Politics preventing Australia’s switch to 21st Century energy

Politics is the only factor standing in the way of Australia’s transition to a modern electricity network, powered by renewable energy and storage technology, according to a new report released by the Climate Council today.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the synthesis report ‘Powering a 21st Century Economy: secure, clean, affordable electricity,’ shows there is widespread agreement among experts that there are ‘no technological barriers’ stopping Australia’s move to clean, affordable and secure energy.

“The nation’s leading energy experts, scientists and major authorities are all in agreement - Australia is ready to switch to a modern grid, powered by renewables and storage. However, the only thing stopping this is political will,” she said.

“Already major economies including California, Germany and Spain are all actively transitioning to more flexible and modern grids powered by renewable energy and storage technologies.”

Climate Councillor and energy sector expert Andrew Stock also pointed to states and territories across the nation pushing ahead with the transition to renewables and storage technology, in a bid to achieve secure and reliable power, while also tackling climate change.

“South Australia is a global leader and is investing in solar PV, solar thermal, pumped hydro storage, and the world’s largest lithium ion battery. Others like the ACT, followed by Victoria and Queensland, are now rolling out large-scale renewables such as wind and solar,” he said.

“There’s no disputing it - fossil fuel technology is obsolete, expensive and unreliable. In fact, Within 10 years, over two thirds of our coal plants will be over 50 years old. It’s time to look to the future with an energy system fit for the 21st Century.”

Key Findings Include:

  • Major authorities, the CSIRO, AEMO, Finkel Review are highly consistent in their findings that there are no technical barriers to Australia achieving secure, reliable power from a very high proportion of renewable electricity.
  • Within a decade, over two thirds of coal plants in Australia’s National Electricity Market will be 50 years 
or older, technically obsolete, unreliable and costly to maintain.
  • Ageing coal and gas electricity infrastructure is vulnerable to increasingly severe weather events influenced by climate change.
  • Wholesale energy prices are rising due to rising gas prices and on-going national policy uncertainty undermining future energy investments.
  • Renewable energy is now the cheapest form of new power.
  • A modern grid powered by diverse renewable energy and storage can provide secure, reliable, clean and affordable power for Australians.

Stock said the only thing holding Australia’s energy grid back is the ongoing climate and energy policy deadlock.

“You wouldn’t try and salvage a broken down, 50 year old clunker of a car - so why is our government attempting to do the same with old coal fired power stations?

“So much energy is wasted debating issues of yesteryear while the rest of the world has moved on. It’s time for the Federal Government to stop playing politics and start moving on our renewables future, not the solutions of the past.”

For more information please contact Media Advisor Alexia Boland on 0430 511 068.