Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s energy solution has been ‘snatched away’ , 10 Oct 18, IT WAS Australia’s big hope for cutting your electricity bills and ending the climate wars but today it’s been confirmed that’s not going to happen.  EVERYONE has been crying out for the major parties to agree on an energy policy for Australia but it’s becoming clear this is probably not going to happen.

At an energy forum being held in Sydney today, new Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor dismissed suggestions a bipartisan agreement was the way forward and pointed to the huge difference in the policies of the major parties.

“I don’t know how we’re going to get bipartisanship given we have a 26 per cent emissions reduction target … and the other side has 45 per cent,” Mr Taylor told the AFR Energy Forum 2018.

Australia’s energy policy is in tatters after the National Energy Guarantee was abandoned by the Coalition after Malcolm Turnbull lost the prime ministership.

Now even Labor’s shadow minister for climate change and energy Mark Butler has acknowledged defeat. Speaking after Mr Taylor, he said the idea of developing a bipartisan “market mechanism” to address climate and energy policy would not happen.

“We need to recognise that the solution we’ve been banking on now for a number of years … has been snatched away,” he told the forum.

“They (the Coalition) have walked away from the table because they’ve said they can’t countenance any agreement with Labor over climate and energy policy.”

Mr Butler noted the two parties got close in 2016 with the emissions intensity scheme, then again in 2017 with the clean energy target and most recently with the NEG this year, but each time the policies were taken off the table largely due to revolt within the Coalition party room led by Tony Abbott, despite the policies having broad support among state and territory governments as well as the business community.

“Now we confront a position … where investors are left with no rules to guide their investment decisions once the renewable energy target starts to taper off in coming months.”

As Australia heads towards its next federal election — likely to be held next year — Mr Butler noted there were warnings electricity prices would rise if the NEG was not passed and the futures market was already predicting hikes next year.

But he acknowledged there was no quick fix and said getting the unit price of electricity would be difficult. He said Labor would focus on policies to reduce consumption as a way of lowering bills. It has already announced plans to help businesses with tax write-offs for capital upgrades and software to make them more energy efficient.

He said Australia’s energy efficiency and productivity was already lower than average compared to some other OECD countries and China, which haven’t enjoyed low prices in the past like Australia has.

“The pathway for really substantial reductions to energy bills for business and households, I think, lie more in an aggressive approach to energy efficiency and productivity,” Mr Butler said.

When it comes to the Coalition’s approach, Mr Taylor said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had given him one KPI (Key Performance Indicator) and that was to lower power prices while keeping the lights on………


October 11, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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