Let’s keep our power pants on
Kane Thornton, April 20, 2012
Suggesting we don’t need a Renewable Energy Target because we have a carbon price is like suggesting you don’t need pants because you have a jacket. Sure there’s a little overlap, but heading boldly into the world without your pants isn’t going to earn you any respect – particularly when just about everyone else is wearing them.
Over the last week, both the Business Council of Australia and the NSW Government have argued against our 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target (RET). While the cost of renewable energy is falling quickly, the carbon price alone is not high enough to generate sufficient investment in renewable energy projects. That’s why we need the RET too. Each also has a role to play in reducing our carbon emissions.
Both sides of Australian politics understand the importance of the RET. It was established by Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, and Labor’s Kevin Rudd increased it to 20 per cent with the support of the Coalition and Greens in 2009. In recent weeks, both Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and his opposition counterpart, Greg Hunt, have restated their support for the policy.
But one of the most important reasons for the RET has nothing to do with reducing carbon emissions, nor the $20 billion of investment and 30,000 jobs it would secure in rural and regional Australia where most of our renewable resources are found.
It is the need to make sure we’ve got lots of renewable energy to call on in the future as we face the spiralling costs of fossil-fuelled electricity.