The Australian Labor Party (ALP) recently confirmed that, should it win the 2019 Federal election, the ALP will adopt the National Electricity Guarantee (NEG) and increase the NEG’s emissions reduction target to 45 per cent by 2030.
With the Coalition no longer officially pursuing the NEG, bipartisan agreement to the NEG with an increased emissions reduction target appears doubtful. Accordingly the ALP announced last week a series of alternative renewables policies to sit beside the NEG, including:
- injecting a further $10 billion in capital over five years into the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (established by the Australian Government to invest in renewable energy, energy efficient projects and low emissions technologies) to fund more projects
- establishing a $5 billion Energy Security and Modernisation Fund to upgrade transmission and distribution infrastructure across the national grid
- investing $206 million in ARENA for the purposes of assisting development of concentrated solar thermal projects
- allocating $200 million to subsidise the installation of solar batteries in 100,000 homes to encourage a shift away from large centralised power plants to more locally generated electricity
- investing $100 million to create a Community Power Network and 10 community power hubs across the country
- commissioning an Electricity Modernisation Review to ensure the National Electricity Market is meeting the needs of 21st century consumers
- establishing a Strategic Industries Taskforce, including a Strategic Industries Reserve Fund of $300 million over three years, to explore the specific challenges and opportunities in each emissions intensive, trade exposed industry and identify options to support their future competitiveness
- introducing a domestic emissions trading scheme
- training displaced workers to be re-employed in the clean energy economy as a result of the expected transition from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy.
It is not clear to what extent the ALP will maintain the above policies if the NEG is passed. Much will presumably depend on in what form the NEG survives if the Federal ALP is elected.