22.4 C
Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

The NEG’s dead – let states and territories lead on energy

Latest News

Police looking for missing Pottsville woman

Police say they are seeking public assistance to locate a woman missing from Pottsville for almost a week.

Other News

Council’s power

Matthew O’Reilly I refer to Ian Pickles’ letter, titled ‘Developers’ power’ (Letters, 10 February). Generally, I must agree with most of...

Lismore urges REX to reconsider service cancellation

The regional airline Regional Express (REX) announced yesterday that five services, including its Lismore service, would cease once government support through the RANS program is discontinued at the end of March.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 24 February, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 24 February, 2021

Cartoon of the week – 24 February, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Craig Kelly quits Liberal Party

Federal Member for Hughes Craig Kelly has resigned from the Liberal Party, technically throwing Scott Morrison's government into minority as it grapples with scandals from within and without.

Cavanbah centre gets a taste of 3×3 basketball

The Byron Beez basketball team in collaboration with the U League hosted a 3x3 tournament at the Cavanbah centre at the end of January that attracted 30 teams.

Simon Corbell

Renew Economy

The decision to abandon any attempt to legislate a target for emissions reductions in the electricity sector leaves Australia with no nationally agreed direction for the development of clean energy generation over the next decade.

The dumping of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) emissions target has also highlighted the failure of the national arena to implement and sustain a policy setting that addresses the energy trilemma of an affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity sector.

A key characteristic of renewable energy development is its distributed, decentralised form. Instead of a small number of large generators feeding power through transmission and distribution networks to electricity customers, clean energy generators are located at multiple locations across our states and regions.

Disruption

From wind and solar farms built where there is an excellent resource, to millions of roof top solar generators, renewable energy is disrupting the traditional way we organise and regulate our power systems.

It is just as clear that this disruption extends to our politics. Federal political structures are proving incapable of responding to, planning for, and managing this transition. Look to the CPRS, ETS, EIS, CET and NEG. It is clear that the institutional interests and political inertia that exists in national policy making makes it unable to effectively respond to the challenges climate change and clean energy technologies are presenting to our society.

So the NEG is dead – where to now? It’s time we looked to the model the renewable energy sector itself is built upon, a decentralised and distributed framework.

State based solutions

In the Australian federation the states and territories have responsibility for energy policy. Forward-looking jurisdictions have their own state and territory based renewable energy targets, and many states also have their own emissions reductions targets.

Some, such as Victoria and the ACT, have legislated renewable energy and carbon emissions targets. Others, Tasmania, Queensland, SA and NSW, have renewable energy or emissions reduction targets which are settled government policy but without a legislated basis. Across the jurisdictions most agree that emissions need to be net zero by 2050.

States and territories have been the innovators in driving and supporting renewable energy development. The development of reverse auctions for large-scale renewable energy generation, awarding long-term offtake agreements (contracts for difference) was first implemented by the ACT government and has subsequently been adopted by the Victorian and Queensland governments.

These policies have been influential and effective. The ACT reverse auction program is widely credited with keeping the wind energy industry in Australia alive during the period of the Abbott government’s review (and subsequent investment uncertainty) of the federal RET scheme between 2013 – 2015.

AEMO in its recently released Integrated System Plan identified that it was those states with legislated renewable energy targets who were capturing the majority of renewable energy development nationally between now and 2025 – Victoria seizing 38 per cent of committed renewable energy development, and Queensland close behind with 33 per cent.

By contrast NSW, with no renewable energy target, but the largest share of NEM demand, saw only 14 per cent of new renewable energy development. Victoria will shortly award contracts for a further 650MW of large-scale renewables, while Queensland is conducting a tender for 400MW.

Sub-national governments have also been innovators in relation to storage – just look to South Australia’s Tesla big battery and the ACT’s 5000 site distributed battery project. States and territories have also championed policies and projects for innovations such as hydrogen fuel deployment, electric vehicle rollouts and community benefit sharing from renewable energy development.

Responding effectively

What is clear is that sub-national governments can act more quickly than the federal government on energy and climate, and with greater innovation. Perhaps it’s because state and territory leaders are held more directly accountable for the impacts of climate change, and the fire, flood or storm response that follows, than the federal government ever is.

Energy affordability and jobs creation in the renewable energy sector are also critically important areas that voters, especially in regional areas, are judging state and territory governments on.

Closer to the action, and more directly accountable than the federal level of government, states are responding by embracing the opportunities renewable energy presents. The Victorian Labor government’s recently announced solar rooftop scheme to provide grant funding and no interest loans for 650,000 Victorian households to install rooftop solar and cut their energy costs is a clear example.

While sub-national government action is often derided as sub-optimal, the track record of the federal level of government is dismal.

With the demise of the NEG, it’s time for forward-looking state and territory governments to build on their record of success and innovation in supporting renewable energy development.

A complementary series of reverse auctions to support investment in renewable energy generation and storage, grant programs to support innovation and transmission augmentation and smart policies to mandate local jobs, community benefit sharing and supply chain development can give us the trajectory we need to decarbonise our electricity supply sector by mid-century.

States have the constitutional powers, the track record and the ability to act decisively on climate and energy, let’s all work with that now.

Simon Corbell was previously ACT Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Climate Change and Energy.  He is now the Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate and an advisor on renewable energy development.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Truth

Dr Matt Landos, East Ballina There is the real news and then there is the fake news. The radio news announced recently new economic figures showing...

Monkey see

Daniel Brown, Byron Bay Back in my early youth growing up in Mt Eliza Victoria in the ‘90s I’d secretly look up to and admire...

Australia’s bastardry

Gareth W R Smith, Byron Bay Australia has a long string of racist and anti-humanitarian policies. These range from its treatment of Aboriginal people, complicity...

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some interest and also, I am...