Angus Taylor confirms government 'won't be replacing' renewable energy target
Advertisement

Angus Taylor confirms government 'won't be replacing' renewable energy target

Energy Minister Angus Taylor has confirmed the Morrison government will not replace the renewable energy target after it peaks in 2020, officially creating a policy vacuum that opponents say will stifle clean energy investment and lead to higher prices.

In question time on Tuesday, Greens MP Adam Bandt challenged Mr Taylor to extend the target until 2022 to avoid a disastrous plunge in renewables investment when the current target ends.

“The renewable energy target is going to wind down from 2020, it reaches its peak in 2020, and we won't be replacing that with anything,” Mr Taylor said.

The target involves the creation of tradeable certificates which encourage electricity from renewable sources. It aims for 23.5 per cent of Australia's energy to be sourced from clean sources such as wind and solar by 2020.

Advertisement

As prime minister, Tony Abbott wound back the scheme and as recently as last week reportedly agitated against it at a meeting attended by Mr Taylor.

Mr Taylor, who has campaigned against wind farms, said Australia will reach its target to cut emissions from the electricity sector by 26 per cent “without additional intervention”.

Mr Taylor has previously campaigned against wind farms.

Mr Taylor has previously campaigned against wind farms.

He said a 50 per cent renewable energy target in South Australia had led to some of the highest electricity prices in the country.

Labor’s pledge for a 45 per cent emissions reduction across the economy would mean “we will all pay more for our electricity,” he said.

“We are absolutely confident that in the absence of those subsidies, we will get the investment we need in the network,” he said.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel least year recommended the government adopt a 'clean energy target' to replace the expiring renewables target. The Coalition declined to adopt that recommendation, saying the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy meant subsidies were no longer required.

It instead developed the National Energy Guarantee, which proposed to address the so-called “trilemma” of energy affordability, reliability and emissions.

However Prime Minister Scott Morrison dumped emissions reduction from the government’s energy agenda following his ascension to the top job.

An annual index released on Tuesday put Australia in the bottom three ranking for environmental policy among wealthy nations.

The Center for Global Development's commitment to development index said the environment was “one of Australia’s weaker policy fields ... largely due to its poor performance curbing climate change”.

Loading

The government is now wholly focused on making energy supplies more reliable and affordable, including through the implementation of select recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s report into energy pricing.

Mr Taylor told Parliament the government would “back investment in fair dinkum reliable generation because that's what this country needs”.

It also intends to set a price safety net for all customers and stop “rip-offs from the big energy companies".

“We will drive prices down, that's our policy, those opposite will drive them up,” he said.

Advertisement