Greens Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff Bill

Recently launched renewables legislation from the WA Greens is expected to attract even more support following widespread disappointment at the State Government’s decision to clear another hurdle to a coal power resurgence in Collie.

The new legislation would greatly reduce the need to build more dirty coal-fired power plants and there is growing behind-the-scenes support for the Bill.

"It offers a much better deal than the Barnett Government's net feed-in tariff, which is only for small household systems. Even then it will not always offer a financial advantage,” said Lynn MacLaren, MLC for the South Metro Region.

“Ours is a comprehensive gross feed-in tariff, where generators are paid a fixed rate for all of their power output," she added.

"A comprehensive gross feed-in tariff may sound like a mouthful, but we know that those are the magic words when it comes to stimulating the renewable energy sector and therefore the whole economy," added Greens MLC Robin Chapple.

Mr. Chapple, the spokesperson for the Greens on the Energy portfolio, introduced the Bill into Parliament on 1 July.

Mr Chapple says the party is optimistic about getting support from both the ALP, who proposed a gross feed-in tariff at the last State election, and the Nationals, who have subsequently indicated their support for such an approach. 

If such support was received, the Bill would pass both Houses of Parliament.

Ramon Gregory, General Manager of Renewablelogic says gross feed-in tariffs give households and businesses more money for the green power they generate.

“Gross feed-in tariffs have been shown to massively increase the amount of renewable energy installed onto the grid in a cost-effective way,” Mr Gregory said.

“This tariff, along with energy efficiency measures, would reduce the need to build more dirty coal-fired power plants,” he added.

The renewables legislation is based on successful models from Germany, Denmark and Spain.

"Germany introduced gross feed-in tariffs in 2000. Since then, the country has become a powerhouse for renewable energy development, tripling the share of renewable energy in that country from 5.4% in 1999 to more than 16% in 2009,” according to Mr Chapple.

“More than 300,000 people are now employed in their local green industry and we would like to emulate that success with this Bill," he added.

The Greens say that support from the National Party is critical.

"Renewable energy sources are, by their very nature, broadly distributed across the landscape and even into the ocean," Mr Chapple said.

"Properly stimulating the development of those sources is a great source of economic development for regional WA."

"We know that the Nationals passed a motion at their national conference last year supporting gross feed-in tariffs, and we hope that will translate into support for this Bill in particular."

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Kirsty Lawson on 0428 207 007

NOTES

* The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) proposed by The Greens is a gateway to affordable and clean energy for Western Australia.  The proposed 'gross' feed-in tariff involves a system of long-term price guarantees for different forms of renewable energy generation, where the operator of the generator is paid for all of the electricity they generate, irrespective of how much electricity that same operator uses themselves.

* The tariffs are proposed to be customised according to different technology types, and even according to different potential locations of generator, to ensure all technologies are provided access to this economic stimulus mechanism, and to encourage broadly-distributed power generation across regional areas.

* The Barnett Government is implementing a net feed-in tariff, only for small systems installed on households, and only involving a payment for electricity if the householder exports more power than they use in any given half hour timeslot.  Such an approach provides no investment certainty for households, a very limited stimulus for industry, and will have only a very limited impact on the total renewable power put into the grid due to its application only to small domestic power systems.