Policy measures to require an increase in the share of renewable energy to 50 per cent by 2030 will be economically costly, punish household and industrial energy users and harm Australia’s competitiveness.

The Federal Opposition signalled today that it will introduce policy measures to increase the renewable energy share of Australia’s electricity consumption to 50 per cent by 2030.

The existing 23 per cent Renewable Energy Target by 2020 provides an estimated $19 to $22 billion subsidy to the renewable sector, a cost that is borne by consumers and industrial users. 

This translates into a 9 to 15 per cent increase in energy costs for industrial users.

It is not yet clear that the Opposition is proposing an increase in the mandatory target to 50 per cent. If it does, the subsidies to renewables will double or even triple by 2030, at extraordinary cost to energy consumers.

Renewable energy must win increased market share on its own merits, not be guaranteed it by massive subsidies. 

Proponents of renewable energy frequently claim it will soon be cheaper than all other energy sources. If that is correct, then there is no need for any policy interventions to guarantee its market share.

If Australia is to compete in the global marketplace it needs affordable energy.  Ambitions to increase the share of renewables should not come at the cost of Australia’s competitiveness. 

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