The Greens have launched a pitch to increase Australia’s renewable energy target to 90 per cent by 2030 and tip an extra $20 billion into Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, but have rejected an earlier move to an emissions trading scheme being considered by cabinet.
Greens leader Christine Milne said on Monday the party wanted to see all of Australia’s electricity come from renewable energy sources as soon as possible. She said the first step should be to increase Australia’s renewable energy target to 90 per cent by the end of the next decade. The target is currently set to ensure 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewables by 2020.
A study by the Australian Energy Market Operator, released in April, found moving to 100 per cent renewable energy was technically feasible but would come with significant costs and challenges. It found moving to 100 per cent would cost up to $338 billion and require wholesale electricity prices to double from current rates. The operator did not compare these costs with other scenarios, including business as usual.
Asked whether a move to 90 per cent renewables in effectively 15 years was realistic, Senator Milne said: ”When the 20 per cent renewable energy target was set for 2020, people said it was way ambitious, it wouldn’t be able to be achieved.
”But once you put in place a road map, then the technology development and business got behind it and you have seen the rollout very fast.”
The Greens also want the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – which was set up as part of a deal between Labor and the Greens on carbon pricing – to receive an extra $20 billion over 10 years. That would lift its overall funding to $30 billion.
Senator Milne said the Greens proposed the extra money would come from borrowings.
The finance corporation on Monday announced its second deal – investing $50 million to help New Zealand government-owned Meridian Energy to refinance its debt in the Macarthur wind farm in south-west Victoria. The debt refinancing came ahead of Meridian selling its share in Macarthur to Malaysian energy company Malakoff Corporation.
The Coalition has vowed to scrap the finance corporation alongside the carbon price, and says it will not honour any contracts the corporation signs between now and the election.
Senator Milne also criticised considerations by Labor on ending the carbon price’s three-year fixed tax period early and moving quicker to an emissions trading scheme with a floating price and international linkages.
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