Monday, 13 August 2012

Renewables winning the energy race

Clean Energy Council
31 Jul 2012

A report released today by the Federal Government shows that clean energy such as wind, solar and landfill gas will be among the lowest-cost sources of electricity within the next 20 years under current policies. Clean Energy Council Deputy Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the report confirmed that the way Australia generated and consumed energy was changing-fast.

"While the recent public debate often oversimplifies Australia's energy choice as 'clean vs cheap', this report shows the argument is now desperately out of date. Renewables are rapidly becoming the lowest cost source of energy and, by building renewable energy now, we are able to create the diversity of sources we need to have low cost and reliable energy in the future", Mr Thornton said.

"We welcome comments from Energy Minister Martin Ferguson that a number of renewable energy technologies could have some of the lowest levelised costs of any energy source within the next two decades. "Every government in the country has underestimated the ability of renewable energy to improve in efficiency and come down in price. This report goes some way towards addressing the balance. "

Mr Thornton said the report showed the importance of the Renewable Energy Target to drive the take-up of clean energy in Australia and why policymakers needed to provide stable policy support so that this full potential could be realised. "The Renewable Energy Target is designed to deliver 20% of Australia's electricity from renewable sources such as the sun, the wind, the waves, bioenergy and others by 2020 at the lowest cost to consumers. The scheme allows technologies to effectively compete against each other to drive down the cost of renewable power for everyone", he said.

"The majority of the energy sector has called for the policy to be left alone in order to provide investment-grade policy support certainty necessary to unlock tens of billions of dollars in private investment between now and the end of the decade. "Renewable energy takes advantage of our free and abundant natural resources and can provide an insurance policy against the volatile price of fossil fuelled electricity such as gas, which has been rising in recent years. In contrast, the cost of renewable energy has been dropping rapidly. In the case of landfill gas generation, the costs are already on par".

The Australian Energy Technology Assessment, by the independent Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, looked at cost estimates for 40 electricity generation technologies under current policy settings including the carbon price and the Renewable Energy Target.