It was created under the Howard Government and expanded under Labor. Since 2001 it’s enabled a whopping $20 billion in investment value into the Australian economy, created more than 24,000 new jobs and opened up the electricity market to increased competition and lower prices for consumers1. It’s the Renewable Energy Target, and new economic modelling shows that abolishing the Renewable Energy Target would actually increase electricity bills for consumers over time rather than reducing them2,3. So why on earth would anyone be lobbying the government to water it down?
In a nutshell, some of Australia’s biggest power companies want their market monopoly protected. Origin and Energy Australia have been gunning to have the target removed or watered down, whilst AGL, a previous supporter of the RET, have gone very quiet since they invested in a coal fired plant and coal seam gas. Thanks to their pressure there’s now an independent government review into the target’s future, and in the absence of public pressure, the big power companies are set to hoodwink decision-makers into making a disastrous decision. But, it’s not enough to simply protect the Renewable Energy Target from the dirty power companies, we need a stronger target to:
- Grow our economy and create new jobs
- Generate cheaper power and more options for consumers
- Build a clean energy future and end the dirty power monopoly
The call for public submissions closes this Friday. Can you make sure the voices championing the public good outweigh those of fossil fuel special interests? Send in your comments today:
The target is under attack from the big power companies because renewables are taking market share from coal and gas in the electricity market, as well as undercutting their profits at peak times. Renewables don’t need to be a huge percentage of the market to actually drive down the cost of electricity for everyone when demand is at its highest.
Richard Denniss from The Australia Institute explains:
“The main reason that electricity has been getting dearer is the overinvestment in poles and wires, and the fundamental inefficiency in the way that the national electricity market’s working.”4
If a handful of big energy companies succeed in getting the rules changed now, they’ll threaten billions of dollars in investment, thousands of Australian jobs and our future capacity to deliver smart, cost-effective reductions in carbon pollution – while restricting competition that is actually lowering electricity prices for all of us. And while there are a few smaller renewable retailers fighting the good fight on our behalf, they simply aren’t as powerful as the big 3. But, you can change that. Add your voice to the call for a stronger Renewable Energy Target that benefits all Australians:
Former Reserve Bank governor and Chair of the Federal Government Climate Change Authority Bernie Fraser puts it bluntly:
“Policymakers need to look beyond short-term economic considerations in the interests of some of the big companies to longer-term community interests. And that’s what governments are supposed to do, but unfortunately it’s not happening.”4
Right now households are paying less than $1 a week on average to support the transition to a cleaner energy mix, and energy market experts ROAM Consulting predict that if the target is dumped, Australian households will pay about $50 more for electricity up to 2020 and up to $140 more each year after that.3 And while renewable energy is getting cheaper and cheaper each year, the costs of polluting energy sources are going up.
Australians already get it. Already millions of us – one in six – are powering our homes, businesses and farms with renewable power, as well as pumping clean energy back into the grid. Most live in rural and regional areas, or the ‘mortgage belt’ suburbs surrounding capital cities. Breaking 14 years of cross-party support for renewable energy now would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of wind and solar workers, be a kick in the guts for the businesses, large and small, that have invested in renewable energy and hurt the 5 million Australians who have invested in renewables through their superannuation. And, over time, cutting renewable energy will drive up energy prices for everyone.
We know the big three power giants have enjoyed a near monopoly over our power market. They’re cashed up and so far Origin and Energy Australia are fighting dirty. Now, we need to make sure they don’t also monopolise the policy debate over the future of a practical policy that’s giving Australians better power and more choice, driving down emissions and driving up billions of dollars in investment and jobs. Last time the Renewable Energy Target was under review, over 7,820 GetUp members just like you made submissions, sending a strong, clear message to the government. NEVILLE, add your voice so together we can make another powerful contribution towards Australia’s renewable economy: www.getup.org.au/BetterPower
Thanks for speaking up,
Paul and the GetUp team
PS: Let’s face it. Origin and Energy Australia could have led the way in the transition to renewable power, but instead they’re trying to water it down or kill it. Please don’t let them get away with it: www.getup.org.au/BetterPower
 Why we need the Renewable Energy Target. Clean Energy Council
 Explaining electricity markets to dummies. Climate Spectator 8 May, 2014.
[3} Fighting off a gas price spike. Business Spectator. 30 April, 2014.
 The Price of Power. ABC Radio National: Background Briefing. 27 April, 2014.