NEG energy plan has negligible impact

Malcolm Turnbull NEG Energy Emissions

A new analysis from energy market analysts RepuTex shows the Turnbull Government's National Energy Guarantee (NEG) will have no impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

This comes from ambitious state emissions targets rendering the NEG effectively useless in the fight against climate change.

Queensland has a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 and Victoria 40 per cent by 2025. Meanwhile, South Australia has nearly met its 50 per cent target.

The NEG, introduced in October last year, aims to keep emissions 26 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This is in accordance with the Paris Agreement under which Australia has committed to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, building on the 2020 target of reducing emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels.

  • 2005 was a year of unusually high emissions, greater than those of 2000, making the difference in target between 2020 and 2030 less than it seems.

  • If the 2020 target were rewritten for 2005 levels it would be a 13% decrease, rather than 5% although the emissions reduction would remain the same.

  • Additionally, the climate council notes that Australia’s goals are not ambitious enough:

     “To have a good chance (75%) of staying below a 2°C rise in global temperature Australia would need to reduce emissions by 60% by 2030 on 2000 levels “

The RepuTex analysis shows that with state emission targets, Australia will reach a 29 per cent reduction below 2005 levels already without the NEG, meaning there will be a complicated restructure for no environmental benefit.

RepuTex research director Bret Harper said that the “arms race” for renewable energy between states is well underway.

“Unless the target is more ambitious than where emissions are projected to be without the NEG, there is little need for the administrative complexity of the scheme,” he said

The NEG aims to tackle the energy ‘trilemma’ of affordability, reliability and emissions. However there has been widespread criticism of the guarantee to effectively combat any of these perceived problems.

The NEG is timed to enter force during a period of falling energy prices in order to minimise public resistance to the change. The Australian Energy Market Comission, forecasts the fall to begin in mid 2018 to 2020 due to the entrance of new generation capacity into the market, much of which is due to renewable energy.

Last year set a record for the development of renewable energy due to investment in large-scale projects to meet the Federal government’s target of 23.5 per cent renewable energy by 2020 as set by the RET.

However, Australia’s annual emissions continue to rise, with an increase of 0.7 percent last financial year to 550 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.