Australian Solar Council chief John Grimes has said of the new technology-neutral plan: “It is hard to imagine a worse policy.” Credit: Australian Department for Energy and Environment.
Australia's government has dropped plans for introducing a Clean Energy Target (CET) post-2020, opting instead for a technology-neutral plan that it claimed would prioritise reliability and bringing prices down.
The new policy, known as the National Energy Guarantee, hands power to the nation's utilities allowing them to choose the energy mix that suits them, with no real driver or target for clean energy, and no clear subsidy or direction once the Renewable Energy Target (RET) comes to a close in 2020.
The Department for Energy and Environment stated, "The government is acting on the Chief Scientist's recommendation that new measures are needed to improve reliability and investment certainty in the electricity sector. To do this, we will take the advice of the independent Energy Security Board and implement a new National Energy Guarantee.”
However, the move actually ignores the recommendations of Australia's chief scientist Alan Finkel, which included introducing the CET. Government rhetoric around grid reliability issues also once again pointed the finger at the increasing penetration of renewables such as wind and solar into the grid.
The government also stated, "Past approaches have ignored reliability and affordability, rewarding some industries, punishing others and slugging consumers. We are taking a very different course. The National Energy Guarantee does not pick winners – it levels the playing field and is technology-neutral."