Labor Party backbencher and former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon has written an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper today challenging the Climate Change Authority’s preliminary recommendation to keep the level of the renewable energy target largely unchanged.
Also on Monday he gave a speech to parliament arguing that we should reduce the renewable energy target stating:
“The 20 per cent target is now possibly going to 25 per cent, possibly 26 per cent. As energy demand falls, because it is a fixed amount—45,000 gigawatt hours—as a percentage of our consumption it is actually rising. Have a think about that for a moment. I ask all members to think about that. Fossil-fuel-rich Australia is now seeking to source one-quarter at least of its energy consumption from renewable sources.
"Of course, it is our abundance of fossil fuels which in part makes us economically competitive as a nation.”
Rather than a chart of the week, a picture from Google Maps will help reveal more than a thousand words about why Fitzgibbon feels the way he does – something he has been quite open about.
The picture below is an aerial view of a large chunk of Fitzgibbon’s electorate. Those grey/white scars on the landscape are coal mines.
In addition, if you were to zoom in towards Lake Liddell you'd find the Liddell and Bayswater coal-fired power stations. These two power stations are suffering from low levels of utilisation as they struggle to be dispatched into the electricity market due to reduced demand. They’re likely to continue to struggle due to the substantial additions of renewable energy thanks to the RET.
Source: Google Maps