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Europe and the Asia Pacific region: address to the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, 2 February 2001

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Senator Lyn Allison Senator for Victoria

Press Release Dated: 28 Feb 2001 Press Release Number: 00/116 Portfolio: Energy and Resources 

Renewable energy sham: Democrats warn of a bleak future for wind and solar energy The Australian Democrats today warned that unless the loophole allowing a huge windfall gain to existing hydroelectric schemes under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 is fixed, development of Australia’s solar and wind energy industries will be cut off at the knees.

Democrats’ Energy Spokesperson, Senator Lyn Allison said, “The problem is that just one hydroelectric power company has the potential to claim more than 1,000,000 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in 2001 by including the drought years in their base line calculation. This is more than three times the number of RECs needed to comply with the first year target.”

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 enables power generators, like the hydro, solar and wind industries to claim RECs for generating additional renewable electricity. Electricity retailers then buy the RECs from the generators.

The Act stipulates that in 2001 an additional 300 gigawatt hours of electricity must be produced from renewable energy sources. This translates into 300,000 certificates, one for every megawatt hour of electricity produced.

“The renewables market is going to be flooded by huge numbers of low-cost hydro Renewable Energy Certificates,” Senator Allison said.

“These are likely to be bought on mass because they will be very cheap to produce. In the face of such unfair opposition, the solar and wind industries are unlikely to get a look in.”

Senator Allison said that the only way to ensure that the hydroelectric power industry does not benefit from such a huge winfall gain is to require existing stations to demonstrate that they have upgraded the capacity of their stations before they can claim any RECs.

Senator Allison said, “That is, they need to have made an additional capital investment to increase the capacity of their stations.

“The Renewables Act is becoming more and more of a sham. Who would have thought that we would have an Act that discourages the development of the wind and solar industries, while encouraging the burning of native forests for electricity,” Senator Allison concluded.

The Democrats will move today to disallow the section of the regulations relating to hydro baseline calculations.


Top | Email | Tell us what you think Authorised by: Jim Downey, 10 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2604. Copyright © 2001 Australian Democrats Last modified: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:51:26 Today: Tue, 06 Mar 2001 09:34:16