The Turnbull government announced on 17 October 2017 its national energy plan which will significantly change Australia’s energy and emissions reduction policy. The plan was designed by the Energy Security Board and does not support a ‘clean energy target’, which goes against the recommendations of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market chaired by Dr Alan Finkel. Further, it has agreed to stop granting renewable energy subsidies and will instead focus on ensuring sufficient reliance on fossil fuels to maintain energy security by mandating a minimum level of base-load electricity generation to be sourced from coal and gas.
The government has stated that Australia will still be able to achieve its target of reducing emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 (its ‘nationally determined contribution‘ under the Paris Agreement). It intends to rely on the decreasing cost of clean energy and technological improvements in electricity storage to increase the uptake of renewables. However, modelling undertaken last year suggests that the federal government’s current suite of ‘direct action’ climate change policy will be insufficient for Australia to meet its international obligations.
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