Apologies to foreign readers as we rake over the Stupidest Energy Policy on Earth. This really takes the cake.
Back in 2010 Rudd signed off on an extension of subsidies to renewables generators that would apply from 2020-2030, long after he would be gone. Effectively this decision will take up t0 $300 per Australian over that decade — in the order of $1000 per family — and gift to the renewables industry. Naturally, in the public arena, an issue this big was decided with
major, some, no discussion at all.
The ABC investigated the intricacies of who knew what and when in the knifing of a first term PM, but billions of dollars — who knew?
Dennis Shanahan raised it today in The Australian
Electricity customers face an extra burden of between $3.8 billion and $7.5bn in “windfall” subsidies for renewable power generators in the next decade because of the stroke of a pen in the last months of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership.
Against advice from consultants, energy companies and the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Rudd government in 2010 extended the phasing out of the renewable subsidies for existing operators from 2020 to 2030.
The 10-year extension beyond the contracted 2020 phase-out under the Howard government is estimated to cost households and businesses up to an extra $7.5bn.
The subsidy scheme had been put in place by Howard, and back in 2003 the MRET (Mandatory Renewables Energy Target) was designed to end in 2020. Not only did the Australian public not get a chance to say much about extending this gift for another ten years, but neither apparently did Parliament. Indeed, perhaps not even the sitting ministers in the Government at the time:
Former Labor ministers cannot recall cabinet discussion or parliamentary debate over the extension of the subsidies for existing renewable generation to 2030, which was seen as a minor part of the massive changes to renewable energy policy.
There was a Senate Review, and apparently everyone thought it was a bad idea — the advisors, the big gas-giants, big industry, even the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and Greenpeace. This gift was a windfall to businesses that were already running and which had made their investments based on the current plan and conditions:
“Facilities built between 1997 and 2007 should only be eligible for incentives due under the existing MRET,” the ACF said in a submission to the Climate Change Authority.
Rudd did it anyway — being greener than Greenpeace. What a hero, with other people’s money.
Now Turnbull is left with this ball-and-chain, the best way to undo some of the damage is to build a nuclear plant. Then again, we could just take that money from the ABC budget instead. (Which one would grow the economy more? Oh the dilemma!)