Tony Abbott has been leading a push to dump all Government funding for renewables and could lead a revolt against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the House over energy policy. Picture Kym Smith
Malcolm Turnbull is facing the biggest challenge to his Prime Ministership, which marks two years tomorrow, with between five and 10 Coalition MPs thinking about crossing the floor and voting against any new or remodelled renewable energy scheme.
As debate about the future of energy policy rages, former prime minister Tony Abbott has been doing the rounds of his colleagues in a bid to get support for dumping all government funding for renewables.
It’s understood Mr Abbott has also canvassed the idea of the Government walking away from the Paris Agreement – something he signed up to when he was in power.
Last weekend, the Nationals adopted a policy to dismiss the last recommendation of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s report calling for a clean energy target.
This extension, and probably replacement, of the renewable energy target – which was adopted by the Gillard government and kept by Mr Abbott – is now so unpopular, ministers are desperately searching for a way to reshape it, starting with a new name that doesn’t mention clean or renewable power.
If the Government keeps renewables in its final energy policy mix there is likely to be a backbench revolt with Mr Abbott as its figurehead.
Mr Turnbull and his Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are committed to having an element of clean, renewable energy in the final mix with some older technology base-load generation from coal.
Yesterday Mr Frydenberg reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the Paris targets which aim for a 2 degree reduction in greenhouse emissions.
While any revolt on clean energy would be embarrassing, it shouldn’t mean the policy would be defeated because of likely support from Labor for a package that contains renewables.
The Government has already twice put off any party room consideration of this most contentious of the Finkel recommendations – it was to be considered in June and then in August – and it could be pushed further out from the latest deadline of Christmas set by Mr Turnbull last month.
The Government says its thinking on the final energy policy mix has changed after the Australian Energy Market Operator’s report last week suggested a shortfall of about 1000 megawatts of readily available power by 2022.
More about the “green” madness, this from Canada
Man Still Has to Pay Tax For Energy He Generates Himself
Kris Currie designed and built a home that completely relies on its own solar energy, and yet he still has to pay money each month.
Every aspect of Kris Currie’s home in New Dominion, P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island), Canada, was designed to minimize energy usage. From the thickness of the walls, to the position of the windows, to the choice of appliances, like a heat pump-powered clothes dryer.
Even the paint color on the interior walls was chosen to reflect natural sunlight so no lights have to be used during the day.
Currie’s home is a “net-zero home” that generates all the power it needs over a year from the 35 solar panels on the roof.
Even though Currie’s house is a net-zero home, the HST (harmonized sales tax) still charges.
Currie pays absolutely nothing to Maritime Electric for his electricity, yet he is still billed for the tax on every kilowatt-hour used, just like any other customer.
“It’s nonsense really. It should be exempt,” Currie said. “We’re using it for heat, for one. Oil’s exempt. Now that we’re producing electricity we’re getting charged for it.”
While heating for oil is exempt from HST on P.E.I., other energy sources for heating such as wood, or electricity, are not.
Currie is part of P.E.I.’s net metering program, which allows individual homeowners to generate their own electricity, sending any excess into the grid in exchange for credits so they do not have to pay when they draw electricity back out of the grid.
Currie’s home generates more electricity than it uses, feeding the excess into P.E.I.’s electricity grid, where it is sold to other Maritime Electric customers.
Currie’s home is generating more electricity than it uses, feeding the excess into P.E.I.’s electricity grid, where it’s sold to other Maritime Electric customers — who pay HST on what they use.
For April, Currie’s bill shows he paid $13.49 HST on the 644 kilowatt hours of electricity he used.
In the winter, when his electricity used goes up, Currie pays $50 or $60 a month in HST.
Currie spent an extra $46,000, without government assistance, to build a net-zero home. He even paid HST on the solar panels and the labor to have them installed.
Currie spent the extra money because he wanted to cut his monthly bills and he wanted to reduce his family’s carbon footprint.
But the added tax means it will take longer for that investment to pay off.
The provincial government and Maritime Electric both told CBC News that federal tax law requires HST be charged to homeowners involved in net metering.
Ariana Marisol is a contributing staff writer for REALfarmacy.com. She is an avid nature enthusiast, gardener, photographer, writer, hiker, dreamer, and lover of all things sustainable, wild, and free. Ariana strives to bring people closer to their true source, Mother Nature. She graduated The Evergreen State College with an undergraduate degree focusing on Sustainable Design and Environmental Science.