Pity Fitzgibbon’s Labor and LNP colleagues don’t get it…
Labor’s chief whip and former cabinet minister Joel Fitzgibbon has called on the Gillard government to "forget the ideology" of the renewable energy target and cut its fixed target to give households relief from rising electricity prices.
Mr Fitzgibbon, who represents the NSW coal-producing seat of Hunter, said he was "tempted" to call for completely doing away with the RET to make up 20 per cent of electricity production by 2020 but didn't want to create uncertainty for business.
Responding in parliament to the Climate Change Authority's recommendation not to alter the target for energy from wind and solar power, Mr Fitzgibbon said changes to the economy, including the start of the $23-a-tonne carbon tax, meant there had to be at least a lowering of the target.
"I do question the $23-per-tonne fixed price on carbon running concurrently with a renewable energy target that now goes through a quarter of our total energy consumption," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
…As far as consumers were concerned, Mr Fitzgibbon said the returns to renewable energy generators were funded by existing electricity users.
"We have to be really careful here that we are not just subsidising what some might describe as the rent seekers and have consumers subsidising those who are investing and making big returns in the renewable sector," he said.
Households and businesses were concerned about cost-of-living issues and about the rising price of energy, he said.
"All of us (in parliament) should be ever-vigilant about the costs on some of those more traditional industries and on households in our electorate and I think that, as energy consumption changes. . . it is appropriate to have a look at the renewable energy target.
"We should challenge the (climate) authorities' preliminary recommendations, have a rethink, acknowledge that things are changing in our economy, forget about the ideology and contemplate the idea of reducing the fixed gigawatt-hour commitment so that the percentage falls with it."
Didn’t take long for Labor’s ecotard alliance partners, the Greens, to chastise Labor…
There is no doubt whatsoever that the bipartisan support for the 20% Renewable Energy Target (RET) is the real culprit in allowing the price of power to skyrocket. The RET is illogical and economically reckless. Why Abbott and his shadow cabinet think its worth staying committed to the 20% RET is just mind boggling.
Greens MP Adam Bandt says the way Labor responds to Mr Fitzgibbon's call is a "litmus test" on whether the party is serious about moving to a clean-energy economy.
"The right-wing factional powerbrokers within the Labor party are beginning their campaign against renewable energy," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
"If Labor is serious about a renewable energy future ... then Joel Fitzgibbon needs to back off in his campaign to wind back the renewable energy target."
Below are the statistics on the cost of power generation in 2011 from the Australian Government’s own Productivity Commission:
- Coal fired power station $79 per Mw/h (megawatt/hour)
- Gas fired power station $97 per Mw/h – or 1.2 times the cost of coal power
- Wind power $150-214 per Mw/h – or nearly 3 times the cost of coal power
- Solar power $400-473 per Mw/h – or nearly 6 times the cost of coal power
You don’t need to be Einstein to work out that the high cost of Wind and Solar is the reason the public are being screwed with high electricity prices. The Carbon Tax just adds further pain.