Australians say no to National Energy Guarantee emissions target

Greenpeace report on G20 renewable energy use.Greenpeace.

The majority of Australians have said no to the National Energy Guarantee emissions target.

A poll commissioned by Greenpeace shows 70 per cent of Australians want the government to set an ambitious renewable energy target to help put downward pressure on electricity prices.

The Reachtel phone poll, conducted July 30, asked 3,999 Australians their views on voting preferences and a range of renewable energy issues.

Sixty per cent of respondents also agreed that by 2030 energy sources such as solar power and wind will provide the majority of Australia’s electricity.

Poll shows support for rooftop solar installations

Poll shows Australians say no to National Energy Guarantee emissions target.

Poll shows Australians say no to National Energy Guarantee emissions target. Image: Pixabay

The results put additional pressure on the Turnbull Government to amend its National Energy Guarantee (NEG). The policy, to be debated Friday, is criticised for its low – 26 per cent – emissions target.

Asked if rooftop solar installations are an effective way of reducing electricity bills, 78 per cent of respondents agreed. This included 72 per cent of Liberal voters and 77 per cent of National Party voters.

“Australians want lower electricity prices and the way to achieve that is to get more renewables in the energy mix,” said Greenpeace’s Dr Nikola Casule.

“Unfortunately, Turnbull’s NEG goes against both market realities and the desire of the Australian people – why attempt to strangle such a popular technology?

“For Labor Premiers like Andrews and Palaszczuk, dragging their heels on ruling out the NEG makes even less sense given their states’ strong commitment to renewables.”

National Energy Guarantee emissions target ‘meaningless’

Critics of the NEG emissions target want state and territory governments to hold out on signing the policy.

These include former Clean Energy Finance Corporation Oliver Yates.

Last month, Yates told the Guardian states and territories should not agree to the NEG in its present form because it was “meaningless”. He said stakeholders should wait until it contains higher emissions reductions.

“It’s absolutely of no benefit to the national transition away from emissions,” he said.

Renewable energy industry to feel NEG-ative impact

The Smart Energy Council also believes the policy will have negative impact on the renewable energy industry.

The Council says the Coalition must commit to slashing carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030. Failing that, “the National Energy Guarantee must be axed”.

Meanwhile, the Climate Council recently claimed the NEG emission s target will put a handbrake on the renewables boom.

However, there is support for the NEG from sectors of industry. BHP’s Australian chief Mike Henry says the policy will bring about certainty in investment.

Henry told the SMH last week that the NEG will act as a framework for investment and provide certainty. He called on Labor to support the policy “in the national interest”.