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CCA’s Fraser wants RET extended, coal generators closed

By September 10, 2014In the News

Bernie Fraser, the chairman of the Climate Change Authority, has entered the fractious debate around renewable energy in Australia by suggesting that the renewable energy target be maintained at its current level of 41,000GWh, but be given more time to be met.

The former head of the Reserve Bank of Australia also suggests that the Abbott government use funds from its Direct Action policy to help owners close old and inefficient coal fired generators – so addressing the problem of excess capacity caused by coal generators working beyond their “useful” life.

The CCA has been sidelined from the debate around the renewable energy target, because the Abbott government has tried to abolish it, and rather than allow the CCA to fulfill its statutory duty to conduct this year’s RET review, chose instead to create a panel led by climate change denier Dick Warburton.

Fraser, speaking on ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program, said it was clear that the Warburton review had not taken the long-term implications of climate change into account in its conclusions.

Instead, Fraser said, the Warburton Review had focused only on “short term” issues about over-capacity and its adverse impact on coal fired generators – despite recognisng that the RET was functioning as designed. (See our story: Why were RET modellers instructed to ignore commercial reality”.

Fraser said one solution could be to retain the 41,000GWh target – but could allow more time to meet it rather than the current deadline of 2020. This, he said, would provide confidence to developers and to financiers.

Interestingly, this is the same compromise deal that leading players in the renewable energy industry tried to take to leading utilities last year. However, that offer was knocked back when the utilities sensed that the Abbott government could be persuaded to either close the target to new entrants, or to scale it back significantly – which are the two key recommendations of the Warburton Review.


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