National Energy Guarantee's impact on the New England up in the air

NEG UNVEILING: It's a thumbs up from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce (centre) during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (right) and Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg (left). Photo: SMH.
NEG UNVEILING: It's a thumbs up from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce (centre) during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (right) and Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg (left). Photo: SMH.

The Clean Energy Target has been scrapped with the Coalition unveiling a new energy policy – the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) this week.

But a local renewables advocate is questioning where the model will leave community energy projects and why there is no solid evidence to back it up.

Armidale-based Starfish Initiative Executive Director Adam Blakester said now was an opportunity for the government to recognise the importance of community energy.

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“There’s no federal government policy that supports community energy, to my knowledge, at all,” he said.

“It’s not on the radar of the federal government at all and Barnaby’s electorate in the New England is one of the most active community energy regions in Australia.”

There’s no federal government policy that supports community energy, to my knowledge, at all.

Adam Blakester

The Turnbull government insists its new model has clean energy targets in mind despite NEG requiring more coal and gas-fired power generation.

“The government believes that renewable energy will play an important role in Australia’s energy future,” a spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told The Express on Thursday.

“But we also want to do everything we can to make energy more affordable for households and businesses … while also meeting our international commitments by putting in place an emissions guarantee.”

Starfish Initiative Executive Director Adam Blakester.

Starfish Initiative Executive Director Adam Blakester.

Savings on household energy bills could start as low as $25 a year, or 50 cents a week – a figure that’s been slammed by the Opposition.

LED and solar community energy projects can save households and businesses around 10 to 20 per cent a year, Mr Blakester said.

“It’s huge, it really is huge,” he said.

“The Coalition are saying it’s (NEG) going to save money but no one has seen modelling behind that to be able to review it and check it.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the government “haven't done their homework”.

The Coalition are saying it’s (NEG) going to save money but no one has seen modelling behind that to be able to review it and check it.

Adam Blakester

“They can’t back up their numbers,” he said.