Ministers could back work on energy target

25/09/2018 Posted by admin

Labor’s energy spokesman, Mark Butler, says there’s no “quick fix” on the National Energy Guarantee.The Turnbull government won’t get the full support it craves for its National Energy Guarantee this week, but there could be a commitment for more detailed work.

Victoria and the ACT won’t sign off on the cornerstone energy policy at a meeting of energy ministers in Melbourne on Friday, but will use it to address concerns about elements of the framework.

The Business Council wants in-principle agreement from all parties so detailed design work can continue.

“The guarantee is the only workable option at the table,” chief executive Jennifer Westacott said on Thursday.

“Supporting the guarantee is about supporting a circuit-breaker for a policy that has dogged this country for a decade.”

That’s a call echoed by New South Wales energy minister Don Harwin who is encouraging his state and territory counterparts to get on board.

The Energy Security Board released high level technical documents, supplemented by a federal government report, last week, but some ministers say the information is not detailed enough to give them the guarantees they need.

The detailed design document is expected in July and Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said her state won’t sign off on it sight unseen.

She wants confirmation from federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg that state emissions and renewables targets that are more ambitious than the NEG will be honoured and included in future solutions, and for targets to be scalable.

Victoria is aiming for 40 per cent renewables by 2025.

The current guarantee locks in a 26 per cent emissions reduction target for the electricity sector until 2030, the low end of Australia’s Paris Agreement commitment of 26-28 per cent reduction on 2005 emissions levels by 2030.

Ms D’Ambrosio and Western Australia’s energy minister Ben Wyatt have both questioned what that would mean for sectors including transport, agriculture and industry, where abatement is not as cheap and easy as for electricity.

The low ambition emissions reduction target is one of five points of contention for the ACT, while Queensland has also identified a renewables target of 50 per cent by 2030.

Federal Labor’s energy spokesman Mark Butler said the policy framework needs more work before anyone can make a final decision.

Labor wants a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and 45 per cent emissions reduction target by the same deadline.

The current proposal would legislate a 26 per cent energy reduction target for the electricity sector.

Ministers will hold a dinner on Thursday night before formal talks on Friday, which was the original target deadline for the decision.

The federal government is now aiming for sign-off at the next Energy Council meeting in August.

Australian Associated Press

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