Monday, 28 February 2011

Calls for renewable energy enquiry not supported by facts

Clean Energy Council
22 February 2011

The Clean Energy Council has responded to claims by Shadow Environment Minister Greg Hunt that $113 million in renewable energy credits had been "scrapped" in 2010, saying calls for an enquiry into the Renewable Energy Target scheme were not supported by the facts.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are an incentive designed to support the renewable energy industry by bridging the gap between the cost of black and green energy. Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said RECs invalidated by the Renewable Energy Regulator in 2010 were nothing out of the ordinary.

"This occurred as part of standard compliance procedures, which were tightened last year by Parliament to maintain the high standards of the renewable energy industry and to protect consumers", Mr Marsh said. "Invalidated credits do not equal lost or wasted money. If declared invalid for reasons of non compliance they can be re activated once the issue has been rectified".

Renewable Energy Regulator Andrew Livingston told a Senate estimates hearing on Monday that more than 3 million Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) had been cancelled. Mr Livingston's testimony referred to a 10 year period and the cancellations represent 3.5% of the total number of RECs created during this period. RECs are cancelled for a variety of reasons, from incorrect paperwork and IT lodgement errors to the company creating the RECs asking for them to be cancelled.

"In 2010 1.1 million RECs were invalidated, representing 3.2% of the total created. Although numerically higher than in previous years, this figure is proportional to the number of solar power systems being installed. "There were more than 100,000 solar power systems installed in 2010, which is more than the rest of the decade put together.

"The Regulator is strictly enforcing the standards and that is entirely appropriate. The compliance system is working well and comparisons with the Federal Government's Home Insulation Program are not warranted", Mr Marsh said.

For more information, contact the Clean Energy Council's Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 or 03 9929 4111.