The negative attitude shown by the Abbott Government towards renewable energy belies its bias for profit and more profit. His policies show that Abbott regards renewable energy as not economically feasible and therefore unnecessary.
The more his environmental policies are scrutinized, the more it becomes apparent that he adopted the business approach of seeing things as having value only if they boost Australia’s GDP.
He disregards the intrinsic value of clean rivers and oceans, fresh air and lush, flourishing forests as these things do not seem to fit with his far right worldview.
Abbott Government cuts shortchange clean industry
But if the issue is examined more closely, renewable energy also has a very strong economic case. In other words, clean energy will ultimately help boost the country’s GDP, if that’s what Tony Abbott really wants.
For instance, the Renewable Energy Target committed Australia to source 41,000 gigawatt hours of electricity from renewables by 2020. If closely examined, the RET will not only contribute to the lowering of electricity prices but also boost jobs and investments.
Last year, the Warburton review commissioned ACIL Allen to do some electricity price modeling. The result of which showed that the RET delivers lower electricity prices for consumers.
It also showed that because the Abbott Government reneged on its promise to support the RET and cut it altogether, the consumers will now pay more for their electricity usage. Surprisingly, even with its findings, the Warburton still recommended cutting the RET.
ACIL Allen report confirms RET benefits to consumers & business
With regards to employment, it was also revealed that the RET creates jobs because it paves the way for new fields of business activity, such as service for installing solar systems, building and maintaining wind farms, and researching and developing new methods of capturing wave and geothermal energy.
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In 2012, there were more than 24,000 Australians employed in the renewable sector. The Clean Energy Council says that a further 18,400 new jobs would be opened by 2020 if the RET had been retained in its original form.
Currently, there are more than 700,000 Australians who are looking for work. With this tight employment situation, opening up 18,000 jobs would contribute to reducing the numbers of those unemployed.
The Clean Energy Council laments at the cuts to the RET
The Clean Energy Council estimated that because of Abbott’s cuts to the RET; there is 6,200 less jobs available over the next six years. Eliminating the a clean energy target altogether will cause 11,800 new jobs to go down the drain.
In matters of investments, renewable energy presents its strongest economic case. Over $10 billion has already been invested in large-scale renewable energy projects since the inception of the RET.
These include the FirstSolar massive plants in the NSW towns of Broken Hill and Nyngan. FirstSolar estimtaing that it has already invested around $142 million in its plants and created over 600 jobs to the locals.
If all forms of renewable targets are scrapped, about $11 billion investments will be put at risks from the present until 2020. Due to the severe cuts the Abbott Government recently imposed; it is likely approximately $6 billion of additional investments to drop off.