Australian energy policy goes back to the future with renewables

Intro

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has revealed he will use his upcoming appearance at the Energy Conference in Shanghai to highlight the Turnbull Government’s renewed enthusiasm for clean energy. After overseeing a 31 per cent drop in renewable investment under the Abbott government – which also relentlessly attacked the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) – Hunt now says the CEFC and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will be heavily investing in battery storage technology capitalising on Australia’s natural competitive advantage in roof-top solar. The Climate Council notes that half of all households may adopt solar systems with battery storage 2018, which would make Australia a battery storage leader with a domestic market potentially worth $24 billion. That Australia has the potential to become a renewable energy superpower is a no brainer. What is needed now is for the Turnbull government to stop mollycoddling the Liberal right wing with soothing sounds of a coal-rich future, and show its new love for renewables is true by reforming Australia’s energy system to capitalise on the huge and economic and environmental opportunities that await.

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Key Points

  • Renewables offer an immense environmental, economic and employment opportunity for Australia. The question is not if the world will transition to cleaner energy, but how long it will take. Despite having one of the best renewable energy resources in the world,  Australia has been on the back foot in the global energy stakes, and fighting to keep its economy strong with its renewable arm tied behind its back. Australia has the third-richest concentration of wind and solar energy potential per square kilometre which, when multiplied across our large and sparsely populated land mass it means we also have the third-largest absolute amount of wind and solar energy resource. Inaction and delayed action will result in missing this key economic opportunity, after much time and investment was lost with the Abbott government’s ideological crusading.

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Key Quotes

  • “Over the next two decades more investment is expected to flow to renewable energy and efficiency solutions than development of coal, gas and oil combined, even under ‘business as usual’ conditions. Nations with abundant, low cost energy will be considered the superpowers of the renewable energy era.” – BZE CEO Dr Stephen Bygrave
  • “It’s really important that the traditional players in the industry see this as an opportunity instead of a threat […] If they see it only as a threat, that will put back Australia [from] potentially being a leader in the uptake for up to a decade, and I’m not sure we as a country these days can afford to put ourselves in a position where we’re a laggard, when we could be a leader.” – The Climate Council’s Andrew Stock

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