Australian Sugar Milling Council CEO, Dominic Nolan, today expressed great concern regarding recent media reports that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is under threat of being abolished.
“The Renewable Energy Target is critical for current and future investment in Australian sugar milling, providing a level of certainty and confidence, vital for the future prosperity of the industry”, Mr Nolan said.
“Australia exports 80% of the raw sugar we produce and almost all sugar is priced openly on the global market; we live and die on our ability to compete internationally and our performance on cost of production”.
Significant wind back or removal of RET would put the Australian sugar industry at a disadvantage against international competitors who have major revenue sources through diversification supported by a positive government policy framework in renewables and other bio-products.
Mr Nolan said “Sugar millers entered into the RET Review assured by government that the process would be impartial and transparent.
“However, today’s media reports indicate the RET is under threat, regardless of the evidence that the scheme is beneficial for consumers.”
All detailed publically released modelling, including the modelling commissioned by the Government’s own RET Review Panel, demonstrates the RET has:
- A minor impact on household electricity bills;
- Driven down wholesale electricity prices; and
- will continue to drive down wholesale electricity prices, resulting in lower retail electricity prices compared with removing or reducing the RET.
The Queensland Competition Authority’s annual electricity price determination has clearly demonstrated that RET is only 3 – 4% of household electricity bills in 2013 and 2014; and that price increases would have been higher over the last two years without the RET. In comparison, Government owned distribution and network costs are around 47% of the bill, and retail costs are around 23%.
“Australian sugar mills have invested $300 million over the past 5 years, with more than $1 billion to invest in coming years – but only on the basis that there is a strong, credible Renewable Energy Target intact”, Mr Nolan said.
“The RET was introduced and expanded with bipartisan support. Our investment brings accompanying regional development, industry security and a boost to regional economies.
We must return to clear and broad support to allow investment to continue and ensure genuine competition in the electricity market”.