The Renewable Energy Target has been a success. It's built up a wind and solar power generation industry at a very low cost to electricity users and, along with carbon pricing it has helped to reduce pollution and energy efficiency. It has helped to create Investment in windfarms, solar PV'S and other large-scale renewables, created jobs, and help to start the shift to decarbonize the Australian economy.
But its killing the coal-fired power generation industry. So the Abbott Government comes to the defence of the fossil fuel industry. The abolition of the carbon pricing gave coal-fired power generators a windfall and the proposals to kneecapping the Renewable Energy Target will give them a second windfall.
The Warburton RET Review argues there are cheaper ways to reduce greenhouse emissions than by changing the way we generate electricity – clearly implying no change in electricity generation is necessary. Hence the defence of the fossil fuel industry and the status quo. There is no need to change the dominance of electricity generation by the fossil fuel industry.
The Warburton Review has called for the closure of Australia’s renewable energy target to new entrants as one of two options it is recommending to the government. It is also calling for the immediate closure, or rapid wind back, of the small-scale renewable energy scheme, which supports rooftop solar and solar hot water. Although any legislative changes will be resisted and probably stopped in the Senate, the uncertainty will be enough to kill investment in large scale renewables.
With the mining boom over and mining investment in decline it is clear that 'the what next' is not going to include the development of the renewable energy industry. Nor is it going to come from the digital economy given the Coalition's dumping of fibre broadband to the premises and its replacement with a dogs breakfast of a model.
As Paul Buddle observes that you can still support fibre to the premises (FttP) and praise its virtues while at the same time develop a path towards that ultimate goal through Multi Technology Mix (MtM). However, with the Coalition:
there are no plans, no investment strategies and no vision on how to move Australia on from MtM to FttP; a development that is inevitable. Under the current plans Australia will be stuck in a half way house for quite some time.
In doing so the Coalition is turning away from give Australia a chance, to lead, to innovate, or be at the forefront of the digital developments. Australia, for them, is to be a mediocre country in ICT developments.