Design limitations in Australian renewable electricity policies
Renewable electricity is pivotal to the medium and long-term reduction of Australia's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, if deep cuts in them are eventually implemented. This paper examines the effectiveness of the principal existing policies that could potentially promote the expansion of renewable electricity (RElec) in Australia: the expanded Renewable Energy Target (RET); the proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS); and the state and territory-based feed-in tariffs. We find the effectiveness of RET is severely eroded by the inclusion of solar and heat pump hot water systems; by the inclusion of 'phantom' tradable certificates; and by high electricity consumption growth. We also find that the ETS will not produce a high enough carbon price to assist most RElec technologies before 2020; and that most of the feed-in tariffs exclude large-scale RElec and will give little assistance to small-scale RElec because they are mostly net tariffs. Unless there is a major revision of its RElec policy mechanisms, Australia will fail to reach its renewable electricity target and in particular will fail to build up its solar generation capacity which could be a major source of future deep cuts in the country's electricity generation emissions.
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