Calls by NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher for the closure of the national Renewable Energy Target (RET) because of its contribution to electricity price rises were refuted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today.
Geoff Bragg, NSW Chairman of SEIA said it was baffling why Minister Hartcher would make such claims when an IPART report released today indicated that renewables programs for solar and wind were not responsible for the next round of electricity price rises in NSW.
“Half of the coming electricity price rises are a result of infrastructure upgrades required to keep the aging electricity grid operating. The IPART release clearly states 0% rises from wind and solar green schemes. The NSW government blaming the national Renewable Energy Target is side-stepping the real issue. We need to transform our energy system to be more efficient and take full advantage of distributed generation from solar and other renewables.” said Mr Bragg.
The national Renewable Energy Target was introduced by the Howard government in 2001 and is scheduled to come to an end in 2030. Until now it has enjoyed bi-partisan support. “Billions of dollars of investment in clean energy projects are at risk by suggesting the scheme be scrapped. It’s irresponsible for Minister Hartcher to promote the idea.” he said.
“It is becoming apparent that those who oppose the transition to a clean energy economy have a vested interest in the creation and sale of black energy. The NSW government still clings to policies that will hand cheap subsidised coal to generators for the next 15 years. They’re living in the past.”
Mr Bragg called on the NSW government to honour its commitment to encouraging a sustainable renewable energy industry which can deliver the NSW government’s own Renewable Energy Target.
“We are still waiting for the O’Farrell government’s Renewable Energy Action Plan that was promised following The Solar Summit in June 2011. The people of NSW are entitled to know how the government plans to reach its own target of 20% renewable energy by 2020. It will be interesting to see how they plan to achieve this at lowest cost, without the national RET.” He said.