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COAG renewable energy disaster: pressure back on Rudd Government.

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� � Christine Milne

$XVWUDOLDQ�6HQDWH Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

media release

Canberra, Wednesday 3 December 2008

COAG renewable energy disaster: Pressure back on Rudd Government COAG's lowest common denominator agreement on renewable energy price guarantees - known as feed-in tariffs - puts the pressure back on the Rudd Government to support a truly effective scheme, the Australian Greens said today.

Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Climate Change Spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, has introduced a Private Member's Bill for a national feed-in tariff that would pay a premium price for gross energy generation from all renewable energy technologies. A Senate Inquiry into the Bill was strongly in favour of the idea but recommended that it be left with COAG to deal with.

“COAG's predictable failure on renewable energy price guarantees puts significant pressure back on the Rudd Government to do what needs to be done,” Senator Milne said.

"The renewable energy industry in Australia is revved up and ready to go. They have the technology, they have the people, they have the enthusiasm.

"But, instead of helping this exciting and vital industry to grow to its tremendous potential, governments across Australia are acting as a roadblock.

"With a few simple policy settings, governments can allow this clean-tech industry, which is booming around the world, to flourish here in Australia."

In much of Europe and parts of North America, feed-in tariffs have been used to great effect to give homeowners, farmers and businesses the confidence to invest in renewable energy. Banks are happy to lend money for renewable energy investments when the income they will provide is guaranteed.

Globally, the most effective feed-in tariffs have been for gross energy generation, not net as in several Australian states and as agreed by COAG. The best schemes are also for all renewable energy sources, from all technologies and all sizes of installation. COAG is limited to micro-generation and most States limit their schemes to rooftop solar power.

Recent analyses by the International Energy Agency and Ernst & Young have shown that feed-in tariffs are more effective and cheaper than quota systems such as Australia's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET). The Greens are calling for a feed-in tariff to supplement the MRET.

"COAG's recommendation for a lowest common denominator feed-in tariff would continue to limit the growth of renewable energy, instead of setting it up to power all of Australia as soon as possible, as it can and must do.

"It is well past time for the Rudd Government to drop its false view that emissions trading is a silver bullet and embrace the range of policy settings and investments that will back up the ETS and help reduce emissions as effectively and efficiently as possible. A feed-in tariff is top of the list."