Tag Archives: Energy

Liberal/Nationals lack ambition needed for energy policy fit for 21st Century and reducing risk of climate change

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has decried the vacuum in national energy policy and the triumph of ideology over energy reform at the Smart Energy Summit in Sydney today.

Mr Turnbull departed from towing the Liberal/National line by asserting renewable energy could simultaneously deliver a reduction in dangerous carbon pollution and cheaper electricity for the nation.

NSW Greens Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “The take-over of the Federal Liberal/Nationals by the hard right faction places climate deniers and big mining in the driver’s seat of energy policy in Australia and they are quickly accelerating towards a cliff of climate consequences.

“Malcolm Turnbull is dead right. We can’t afford to let ideology and idiocy get in the way of the ambitious energy policy needed to deliver a better future for people and the planet.

“Our weather, our water and all our planet’s life support systems don’t give a stuff about your opinion or ideology, they are governed by fact.

“The science is telling us we are approaching a global crisis where if we don’t get out of coal by 2030 then it will be too late to stop catastrophic climate change. The decisions our leaders are making today will determine whether we end coal in time or we risk danger or death.

“If the Federal or NSW governments can’t come up with a credible plan that keeps us safely under 1.5 degrees of warming, then they should step aside for leaders who can,” he said.

Speaking at the Summit earlier today, NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin talked up his government’s ‘aspirational’ goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 despite having no clear plan for achieving the target.

“The Liberal/National Government had squandered seven years without a strategic energy or climate policy for NSW. In that time, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown and it is lagging right at the bottom in terms of renewables across the nation.

“Even the aspirational net-zero emissions target has no credibility with 11 new coal mines in the NSW planning pipeline and no end to coal in sight.

“The NSW Government bet and lost on the Federal government bailing it out with some kind of national energy policy. Now, it’s time for voters to have their say on the NSW Liberal/Nationals massive energy and climate failure and the polling suggests they’re about to be shown the door from NSW,” he said.

Growing complaints about energy bills and lack of customer service strengthens Greens push for a public-owned energy retailer

The recently released Energy and Water Ombudsman annual report reveals complaints about NSW’s energy retailers have risen 12% over the past year, strengthening the Greens NSW push for a public-owned energy retailer.|

Billing and customer service issues top the list of complaints made in 2017/18.

Greens NSW Energy Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “NSW is stuck in a vicious cycle where the more the community is encouraged to ‘shop around’ and interact with energy retailers, the more frustrating they find the experience and the more legitimate complaints are made.

“The customers are not mugs. They know the real power lies with the big energy companies and energy retailers, not with individuals and families who are trying to rein in the cost of living or receive the customer service they deserve.

“The average person doesn’t have the time to interrogate the minutiae of their power bills or fine print of rival energy plans and telling them to shop around just builds that frustration.

“The Greens believe that a public-owned energy retailer in NSW would focus on the needs of the community over profits and help restore this balance to the energy market.

“A public-owned energy retailer would give people better choice and drive down electricity prices in NSW. It would have a mandate to deliver low prices rather than maximise profits, and also model best-practice customer service and create values that would serve as a model for all electricity retailers.

“A non-profit, government-owned electricity retailer could also fast-track investment in wind and solar and electricity battery storage, helping power NSW towards zero energy emissions and generate jobs in local, large-scale renewable projects,” he said.

Annual Report 2017/2018 of NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman available here

 

NSW should reject a NEG that hampers state efforts to reduce emissions

MEDIA RELEASE – 6 August 2018

The Greens NSW energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today said the NSW Government should reject the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) if it fails to recognise state efforts to reduce emissions as additional to the National Emissions Reduction Target, to ensure that all options are open to the current and future NSW Governments to act on climate change.

“The National Energy Guarantee has been cobbled together to try to placate the dinosaurs within the federal Coalition party room. The NSW Government should reject any framework that restricts the ability of our state to implement real action to address climate change,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Victoria, the ACT, Queensland and South Australia all have state based renewable energy targets. Any future NSW Government should also implement an ambitious state-based renewable energy target and associated schemes to achieve this target.

“If the NEG undermines state-based renewable energy targets or emission reduction targets by not making them additional to the NEG’s emissions reduction target, then it ties the hands of any future state government to reduce emissions and attract jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector to NSW.

“While investment in renewable energy is currently booming, it may come to a crashing halt once the federal RET is fulfilled. That’s why state policies to develop renewable energy are important and should not be undermined by a NEG with no ambition that is primarily aimed at pleasing the dinosaurs in the Liberal and National parties.”

Bloating energy subsidies highlight electricity privatisations failure

MEDIA RELEASE – 19 June 2015

The Greens NSW energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today said the $196 million increase in energy rebates in today’s NSW budget (Budget Paper Number 3 – 7-8) demonstrated that the policy of privatisation and deregulation had failed and was now being propped up by $1.9 billion in subsidies over four years. The new “one-click energy switch” program through Service NSW was another indication that the ideology of privatisation had failed households in NSW.

“The privatised and deregulated energy market is gouging customers to the extent that subsidies have blown out by $196 million from $257 million in 2017-18 to $483.2 million in 2018-19,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Having deregulated energy prices, the government is now having to step in with a new program where Service NSW will help customers find an energy deal.

“While the Greens support providing financial assistance to assist low income households avoid energy poverty, the huge increase in subsidies is an indication of a failing energy market where the big gentailers are exploiting their market power to gouge customers.

“The NSW budget used to get a healthy dividend from publicly owned energy utilities. Now the budget must allocate more and more in subsidies to try to counteract price gouging in the privatised marketplace.”

(Budget Paper Number 3 – 7-8)

NSW Government heading in wrong direction with IPART proposed reduction of solar tariff

MEDIA RELEASE – 20 March 2018

NSW Greens energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today said the NSW Government  was heading in the wrong direction on solar energy after the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released an  issues paper on solar feed-in tariffs which flagged a reduction in the benchmark price paid for households generating solar electricity from 11 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017/18 to 8 cents in 2018/19. He called for the government to change the criteria to assess solar feed-in tariffs to recognise the multitude of benefits solar energy brings.

NSW Greens energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said:

“If the NSW Government are serious about supporting renewable energy then they should be saying wrong way, go back to IPART,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“NSW should be ensuring that electricity retailers pay a fair price for the solar electricity that is fed into the grid from roof top systems, which takes into account the avoided health and carbon costs solar brings by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt.

“This proposed reduction in the benchmark price paid for households generating solar electricity from 11 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017/18 to 8 cents in 2018/19 is a direct result of the NSW Governments failure to instruct IPART to assess the true value of solar power.

“Unless the NSW Government steps in then this decision will be a huge hit to the electricity bills of over 400,000 households and businesses that have installed solar panels in NSW and will act as a disincentive to further uptake of solar panels.

“Solar power is working to even out demand peaks and reduce electricity prices. Households and businesses should be rewarded for this service, not penalised for the benefit of big coal,” Mr Buckingham said.

NSW Greens Renewable Energy Spokeswoman Tamara Smith said:

“The Greens recognise that solar power leads to cleaner air, reduced carbon emissions and cheaper electricity.  The uptake of solar power should be encouraged and that is why the Greens have introduced a Bill into the NSW Parliament to ensure a minimum, fair price for solar.”

Tamara Smith has introduced the Electricity Supply Amendment (Fair Price for Solar) Bill 2018 into parliament on behalf of the Greens.  The Bill will replicate the Victorian criteria for establishing a mandatory minimum price which includes valuing the avoided health and carbon costs solar brings by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt, and by recognising the reduced spend of infrastructure.

Quote from the Issues Paper where IPART flags a reduction in the solar feed in tariff:

Our preliminary modelling is suggesting that in 2018-19, on average across the day the value of solar exports is around 8-9 cents per kilowatt hour for solar electricity. This is lower than our forecast of the value of solar electricity across the day for 2017-18. The main reason for this is that ASX baseload electricity contract prices are indicating that average prices for wholesale electricity next year will be lower in 2018-19, as substantial new generation capacity is expected to enter the market (mainly large-scale renewables). These suggest average wholesale prices will fall to around 8c/kWh, compared to around 11c/kWh when we published our Final Report last year.

Quote from the Issues Paper where IPART recognises the benefits of solar:

In addition, the increasing penetration of solar electricity in NSW over time has meant that less electricity needs to be produced by power stations in the middle of the day and into the afternoon. Over the years this has contributed to a lower number of price spikes for wholesale electricity over the whole afternoon period when solar is exporting to the grid.

Therefore on average, the difference between the price of wholesale electricity when solar is exporting, compared to the price of wholesale electricity at all other times is reducing.”

Solar tariff increase welcome, but energy sector should be re-nationalised to stop failure of deregulation

MEDIA RELEASE – 23 June 2017

The Greens NSW energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham welcomed IPART’s announcement today of their final determination of the solar tariff for 2017-18, with the benchmark price increased to 11.9 – 15 cents per kilowatt hour, up from 5.5 – 7.2 cents per kilowatt hour.  However, he noted that the reason for the tariff increase was the failure of privatisation and deregulation that have led to a massive increase in wholesale electricity prices.

“The Greens welcome the increase in the price paid for rooftop solar in NSW, but will continue to move for IPART to factor in an implicit carbon price and avoided health costs, to recognise the true benefit of solar power and increase the tariff to reflect those benefits, as they do in Victoria.  It is estimated that this would lift the tariff by a further 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

“Households and the economy are now being punished for three catastrophic policy failures:  the unregulated move into LNG exports; the privatisation and deregulation of the energy sector; and the failure to have a serious policy for the transition of the energy sector to renewable energy,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The LNG export facilities at Gladstone are like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up gas from the domestic market and causing a massive price hike not only for gas, but also for electricity for which the price is often set by gas generators. This is a massive market failure.

“The NSW Government has privatised the energy sector and has irresponsibly abolished the IPART regulated gas price at precisely the wrong time, as well as regulated electricity prices.

“It’s time to admit that privatising essential services that are monopolies, or at best oligopolies, has failed with Australian households paying some of the highest prices for energy anywhere in the world despite an abundance of natural resources – both renewable and non-renewable.

“We should look seriously at re-nationalising the energy sector to end the profiteering and to ensure a swift transition to clean energy to deal with climate change.

“The regulated price was effective in constraining price hikes, now everyone is at the mercy of profiteering in a market dominated by an oligopoly.

“The NSW government predicted huge falls in the gas price with deregulation, but now we have big hikes in price.  Energy Minister Don Harwin should admit his government got it terribly wrong and move to have IPART re-establish a regulated price.”

Slap down for Nationals as Parliament votes unanimously against nuclear power in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 May 2017

The NSW Legislative Council has today unanimously passed a motion against establishing nuclear power in NSW, in a slap down to Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who recently promoted establishing nuclear power in NSW during his speech at the NSW National Party conference in Broken Hill.

The motion was passed unanimously* in formal business:

“1390. Mr Buckingham to move— That this House does not support a nuclear power station in New South Wales.”

NSW Greens energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said:

“The National Party are stuck in the last century when it comes to energy and resources.

“The Deputy Premier has announced his big idea for nuclear power in NSW and now the entire Upper House, including his Nationals colleagues, have voted against this dumb idea.

“The Nationals should listen to their young members, listen to the community and embrace renewable energy and action on climate change.”

*Update: The Hon. Peter Phelps has informed us that he opposed the motion.  However, he did not object to its formality (any one MP can stop a motion being put in formal business).  Nor did he call a division to have his vote in favour of nuclear power recorded in Hansard. Dr Phelps claims he was unable to call a division because no other MP was willing to provide the ‘second voice’ required.

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