We need bipartisan support for a new energy blueprint

09 Jun 2017

9 June 2017

The recommendations outlined in the Finkel Review demand bipartisan support, says the nation’s green building authority.

The Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market has found a Clean Energy Target is the most effective mechanism to reduce emissions while supporting energy security and reliability.

Dr Finkel also recommends a system-wide grid plan to inform network investment decisions and ensure security, and a new Energy Security Board to drive implementation of the “energy blueprint”.

“The built environment is looking for consistent energy policy instead of a political football, which it has been for far too long. And the time to end this is now,” says the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.

“We face a huge challenge in Australia – to place downward pressure on electricity prices and ensure security of supply while we transition to a low-emissions future.

“We’ve made a commitment to the Paris Agreement, and that means reducing our emissions to limit global warming to well below 2˚C. We cannot afford any more delays to policies and programs that will help deliver that goal.”

Under the blueprint outlined by Dr Finkel, the proposed Clean Energy Target would reduce electricity prices while requiring 42 per cent of power be generated from renewable sources by 2030.

“The proposed Clean Energy Target underscores why we must capitalise on the untapped opportunities within Australia’s built environment,” Ms Madew says.

“Buildings currently account for almost a quarter of our national emissions, but the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has found that buildings can reach zero carbon by 2050, deliver healthier, more productive cities and save $20 billion using technologies that exist today.

“ASBEC’s Low Carbon, High Performance report has found that just five years of delay in implementing opportunities to reduce emissions in the buildings could lead to $24 billion in wasted energy costs,” Ms Madew adds.

The GBCA welcomes the blueprint’s focus on demand management, “because smarter energy use is the fastest, cheapest way to cut energy bills and reduce our environmental impact”.

The GBCA also welcomes the range of recommendations to support distributed energy resources, and Ms Madew says the GBCA “looks forward to working across government to establish a legislative and regulatory environment that supports more innovative energy generation solutions”.

Critically, the blueprint also establishes an accountability framework to support the ambitious recommendations.

“Annual public reporting to COAG on priorities and progress against a strategic energy plan will help build business and public confidence that the transition to a world class national electricity market is indeed in progress.”

“This Blueprint provides a roadmap towards a triple win: for consumers, business and the environment,” Ms Madew says.

“While the devil is undoubtedly in the detail, industry makes investments based on certainty. We need politicians to deliver on policies that last longer than the current political cycle.

“And that means getting behind the recommendations of the Finkel Review to deliver bipartisan energy policy for lower prices, a secure energy market and a sustainable and resilient future for current and future generations.”