The Coalition government’s renewables-killing National Energy Guarantee (NEG) is doing at least one good thing - it’s uniting businesses, homeowners, and renewable energy groups behind stopping this terrible new plan.
The Smart Energy Council has joined #Repower partners Environment Victoria, Australian Conservation Foundation, GetUp, and Solar Citizens in fighting it. Late last week groups held a “flash rally” in Melbourne to coincide with the COAG meeting and voice opposition to the NEG.
Solar Citizens is concerned about the low renewables benchmark that is set out in the NEG, and thousands of supporters have emailed the federal, state and territory governments calling for a national plan that supports clean, renewable power with storage.
GetUp’s Miriam Lyons told the gathering that the emissions guarantee was guaranteed to not cut emission at all and that the NEG blocks new renewable energy capacity.
“Getting clean energy policing is a journey that has become a saga,” she said, “The NEG plan is to cut pollution to less than what we are doing today.
“The states have set fantastic targets but if they are replaced by the NEG we get more coal and more pollution.
“We are calling on all states to reject the NEG.”
The last three words became the chant of the peaceful protest group as it may its way toward the COAG meeting venue, which was heavily guarded by a line of policemen.
Miriam later tweeted her thanks to the hundreds of people who rallied for #CleanEnergy energy outside the COAG meeting of energy ministers, adding “Any National Energy Plan that doesn’t grow renewables and cut pollution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on! Reject @TurnbullMalcolm’s do-nothing NEG!
“With the final design of the NEG still months away, it is certainly not a done deal,” Acting CEO of The Climate Council wrote.
“To be clear, if the NEG is implemented in its current form, we risk seeing Australia’s renewables and battery storage boom grind to a halt, thousands of jobs lost, and billions of dollars of investment stalled. And making matters worse, the NEG will do nothing to cut Australia’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels or tackle climate change.
Environment Victoria has identified 3 key issues to look out for regarding the COAG Energy Council meeting:
1. Will Federal and State ministers agree to progress a National Energy Guarantee that boosts clean energy investment across Australia?
- There are enough renewable energy projects already under construction or in the pipeline to exceed the targets under the NEG.
- Unless targets are increased, the NEG will do little to drive investment in additional clean energy.
- Cleaning up the electricity sector is also very important to also deliver clean electric transport, industry and buildings.
2. Will ministers agree to ensure emissions targets can be ratcheted up as needed to limit global warming?
- Australia has joined the rest of the world (except Donald Trump) in agreeing to limit global warming to 1.5-2 degrees this century. This will require Australia to lift its currently woeful target to levels the climate science demands.
- Based on the targets put forward by the Turnbull government, this would make it next to impossible for Australia to play its role in achieving the goals of the Paris agreement. Low ambition in the electricity sector also puts more burden on other sectors to clean up the economy.
- Will the Federal Coalition maintain bipartisan support for a NEG that becomes more ambitious than what is currently being discussed? Or will they just re-start the climate wars to score political points?
3. Does the policy set a floor not a ceiling on ambition? If states aim higher than Federal targets are they penalised?
- Victoria has been seeking to make itself a climate leader by setting a 40% renewable energy target by 2025 and net zero pollution by 2050.
- The benefits of this position are starting to flow. Billions of dollars of investment, more jobs and less pollution. This needs to be allowed to continue without Federal interference.
More info: https://environmentvictoria.org.au/2018/04/20/coag-rally/