If government gave away free Mars Bars, they would be cheaper but it wouldn’t necessarily benefit Australians.
Regulation Economics free-market advocate Alan Moran believes that’s how clean energy subsidies mask the cost of schemes like the renewable energy target that appear to make power cheaper.
“You can always get cheap electricity if you subsidise it,” he told a Senate inquiry into wind turbines.
The federal government’s RET review last year found the scheme was putting downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.
But Dr Moran says that doesn’t always benefit society because the money still has to come from somewhere and highlighted that the review also found the aggregate cost of the scheme would be about $30 and $50 billion.
Dr Moran believes the RET, which requires 20 per cent of all energy to come from renewables by 2020, has no place in Australia and detracts from job creation and economic growth.
The government and Labor agreed to slash the RET on Monday from 41,000GWhs to 33,000 after a year-long political impasse that stalled clean energy investment and cost jobs.
Dr Moran said the only economic benefit is that the scheme is not as bad as it might have been if the target hadn’t been cut.
“Any substitution of high cost electricity for low cost, which is the intent of the present scheme, will leave us worse off,” he said.