The Government and Opposition have voted against an Australian Greens amendment that would have prevented polluters from making windfall profits thanks to their exemption from the renewable energy target.
Economic models predict that wholesale electricity prices will fall thanks to the renewable energy target because renewable energy technologies shave off some of the massive price spikes that occur at times of peak demand. The exemptions in the bill mean that polluters will benefit from the predicted lower wholesale electricity price without having to pay for the installation of the renewable energy that reduced the price.
“It’s a sad day when what should have been a celebration for renewable energy in Australia turns into another field day for polluters,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
“Both the old parties are so keen to bend over backwards for polluters that they have even polluted the renewable energy target to the extent of allowing them to make windfall profits.
“Every amendment that Labor and the Liberals agreed to has made this bill better for polluters and worse for the climate and the community.
“The Coalition was happy to dump its support for emerging renewable energy technologies to get its polluter package.
“Every Australian should remember that this deal to exempt polluters from the renewable energy target puts the full bill for moving to the renewably-powered economy into the pockets of the community, letting polluters benefit from the shift while bearing none of the cost.
“The renewable energy target is vital for the survival and future growth of this critical zero emissions industry, so it is a deep disappointment that the Government and Opposition have made a dirty deal to pollute it.”
The amendment read:
(18) Schedule 2, item 14, page 16 (after line 11), after subsection 46B(1), insert:
(1A)Regulations prescribing a method for calculating a liable entity’s partial exemption for the year in relation to an emissions intensive trade exposed activity must take into account any electricity price reductions resulting from the implementation of the renewable energy target and must avoid giving a liable entity a windfall gain. [no windfall gain]
Polluters who stand to gain:
Corporations which stand to gain from exemption thanks to the Emissions Intensive Trade Exposed definition inserted into the Renewable Energy Target include Alcoa Australia, Rio Tinto, Bluescope Steel, Onesteel, Chevron, CSR, BHP Billiton, Woodside, Boral and more.
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