At least half of Australia’s power should be delivered by renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydro by 2030, the Clean Energy Council said today when releasing its policy directives for the upcoming federal election.
Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said investment in the renewable energy and storage industries was at record levels, but national energy and climate policy is the missing link to allow a smooth transition from fossil fuels to clean energy – and to drive down power prices.
“The plunging cost of wind and solar has contributed to a record $20 billion worth of projects now under construction. This extraordinary momentum will only continue with strong and enduring federal policy leadership,” Thornton said.
“Federal politics has failed energy consumers. Leadership from the next federal government is essential to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy.
“The Clean Energy Council has developed a package of policy directives which will help keep the extraordinary momentum going in the sector and continue generating jobs and investment for Australians in regional communities.”
Thornton said we need to put away our big sticks and get serious about real reform of the energy market, policies to bring on more pumped hydro and battery storage, as well as strengthening our network of poles and wires.
“We should also begin planning the infrastructure to export renewable energy to the rest of the world through clean hydrogen and high-voltage DC cables. We are also calling on the next federal government to build on the incredible success of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation and extend the life of these critical organisations.
“Australian households have taken up rooftop solar in record numbers. There is now a clear role for the next federal government to ensure all new homes install solar power as well as supporting Australian households to install battery systems.
“A clean energy future is within reach, but we need effective planning and policy at the federal level to get there. We look forward to working with both the federal government and the Labor Party on developing policy, as well as providing advice to whoever wins the next election.”
The 10 recommendations from the Clean Energy Council’s policy directives are grouped into the following categories:
- Commit to a target of at least 50% renewable energy by 2030, as well as a zero-emissions electricity sector well before 2050
- Accelerate reforms and finance support to develop Australia’s electricity transmission network for a clean energy future
- Encourage the uptake of energy storage such as batteries and pumped hydro
- Maintain the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)
- Mandate solar power in all new homes
- Support innovation in finance, technology and integration. Extend the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)
- Commit to the development of a clean energy export strategy
- Support skills development to meet the needs of a growing industry
- Support the establishment of a battery manufacturing and recycling industry
- Develop a single national electrical safety body.