Feb 01, 2017 - 2:20pm
Additional support for storage technologies to back renewable energy is important, but the government is still failing to detail a path to a national policy that will provide security, affordability and emissions reduction to the Australian energy market, The Climate Institute said today, following the Prime Minister’s National Press Club address.
“Support for storage technologies that can support renewables is a positive step towards achieving net zero emissions in our electricity system,” said The Climate Institute’s CEO, John Connor. “However, the government is continuing to ignore the reality that the greatest threat to energy security, prices and emissions reductions is the lack of a long term national strategy to modernise and decarbonise our energy system.”
“Without such a credible, stable, long-term policy framework, the reality is that there is no certainty, and the investment required will continue to flow to other countries, such as China,” he said. “While we continue to ignore the sober reality that the greatest levels of energy investment globally are now in renewables, and that this is escalating, we continue to not only put our country’s future behind the eight ball economically, but continue to threaten the affordability and security of energy for our people and businesses.”
Mr Connor said that, in this light, part of such a policy framework necessitated a plan to get to net zero emissions by mid-century, in line with Australia’s international obligations.
“A failure to plan to achieve net zero emissions, and to plan an orderly and staged transition to clean energy – which is now inevitable – is a failure to plan for the economic prosperity of Australia’s future, a failure to play our role in international climate change efforts and, ultimately, a failure to provide affordable energy to the Australian public into the future,” he said.
“The Prime Minister made reference to the potential role of ultra supercritical coal and carbon capture and storage. It is clear that ultra supercritical coal, without carbon capture and storage, won’t cut it in modernising and decarbonising our electricity system - it’s emissions are still higher than gas, and analysis by business groups shows there is no economic reason to invest in this technology, absent significant government subsidy.”
Mr Connor said that there is ample research and analysis that shows strong, stable climate change and energy policy is the best way to ensure continued and cheaper energy affordability over the long term.
“Modelling for the AEMC (Australian Energy Market Commission) was one such example that clearly shows credible carbon policy would deliver lower energy prices over the long term, whereas business as usual – making no changes – would not,” he said.
Mr Connor said the government today gave a nod to storage and renewable technologies, as well as a wink to coal with carbon capture and storage, but provided no real guidance on a long term national strategy which would be the best guarantee for affordable, secure and zero emission energy.
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