Customers of ERM Power will be disappointed to learn that their electricity retailer has chosen to pay a penalty rather than support the development of renewable energy in Australia, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said ERM Power had made a decision to pay penalty rates for its failure to meet obligations under the Renewable Energy Target (RET), rather than supporting new renewable energy projects.

“All electricity retailers have a range of obligations when selling electricity in Australia. Ultimately failure to meet obligations under the RET is like deciding to demolish a heritage-listed building and then paying the resulting fine,” Mr Thornton said.

“While it might be in the private interest of the developer, it is at distinct odds with the law and the public interest. Other major retailers are taking steps to ensure they purchase certificates from the spot market or enter into long term contracts with renewable energy project developers.

“There are no excuses for this decision and I expect ERM Power customers will be surprised and disappointed to learn of it,” Mr Thornton said.

The national RET works to support new renewable energy projects, providing an additional financial incentive that translates to jobs and investment in regional Australia. Unfortunately these economic benefits do not materialise if energy retailers simply ignore the requirements of the scheme.

Mr Thornton said ERM Power is a major energy retailer which holds contracts to supply power to big customers such as the New South Wales and Queensland Governments.

“These governments and other customers should be asking why ERM has made a decision not to meet their obligations or support renewable energy projects which will deliver major economic benefits to regional parts of Queensland and New South Wales,” he said.

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.