Chapple calls for a responsible approach to Renewable Energy

In the West Business today Colin Barnett joined the hordes of right leaning politicians calling for an end to the Renewable Energy Target which would see 20 percent of Australia’s energy coming from renewable source by 2020.

His calls for the target to be axed describe the RET as a scheme which should have been replaced by the ‘carbon tax’.

Robin Chapple MLC, Greens WA spokesperson for Energy, today spoke out about the current calls for a reduced or abolished Renewable Energy Target.

“Colin Barnett, in calling for the Renewable Energy Target to be discarded, understands little about how thoroughly his government has already damaged the renewable energy market in Western Australia. He is basically calling for yet another incentive to be stripped from the only energy industry which has its eye on a low carbon, environmentally sound future,” said Chapple today.

“We need an expanded renewable energy sector to try to offset our ballooning CO2e emissions and to have in place a cheaper energy supply for the future to minimize the impact of the projected exponential rise in electricity prices.”

The Energy Supply Association of Australia also intimated that, should the target stand as it is, it could lead to an oversupply of renewable energy in the market which would “cannibalise existing supply”.

“This statement is ridiculous. The displacement of fossil fuel based energy in the Australian energy market is exactly the purpose of the Renewable Energy Target. If we meet or exceed that target, and by doing so reduce our dependence on fossil fuels we should be jolly proud of our efforts as Australians. Cannibalise away I say!”

The State Government’s approval of upgrades to Muja A and B, a set of archaic, inefficient, emissions intensive coal fired power stations is an example of the state facilitating the coal industry rather than prioritizing capacity on the grid for renewable energy. The proposal to refurbish Muja A and B and bring it back into operation was not subject to the full EPA assessment and the environment Minister dismissed the appeals against this decision, against the recommendation of the Appeals Convenor. The plants are intended to operate for 15 years. Muja A and B were built between 1966 and 1969.

Mr Chapple called on the Barnett Government to take an honest approach to dealing with the public on energy issues.

“I’d like to challenge the Barnett Government and the Commonwealth Opposition to be honest about their real reasons for challenging the target. If they are honest with themselves, and the voting public, they will admit that destabilized isolated networks and higher household bills are far less of an issue for the government than the long term contracts that are tied to coal and gas suppliers and mining companies. We’ve already given big emitting industry more concessions than they deserve. Surely we’re not also going to allow them to rule the energy market?

The arguments that Mr Barnett makes on the Renewable Energy Target do not take into account the ability of renewable energy to replace or displace fossil-fuel based energy sources and therefore drive down the need for system upgrade. By backing renewable energy capacity on the grid Mr Barnett could take a proactive stance on reducing energy pricing pressure on households, as the bulk of energy pricing is locked into the maintenance and expansion of the ‘gold plated’ distribution network, not the price of energy or carbon. Our leader is missing a significant political opportunity here.”

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255

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