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How Does the Federal Government's Energy Plan Stack Up?

Federal, State and Territory energy ministers are expected to discuss the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) at the upcoming COAG Energy Council meeting on Friday 24 November. The Federal Government put forward the NEG proposal after deciding not to adopt the Finkel Review’s recommendation of a Clean Energy Target.

The Energy Security Board has projected that the Federal Government’s NEG would result in 28-36% renewable energy by 2030, which falls woefully short of where we need to be. The Climate Council has assessed how 28% renewable energy in 2030 performs on renewable energy, climate and jobs.

So, how does 28% renewable energy stack up?

Less renewable energy than business as usual.

The Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee is projected to deliver as little as 28% renewable energy by 2030 (Energy Security Board 2017). This is less than the level of renewable energy under business as usual as modelled by the Finkel Review (35% renewables in 2030) and Ernst & Young (34% renewables in 2030) (Finkel Review 2017; Climate Council and EY 2016).

To ensure reliable and affordable power, sufficient new clean electricity supply needs to be brought online in advance of coal closures. Through its reliability mechanism (the Reliability Guarantee), the NEG locks in continued reliance on ageing and unreliable coal power stations, places a cap on new low cost wind and solar and does not provide any incentive for new power generation capacity to be brought online after 2020.

Inadequate pollution reduction from the electicity sector.

At 28% renewable energy by 2030, the NEG will not even achieve the electricity sector’s pro-rata share of Australia’s emissions reduction target.

The Finkel Review (2017) found 42% renewable energy in 2030 was the level required to meet the electricity sector’s pro-rata share of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target.

A minimum of 50% renewable energy by 2030 is the bare minimum required to cut pollution in line with action on climate change, and to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees C (ClimateWorks 2017).

Australia will miss out on thousands of jobs in the electricity sector.

1. When compared to business as usual, 28% renewable energy in 2030 would mean:

  • 6,600 less net jobs in the electricity sector than business as usual (8% lower employment). This reflects fewer jobs in large-scale wind and solar farm construction and operation.
  • Less net jobs in the electricity sector in NSW, Queensland, and South Australia.

2. The NEG projection was also compared to 50% renewable energy by 2030, this is considered the minimum required for Australia to have a credible climate change policy. When compared to 50% renewable energy, 28% renewable energy in 2030 would mean:

  • 20,000 less net jobs in the electricity sector compared with 50% renewable energy (32% lower employment). This reflects fewer jobs in large-scale wind and solar farm construction and rooftop solar.
  • Less net jobs in the electricity sector in every state.

3. The 28% renewable energy NEG projection would result in negligible large-scale wind and solar construction from 2020 onwards. As large-scale renewable energy projects are generally located in regional and rural areas, these areas would be impacted the most. The modelling projected no new coal capacity constructed during the 2020s, with some additional gas capacity added during the late 2020s.

For key facts & figures as well as references please click here.


READ MORE: New modelling shows under the NEG, energy jobs will be reduced by thousands.


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