Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Clean Energy Council once again to be run by fossil fuel interests?

Some years ago, the Clean Energy Council was heavily influenced by the fossil fuel industries – and so, not at all to be trusted on matters of renewable energy.

The Clean Energy Council cleaned up its act.  But now – is it once again to be dominated by fossil fuel interests? – C.M 

[AGL – one of]  the big three energy “gentailers” – along with Origin and TruEnergy – which already wield extraordinary power over the clean energy industry and effectively hold the power of veto over which projects and which technologies get funding….the concentration of power in the hands of the gentailers is not good, and it is their influence, rather than bad policy, that is often blamed for blocking the rollout of renewables.

Australia’s clean power struggle20 Sep 2011, Climate Spectator, Giles Parkinson The naming of AGL Energy CEO Michael Fraser as the new chairman of the Clean Energy Council caused barely a ripple of interest in the mainstream media last week, but it has created some anxiety in the local renewables industry…….

The principal concern about Fraser’s appointment does not lie with AGL’s position as the largest developer of renewable energy projects in the country, or Fraser’s own prominence as an outspoken supporter of a carbon price and of the renewable energy target, it comes from the fact that it is also one of the big three energy “gentailers” – along with Origin and TruEnergy – which already wield extraordinary power over the clean energy industry and effectively hold the power of veto over which projects and which technologies get funding….

the concentration of power in the hands of the gentailers is not good, and it is their influence, rather than bad policy, that is often blamed for blocking the rollout of renewables. They sign the power purchase agreements crucial to funding these projects that are needed to meet the MRET. And because the market has been awash with renewable energy certificates in the past few years, it has been cheaper for the gentailers to spend a billion dollars on cheap RECs than on large-scale projects…..

The gentailers have also been at odds with the solar industry because of their opposition to feed-in tariffs, and their differing views on the value of rooftop PV. They are seen by many in the industry as one of the principal obstacles to the further rollout of solar PV, even though they have their own solar businesses.

And their pursuit of huge gas investments and the controversial development of coal-seam gas reserves has also earned the suspicion of the Greens and environmental groups, who fear they will favour these larger investments over renewables

Warren dismissed suggestions that CEC policy could be compromised by CSG interests as nonsense.

The differences also lie around the belief that the CEC should be a more pro-active advocate of alternative technologies. The organisation itself seems to see itself as a pragmatic broker and a facilitator between the industry players and government…..

Dave Holland said that if the CEC wanted to demonstrate the maturity of the industry, then it should be chaired by a company that earned most of its income from the industry. This was a sentiment echoed by others, and across different technologies.This will not be the first time that the peak body for the clean energy industry has been chaired by one of the big energy groups. A predecessor of Fraser’s, the former AGL boss Paul Anthony, did so, as did Richard McIndoe, the head of TruEnergy, who is best known for predicting widespread blackouts if coal groups were not granted enough carbon compensation….  http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/australias-clean-power-struggle

September 20, 2011 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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