Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott repeats misconceptions about renewable energy

Abbott-destroys-renewablesPollie Watch: PM Abbott’s first comments on wind farms, Yes 2 Renewables   November 12, 2013 by Leigh Ewbank Renewable Energy Target Tony Abbott has made his first comments on wind energy and the Renewable Energy Target as Prime Minister…….The Prime Minister cites two common misperceptions about renewables energy: Firstly, that renewables aren’t up for the job of powering the Australian economy because they’re intermittent. And secondly, that the Renewable Energy Target makes up a significant portion of electricity bills.

Let’s break down these misconceptions for the Prime Minister to assist his government’s energy policy making.

Misconception #1: Australia needs backup for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

Reality: It is technically feasible for Australia to meet it’s electricity needs from renewable energy alone.
According to the energy experts, shifting to 100 percent renewable energy is both technically viable and affordable. Studies by the think tank Beyond Zero Emissions (PDF), and follow up studies from the Australian Energy Market Operator (PDF) and University of New South Wales (PDF) confirm the technical feasibility of renewable energy. In terms of cost, the 100 percent renewable energy system is cheaper the fossil fuel based business-as-usual approach.

Modelling is one thing, what about real world applications?

South Australia is leading the nation with it’s renewable energy rollout. The state now meets 31 percent of it’s electricity demand from renewable energy sources. Wind farms are doing the heavy lifting, providing 27 percent, while the rapidly growing rooftop solar contributes 4 percent. South Australia is expected to reach 50 percent renewables in a decade.

Misconception #2: Renewable energy is a significant part of power bills, driving up costs. 

Reality: John Howard’s Renewable Energy Target makes up a small portion of Australian power bills. The rollout of renewable energy is making power bills cheaper.

Data from the Australian Energy Market Commission (PDF) shows the RET accounts for less than one percent of the average household electricity bill – or a mere $35 from a $2000 bill. That’s around $0.70 each week over a year. It is transmission, distribution, and wholesale electricity prices which are the largest contributors to power bills.

Renewable energy is putting downward pressure on power bills. Energy analysts agree wind farms are causing South Australia’s wholesale electricity prices to drop. This trend resulted in the SA Essential Services Commission directing energy companies to cut retail prices cut by 8.1 percent. The move will lower the average power bill by $160 a year.

So, what are Australians getting for their $35 investment in renewable energy? Cheaper bills, less pollution, and action on climate change. Most Australians would agree that’s a win, win…….

Retired Liberal Senator for Tasmania, Peter Rae shows you can be a proud Liberal and a strong supporter of renewable energy. Mr Rae believes the Liberal party has a tradition to uphold when it comes to supporting renewable energy.

Mr Rae was vice president of the World Wind Energy Association (now honorary VP) and is Vice Chairman of the International Renewable Energy Alliance, REN21. With impeccable renewable energy credentials, Mr Rae knows what he’s talking about. Perhaps the PM will draw on the expertise of Peter Rae when undertaking a review of the Renewable Energy Target next year.

November 12, 2013 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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