CANBERRA – The Greens have announced plans to set up a new government agency to fund $5 billion of new energy projects and meet its ambitious 90 percent renewable energy target by 2030.
In the run up to the Paris climate summit, the minor party will detail Sunday its clean energy pitch to take to the next federal election to make Australia a “new energy superpower” and ensure no-one associated with carbon intensive industries is “left behind.”
The new $500 million agency, dubbed by the minor party as “Renew Australia”, would work alongside the CSIRO, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Australian Renewable Energy Agency and new energy companies.
Greens Energy and Treasury Spokesman, Adam Bandt
“This is about making Australia a new energy superpower,” Greens Energy spokesman Adam Bandt told The Huffington Post Australia.
According to the policy, Renew would work with the renewable energy industry to realise $5 billion of construction in new energy generation over the next four years.
“Renew Australia would drive the take up of renewables and also work together with the regulator for the phase out of coal fired power stations,” Bandt said.
Part of the current $9 billion a year spent on electricity infrastructure would be re-invested into a “smarter electricity grid,” one with a bigger focus on renewables.
“At the moment things are not moving quickly enough,” he said.
“The Greens believe that Government needs to grab this by the scruff of the neck and drive the transition we need in the time frame that we need.”
The plan, to be launched in Melbourne Sunday, includes doubling energy efficiency by 2030 and it is being driven by expectations that global energy demands will skyrocket over the next 15 years, even though local energy use has declined over recent years.
The Greens want Australia to reap the benefits.
“Energy intensive industries around the region and around the globe, who are looking for cheap clean energy, will come to Australia,” Bandt told HuffPost AU.
The policy builds on current Greens policy for a price on carbon pollution, a removal of fossil fuel subsidies, superannuation tax reform and an ambitious 90 percent renewable energy target by 2030; a figure far higher than what has been proposed by the major parties.
It also includes a $1 billion transition fund, to be spent over 15 years, to compensate coal industry workers and their communities for any move to shutdown old power stations and shift to clean energy in Australia.
“The principle behind this is no-one left behind,” he declared.
“In 2030, there would still be 10 percent of power generated by fossil fuels.” Bandt said. “We are hoping by that stage that there would be only be gas. There may be some coal left in the mix. Hopefully not.”
“This is not touching coal for export.”
However, within the plan is a bid to lift Australia’s electricity generation by one and half times by 2030 as long as virtually all of it comes from renewable energy sources.
“We want to see the electricity generation in Australia expand by about 50 percent,” he said. “That is a shift from us.”
The policy platform isn’t costed yet, but according to Bandt, it will be put under the scrutiny of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) as the next election, due next year, gets closer.
“We have already outlined a range of revenue measures and we will outline more as we get closer to the election,” he said.
“The money is there to pay for this at the moment.”
Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, who is launching the policy Sunday, will soon head to the Paris climate change summit.