Emails to Ian MacFarlane MP, Energy Minister and his answer.

TO: Ian MacFarlane MP

Having listened to you on the ABC this afternoon, I have to write to say to you, that your arguments regarding the RET, do not stand up to responsibility.

We need to assist and encourage as much renewable energy as is possible, and your Government’s insistence of sticking with a dirty, atmosphere-destroying fossil fuel, Coal (and oil) is draconian and irresponsible.

As a Government you job is to legislate for a clean and safe and healthy Country, for your constituents, we the people of Australia. Not I must emphasise, legislate for the benefit of ‘big business’, coal and oil barons, mining barons, media barons and the like. The argument that you look after them, and we the little people will benefit from the ’trickle down effect’ has been proven false, it doesn’t work, you are treating us with utter distain.

You are also twisting the bipartisan agreement you had with Labor, and apart from that, as more and more evidence is emerging of the danger we are in regarding carbon pollution, then a responsible government would be able to adjust their initial agreements to reflect that danger and to mitigate it to the best possible effect.

Your government is leading us into very dangerous territory by winding back all the safeguards that had been instituted, either to make ‘payback’ to Labor, or to follow an ignorant and irresponsible path away from carbon mitigation, and to pander to the energy companies and the fossil fuel industries.

People like Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch have far too much influence with your Government, as has the IPA.

It is time that your government does a rethink, and begins to address the very real dangers facing all living beings on this precious Planet.

Think about it. I as a 60s something person, am thoroughly disgusted with the performance of your government to date.

On 23 Sep 2014, at 12:58 pm, Macfarlane, Ian (MP) wrote:

Rhona , thank you for your email regarding the Australian Government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and I would like to remind you that I’ve been part of the process every step of the way since RET was established by the Liberal/National Party Howard Coalition Government 14 years ago.

The Coalition Government supports renewable energy. The RET was introduced by the Coalition government in 2001 at a time when renewable energy technology was prohibitively expensive. Now, almost 2 million households have installed small scale solar systems and the cost of rooftop solar is less than a quarter of the price. in fact, the cost of a 4.5 kilowatt rooftop solar system has fallen from more than $35,000 ten years ago to around $7,000 today and will continue to fall.

The small-scale target of 4,000 gigawatt hours has already been exceeded by over 50% and is projected to reach around 10,000 gigawatt hours (two and a half times the target) by 2020. More than 5,000 megawatts of large-scale renewables have been built in an electricity market that is currently oversupplied by 9,000 megawatts of electricity. The large-scale scheme is now tracking towards around 26% renewable energy by 2020. This has all occurred at the same time that Australia’s total demand for electricity is falling.

The review of the RET was completed in line with the legislation introduced by the previous Labor Government which requires a review of the scheme every two years. This provision was included in the legislation in 2010, at the request of the renewable energy industry and the Coalition Government committed to it when it came to office. We appointed an independent expert panel to undertake the review who were tasked with investigating whether the RET is working efficiently and effectively. The independent panel ran an open and transparent process and consulted widely before finalising its report, and we made this available at http://www.retreview.dpmc.gov.au. The Government will consider the findings of the panel’s review in the context of the costs and benefits of the scheme, the impact on electricity prices and markets and sovereign risk issues. The Government will announce its response to the report in the coming weeks.

The Government is working to keep energy costs down, to take the cost of living pressures off families and keep Australian businesses competitive. That’s why we repealed the Carbon tax saving households on average, $550 per year. The Panel’s report showed that the RET is a relatively high cost form of emissions abatement at around $32-62 per tonne of CO2 for large scale investments and $95 –175 per tonne of CO2 for small scale.

The Coalition Government will not make changes that will impact those who have already made an investment – small or large – under the RET. This means that regardless of what decisions are made about the RET going forwards, nothing will change for those who have installed roof top solar and large scale investments such as wind farms or hydro power station will be protected.

Ensuring Australia’s energy security and addressing long-term questions relating to energy policy is a key priority. Australia is blessed with a diverse energy mix which incorporates a broad mix of generation sources including renewable energy. The Government is working to ensure that appropriate frameworks are in place to enable Australia’s energy markets deliver efficient outcomes that are in the long term interests of consumers.

We’ve committed $1 billion through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for the research & development of new renewable energy technology concepts. The Government is keen to see nearly 200 programs across a range of technologies meeting milestones and contributing to the advancement of the renewable energy industry. Through CSIRO’s Energy Flagship, the Government is supporting a group of around 350 scientists to pursue a dedicated energy research program that will help enable Australia’s energy transition.

Several other ways we’re supporting transition within our energy sector is by continuing to provide $900 million worth of commitments under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to support a range of risky renewable energy projects, $2.25 billion into Industry programmes for innovation across all sectors, $2.1 million through the Solar Towns Programme to support households who choose solar as a way to reduce their power bills and $2.55 billion through the Emissions Reduction Fund to encourage emissions abatement activities through low cost effective and practical solutions.

The Government committed to the development of an Energy White Paper that will set out an integrated and coherent position on energy to support a stable and predictable policy environment to give households and businesses confidence about their energy future. More information can be found at http://ewp.industry.gov.au.

As the Coalition Minister responsible for the Energy Portfolio since the RET began and having been part of every negotiation since, I understand the issue intimately and remain confident our Government will get the balance right.

Thanks you for contacting me on this matter.

As I have been the person responsible for the Energy Portfolio for the Coalition since the RET began and have been part of every negotiation on the RET since, I understand the issue better than most and remain confident we will get the balance right.

Thanks you for contacting me on this matter.

Regards,

Ian

Hon Ian Macfarlane MP,
Minister for Industry,
Federal Member for Groom.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Telstra NextG network.
Original Message
From: Rhona Eastment
Sent: Tuesday, 23 September 2014 12:55 PM

To: Macfarlane, Ian (MP)
Subject: KEEP THE RET AS IT IS. SUPPORT RENEWABLE ENERGY

TO: Ian MacFarlane MP

Thank you for your reply.

However, as you have written this it all sounds like you have been committed to renewable energy and mitigating carbon pollution from the beginning of your term in office. Of course this isn’t so, and if you are honest you will admit that the LNP wanted to axe ARENA, as it did the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Your were stalled in this. Now you are trying to laud your Government’s position with these facilities. You didn’t want them, remember.

By repealing the Carbon PRICE, you have taken Australia backwards, a place we should not be. This was a revenue earner for your budget, it promoted strong efforts to mitigate carbon pollution, which, will not happen if the big polluters are offered inducements. Our emissions have already escalated since the Carbon Price has been repealed. We are now the ‘pariahs’ in the International scene, rather than the leaders. Australia has been awarded the ‘Fossil Fool’ award, or whatever it is called, for, what, the third time, by the countries at the Climate Conference. We are a laughing stock.

The coalition says it supports renewable energy, but only if the market supports it, not the Government. This Government has a Libertarian-type attitude to governing, not a political system that we Australians will accept.

I understand about rooftop solar, I installed 18 panels in the early days of solar.

Once again no mention of the gold-plating of the poles and wires, just the carbon tax(actually price). This government has been dishonest.

You talk of the review of the RET. From what I recall, this Government has called for the review earlier than was scheduled. To put a known Global Warming ‘denialist’ in charge of the review, along with other fossil fuel associates is laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

To be promoting coal at a time when the Climate Scientists are screaming now to take strong effective action, is a crime against we Australians. Time is running out for action, and this government wants to pander to Murdoch, and fossil fuel industries, with no regard to the serious outcome.

I will be very interested to see if households do actually get a $550 reduction in their electricity bills. I won’t because I installed my solar early. To be clear, I installed solar, not to reduce my electricity bill, but to be a responsible citizen and do my part in reducing my contribution to carbon pollution.

You tell me you have been responsible for the Energy Portfolio for the Coalition since the RET began, fine, but I don’t see you being able to protect it as it is. I hear from all your ministers their attitude to the energy production in Australia, and it is all focussed on the fossil fuel industries. Note Joe Hockey’s comments regarding the ‘blight on our landscapes’ of the wind farms. Funny, he seems to think that big chimnies emitting green house gasses is a much more agreeable sight.

You tell me that Australia is blessed with a diverse energy mix which incorporates a broad mix of generation sources including renewable energy. Very clever, you carefully do not mention that COAL and CSG are high on your agenda, much higher than Renewable Energy.

If you are so keen to support renewable energy, and to use the CSIRO, why have a large number of scientists been axed? Why is the solar industry campaigning to keep the RET as it is?

I’m sorry, but this letter to me is just another one of the cover-ups this Government is indulging in, perhaps thinking that we Australians are not intelligent enough to see through your glib statements.

I’m sorry too that I just cannot accept the way you are trying to manipulate us.

Rhona Eastment