State and federal energy ministers need to work towards a strong and comprehensive long-term climate and energy strategy if a robust 21st century energy system is to be a reality, according to a briefing paper released by the Clean Energy Council today for the COAG Energy Council meeting.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton called for an end to the political point-scoring, which was threatening to once again derail stable bipartisan progress towards a low-carbon energy future.

In addition to calling for a stable, long-term plan to lock in investor confidence, the briefing paper for ministers in the COAG Energy Council also calls for greater collaboration and coordination of policy and regulatory frameworks.

“While Australia’s energy market and associated systems have served Australia very well, they were designed decades ago. It is now time to accelerate reforms that will lay the groundwork for a 21st century energy system,” the paper says.

“As demonstrated by a joint statement released yesterday by a coalition of peak bodies including the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Energy Council and the Clean Energy Council, it is impossible for business to invest with confidence in an environment of such political hostility over key planks of energy and climate policy,” Mr Thornton said.

“The joint statement recognises that Australia is in the middle of an energy transition, and that collaboration across the aisle is needed to overcome the challenges that are a natural part of that process.”

The Federal Government has criticised the different state renewable energy targets recently and called for the schemes to be harmonised with the Commonwealth Renewable Energy Target (RET).

However, it is important to recognise that the state schemes are being introduced to provide greater investment certainty, particularly in the period beyond 2020 when the Commonwealth target peaks.

The COAG Energy Council briefing paper says the renewable energy industry would welcome harmonisation of renewable energy policy throughout the country, so long as it:

  • Recognises the importance of confidence and certainty for investors and not negatively impact investments made to date
     
  • Builds upon the stronger ambition set by some states and jurisdictions, particularly in the period beyond 2020
     
  • Sets a much longer-term national policy that ensures the industry has a stable and strong development pipeline and avoids boom-bust scenarios.

The full briefing paper is available on the Clean Energy Council website.

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.