The Australian Greens have committed to a renewable energy target for Australia of at least 90 per cent by 2030, and to create a $1 billion fund to transition the nation’s energy sector away from coal.
In the party’s new energy roadmap to be released on Sunday, known as Renew Australia, the Greens also promises to deliver an electricity grid in 2030 that twice as efficient as it is now, and deliver a 15 year pipeline of clean energy projects through a combination of reverse auctions and direct investment.
The target is far more ambitious than those of the mainstream parties, which agreed to reduce the 2020 target for renewable energy to the equivalent of around 23.5 per cent. Labor has since a 50 per cent target for 2030, although it has not stated how it would achieve that, while the Coalition has yet to announce any post 2020 targets. Former prime minister Tony Abbott described 23.5 per cent as “more than enough.”
Under the Greens plan, the party would establish a $500 million government authority, itself called RenewAustralia, that would drive the transformation, with the goal of leveraging $5 billion of construction in new energy generation over the next four years.
This new authority would work alongside Australia’s existing industry drivers, the Greens say, including the CSIRO, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, while also working with new energy companies to bring clean technology innovation right through to full deployment and ready for export.
The Greens would also introduce pollution standards, that would drive the “gradual, staged closure” of Australia’s coal power plants, starting with Halewood in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley – the electricity sector’s single biggest polluter.
The plan also includes driving down renewable energy costs and creating a skilled, clean energy workforce through a staged pipeline of construction projects over the next 15 years.
“Transitioning to clean energy is the key to unlocking Australia’s economic potential and combating global warming,” said Greens leader Richard di Natale.
“While both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten talk about tackling climate change, they have locked us into the industries of the last century, supporting coal and vested interests.
“Charting a course for a more confident, prosperous and healthy Australia needs much more than empty rhetoric, it needs real leadership. RenewAustralia is not just an ambitious vision for our country, it’s the blueprint for making it happen,” he said.
Australian Greens deputy and climate spokesperson, Larissa Waters, Australia could, and must, transform one of the dirtiest energy systems in the world to one of the cleanest.
“Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t deserve to be applauded simply for not being Tony Abbott. If Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t take anything stronger to the UN Climate Summit than Tony Abbott’s pathetic emissions targets then it will be a disastrous failure of leadership,” said Senator Waters.
• Ensure that energy generation is at least 90% renewable by 2030 and double our energy efficiency by 2030;
• Establish a new $500 million government authority – RenewAustralia – tasked with planning and driving the transition to a new clean energy system to leverage $5 billion of construction in new energy generation over the next four years;
• Create a $1 billion Clean Energy Transition Fund to assist coal workers and communities with the transition;
• Implement pollution standards to enable the gradual, staged closure of coal fired power stations, starting with Australia’s dirtiest – Hazelwood.