Green warns against target tampering

Clean Energy Council (CEC) chief executive David Green has warned against modifying the Renewable Energy Target, due to be reviewed later this year.

Speaking at Clean Energy Week in July, he told politicians to “resist the temptation to tinker with the Renewable Energy Target” in order to avoid long-term costs.

“The success of the Renewable Energy Target in delivering investor confidence should be celebrated. Companies and communities now need a stable framework in order to get on with the job of delivering of the 20 per cent target at least-cost by 2020,” Mr Green said.

Mr Green took aim at utilities investing in infrastructure in response to peak demand.

“Imposing costs on us all largely for the sole purpose of meeting those 40 or so hours a year when energy growth is at its absolute highest should not be acceptable,” Mr Green said.

“Nor should we should allow our economic prosperity to be at the mercy of volatile, globally traded energy commodities.

“All of us should demand a better way forward. A clean energy future can give us this.

“To achieve this we need to improve the energy efficiency of Australian households and businesses, saving a potential $5 billion per annum by 2020.”

The former UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy founder said one of the reasons he wanted to work in Australia is that he believes it is a country that thrives on change and innovation.

“You are not a nation that is governed by inertia, where unless change reinforces the status quo, the first reaction is all too often to say no,” he said.

In the same session, one of the world’s leading clean energy analysis firms said recent calls to soften the Renewable Energy Target would lead to a 50 per cent drop in investment.

Also speaking at Clean Energy Week was Seb Henbest, the Australian manager of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, who warned any such change to the Renewable Energy Target or the price on carbon would run the risk of seeing no investment in large-scale renewable energy “this side of 2020”.

The savings from a softer target of $3 billion for the scheme would be “disproportionate” with a drop in investment from $19.5 billion to $9.8 billion, Bloomberg forecasting found.

Climate Change Authority chief executive officer Anthea Harris will conduct the review this year, and told the conference that her board was “very conscious” of the need for investment security.

“Even if we found something not designed as well as it could be, there is the hurdle of whether it is worth changing because of the disruption and the flow-on consequences. Authority members are conscious of this, and will take that into our review,” she said.

The Clean Energy Council honoured three contributions to Australia’s clean energy industry at the Clean Energy Council Industry Awards, now in its second year.

The Business Community Engagement Award went to Pacific Hydro for the development and implementation of a range of grass-roots community relations activities in Portland, Victoria.

The Innovation Award went to Dyesol for commercialising dye solar cell technology, a photovoltaic technology that mimics photosynthesis and enables metal, glass and polymeric-based products to generate energy and improve energy efficiency, particularly in the building, transport and electronics sectors.

The Media Award went to Giles Parkinson, senior journalist at The Australian, Climate Spectator and Renew Economy websites, for his work on solar and wind energy.

Clean Energy Week, held July 25-27, is Australia’s premier event for the clean energy industries and regularly attracts more than a thousand attendees.