In a major development today, the federal government has announced it will underwrite the costs of building 9GW of storage and 23GW of renewable generation. Federal energy minister Chris Bowen has used the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council meeting being held in Perth as an opportunity to announce an extension of the “Capacity Investment Scheme”, whereby the risk for new investments in renewables is shared between investors and taxpayers.
Friends of the Earth responded by saying “This is a huge step towards Australia moving away from it’s addiction to fossil fuels.
“It will help us to radically cut climate pollution from our energy system while keeping the lights on and reducing energy costs. We know that old coal fired power stations are becoming increasingly unreliable and costly to run. This plan, which will be delivered in cooperation with the states, should facilitate a big build of grid scale wind and solar power and make sure there’s dispatchable energy available when it’s needed”.
The scale of the build out of renewables and transmission lines required to meet these targets will require robust and transparent assessment of proposed projects. With both onshore and offshore projects, natural environments must be protected. Renewable energy must be located on suitable sites, away from high conservation areas. Companies must be forced to apply best practise consultation with traditional owners and affected regional communities.
This is good news for workers and regional communities. Jobs and investments will be delivered across many parts of the country, and will build confidence in the industry, and provide a secure foundation for investors, workers, and regional communities.
Sadly, the federal Coalition remains locked into a deluded, unworkable and unpopular policy which is focused of the development of a domestic nuclear industry. However the majority of Australians want governments to get on with the technology that works now – renewable energy and storage.
What is in the proposal
- the Albanese government will radically expand a taxpayer-underwritten scheme to support new clean power generation and storage capacity, acknowledging it is needed to meet its objective of Australia running on 82% renewable energy by 2030.
- the scheme involves the government underwriting new investments in renewable generation and storage through “contract for differences” that share the risks between investors and taxpayers.
- the government will underwrite 32 gigawatts of new electricity, consisting of 9GW of storage and 23GW of variable renewable generation.
- fossil fuels, including fossil gas-fired power, will not be eligible.