Alan Kohler is one of Australia’s most experienced business commentators. Alan has been a trusted source of investment advice to Australians for many years, and in 2005 he founded Eureka Report - Australia’s #1 online investment report. Along with Robert Gottliebsen and Stephen Bartholomeusz, Alan also founded Business Spectator, the popular business news and commentary website. Alan is the regular finance presenter on the ABC News and producer of the popular nightly graph (or two).
Most would agree that some renewable policies have previously been poorly implemented, and the Grattan report is right in highlighting these. However measuring their costs against objectives they were not intended to achieve is unfair.
A joint ABC Lateline-Climate Spectator investigation of landfill gas projects awarded large contracts under the Emission Reduction Fund finds many date back over ten years, indeed as far back as 1997. It suggests that a third to a half of the abatement volume contracted in the first auction would have happened anyway.
The Abbott Government has achieved a significant cut to the Renewable Energy Target yet a clause in the federal legislation prevents state schemes similar to the federal RET. One workaround options stands out for climate-concerned state energy ministers.
Making native forest wood waste eligible under the RET is unlikely to make a material difference to solar and wind projects by itself. But anti-RET senators Leyonhjelm and Day could use it for ends that extend beyond just wood waste.
The big power retailers have fought tooth and nail to have the Renewable Energy Target wound back. But with money now clearly on the table and changing circumstances devaluing other options, who knows – they might even live up to the rhetoric in their advertisements and save the RET from a still sword-brandishing minister.
The Andrews government has again called for repeal of federal legislation precluding states from introducing renewable energy targets. While it puts welcome focus on the issue, there's a lot more Spring Street could do to fight climate change.