Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has locked in federal Labor’s commitment to 50 per cent renewable energy for Australia by 2030 at an event in Sydney today.

Mr Shorten told those assembled at international consultancy Bloomberg New Energy Finance that Australia had the potential to be the “energy capital of Asia” with growth that could set up the country for the next century.

But he said that policy uncertainty continued to cripple the country’s chances to make the most of its natural renewable energy advantage, creating jobs and investment along the way. Labor’s preferred mechanism to deliver its target is an Emissions Intensity Scheme (EIS), designed to bring on cleaner forms of power generation.

The appearance follows an Essential poll this week that showed two thirds of people supported the expanded target for renewables such as wind and solar.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton called for more collaboration between the Federal Government and the Labor party, but said the absence of long-term energy and climate policy had left a vacuum beyond the end of the decade.

“We have just had a discussion about government support for new coal plants, when Bloomberg New Energy Finance has found that the cheapest power generation it is possible to build today is wind and solar,” Mr Thornton said.  

“We need to move the discussion from a political face-off between different power generation technologies and onto the strategic changes we need to make today to ensure a reliable grid tomorrow. In the absence of Federal Government policy, the federal Opposition is developing its own platform, as are the various states and territories.

“The whole energy sector is calling for the government to get on with the challenging task of energy market reform and the development of a credible national energy strategy,” he said.