Is The Australian Government Ignoring its Citizens on the RET?
With Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) still in danger of being cut, a new poll shows that nearly 90 percent of Australians support the RET.
Or, as Twitter user Caspar Fairhall puts it:
Naturally, with this strong showing of support, many are left wondering.
Liberal National Party senator Matt Canavan took to the internet to explain his position, saying that Australia already has a major surplus of renewable energy. Essentially, he argues, by keeping the RET, in place, the rich get richer.
“The RET costs the average family about $50 a year now; in a few years that will probably rise to $150 a year, or half a carbon tax but without the compensation,” he wrote. “Every time you open the fridge, the little white light will come on to remind that you are paying for rich investors to make money in renewable energy stocks. Australia’s renewable energy policies could simply be titled ‘Robin Hood visits Bizarro World'—they steal from the poor and give to the rich.”
Naturally, this was met with criticism. Director of Public Affairs for Vestas KenMcAlpine tweeted:
McAlpine pointed to Twitter user Kristan Kringloshi’s noting that the Abbott government’s RET review claims the RET can actually be met.
Canavan responsed, saying:
Some believe that the proposal to cut the RET is indicative of a deeper problem.
Critics of the Abbott government’s approach to renewable energy believe it starts with the man himself.
“Since taking office, Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott has worked to dismantle every policy designed to confront climate change in his country,” wrote Steven Lacey of Greentech Media, in his labeling of Tony Abbott as the number five Clean Energy Turkey of 2014. “Abbott has blamed renewable energy targets and the country's former carbon tax on high power prices in the country. However, the government has admitted that renewables only make up 5 percent of consumers' bills and the repealed carbon tax only made up 9 percent—while 51 percent goes to network charges due to an overbuild of electricity infrastructure.”
A supporter of the RET or not, one thing is clear: the Australian people are speaking, but the government—at least at the top—doesn’t seem to be listening.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.