The federal government may have undermined its efforts to scrap RET with a modelling study which contradicts its own stance on renewable energy.
Modelling commissioned by the federal government indicates consumers will enjoy lower utilities bills over the long term should the Renewable Energy Target (RET) be retained.
ACIL Allen, which was enlisted by the government’s RET review panel to model the impact of RET on energy prices, has produced initial figures showing that where RET continues to be implemented, household utilities bill would be higher until the end of this decade, but that starting from 2021 they would fall on average by $56 per year.
This cost reduction will become more pronounced as time passes, rising to $91 per year from 2030.
The savings produced by RET would become even greater if its benchmark was increased to the use of renewable sources to supply 30 per cent of Australia’s energy needs by 2030. This heightened goal would produce savings of $109 per year on average during the 2021 – 2030 period, amply compensating for an initial increase in household utilities bills of $47 per annum from 2015 – 2020.
The results are largely consistent with data produced by the Clean Energy Council, which indicates that consumers will save around $50 a year on utilities bills by 2020 under the current RET settings.
ACIL Allen’s findings directly contradict Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s prior assertion about both RET and the uptake of renewable energy, and could fatally undermine the federal government’s efforts to annul the policy.
Abbott said earlier this year that the retention of RET could have a highly adverse impact on power prices, given that the widespread adoption of renewable energy could render them “very, very costly.”
The federal government has sought to mitigate the potential impact of the findings on future policy by noting that it comprises only a part of the review panel’s research, and that certain conditions govern their interpretation.
“The panel commissioned modelling as one input to its investigation,” said a government spokesperson. “In making its recommendations to government, the panel will consider the final modelling report along with information and submissions provided by stakeholders during consultations.”
“In interpreting the preliminary modelling results, account should taken of the caveats placed on the modelling by the consultant.”