The Federal Government’s new Energy Green Paper is a welcome contribution to the discussion on the future of Australia’s energy sector, the clean energy industry says.
"Anything that contributes towards a mature discussion of energy policy is a good thing," Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said.
"Our system for generating and delivering energy is undergoing a huge transformation that presents both challenges and opportunities, and it is encouraging to see the Energy Green Paper acknowledging some of these.
"It is absolutely critical we take a long-term perspective on the best way of delivering the cleanest, lowest-cost and most reliable electricity to Australian households and businesses."
Key to achieving the Green Paper's objectives will be Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET).
"The RET has already played a significant role in transitioning Australia's energy sector from one that is dominated by a few fossil fuel generators to one that is decentralised, efficient and clean," Mr Thornton said.
"But to fully realise this, we now need to consider other factors, including the orderly retirement of coal-fired power stations that are at the end of their lives. More thought is also required on how to remove market barriers to clean energy technologies and on how to support innovation."
Mr Thornton said the renewable energy industry was keen to work with the Federal Government to help design a response to the numerous issues the energy sector faces.
"Survey after survey has shown that Australians want to transition to a power system that is much less dependent on fossil fuels, generates fewer emissions, and provides protection against electricity price rises.
"But this isn't going to happen without strategic and co-ordinated leadership from governments.
"And it will be unachievable if the Federal Government chooses to accept the recommendations of the Warburton review to slash the Renewable Energy Target."
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