Smart carbon policy worth more than $200 per year to customers

Smarter carbon policy could save Australian households an average of $216 per year, while meeting Australia’s 2030 carbon targets.

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) today released a final report by Jacobs analysing alternate carbon policy options, along with ENA’s proposed 7 Steps to Smarter Carbon Policy.

ENA chief executive officer John Bradley said the analysis confirms if governments focus on outcomes rather than picking technology winners, Australia can meet the same carbon target while saving customers $216 per year and achieving economic savings of $900 million.

He said the call for technology neutral policy was no attack on renewable energy sources.

“If markets are allowed to work, each technology finds its efficient role. Jacobs saw renewable generation reaching the 33,000GWh target by 2020 in all scenarios examined and continuing to grow beyond 2020,” Mr Bradley said.

“If we have outcome focussed carbon policy, our power system is in a stronger position to support more renewable energy, while avoiding reliability and security risks for customers.”

The ENA also released Enabling Australia’s Cleaner Energy Transition, which includes proposed actions for the Australian Government in the review of carbon policy scheduled for 2017.

“We propose seven key steps for smarter carbon policy starting with securing enduring, nationally-integrated measures with more consensus,” Mr Bradley said.

“There is a pragmatic opportunity to allow carbon trading between electricity generators by building a ‘Baseline and Credit’ trading scheme on the existing Emissions Reduction Fund Safeguard Mechanism.

“If we can secure tangible progress with consensus today, we can review and tighten our carbon targets and refine emissions trading options over time.”

Mr Bradley welcomed the recent announcement by Australian energy ministers that they would commission an assessment of the impacts of diverse jurisdictional policies.

“Governments can achieve better integration of carbon policy if all their policies are focused on the same objective – carbon abatement,” he said.

“When it comes to meeting our emission targets, governments should ‘buy in bulk and save’. Policy fragmentation will cost customers hundreds of dollars per year without any benefit in reducing global warming.”

The Jacobs report and consultation on the proposed policy measures in Enabling Australia’s Cleaner Energy Transition will inform development of the forthcoming Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap by the ENA and CSIRO.