Clean Energy Council launches election policy recommendations

Headshot of Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton wearing glasses and a suit
Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton

As Australians turn their attention towards the upcoming Federal Election, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has launched its Roadmap for a Renewable Energy Future: Federal Election Policy Recommendations, which urges Australia’s political leaders to commit to meeting the country’s domestic electricity demand with clean energy by 2030.

“Now is the time to exploit Australia’s natural advantages to bring down the cost of electricity for households and businesses and position the country as the innate home of energy-intensive industries in the Asia Pacific,” Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said.

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“Clean energy can create thousands of new jobs, empower consumers, bring economic activity to regional communities, lower power prices and create the smart infrastructure of the future that can cement Australia’s place as a global clean energy superpower. More renewable energy investment is crucial for Australia to prepare for the inevitable exit of ageing coal generators over the coming decade.”

The Clean Energy Council’s nine-point plan consists of the following policy recommendations:

1.      Electrify Australia: power the Australian economy and industry with wind, solar, hydro, bioenergy and battery storage.

2.      Empower customers and communities to make the switch to clean energy.

3.      Build a strong, smart, 21st-century electricity network.

4.      Maximise the creation of quality clean energy jobs and a local supply chain.

5.      Provide greater support and certainty for coal communities and industry as the phase-out of coal generation accelerates.

6.      Modernise Australia’s energy market and its governance for the clean energy transformation.

7.      Turbo-charge clean energy innovation.

8.      Decarbonise Australian industries using clean energy.

9.      Put Australia on a path to becoming a global clean energy superpower that exports renewable energy to Asia and beyond.

While state and territory governments have become the torchbearers of policy ambition for Australia’s clean energy transition in recent years, the Clean Energy Council argues that the Federal Government needs to take the lead on a strong and co-ordinated strategy to facilitate private investment in low-cost clean energy.

“Voters will back policy that promotes emissions reduction and, critically, the Australian business community supports an acceleration of Australia’s decarbonisation efforts,” Thornton said.  

“The signals coming from the private sector indicate the Federal Government’s latest policy statements on net-zero emissions are not enough. They are looking at short-term 2030 targets to drive immediate investment.

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“An electricity grid powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 will deliver emissions reductions based on 2005 levels of 44.5 per cent—and it comes with the upsides of jobs, investment and growth.

“This is just below the global average of 45 per cent—it’s not an ambitious or difficult target—it’s the low-hanging fruit.

“This is our golden opportunity that equals billions of dollars’ worth of private sector investment, tens of thousands of quality jobs, economic growth and new industries to help sustain regional communities for decades to come.”

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