House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018



11:31 am

Photo of Mike KellyMike Kelly (Eden-Monaro, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence Industry and Support) Share this | | Hansard source

I was shocked, appalled and, frankly, angered by what we heard in question time from the new Minister for Energy, the member for Hume, who claimed that there was going to be no renewable energy target following 2020, abandoning ambitious emissions reduction costs but also emissions reductions targets, saying misleadingly that the 26 per cent target would be reached without further intervention by the government, bagging out our emissions reduction target and our renewable energy target and again reciting myths about the South Australian situation. I cannot believe that a minister of the Crown would fly in the face of the massive amount of evidence that is now accumulating. Daily we see headlines like:

Claim we're on track to meet emissions targets is false—

written by journalists looking at information coming from the minister's own department. Another reads:

Australia on track to miss Paris climate targets as emissions hit record highs—

that is the trajectory we're on. Another headline said:

Scott Morrison needs a plan to cut emissions but all he has is a fairytale.

A Guardian article was headlined:

Steep emissions reductions targets won't drive up power bills, modelling shows

It said that modelling in research by the Australian Council of Social Services showed that a claim by the minister that emissions reduction targets would drive up power bills was absolutely false.

The NEG was clearly demonstrated to have failed to achieve those ambitious targets. What it really indicated was that the minister was going to push costs onto sectors of the economy other than the electricity generation sector. What that meant was that we would have seen increased costs for agriculture, mining and manufacturing, and this has been revealed by the IBISWorld analysis of what was being proposed. Industries such as beef, cattle farming, iron ore mining and iron and steel forging would have been among those that would bear the heavy cost of trying to meet those emissions targets.

This is a complete failure of government policy in relation to emissions reduction. But in addition to that we are seeing the huge economic impact of not having a strategic plan—there have been five failed attempts by the government during the last five years. S&P Global said:

… the best way to reduce prices in the long term was to create a stable, national energy policy that provided clear directions for investment to boost new generation and increase supply.

Australia's continued energy policy vacuum risks delaying planned investment in new dispatchable generation capacity across—

the national energy market.

There has been a massive build-up of expert evidence—expert economic analysis—that shows what the right direction should be. Only in the last few days Deloitte has published a study on global renewable energy trends which gives the lie to the statement about the costs of renewable energy. The report said:

Wholesale prices in the top European solar and wind market, Germany, have more than halved over the past decade. In Denmark, which has the world's highest share of intermittent renewables (53 percent), electricity prices exclusive of taxes and levies are among the lowest in Europe. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that once the United States reaches Denmark's penetration levels of 40–50 percent renewables, some states will see the dawn of "energy too cheap to meter."

…   …   …

US states with the fewest outages are among the top solar and wind states—

when it comes to this myth about unreliability. The study continued:

… in Texas, the state's grid reliability metrics significantly improved—

due to its ambitious adoption of renewable energy.

The grids of Germany and Denmark have also become more reliable over the past decade, even as the latter has seen wind and solar produce 90 percent of the power consumed in its western region for a fifth of the year. The interconnected Danish and German grids are currently two of the world’s most reliable.

That's Deloitte; that's not some crazy, green, lefty economic analysis. That is the evidence. I'm only asking the government to follow the evidence.

This is the government that's made a lot about trumpeting the Snowy 2.0 project. The whole purpose of the Snowy 2.0 project is to underpin the transition to renewable energy. The Marsden Jacob Associates report into the feasibility of Snowy 2.0 states very clearly that you need a 60 per cent renewable energy target by 2040 to really make the Snowy 2.0 project fly. You just have to go through some of the key quotes in the report. It says:

      sixty per cent target—