Top economist urges emissions intensity scheme for WA

emissions intensity scheme urged for WA by economist Ross Garnaut.Ross Garnaut. Image: The Conversation

Renowned energy economist Professor Ross Garnaut says Western Australia could lead the world with its own emissions intensity scheme.

Professor Garnaut advised Australian state and territory governments on climate change policy from 2007 to 2011. He was speaking at a public lecture at Murdoch University last week.

A “technology neutral” emission intensity scheme would also require energy producers to reduce emissions by investing in renewable energy, he said.

In addition, Professor Garnaut said WA could beat global competition by transitioning to high levels of renewable energy,

Australia is also the “natural home” for industry investment in residential solar power and solar storage batteries, he said, because Australia has some of the best clean energy sources available.

Energy research hub drives emissions intensity scheme

Murdoch University researchers are setting up a WA node to help state authorities and industry transition to a low carbon economy via solar batteries and clean energy.

Emissions intensity scheme for WA urged by economist Ross Garnaut.

Perth could become a global energy superpower with its own emissions intensity scheme. Image: Pixabay

According to Professor Garnaut, Western Australia could benefit from its own vast and diverse renewable energy, mineral, land and marine resources. In addition, It could play a vital role in the transition to a national and global carbon-free future.

“Its policy independence from the National Energy Market allows it to avoid legacy problems of high costs and unreliability in other states,” he said.

A WA emissions scheme would subsequently give leadership, especially as Australia now “wallows in incoherent energy and emissions policy”.

Push for renewable power in WA

Plans for an emission intensity scheme in WA are backed by the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA).

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen says WA should “go it alone” with an emissions intensity scheme.

“This would drive new investment in renewable energy in WA, which would, in turn, drive down the cost of power to consumers and make WA an investment destination for new energy-intensive industry,” he said.

“As Professor Garnaut points out, all recent modelling of energy markets in Australia has shown that increasing renewable energy will reduce the price of power.”

Mr Verstegen also urged WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt to seriously consider Professor Garnaut’s scheme.