The climate change minister says Australia’s energy supply will be secured through a faster transition to renewables, but the “safety net” capacity mechanism will not affect the emissions reduction target.
The government will also continue to legislate for its 43 percent emissions reduction target by 2030, despite the opposition saying it will not support it.
Chris Bowen wants faster progress to transform Australia’s energy sector but says state governments will have flexibility in guaranteeing electricity supply.
“This is a huge transformation that we need to work hard on,” he told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.
“We need the capacity mechanism to help us do that, to provide that safety net as we engage in this very important transformation to a much more renewable economy.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said companies welcomed the government’s commitment to renewable energy as they needed policy certainty to invest.
The government was determined to have good policies to deal with the existing challenges rather than “a smooth head that lasts 24 hours,” he said.
“We’re bringing people together to provide that investment security going forward,” Mr. Albanese told reporters in Hobart.
“I’m going to lead a government that makes a difference and doesn’t just put out a press release.”
A proposed capacity mechanism is being discussed by the state and territory energy ministers with their federal counterparts to ensure the reliability of the power supply during the transition period.
But the design of the mechanism is still in progress.
“We all want (a capacity mechanism) to support storage; we all want it to support new technologies and the massive transformation to an 82 percent renewable grid that the government is committed to,” said Mr. Bowen.
The government will set its emissions reduction target, which Mr. Bowen said would not be affected by using coal and gas as a safety net.
The Liberals would not support the government’s efforts to legislate the target, opposition leader Peter Dutton confirmed on Tuesday.
But at least two liberals are unhappy with their leader’s approach and have said they will vote with the government on the issue.
A two-pronged approach to the target should be considered, Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer told The Guardian.
NSW Senator Andrew Bragg said he would “be guided by investor views” when considering his support for the legislation.
Meanwhile, independent MP Zoe Daniel said that rather than becoming obsessed with a number, it’s more important to take action to achieve emissions reductions.
In the run-up to the May election, Ms. Daniel campaigned for a larger emissions target and proposed 60 percent reductions, along with other teal independents.
Taking action under pressure from independent MPs could put Labor overboard, Ms. Daniel told Sky News.
“Let’s focus on being ambitious rather than hitting a certain number,” she said.
Michael Fullilove, director of the Lowy Institute, hopes the election will end Australia’s ‘climate wars’.
“Australia can’t just stop global warming, and we can’t bring stability to this region, but in both cases, we can make a meaningful contribution,” he told the National Press Club.
He praised a move by the government to conduct a risk assessment of the impact of climate change on national security.