The renewable energy target will not be replaced with “anything” when it expires in 2020, Energy Minister Angus Taylor has confirmed.
The Australians Greens fear it will lead to an investment collapse and they want the target extended until 2022, given the National Energy Guarantee has been dumped.
They say without policy certainty there will be no investment in new generation and power prices will increase yet again.
“Will you agree to the Greens’ proposal of a stopgap extension of the RET to 2022?” Greens MP Adam Bandt asked in question time on Tuesday.
Mr Taylor shot it down.
“The truth of the matter is the renewable energy target is going to wind down from 2020, it reaches its peak in 2020, and we will not be replacing that with anything,” the minister told parliament.
Mr Taylor said Australia will reach its 26 per cent emissions reduction target without further intervention.
Recent data from the Australia Institute shows new renewable energy coming online is driving prices down.
But Mr Taylor believes renewable energy has driven prices up in South Australia, so he’s promising investment in “fair dinkum” power generation.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison used “fair dinkum” power to refer to dispatchable power, which is mainly hydro or gas, as well as solar and wind projects with batteries attached.
Mr Taylor wrote in the Australian Financial Review that policies relating to emissions reductions were “corporate greed dressed up as saving the planet”.
“Emissions reductions are the least of our problems,” he wrote.
Mr Morrison said he would be working closely with Mr Taylor on cutting power prices.
“Angus is bringing back a package of things right now to see how we can get greater investment in what I call fair dinkum power, that’s the stuff that works when the sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow,” Mr Morrison told 2GB radio.
“The only thing I’ve ever seen make those big energy companies move is when you’ve got a big stick.”
But Mr Morrison has emphatically rejected calls to walk away from an international climate change agreement, citing risks to national security.
Mr Morrison said abandoning the Paris commitment to cut emissions to 26 per cent from 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 wouldn’t do a “jot” to cut prices.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott and a raft of conservative commentators want Australia to withdraw from the Paris agreement and end subsidies for renewable energy.