As the Federal Government hints it might step away from a clean energy target, the Goulburn Valley Environment Group believes the target would improve certainty and remove barriers to solar investment in the region.
GVEG energy spokesperson Terry Court said the clean energy target, among a raft of recommendations handed down by chief scientist Alan Finkel, was ‘‘a sound way of managing this transition to a carbon less economy’’ and a vital component of the Finkel report.
‘‘We should introduce it and we should not waiver,’’ he said.
He said such a target would give industry incentive and offer a sound policy foundation to facilitate substantial investment.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told an energy summit on Monday the government was considering its new policy against a backdrop of the rapidly-falling cost of renewables and storage, greater efficiencies being found in thermal generation and the need for power which can be delivered according to the market’s needs.
A new poll shows nearly three-quarters of Coalition voters think the policy is a good idea.
The Australia Institute polling found almost four in five people said the government should introduce a clean energy target to encourage the construction of new clean energy sources.
But the clean energy target recommended by Dr Finkel was unpopular with conservative MPs, who do not want more subsidies for renewables and favour government support for coal-generated power.
‘‘I notice the Coalition has taken on all Finkel recommendations other than this one,’’ Mr Court said.
‘‘I think they’re being driven by some very conservative and naive elements of the Coalition government,’’ he said.
‘‘And some of them are complete and utter climate change deniers.’’
In a speech in London this week, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said climate change may be doing more good than harm.
Mr Frydenberg’s response was blunt: ‘‘Climate change is real.’’
Mr Court said an opportunity existed for bipartisan agreement on a target.
‘‘(A target) that might not be as ambitious, but one that can certainly help provide a sound foundation for investment,’’ he said.
He said large industry wanted the introduction of a clean energy target ‘‘so they know where they’re going’’.
A positive for such a target locally, was several large scale solar instillations being planned for the region, he said.
‘‘If we can get some policy certainty here, more installations will be constructed,’’ he said.
‘‘So they can make that investment. (At the moment) it’s holding back investment.’’
— with AAP