A proposed Clean Energy Target (CET) could be the answer to Australia's energy woes with a better deal for consumers and business than the current Renewable Energy Target (RET) or Labor's proposed Emissions Intensity Scheme (EIS – "Carbon Tax").
Dr Alan Finkel is Australia's top scientist and even though some have called him a "climate alarmist" today he delivered a surprisingly balanced report (in my opinion) to the government outlining a proposed way forward to solve the ongoing energy debate.
More importantly, Dr Finkel's plan for a CET seems to be a commonsense approach to cleaning up our emissions in general by encouraging cleaner energy usage through rewards rather than punishing everyone through taxes.
Don't get me wrong this deal still sucks, but the way the political stalemate is at the moment it's difficult to see a sane way forward without some compromise from both sides of the climate change debate.
For those of us who think climate change is an overblown hysterical ideology, the CET is still silly – I mean, committing to the Paris Climate Change Agreement was stupid and this doesn't negate that. However, at least there's an effort under the CET to kerb the rise in power prices for consumers whereas the current position of uncertainty and the growing threat of Labor reintroducing the Carbon Tax is far worse.
Finkel also focuses his energy review on the security of Australia's energy supplies through a range of measures to ensure power producers are accountable for a reliable supply of electricity in the future. How bad did South Australia stuff up!? We don't want this basket case of energy roulette to become the trend around the country so something needs to be done.
Disappointingly, Labor leader Bill Shorten seems certain to play political ideology games once again with the Finkel Energy Review and its proposals. The ALP has a tin ear when it comes to hearing the hurt everyday Australian's are suffering as they endure unprecedented hikes in electricity prices. Shorten claims that we'll all be better off "in the future" if we go down his EIS road. The thing is there's no proof at all this will be the case and I don't buy the, "take the hurt now to be better off later" mantra. Deep down we all know the real reason for Labor's energy policy is to appease its green faction.
When it comes to the political right, I do understand where Tony Abbott is coming from with his calls to scrap practically everything about the climate change set-up although, in reality, a compromise like the CET is probably the best we can hope to get so let's take it.
Our country needs to get over the climate change BS debate and settle on something concrete so businesses and everyone else can have certainty in regards to energy consumption.
The political environment in Australia is far too fragmented at the moment – people don't have a clue who to vote for or why they should – and I predict we'll see more policy instability in general as the move away from the major parties continues.
Look, if we must go on a virtue signalling journey for the sake of "being seen to do good" by forcefully increasing our renewable energy we should at least give what we can afford instead of going bankrupt both physically and morally.
Perhaps we just have to take our two lumps of coal and a sip of green energy tea in order to overcome our dull climate change headache to stop it becoming a fully blown power crisis migraine.
If you are interested in reading the Independent Review on Australia's Energy Market by Dr Finkel go here to the Govt's page and download the PDF (I recommend reading the snapshot only to avoid falling into a catatonic state).
Postscript: 12th June 17
Since releasing this short article, I have read some more and listened to a decent amount of commentary about Dr Finkel's report and it's obvious to me now that I had jumped the gun with wishful thinking enthusiasm in regards to the merits of this energy plan (the CET).
Labor's plan to have 50% of Australia's energy by 2030 coming from renewables (solar and wind) is ridiculous but the Finkel suggested target of 42% is not much better. Logically, the money to pay for the cost of renewable energy to meet these aspirational targets has to come from somewhere so pitched against fossil fuels it still means consumers will be paying much more than necessary for their electricity. In other words, power prices under this proposed CET is still going to grow at an unaffordable rate for most households and small businesses albeit slightly slower than under Labor's scheme.
Two words… Coal & Gas.
These two sources of energy should be Australia's focus over the next several decades to reduce our skyrocketing electricity prices and try to halt the degradation of our living standards before it's too late.