The federal government’s plan to water down Australia’s Clean Energy Target, which sets a goal of 80 per cent renewables by 2035, has drawn criticism from the industry, and sparked debate over its impact on the country’s economy.
The federal Liberal government says the new plan would make Australia a clean energy superpower by reducing carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2030.
But it’s also a contentious issue in Australia’s energy sector.
The Clean Energy Review has estimated the Clean Energy target would require Australia to reduce its carbon emissions to below the 1990 level by 2050.
It’s a controversial policy that would reduce Australia’s coal use by 70 per cent in 20 years and could also affect the national economy by costing hundreds of millions of dollars over the long term.
In July, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Australia’s electricity generation capacity is forecast to increase by 9.6 per cent over the next four years, to almost 1.2 million megawatts.
But critics have warned that the Clean Power Plan would make it impossible to keep Australia on track to meet its targets.
The Clean Power plan is not a clean power plan, they say, and the Government has been forced to abandon its promises in favour of what critics say is a poorly thought out and poorly thought-out scheme.
Australia’s energy system relies on coal, oil and gas to power most of its electricity generation, and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are crucial to delivering those services.
However, the Clean energy plan has been controversial among some energy analysts, who argue it could threaten Australia’s economy by causing power prices to increase and putting further pressure on the price of gas and oil.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said the policy is a major step backwards for Australia and should be scrapped, and said it would harm the economy.
He also said the plan would damage jobs and the environment.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg defended the plan at the start of the year, saying it would make the country a cleaner energy superpower, and called for the Opposition to take back the initiative.
“The Clean Energy Plan is a landmark initiative, and we will ensure it will help ensure our nation’s economic success in the future,” he said at the time.
Labor leader Bill Shortens has said he will support scrapping the plan, but is not willing to commit to scrapping a clean electricity target if he wins the next election.
Frydenberg also dismissed the criticisms, saying the Government was “committed to supporting renewable energy”.
“We’re committed to the Clean Electricity Target, but we will look at any changes to the Target that we believe will improve its effectiveness and deliver the benefits it’s intended to deliver,” he told ABC News Breakfast.