The Finkel Review – What a few weeks it’s been, firstly President Trump pulls out from the Paris agreement on Climate Change, then Australia’s Chief scientist, Dr. Alan Finkel gives his verdict on our energy future and finally the price of electricity increases by almost $5 a week for South Australia, NSW and Queensland.
However, it is the ‘energy future’ review that I want to concentrate on for now as it holds some important glimpses in what Australia’s outlook will be for both energy sustainability and the prospect of ongoing energy costs.
The Finkel Review – a blueprint for the future
There aren’t many people outside of politics and the energy markets who would have been eagerly awaiting the release of Dr. Alan Finkel’s review, however, remarkably on the day it was released it became the most widely downloaded document on the Australian Governments website. If you want to read it for yourself then here is a link, otherwise read on and I shall attempt to provide a more succinct version for you.
What is the review all about?
In short Alan Finkel was asked to look at Australia’s energy future and come up with a report covering climate change, energy production and energy sustainability.
Why is it important?
It’s important because at the moment there is no clear plan for Australia’s energy future. If things do not change very soon our climate will continue to get worse and energy shortages for all states will continue to be a problem.
So what’s in the review?
A great deal actually and far too much to go into without sending you into a deep sleep. What is important though is his findings into energy sustainability and where he believes Australia’s energy should come from in the future … and it’s not coal! What Dr. Finkel has asked for is a ‘clean energy plan’, one that looks to incorporate technologies that will reduce our emissions and overall our effect on Australia and collectively Earth as a whole. He also discusses ways in which prices could be kept low for consumers of energy over the next 30 years and his plans include more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, large scale battery storage, gas powered power stations and hydroelectric schemes using stored water technologies.
Ultimately, Dr. Finkel recommends a clean energy target, one that can actually be adhered too and one in which all political parties can agree. He also acknowledged that part of Australia’s energy future is in the hands of individuals by installing solar on their homes and businesses and using battery storage to capture unused power.
How has this review been received?
In the first few hours after the reviews publication Tony Abbot announced that he would speak out against this plan. Various other party members, especially those in lower areas of power, have also offered their opinions that they too would not agree to this plan citing business issues and costs of implementation.
How the major political players have reacted?
Malcolm Turnbull immediately commented on the review and said he would be meeting with State and Territory leaders to discuss the various items Dr. Finkel has raised. Labor said it would work to implement the review as much as possible as long as ‘investor certainty’ was not compromised. The Greens insist that this review does not go far enough for what is actually needed.
So will the government implement this review immediately?
The subject of climate policy has ruined many a political leader, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull (first version) know only too well that business is both for a climate policy and against it equally. For a climate policy to work it also has to last beyond a governments term in office, it must be equally functional whichever party is in office and as we know, that is not likely to happen any time soon.
What are the chances of the Finkel review being adopted?
We can only hope that the various political parties actually take time to read and digest what the Finkel review suggests. However, already Malcolm Turnbull is suggesting that the review does not ‘form a barrier’ from coal fired power stations being built in future – the Finkel review makes it quite clear incentives should be given to renewable energies and gas systems, not coal.
The things that will now happen –
This review has made our energy future top priority with any ruling political party. It has also confirmed what many already believe and that is that our energy future is desperately in need of a boost. More investment needs to be made in all energy technologies if we are to see a reliable and sustainable energy future.
It has also brought to our attention that Australia’s Chief Scientist believes that renewable energy should play a big part in our future and that using both wind and solar technologies should be accompanied by energy storage solutions such as batteries.
In conclusion –
This is not going to happen overnight, in fact it will probably not happen for the foreseeable future. Reviews such as this will be the political footballs toyed with for a very long time. But really that’s not good enough is it? Also this week government scientists looking into the Great Barrier Reef have said categorically that if nothing is done NOW then the reef will die in less than 50 years. 50% of the reef is already bleached due to rising temperatures and its importance both to wildlife and for tourism to Australia should be an obvious incentive to resolve this immediately. It is clear that government does not have the power, money or incentive to do something about this, individual Australian’s and Australian businesses do, by converting as much as possible to renewable and sustainable energy sources and reducing our overall carbon footprint.
We want to see positive change throughout Australia in its use of sustainable technologies and as a renewable energy business we will continue to help Australian households and businesses convert to a more cost effective way of producing electricity. Providing energy independence now and for our future generations is of vital importance.
Your next step
With energy costs rising and the threat of blackouts always just around the corner it is wise to plan how you utilise your electricity for the best return. Positive Solar can help you find the right ‘Tier 1’ Solar System for your home and business and set you on the right road for ‘true energy independence’. Use the form below to contact us, or alternatively call us direct on 1300 793 315.