Greens push for 90% renewable energy target by 2030

Action on climate change is getting a serious push from the Greens who are calling for the creation of a new government authority to help Australia reach a 90% target for clean energy by 2030.

Along with the creation of this new authority, the Greens have also placed a $1bn transition fund for coal-sector workers at the centre of its energy policy, which has been unveiled ahead of the next federal election.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale, told ABC’s Insiders: “The market’s already telling us that people are looking for alternatives, countries are looking for alternatives.

“We could be a renewable energy powerhouse. We could be attracting new industries, advanced manufacturing, carbon fibre; that’s what’s at stake here. It’s cheaper now to build wind power than it is to build coal fired power and it will soon be cheaper to build solar as well, so this is something that’s happening right now.”

While the party has already been pushing to ensure that Australia sources 90% of its energy from sustainable sources by 2030, the new policy document talks about how this target can actually be achieved.

Proposal for a new green authority: RenewAustralia

The policy proposes the setting up of a new $500m authority, which will be known as RenewAustralia. This authority would “plan and drive the transition to a new clean energy system to leverage $5bn of construction in new energy generation over the next four years”, reported The Guardian.

The authority would deliver a 15-year pipeline of renewable energy projects through direct investment and reverse auctions for the construction of lowest-cost assets.

This would work with existing agencies, such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the CSIRO, as well as new energy companies to bring clean technology innovation through to commercial use and ready for export.

$1 billion clean energy transition fund

To help make the transition from non-renewable sources easier, the Greens have also proposed the creation of a $1bn clean energy transition fund. This would help coal workers and communities adapt, and the implementation of pollution standards to enable “the gradual, staged closure of coal fired power stations” starting with Hazelwood in Victoria.

According to the policy document, the energy regulator would have the power to order the decommissioning of power generators once a station exceeded the set pollution limit. However, transition plans and the adjustment fund would “ensure no coal worker is left behind”.

The cost of the plan could would be met using the following means as suggested by the Greens:

  • reintroduction of a carbon price

  • abolition of fossil fuel subsidies

  • changes to superannuation tax concessions for high income earners.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said the party also wanted to double the country’s energy efficiency by 2030.

Di Natale said the ambitious plan would “power the new economy and create thousands of jobs”.

The government’s current renewable energy target is set at 23 per cent by 2020. Labor has committed to ensuring 50 per cent of Australia’s energy comes from renewables by 2030.

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