The predictable findings of the RET Review panel will deliver massive windfalls for fossil fuel generators. But as they celebrate a victory of short term interests over long term public benefits and good policy, their Kodak moment looms larger than ever.
RET Review panel appointed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott calls for closure of the renewable energy target to new entrants as one of two options it is recommending to the government. It also wants small scale scheme closed or limited to installations of less than 10kW.
The rule maker for Australia’s energy markets is targeting households with air-con and solar as it tries to share around the cost of networks, and to recognise role of battery storage. But will these rules reward incumbent utilities, or recognise the future? And can they be done fast enough?
Fairfax’s media flagship has called on Tony Abbott to protect the RET, and then recommended a raft of policies to do exactly the opposite. It’s another example of why the Abbott government’s destruction of a $20 billion industry is and will not be questioned in mainstream media.
Miles George, head of Infigen Energy, says the renewable industry faces destruction if – as appears increasingly clear – the Abbott government makes substantial reductions to the renewables target. Job losses, company failures, and legal action, will inevitably follow.
What is driving the rush to solar and storage? Saving money, saving the planet or energy independence? Business models for multi-billion dollar utilities depend on getting this right. NZ network provider Vector, a pioneer of solar and battery leases, has a view that will surprise many.
Retailers set off a turf war against network operators, effectively accusing them of trying to gold plate the network once again, while the retailers suffer the impact has more consumers turn to solar and storage, and consider leaving the grid.
UBS says payback time for combined EV plus solar plus battery storage will be as low as 6 years by 2020 – unsubsidised. This means centralised fossil fuel generation will become “dinosaurs” – inflexible and irrelevant, even as back-up. “Large scale power stations could be on a path to extinction”.
AGL Energy completes transformation from ‘green’ to ‘black’ with purchase of 4,600MW of coal generation. Now it has a new challenge – keeping carbon price and renewables at bay, but also retaining trust from customers, dealing with “demand destruction” and disruptive technologies.
Tony Abbott’s renewed attacked on the renewable energy industry might be bad news for wind and large scale solar, but it could spark another ‘solar-coaster’ as households and small businesses rush to install rooftop PV systems before the remaining incentives are closed.
A new report from AFR underlines the determination of the Abbott government to kill renewable energy in Australia. This comes as a new report says coal and gas generators will pocket an extra $10bn in profits if the RET is scrapped.