Renewable energy: Key policy initiatives

Climate change was one of the 'hot topics' of the election campaign, with a range of energy policies announced by the Coalition focusing on reliable power generation and reduced energy costs.

The Coalition's policies are largely targeted towards specific conventional and renewable energy projects and tend away from the more market-based approach to renewable certificates formerly proposed by Labor.

It will be interesting to watch how the Coalition's policies need to change in order to pass the Senate.

A summary of the Coalition's key policies are:

  • reducing energy prices by:
    • creating a 'default market offer' for retail electricity customers and regulating certain retail practices
    • removing 'Loyalty Taxes' on retail energy contracts from 1 July 2019
    • providing $3.65 million for Energy Assistance Payments to social security payment recipients ($75 for singles and $125 for couples)
  • creating a $50 million Energy Efficient Communities Program to provide more than 2,500 grants to eligible businesses and community organisations
  • backing the Marinus Link, a second Tasmania - Victoria interconnector and Snowy 2.0
  • underwriting 12 new generation projects (six pumped hydro, five gas, one coal upgrade)
  • targeting a 25 per cent reduction in the national spot electricity price to less than $70/MWh by the end of 2021
  • aiding 'reliable' generation by requiring retailers to enter into contracts to guarantee a certain level of base generation during peak demand
  • continuing to support the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (AREA)
  • creation of a $2 billion climate solutions fund and committing to meet the current Paris emissions target.

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