The Federal Government's 2017 review of its approach to climate change is an opportunity to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy to transition Australia to a zero emission energy sector in decades to come, the Clean Energy Council said after the release of the review's terms of reference today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said while national targets had been set for reducing emissions out to 2030, there were still no policies in place to achieve them beyond the end of this decade. This includes the current national renewable energy policy which has a target that would be reached in less than four years’ time, he said.

“Long-term renewable energy policy is essential to provide investment signals that will continue to attract capital from both local and international investors. The majority of Australians support the shift towards renewable energy, and the rapidly-falling cost of both renewables and storage makes these technologies an obvious choice to reduce emissions in the energy sector.

“While renewable energy is the lowest-cost type of energy which can be built today, it is competing against old coal-fired power plants which were built by taxpayers many decades ago. While many of these will close in the decades to come, a national energy strategy is needed to minimise the impact on local communities, power prices and energy security.

“A mechanism such as an emissions intensity scheme would be a meaningful move towards meeting national emissions targets and dealing with climate change.

“The terms of reference which have been set for the review provide enough flexibility to consider a broad range of policies alongside the Federal Government’s existing framework.

“In the absence of national, coordinated renewable energy policy beyond 2020, many individual state governments have filled the void by introducing their own more ambitious targets to attract jobs and investment. National leadership in energy policy is clearly necessary to ensure the transition to a zero emissions electricity sector is managed in an efficient way.

“The energy security blueprint being led by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel will also be an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the reform of the energy market. We look forward to working closely with the Federal Government on the review in the months ahead,” Mr Thornton said.

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