Submission on draft Renewable Energy Amendment Bill 2009

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  • From: Peter Campbell (via email)
  • Date: 12 Feb 2009
  • Subject: Submission on Exposure Draft of the RENEWABLE ENERGY (ELECTRICITY) AMENDMENT BILL 2009
  • To:
  • Closing date: extended to February 20, 2009.

In response to your call for comments on the Exposure Draft of the RENEWABLE ENERGY (ELECTRICITY) AMENDMENT BILL 2009 at:

[edit] Removal of "wood waste" reference

Section 17 of the Act must be amended to remove the reference at paragraph (j) to "wood waste".

This reference will allow the innappropriate burning of woodchips from native forests for electricity and fails entirely to take into account the greenhouse gas emissions that come from clearfelling native forests, not to mention the associated habitat destruction.

"Waste" is far too broadly defined by the logging industry. Currently, whole B and C grade logs going to the woodchip mills after wrongly being classified as pulp logs. Permitting wood "waste" as a renewable energy source would be a perverse policy that would allow the burning of woodchops from native forests which would produce signficant carbon emissions. Our forests are far more valuable protected as carbon stores.

The recent ANU report has detailed how our native forests are massive storehouses of carbon, and logging them to burn or turn into low value products such as paper means the release of that carbon from the trees and soil into the atmosphere.

[edit] The Renewable Energy Target (RET)

A much larger target is required for the national Renewable Energy Target (RET) than 45,000GWh by 2020. Australia's overall energy usage and carbon emissions are increasing each year. The RET must be therefore be increased to a figure commensurate with 100% renewable energy by 2020. This will provide a just transition from energy sector workers to green jobs, and foster a signficant export industry for Australia. It will also reduce our emissions as much as possible to try and ensure we have a safe climate future.

In addtion, no purpose is served by phasing out the RET in 2030. We need to cease burning fossil fuels, not phase them back in after 2030.

[edit] Financial incentives

To achieve the RET, much greater financial incentives are required for:

  • Large scale renewable energy schemes, such as solar thermal plants and geothermal energy.
  • Energy efficiency projects
  • Small scale renewable energy such as distributed rooftop photovoltaic systems and solar hot water systems.
  • A national uncapped gross metered Feed-in Tariff would provide such financial incentives.

[edit] Remove perverse disincentives associated with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

The MRET scheme needs to be redesigned to remove the current perverse disincentive to installing solar PV systems - RECs attaching to them can be sold to system installers for later onsale to large polluters, which allows them to offset their carbon emissions. This effectively cancels out (removes) the environmental benefit of the PV system. This anomaly must be addressed.

In addition, the REC multiplier should not be limited to just 1.5 kilowatts of installed capacity and the multipliers should not reduce over time. Neither should the multiplier be limited to just the first system installed at a particular address, nor limited to the first deeming period for that installation. The multipler should be applied to any system no matter how large and it should apply as long as the scheme operates.

[edit] Do not provide subsidies for high emitting industies

Electricity-intensive, trade-exposed companies should receive no preferential treatment or compensation. Those businesses should have business plans to factor investment in retro-fitting their operations to reduce their carbon footprint without public subsidies. Many of them already receive extremely generous tax benefits and electricity subsidies from both state and federal governments.

Peter Campbell (Home address supplied)

[edit] See also

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