Labor falls short on renewable energy

Today’s revelation that the Brumby Government’s renewable energy scheme has fallen short by more than 35 per cent in its promised increase in renewable energy use is further proof that Labor cannot keep its promises to Victorian families.

The Essential Services Commission has today released the 2008 Annual Report on the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) scheme, almost eight months after the end of the year.

The report shows that last year VRET achieved only 125,060 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy use, compared with the 193,000 MWh the scheme was supposed to achieve – a shortfall of more than 35 per cent.

The VRET scheme was enacted in 2006, and was supposed to increase the share of Victoria’s electricity consumption coming from renewables to ten per cent by 2016.

Businesses that generate electricity from renewables using generating capacity brought into operation in or after January 2007 can create and issue renewable energy certificates, and electricity retailers and major users are supposed to purchase certificates in proportion to their power sales or use to achieve the total renewables use each year specified under the legislation.

However, the report shows that there was a shortfall of 67,200 MWh in the amount of renewable energy use achieved under the scheme. Instead of buying certificates for the full 193,000 MWh of renewable energy required by the scheme, retailers and others gave the state government a windfall revenue of $2.95 million in penalties, with retailers paying a penalty of $43.90 per MWh of shortfall.

“Labor has failed to deliver on renewable energy, despite its constant boasts about its commitment to ensuring the uptake of renewable energy,” Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources, Robert Clark, said today.

“There is something wrong when Labor is so incompetent it cannot manage its own renewable energy scheme.

“This follows Labor’s failure to introduce a decent solar feed-in tariff scheme and in reducing the government’s own greenhouse emissions.

“The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition warned when the legislation was introduced that retailers could simply pay the penalty rather than buy the required renewables, and that is exactly what has happened.

“With the recent passage of Commonwealth renewable energy target legislation, the Victorian scheme will now be rolled into the Commonwealth scheme after a short and shabby record of failure,” Mr Clark said.