Dylan McConnell writes in The Conversation (13.5.16) about the confusing policy positions and political rhetoric surrounding renewable energy and emissions trading already appearing in the current federal election campaign.
‘Yet again, electricity prices are set to be a key point of contention in an Australian federal election.
‘The Coalition responded quickly to Labor’s election commitment to an emissions trading scheme (ETS), with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warning of “much higher electricity prices” and a “very big burden” on Australians.
‘Other ministers joined in. Treasurer Scott Morrison labelled the plan a “a big thumping electricity tax” and Environment Minister Greg Hunt branded it “Julia Gillard’s carbon tax on steroids”, warning of “even higher electricity prices for Australian families”.
‘The centrepiece of the Coalition’s climate policy, meanwhile, is the A$2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund. An important element of this scheme is the “safeguard mechanism”, which is due to kick in on July 1 this year. This has implications for the electricity sector and may also affect electricity prices.
‘These policies will affect the wholesale electricity market, in which electricity is bought from power generators and sold on to retailers and consumers.’