State Again Misses Point on Energy Prices

Greens WA spokesperson on energy policy and climate change, and member for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC, today described the energy minister’s stealthy increase in the Tariff Equalisation Contribution as yet further evidence of the Barnett government’s woeful grasp of 21st century energy realities.

“Thanks to the state energy regulator, it has now been revealed that the government will be grabbing a further $169 million from electricity consumers to keep the regional cross-subsidy system in balance.

“In a depressingly familiar refrain, the new energy minister has responded to the unmasking of this new impost by announcing a review of Horizon – to ‘find ways of producing energy more efficiently in regional parts …’.

“For the umpteenth time it seems, I have to again remind the minister and his government of the plethora of renewable energy sources in my electorate, particularly in the Pilbara, where resource projects are major electricity consumers.

“The number of FIFO workers in WA has nearly doubled to around 50,000 in just the last few years, hugely adding to the electricity demand in regions – this tariff scheme is yet another subsidy for the FIFO system.

“If not for the cross-subsidy feather-bedding for Horizon Energy, the market forces so beloved of Mr Nahan would have powered the switch to renewables long ago.

“The longer we go on propping up diesel and gas for power generation with taxpayer-funded subsidies, the more uneconomic the whole government energy system becomes.

“Renewables entrepreneurs are chaffing at the bit - what the Pilbara, and other resource-reliant regions need from government is sensible investment, such as interconnected grids which will allow them to unlock this huge potential.

“From a greenhouse gas pollution angle, it is also critical in setting electricity policy that government focuses, not just on efficiency in the sector, but on the shift from carbon polluting electricity to renewable energy.

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

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