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Tony Abbott still determined to kill renewable energy target

By August 27, 2014In the News

Tony Abbott’s Renewable Energy Target review panel appears destined to do what it was created to do – to recommend closure of Australia’s last significant climate and clean energy scheme to new entrants.

The Australian Financial Review, in a front page report, on Monday confirmed the worst fears of the renewable energy industry when it said that the panel had been “instructed” by Tony Abbott to look at ways for the scheme to be folded.

This is shocking news, because it will bring to an end a $20 billion industry, and cost thousands of jobs, and force household and business bills to soar. It was immediately branded as a “reckless” idea, and as“economic vandalism” by the Clean Energy Council.

But it should not be surprising news. The intent of the Abbott government towards renewables was made clear by its refusal – despite a statutory requirement to do so – to commission the Climate Change Authority to conduct the review.

Instead, it appointed a panel composed of climate skeptics, pro-nuclear advocates and fossil fuel lobbyists. The biggest beneficiaries of a decision to close the scheme to new entrants will be the fossil fuel generators, who according to new analysis released on Monday, will see their earnings boosted by up to $10 billion – the big three retailers, AGL Energy, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia, being the biggest beneficiaries.

And such a decision will satisfy the right-wing ideologues and deep-lined antipathy to renewable energy within the Abbott government, and its determination to kill the remnants of the Labor/Greens “Clean Energy Future” package. The AFR also repeats what has long been suspected, that Environment Minister Greg Hunt – and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane – have been effectively sidelined from the process, despite the issue crossing into their portfolios.

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