Bipartisan support urged for national clean energy policy

Australia's Clean Energy Summit 2017.Australian Clean Energy Summit 2017.

State and federal politicians called for agreement on a clean energy policy when they met at Sydney’s Clean Energy Summit this week.

While finer points are still in contention, it was agreed some form of clean energy action is urgently needed to end current uncertainty.

With the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) finishing in 2020, speakers noted the importance of reaching bipartisan agreement on a new policy.

The reform package proposed in the Finkel Review was generally regarded as the best way to reach effective renewable energy targets.

Barnaby Joyce and Bill Shorten in rare agreement

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce called for a “bipartisan position” from all political parties.

Sydney at night

Sydney’s power-hungry cityscape could depend on a clean energy policy. Image: Pixabay

In response, Labor Leader Bill Shorten said the federal opposition would work with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on a Clean Energy Target (CET) as specified in the Finkel Review.

Mr Shorten said: “When you look at what’s at stake, failure isn’t an option. We need to find a way through the politics.

“I think there have been enough battles . . . let’s go and find the middle; the common ground, the sensible centre,” he added.

Strong backing at conference for clean energy policy

Greens leader Richard Di Natale expressed strong support for clean energy reform, saying the politics of solar and battery storage are winning people’s minds.

“The lack of a plan has meant uncertainty for the industry and driven up power prices. We leave the market unchanged at our peril,” he said.

NSW Resource, Energy and Utilities Minister Don Harwin told the conference that renewable energy helped keep the lights on during February’s heatwave.

He said: “We need to end what can be referred to as a culture war and let economics and engineering guide the future of energy. We just want clean, reliable and affordable energy.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio restated her government’s support for the CET, following a COAG Energy Council meeting of state and federal energy ministers last week.

The Australian Clean Energy Summit is being held at The Hilton in Sydney from July 18-19.