The Abbott government is likely to find itself at loggerheads with the Climate Change Authority, which has called for a tender for economic modeling of the electricity sector as it conducts research ahead of its own review of the renewable energy target.
The Abbott government on Monday announced its own panel, to be headed by climate change denier/sceptic Dick Warburton, to review the RET. But the CCA has a statutory obligation to conduct its own review if it survives the attempt by the government to abolish it.
The CCA completed its last review of the RET in late 2012. It rejected the arguments from incumbent utilities to dilute the RET, saying it would save little, if any money from consumer bills, and was an effective way to reduce emissions.
The Abbott government wants to dissolve the CCA, but has so far been frustrated by the Senate. It does not want the CCA to conduct the next review, but may be powerless to stop it unless the repeal act passes the new Senate.
Last week, the CCA called for tenders for economic modeling for abatement in the electricity sector. It stressed that it has not begun its RET review, which must be completed by the end of the year, but wanted the modelling completed by the end of June to “explore options” and “inform future policy developments”, and for research ahead of its own RET review.
The modeling will analyse how the RET might fit with the emissions reduction fund proposed under Abbott’s Direct Action plan.
“The research will compare the performance of a range of emissions reduction policies according to their volume of abatement, impacts on investment and output trends, resource cost and its distribution,” the tender notes.
“The Authority is interested in the impacts of a wide range of policy options, including indicative variations to the existing RET.” It says the exact set of policy options would be determined in conjunction with the successful consultant.
“The aim of this research is to explore options and to help inform policy developments in the context of the Government’s 2014 Review of the RET and its development of the Emissions Reduction Fund.
“The Australian Government has introduced legislated into Parliament to abolish the Authority and has announced that the Government will conduct a review of the RET in 2014.
“Until such legislation is passed, the Authority retains its statutory obligations to complete reviews due in late 2014 and early 2015, including a review of the RET, due at the end of 2014, and a review of Australia’s progress towards meeting national emissions reduction targets, due in early 2015.”