Media Release from the Clean Energy Council.
The contribution of renewable energy to rising power bills is tiny compared to the huge investment required to meet peak demand and replace ageing poles and wires, the Clean Energy Council said today.
Clean Energy Council acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said more than $20 billion in investment and thousands of jobs would be unlocked by Australia’s pledge to generate 20 per cent of its electricity in 2020 from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy, wave and geothermal ‘hot rocks’.
“Renewable energy is supported by the vast majority of Australians and the national 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target is designed to come at a minimal cost,” he said.
“According to the Australian Electricity Market Commission, more than 90 per cent of the price rises over the next three years will come from increases in costs for the traditional energy system.”
Mr Thornton said Australia was staring down the barrel of a 37 per cent hike in national power prices over the next three years, but passing the buck would not help solve the problem.
“It is widely acknowledged that this rise is due to the cost of replacing old poles and wires, as well as building new capacity to meet additional electricity demand for appliances such as air conditioners and televisions. Every average sized air conditioner costs electricity users around $7000 in extra costs to the power grid, according to the Federal Government’s draft Energy White Paper. The paper also states that peak demand represents around a quarter of total network costs.”
Mr Thornton’s comments came after the Energy Users Association of Australia released a report saying our nation’s power prices are high compared to many other countries. It was followed by a call from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to abandon renewable energy schemes.
“Organisations like the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry risk their credibility by trying to pin rising power bills on renewable energy, while apparently ignoring the main factors that have led to recent price hikes,” he said.
“Renewable energy produces about 10 per cent of Australia’s electricity. The idea that 10 per cent of our electricity somehow makes the other 90 per cent unaffordable is absurd.”
The Clean Energy Council is the peak body for the clean energy sector. It is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a unified voice for more than 600 solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, wave, bioenergy, cogeneration and energy efficiency companies. More information at www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au.