The source of the problem is the Renewable Energy Target Bill (RET) that specifies 20% of energy should be renewable by year 2020, which is an impossible objective, and very costly. Both Labor and the Coalition Parties promoted this bill, but now in retrospect we (at least some of the Coalition, and most of the community that pay electricity bills) now realize that the RET, which promotes solar and wind farms,is based on bunkum economics and should be rejected ASAP.
However, in principle, renewable energy is good stuff, at the right price. In Australia we have the Snowy River hydro scheme which provides electricity for NSW State and Tasmania has several hydroelectric schemes operational all providing valuable base-load electricity and/or available to be brought more into operation at short notice for peak demand.
In Australia about 75% of our electricity is generated from coal and lignite fired power stations at low cost compared to that from gas, solar and wind farms. There are no nuclear power stations yet, which is anomalous, considering we are a major producer of uranium ores which are exported.
So what is the sensible road ahead? Don't look to the Rio + 20 Earth Summit for the solution. The warmists are in disarray and now everybody realizes that their yearly Conference is just one glorified expensive junket of no worldly significance, except to organize next year's extravaganza, at tax payer's expense, in another exotic locale.
In my opinion, what should be done is for the Coalition to amend the RET bill by changing the objective date to the year 2200, (instead of 2020). This gives everybody another 200 years to develop renewable energy technology without the need of Government subsidies. There should be no subsidies for solar energy or wind farms.
What's the big hurry? Australia has enough known coal reserves to last a couple of hundred years without looking for more. What about "global warming" and the need to move to a "low carbon economy"? This is all bunkum and false propaganda promoted by the Greens, Labor and businesses that have invested heavily in the so-called Green economy, like US General Electric and many EU companies. I say Pox on them. In Australia we know better and will pursue our own path to prosperity, once we vote out this incompetent Labor/Green Federal Government, which will be ASAP. Allano