A new ReachTEL poll, commissioned by The Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy Program, asked residents of the electorates of Hunter and Shortland about energy policy, including government investment in coal, renewables and the Liddell coal power station.
Strong majorities in the coal electorates (61% and 57%) preferred government investment in renewables than in coal (32% and 36%).
Question: Which would you prefer the government to invest in, coal or renewables?
In the division of Hunter, the electorate in which the Liddell power station lies, more respondents supported the AGL decision to close Liddell (49%), than the Turnbull Government intervention to force the company to sell or keep open the plant (39%).
Question: Energy company AGL has announced that in 2022 it will be closing its Liddell coal-fired power station in the Hunter Valley in NSW, because it is 50 years old, and it plans to replace it with a mixture of renewable energy. Do you support AGL’s decision, or should it be forced to keep the coal power station open or sell it?
“Keeping an ageing 50-year old coal plant open is last thing that should be the focus of our debate if cheaper prices and reliability are the goals,” Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist said.
“AEMO did not recommend keeping Liddell open. Its annual report is actually a guide for where the opportunities for investment lie.
“For cheaper prices, reliability and to meet emissions reduction targets that focus should be on demand management, renewables, storage and a ‘smarter’ grid.
“Voters also want a clean energy target, and they want an ambitious one, with 45% in both electorates polled supporting a RET of 50 per cent by 2030, or more, of all electricity generation.
“This polling shows it is not just the experts, voters in coal electorates think government intervention with Liddell is a bad idea too.
“A political obsession with coal puts Australia at risk of missing out on the renewable energy investment and jobs boom,” Oquist said.