Renewable Energy in Australia: Policy, Regulation, and Institutions

2018-11-26T21:26:45Z (GMT) by Muyi Yang Suwin Sandu Wenbo Li
This paper assesses the policy, regulatory and institutional settings for renewable energy in Australia. This assessment is premised on the following arguments: a) the extent to which renewable energy is likely to contribute to electricity defossilisation will be largely determined by the efficacy of the policy, regulatory and institutional settings; and b) most of the existing discussion on renewable energy is neglectful of the significance of these settings. The assessment suggests that the overall policy, regulatory and institutional settings for renewable energy in Australia are characterised by a lack of political constituency for redressing climate change challenge, thereby piecemeal policy for promoting renewable generation, significant regulatory uncertainty, and limited institutional capacity. The assessment also suggests that this lack of political constituency is primarily a reflection of the broader electricity and socio-economic policy settings, which have historically favoured cheap and abundant indigenous coal for power generation, to serve wider socio-economic priorities and agendas. In such environments, issues of climate change have assumed a dormant role. Hence – inefficacious policy, regulation and institutions for promoting renewable generation.