The change to the new government and the current energy crisis has triggered a state and federal agreement on Australia’s first clean energy transition plan.
Major global events such as the war in Ukraine, supply constraints and increased demand for energy as countries recover from COVID-19 have triggered a worldwide energy crisis characterised by skyrocketing prices. Our dependency on fossil fuels to generate electricity has driven the worldwide economy to historical levels of inflation (5.1%) and facilitated an unmanageable cost of living for many Australians. In NSW, for instance, it’s predicted that power bills will increase by around $273 per household. The crisis is so severe over east that some states are having to rely on ageing coal-fired power stations which are old, flooded or experiencing outages – and in fact, the new Resources Minister Madeleine King is calling for coal stations to come back online.
What’s the good news?
Fortunately, Australia’s new Energy and Climate Minister, Chris Bowen announced a National Transition Plan following an emergency meeting with state and territory energy ministers this week. Clean State joins scientists, energy experts, peak bodies and advocacy groups to welcome the announcement which will realise Australia’s potential to become a clean energy superpower. ‘Dirty energy’ produced with coal and gas can no longer be the foundation for our economy. Instead of going backwards and producing even more dangerous emissions, Australia can be a leading innovator, supplier and exporter of green power.
Politically, Western Australians are feeling a little smug – the state government’s domestic gas policy means large reserves are keeping the lights and heating on at affordable rates. Nevertheless, the WA problem is a big one as LNG exploration and exportation are destroying critical and pristine ecosystems and producing the country’s highest amount of CO2 emissions. The claims from some ministers that gas is needed to make the transition will quickly grow tired once we’re facing another energy crisis. The good news is renewables can mitigate exposure to fossil fuel price volatility.
It can only be renewable
As Clean State’s research shows green energy has multiple benefits – like boosting the economy, and creating a way to support emerging industries to be scaled through the development of a skilled workforce.
Australians deserve an energy transition that removes the risk of future price shocks driven by the volatility that has characterised fossil fuels for decades. The answer is stronger policy and incentives to help supply chains go greener, faster. We can’t put all our eggs in one basket – and if we don’t diversify our energy market, we’ll all be sitting in the dark.