In the lead-up to the recent Federal Election, RPC planned a Renewable Energy Policy Forum, inviting the Candidates for Page to respond to the RPC wish list for incoming government, compiled by Managing Director Paul O'Reilly. Staffing interruptions due to COVID along with localised flooding meant that the forum did not go ahead.
We hope that the new government will address the issues raised in our wish list, as follows:
From Managing Director Paul O'Reilly:
RPC is a medium sized company employing 45 staff located in the rural town of Nimbin, NSW. RPC specialises in designing and supplying renewable energy technologies to customers across Australia and the Pacific. We have been in business for over 35 years and during this period have seen dramatic change in the the renewable energy industry.
Over the past three years, unprecedented bushfires and floods have directly affected the Northern Rivers community. ABC 'Vote compass' has recorded 30% of voters stating that action on climate change was their number one concern. Although the widespread acceptance of the risks of climate change has seen all credible political parties adopt 'net zero by 2050' policies, the pathway to achieving this remains at best vague.
Over the past four years we have seen the renewable energy industry transform from a small alternative sector into the major growth sector in the energy industry. We have seen the cost of renewable energy plummet to become the cheapest form of new build energy production on the planet. This is one of the few good news stories for government to take practical action on climate change.
The political conversation has now rightly moved from questions relating to subsidising limited government programs, to economy wide reforms. RPC sees political credibility now relies on more than general statements of support and long term targets. A practical plan for how our politicians and the elected government will lead the largest industrial reform of our generation is now overdue.
This forum looks to hear from candidates as to their vision on the transformation of the energy sector. What challenges they see ahead and what role they see federal government will play in this transition.
Below is a list of issues RPC has identified as roadblocks to the growth of our sector. Candidates may wish to consider these in their response. RPC would be happy to discuss any of these issues further with you if required.
Climate Change Policies
- "Stop the fighting" Multi-party support for climate change policy
- Carbon Emmissions targets leading to Net Zero by 2050.
- 2030 and 2040 target allowing industry to plan with certainty.
- Practical penalties for not achieving targets providing a clear signal for action.
- Federal government to take an active role in network planning for the transition to a Net Zero Grid.
- Support of an external federal body looking at driving investment into the network, based on the location of future renewable energy resources.
- Support of main-streaming the renewable industry; review and removal of all counter-policies that work against renewable energy projects.
- Allowing renewable energy projects to compete on an even playing field, including the removal of hidden subsidies for fossil fuel projects.
- Accurate costing of environmental damage in all energy projects including environmental, waste and clean up costs.
- Research into and recognition of the financial benefit new technologies provide the electricity network, and leading energy market reforms to value these contributions.
- Supporting Microgrid demonstration projects that help build resilience in the network and protect against extreme climate events.
- No subsidies for ageing fossil fuel infrastructure. Clear planning and stable policies allowing clear market signals for new infrastructure to be built.
Electric Vehicles (EVs)
- Planning for EV standards.
- Planning for Network upgrades to support EV charging requirements.
- Establishing Standards for Vehicle to Grid technologies.
- EV chargers mandated in new homes in Australia.
- Supporting a "Just transition" for workers in carbon intensive industries.
- Provide support for renewable companies to help staff improve skills and training as a strategic industry.
- Incentivise uptake of Electrical Apprenticeships with a focus on renewable skills and accreditation.
- Training of Solar Accredited Installers to be a priority training area.
- Break the CEC's monopoly on accreditation. Training and qualifications for solar. This should be the same as all other electrical qualifications and be administered by fair-trading. Multiple providers should be able to provide accreditation.