A comprehensive blueprint released this week by the Clean Energy Council details the policy levers necessary to supercharge a Power Shift to the energy system of the 21st century.

CEC Chief Executive Kane Thornton said taking advantage of Australia’s massive clean energy potential will allow the nation to modernize its energy system and cut emissions from the energy sector to zero by no later than 2050.

Ultimately this transformation would do much of the heavy lifting for Australia’s commitments under the global climate agreement reached in Paris last year, he said.

“Power Shift outlines a plan to cut pollution through the orderly closure of clapped-out old power stations and drive new private sector investment in cleaner, smarter energy technology,” Mr Thornton said.

“While they have served us well over many decades, some of our current power plants would be more at home in the Eastern Bloc than in an innovative country such as Australia. As these plants phase out, Australia can take advantage of our world-class sun, wind, waves and bioenergy that will deliver the lowest-cost form of new electricity generation,” he said.

Power Shift details a suite of strategic policy and regulatory measures to drive the transition from a high-emission power sector to an energy system powered by renewable energy, battery storage and efficient and smart technology.

Mr Thornton said Power Shift contained many actions that could be integrated by policymakers and regulators to pave the way for a modern energy system which creates a more competitive market and empowers consumers to generate, store and manage their own electricity use.

The Power Shift five-point plan for a 21st century energy system is as follows:

  • Ensure long-term and transparent carbon reduction targets that apply to the energy sector, recognising the important interaction between energy policy and climate change policy. This should facilitate the closure of Australia’s most carbon-intensive coal-fired generation over time.
  • Set strong and long-term renewable energy targets that ensure the continued and steady deployment of renewable energy. This can be achieved by an increase and extension of the Renewable Energy Target beyond 2020.
  • Innovation that delivers the next generation of clean energy solutions with appropriate institutions and support for R&D, demonstration, and innovative financing for the clean energy sector.
  • Smart regulation for a 21st century energy system that creates a competitive market and empowers consumers. Reform the energy market and current regulatory framework to facilitate greater competition, empower consumers and overcome the barriers to unlock the commercial opportunities to transition to smarter, cleaner energy technologies.
  • Cement public support by unlocking the benefits of renewable energy for local communities and consumers.

Power Shift: A blueprint for a 21st century energy system can be downloaded from the Clean Energy Council website.