October 3, 2007 (ABC.net.au) A report released today shows renewable energy will benefit the Australian economy, but only with the help of a clean energy target and an emissions trading scheme.The Renewable Energy Generators of Australia commissioned the economic analysis, which has found that early investment in clean energy would save the Australian economy $800 million by the year 2050.
The two-year study by consultants McLennan Magasanik Associates modelled 10 different cost scenarios for introducing renewables to the power mix.
One of the companies included in the report was energy supplier TRUenergy.
Managing director of TRUenergy, Richard McIndoe, says he supports the Federal Government’s plan.
“If we wait, we will find that renewable energy and clean energy technologies have not been developed, have not moved down the cost curve, in terms of the learning curve and the experience that makes those technologies cheaper as time goes on,” he said.
“By the time we look to introduce them in 2020, 2025, we will find that they are very expensive.
“If we start now, by the time we really need these to reduce the emissions in the economy, we will find that we’ve benefited from the cost curve and we’ve learnt a lot more about how to implement these technologies at a lot lower cost to the economy.”
TRUenergy director Antoine Nsair says while the report was commissioned by the Renewable Energy Generators of Australia, the analysis is independent.
“We have not considered renewables as being an influence into the analysis, but we could see that in addition to the current targets that are going to be announced for emission trading, there needs to be some complementary measures on the clean energy technologies,” he said.
Carbon trading incentives
The Federal Government has long argued that wind and solar power will increase electricity prices, but just last week the Government announced a clean power target of 15 per cent by 2020 and the introduction of a carbon trading scheme by 2011.
Electricity companies say a carbon trading market alone should provide enough incentive for the renewable sector.
But managing director of Solar Systems, Dave Holland, says a carbon price alone will not encourage the development of clean technologies.
“What we need to do is accelerate the natural rate that new technologies come in,” he said.
“We could not have any mechanisms like this and just wait for technologies to become deployed at their natural pace or we can accelerate them and the idea of these schemes is to accelerate that deployment to provide benefit to the overall economy.”