Distributive policy

Four urgent energy policy next steps for Australia’s 31st PM – Monash Lens

Climate change was clearly a major pivot in the recent federal election. The question had been on the minds of voters for some time, as polls over the past few years show, but more so, it seems, after the past two years.

Australians were eager to see action on climate even before the 2019 election. However, this time around we had bushfires and floods in quick succession, and little meaningful progress on climate and energy policy.

Is this the tipping point people have been waiting for? Are Australians finally accepting climate science and agreeing that we need urgent and rapid decarbonisation?

More than net zero by 2050, science tells us we need a 50% reduction from 2020 to 2030. This year’s election results show Australians have heard this and are eager to act quickly .

So how are we going to achieve these goals?

First, we would ideally adopt a cap-and-trade system that European policymakers have accepted and been reinforcing since 2008. The key objective here is the accelerated and orderly retirement of coal-fired power plants, starting with those that are the most inefficient and the most polluting.

However, if politics makes this difficult, the safeguard mechanisms can be strengthened and turned into a solid baseline and trade regime, which would be ideal.

Second, a comprehensive review of national energy market frameworks is needed – a much deeper review than the current Energy Security Board (ESB) market reform proposals.

The BSE aims to modify current national electricity rules are needed as an interim measure to ensure that market rules appropriately follow emerging technologies.

However, it is clear that the key elements of the market design (both the wholesale energy trade and grid regulation aspects) are still fit for purpose, as they were designed for an era production of fossil fuels, not for energy resources produced by consumers or for electricity. Vehicles.

We need to go back to the drawing board and redesign, from scratch, a market regulator that focuses on renewable technologies and storage for a 100% renewable energy system.

This needs to happen quickly so that the path to the end state of market design is clear and allows ESB and others to make orderly transformations.

Third, a dramatic acceleration in the electrification of the transport sector is needed, with policy incentives needed to shift to only sales of new electric vehicles (or other zero-emission transport technologies) by 2030.

There are virtually no policies at state or federal level to improve vehicle efficiency and reduce transport-related emissions, and Australia has one of the most inefficient and high-energy vehicle fleets. carbon intensity of the developed world.

Fourth, investments are needed both in the research and development of emerging technologies and in the adoption of these new technologies in the energy industry.

This is to enable energy generation and retail companies, as well as distribution and transmission system operators, to seriously redirect funds towards investment in new business models and technologies. , and in more academic research, especially in the integration of large quantities of inverters. resources (wind, solar, batteries) in a network designed and operated for synchronous generators.

The good start of the Prime Minister

Our new Prime Minister has already taken positive steps.

A more ambitious carbon reduction target is welcome, as are significant investments in new electricity transmission, as they are essential to enable the transition to a low-carbon energy sector. However, these policy changes do not go far enough.

Australia is the world leader in integrating wind and solar power into a continental-scale grid. And we will face grid integration challenges that no country in the world has faced before.

More emphasis should be placed on accelerating research and development domestically, as we cannot buy this as consulting services or off-the-shelf technology overseas.

We’re really at the cutting edge of technology, and Australia has the ability to do that. We just need to invest in our future now.