggested $8 billion in additional profits to coal-fired generators out to 2030 and an extra $2 billion to gas generators. The big three retailers, AGL Energy, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia, would be the biggest beneficiaries………

Whether the Abbott government finally agrees with a scaled back target or an effective closure, any changes seem likely to be blocked in the Senate, where the Palmer United Party has promised to side with Labor and the Greens.

But it matters not. The large-scale renewable energy industry has already ground to a halt. No new projects have reached financial closure since the election of the Abbott government, and the Abbott government knows that even by doing nothing  — apart from allowing continued uncertainty — no new projects will come to market.

Households will also be affected. They have so far contributed $12 billion of the $18 billion invested in renewables over recent years, initially driven by generous feed — in tariffs and then as a hedge against rising electricity prices once those tariffs were removed. The government, though, can remove some of those remaining incentives that defray the upfront cost of the system, without needing legislative changes. Industry experts say that could cause the rooftop solar market to fall by one-third or even half, with the loss of thousands of jobs.

Meanwhile, state governments — with huge vested interests in state-owned networks and generators — continue to act against renewables. The Western Australian government is even canvassing importing coal from Indonesia rather than moving to develop renewable energy projects at home, while in Queensland, businesses have been hit by a whopping $500-a-day service charge (essentially to read the meter) to dissuade them from installing solar………

ome international groups, such as US solar developer Recurrent Energy, have already packed up. Others, including Goldwind and Trina, have warned of the potential fallout, while Australian groups Pacific Hydro and Infigen Energy are directing their efforts overseas.

The Australian Solar Council echoed the CEC remarks. It is taking its “Save Solar” campaign to marginal electorates, with the first stop at the northern Brisbane seat of Petrie, held by the LNP’s Luke Howarth, this Thursday. The ability to make solar a potent political issue  — many marginal electorates boast more than 20% solar penetration — appears to be their last resort.

“Solar saves money, creates jobs and shifts votes. The Abbott government is about to find out how much Australians love solar and the Renewable Energy Target,” American Solar Council CEO John Grimes said. http://www.smartcompany.com.au/growth/economy/43378-why-the-renewable-energy-target-never-stood-a-chance.html#

August 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

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