A new report indicates that the cancellation of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) could leave Australian households footing billions more in utilities bills.
A report commissioned by the Clean Energy Council has concluded that the cancellation of RET would result in the average Australian household paying approximately $50 more for their electricity each year by 2020, and as much as $140 more per year subsequently.
This translates into the nation's households collectively paying over half a billion dollars more for electricity per annum in 2020, and as much as $1.4 billion extra each year after that.
According to the report prepared by ROAM Consulting on behalf of the Clean Energy Council, growth in new renewable energy projects could serve to ameliorate these price gains, while maintenance of the current LRET (Large-scale RET) and Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) would result in only a modest price gain by the decade's end.
Should RET remain in place, as much as 22.6 per cent of Australia's electricity consumption could be supplied by renewable energy by 2020.
The scrapping of RET would have adverse consequences for the environment as well, given that it would leave Australia more dependent upon fossil fuels such as coal and gas to generate electricity.
In the wake of RET's cancellation, emissions by the electricity sector in 2020 would be 14.8 million tonnes greater than the Business As Usual scenario, while cumulative emissions to 2019-20 would be around 34.7 million tonnes higher.
In addition to environmental implications, RET's removal would also have serious economic consequences, endangering $14.5 billion of investment, and 18,400 jobs in the clean energy sector.
The Coalition's review of RET has already cast a huge shadow of doubt over the prospects of Australia's renewable energy sector, and wind power in particular.
Senvion Australia, developer of the massive 600-megawatt Ceres wind farm in South Australia, said at the start of April that the RET view had undermined investor confidence in the project, leading to potential delays to the commencement of construction.
In March, Spanish wind power giant Acciona announced that $750 million in Victoria-based had been put on hold due to uncertainty surrounding the the fate of RET.