With the success of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and energy efficiency schemes will test the resolve of the governments to see through the changes designed by the Howard government a dozen years ago.
The transition to a broader and cleaner source of electricity generation coupled with state government initiatives to improve electricity productivity/efficiency has finally come out of the margins and is really transitioning the generation landscape.
Energy Australia’s submission to the RET review clearly illustrates a company that is trying to hold on to the ageing infrastructure that governments recognised as a problem – they are too dirty and unresponsive. They designed a fix – reduce energy use through efficiency measures and substitute generation with clean and renewable alternatives. Energy Australia’s response complains that the RET is adding generation capacity into a market that is oversupplied as demand for electricity has reduced. This is exactly what was supposed to happen!
The next step is for the old dirty power stations to be turned off. The owners of these facilities like Hazelwood in Victoria, have known this for some time and have been reflecting this on their balance sheets for years. But if they can convince the government to either get rid of the RET and the energy efficiency schemes or convince the government that they need to be compensated for this loss, they will at least win something from the situation.
The Federal government needs to simply hold its nerve and allow the oversupply to be fixed by the generators doing what they knew they would have to do, turn off the 50 year old power stations and stop the pollution. The RET needs to be supported and likewise with the Energy Efficiency schemes. Reward success!
Ignore the generators or tell them to stop complaining and trying to avoid the fact that the future has finally arrived – they need to just flick the switch to off.