Renewable Energy Economy

To achieve this, a Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Ensure that at least 50 per cent of the nation’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy by 2030;

  • More certainty and flexibility with less red tape and more technology options for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation;

  • Invest $206.6m in ARENA to support a specific Concentrated Solar Thermal funding round;

  • Invest $98.7m to establish a Community Power Network and Regional Hubs; and

  • Ensure the Federal Government leads by example as a direct purchaser of renewable energy.

Climate change is driving the most profound restructuring of the world economy this century – the transition from fossil fuel based energy to renewable energy. The transition is happening now and it is accelerating. With the right plans, the renewable energy sector provides immense opportunities: it will drive jobs creation, drive manufacturing investment and put downward pressure on power prices for families and small businesses.

Labor understands the fundamental importance of renewable energy and the massive opportunities this transition brings. A strong renewable energy sector must be at the centre of Australia’s response to the challenges of climate change. This will create jobs, drive investment and push down power bills for families and small businesses.

The Liberal Government has done everything in its power to try and destroy Australia’s share in one of the world’s fastest growing industries with devastating consequences for our country. In the last two years more than two million renewable energy jobs were added to the global economy, but over the same period 2,900 jobs were lost in Australia.

50% of electricity generation by 2030

Labor Government will engage with industry, experts, investors, scientists, researchers and consumers to put in place the most appropriate policy settings for the period 2020-2030. Labor in Government will announce the proposed design details by 1 October 2017 with legislation governing post-2020 arrangements to be introduced to Parliament in late 2017. This process will ensure that Labor implements the best mechanism to achieve 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Is 50 per cent renewable energy target achievable?

Yes. Depending on assumptions about electricity demand in 2030, 50 per cent of renewable energy is likely to require 1500-2000 MW of large-scale renewable energy generation to be built each year in the 2020s.

By way of comparison, Australia built 1000MW of wind power in 2013. In the past two years, China has added about 50,000MW of renewable energy each year. Labor’s plan for renewable energy is ambitious, but achievable. The cost of renewable technology continues to come down and Labor’s policy will create many thousands of jobs and attract billions of dollars in investment.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)

Labor will also restore flexibility to the CEFC by broadening the Investment Mandate to make it technology neutral and setting appropriate targets for investments. We will also provide certainty in that Investment Mandate by locking it in for the full course of the next term of Parliament.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

Given the turmoil created by the Liberal government for ARENA over the past three years, including significant cuts, Labor will work with the newly appointed Board based on the core principles and original intent of ARENA.

In addition, to assist in catching up on the lost opportunities over the duration of the Abbott Turnbull governments Labor will inject $206.6 million for a specific Concentrated Solar Thermal round of funding.

“Our continent is blessed with some of the greatest renewable energy assets in the world. We have the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world. We are also one of the windiest places on earth. We must harness the power of these natural assets to grow our economy”

Community Power Network

Labor will develop a Community Power Network to deal with the challenges of implementing renewable energy solutions in social and community housing, rental properties and apartment-style living. The Network will oversee the development of Community Power Hubs that will work in communities to support the development of local projects to address local needs.

The Community Power Network will:

  • be a solution broker;

  • develop a series of regional hubs;

  • bring legal and technical expertise to the passion of community ideas;

  • provide start-up funding to help kick-start clean energy projects across Australia; and

  • develop an online community of ideas and support.

Leading by example

The Federal Government is a significant energy user and it can play a role in expanding Australia’s renewable energy industry. To directly drive investment in renewable energy, a Labor Government will, from 2018, work with energy providers to enter into Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) equal to bringing Commonwealth energy use up to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. These would be 10-15 year contracts, and would provide the certainty needed for long term investment in the renewable energy sector.

WHY?

With $2.5 trillion to be invested to 2030 in renewables in the Asia Pacific region, what we need is a Government that is focussed on capturing the jobs and investments from this opportunity. In 2015, new renewable energy investment outstripped combined investment in coal, gas, nuclear and hydro power for the first time globally. The shift to renewables is already happening and we need to position our country for a large share of the enormous jobs and investment opportunities that flow from a clean energy future.


Want more details?

Download the summary fact sheet here 
or download the full policy document here.