Journal

Make your vote count for community energy!

Make your vote count for community energy!

It’s polling day and Hepburn Wind would like to encourage our supporters to consider their vote carefully. We’ve put together some resources so you can judge what is on the table for community energy and climate action this election.

The past eight years have been a tumultuous time for the renewable energy sector and our co-operative. The Coalition’s attacks to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and removal of a carbon price stagnated renewable energy development across the country. More recently, the Coalition’s failed attempts to introduce the National Energy Guarantee has created a policy vacuum with direct financial effects on our co-operative.

Renewable energy generators including Hepburn Wind, derive a significant portion of their income from the generation and sale of Large Generation Certificates (LGCs) under the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET). With the end of carbon pricing and the undermining of the RET in 2013/2014, Large Scale Renewable Energy Certificates (LCG’s) fell to a seven-year low of $25/MWh.

Last year we saw an all-time high of over $80, but now that the RET has been met but not yet extended, these certificates are trading for ~$40/MWh and expected to drop to $15/MWh by 2021. This precarious financial position affects our co-operative both in our ability to pay dividends to members and to fund social and environmental projects.

Due to this policy environment, we would like to inform our members and supporters on where the major political parties stand on renewables and encourage you to vote for the climate and the future of our co-operative.

For a brief summary of how the major parties perform on climate, we recommend you have a look at the Australian Conservation Foundation’s scorecard.

The Coalition

The Coalition’s Climate Policy focuses on Snowy 2.0 and continuing the Emissions Reduction Fund with an additional $2b. The Emissions Reduction Fund has been widely criticised and you can read more about the policy here. The Coalition, notably, has not proposed a policy to increase renewable energy.

In modelling completed by Climate Analytics, the Coalitions current emission reduction target of 26 – 28% by 2030 is incompatible with Australia’s Paris Commitments.

The Coalition has committed to:

  • Provide up to $1.38b in equity over six years for the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project and $5.5m for oversight
  • Give $61.2m for the energy efficient communities program
  • Investigate a second interconnector between Tasmania and the mainland ($56m)
  • Spend $18m on energy efficiency; and
  • $400,000 to develop a national electric vehicle strategy

The Australian Labor Party

The ALP has focused strongly on renewables but has also moved to a sector-based approach, with climate policies for each of the major economic sectors.

Analysis from Climate Analytics suggests that Labors 45% emission reduction target for 2030 is just within range of Australia’s Paris Climate Commitments.

The ALP has committed to:

  • Roll out of the Neighbourhood Renewables Program, with $100m available for funding community energy, solar gardens, council solar programs and piloting community solar/storage projects with social housing providers.
  • $10b to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • Solar Batteries program providing $2,000 for 100,000 households
  • A new electric vehicle target of 50% by 2030
  • Introducing a Strategic Industries Taskforce and $300m to the Strategic Industries Reserve Fund to support trade exposed industries to cut pollution
  • Agricultural initiatives such as investing in carbon farming, offsets and bringing large scale land clearing under control

The Greens

The Greens are the only major party seeking to phase out existing fossil fuel assets and end new coal mines and gas development.

The Greens seek the deepest emission reductions out of any of the three major parties, looking to cut emission by 63 – 82% by 2030, which is well within range of Australia’s Paris Climate Commitments according to Climate Analytics.

The Greens seek to implement these emission reductions by:

  • Phasing out coal and moving to 100% renewables 
  • Creating 180,000 new jobs in renewables, including a renewable energy export industry to replace coal exports
  • Providing support for coal workers and communities to phase out coal
  • Making a not-for-profit, public energy retailer for renewables
  • Prioritising and properly funding clean, safe, affordable public and active transport
  • Funding the transition to electric vehicles and reducing the cost of electric vehicles
  • Ending political donations from mining companies

Independents and micro parties

This year your ballot paper will likely be awash with unfamiliar independents and micro parties. We recommend that you check who will be on your ballot paper by going on the Australian Electoral Commission website here.

Some independents have signed a Climate Leadership Agreement, which you can read here. You can also read a quick explainer of these micro-parties from the Gaurdian here.

For those interested to learn more about preferences and why they matter, we recommend that you read this article from Richard Denis at the Australia Institute.

Additional resources

For additional resources regarding the main party’s policies, we encourage you to look at these:

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