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Rudd's old response to renewables: 'Good idea, but let's not do it'



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Christine Milne

Australian Senate Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator for Tasmania

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

media release

Canberra, Monday 10 November 2008

Rudd’s old response to renewables: ‘Good idea, but let’s not do it’

The Greens are calling on Prime Minister Rudd to rethink renewable energy after a weak Government report concluded that a ‘feed-in tariff’ was a good idea but should not be supported.

The Senate Environment Committee Inquiry into Senator Milne’s Private Member’s Bill heard overwhelmingly positive evidence from around Australia and the world that feed-in tariffs, which guarantee fair payment for all renewable energy generated, are the most effective and

efficient policy to bring to market a broad range of renewable energy technologies. However, the Government majority on the Committee recommended that this vital issue be left to COAG.

“The Government Senators could not get around the evidence that feed-in tariffs are overwhelmingly positive for renewable energy, so they decided to hide behind the COAG process as a way of getting out of supporting my Bill,” said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Climate Change Spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne.

“By guaranteeing a fair price for all renewable energy generated by anyone, feed-in tariffs give householders, farmers and businesses the certainty they and their banks need to invest in solar panels, wind turbines or any other renewable energy technology.”

Following Germany’s lead, many countries and states around the world have introduced feed-in tariffs and seen their renewable energy supply boom, creating jobs and investment and reducing greenhouse emissions. Recent studies from 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.

Senator Milne said “States and Territories have recently implemented feed-in tariffs, most of which are poor imitations of the real thing and will have minimal impact. The biggest problems are in limiting payments to solar power, to small scale generation, and to ‘net’ generation.

“The Greens are calling for gross-metered feed-in tariffs, supplementing the MRET, to ensure that people get fair pay for all renewable energy generated from any source of any size.

“Feed-ins are a key part of a ‘Green New Deal’, creating jobs and investment while building the new, zero emissions economy. Leaving harmonisation of this vital policy to the mish-mash of competing interests that is COAG’s energy working group is a recipe for inaction.

“COAG’s glacial pace is legendary, all the more so when most members have only recently introduced their own domestic legislation which they will be reticent to change. With glaciers receding across the globe, we don’t have time to waste. Just as the Commonwealth has taken over State and Territory action on emissions trading and renewable energy targets, so too it should take on management of a national gross feed-in tariff.

“I will be re-introducing an amended version of this Bill and will be debating it in Private Members’ Time on Thursday.”

The report can be downloaded from: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eca_ctte/renewable_energy/index.htm