States threaten to go it alone on clean energy target

States threaten to go it alone on clean energy target
State energy ministers are threatening to do their own deal on a clean energy target if the Federal Government fails to endorse Chief Scientist Alan Finkel key recommendation at today’s COAG energy council meeting.

The states said that if Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg was unable to commit to a clean energy target at the meeting, they would ask the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to step in.

“Enough is enough,” South Australia’s Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said. “The Federal Government must endorse Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s recommendation to implement a market mechanism that drives investment in new generation, or the states will do it for them.

“I have spoken to colleagues in other states and if no progress is made on Friday, I will request that the AEMC model how a Clean Energy Target would be implemented.”

Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the government had to make a decision.

“If the Federal Government isn’t going to get on with it, which appears to be the case, then it might be up to the states to again drive energy policy,” Mr Bailey told the ABC.

“The Victorian Energy Minister and I have had discussions about this and it might be worth getting the Australian Energy Market Commission to do some design work, requested by the states, given the Federal Government is frozen on energy policy.”

State Labor governments in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT announced they were committed to having zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

“We have all committed to reducing our emissions to net zero by 2050,” their leaders said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The debate was in full swing yesterday with Craig Kelly, who chairs the coalition’s climate and energy committee, claiming that some Australians will die this winter because renewable energy is driving up power bills.

“People will die,” Mr Kelly told ABC radio.

Mr Frydenberg said any state-based solution would not work and would be counter-productive.

“Well, that does not make sense because one of the things Dr Finkel pointed out was that we have to have a national approach,” Mr Frydneberg told ABC radio.

“We’ve only received the report a month ago from the chief scientist and it’s appropriate that we have our internal considerations.

“There have been lots of issues raised with the modelling around Finkel, and so we’re not prepared to commit either way.”

The Coalition had adopted 49 of Dr Finkel’s 50 recommendations.

The clean energy was the most contentious one and it was not adopted following a revolt in the party room. However, this apparently is still under consideration and will continue to be analysed in consultation with stakeholders.


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