Australia 'looking for state leadership', says CEC

AUSTRALIA: The energy sector needs leadership from state governments while the federal policy "remains in chaos", Clean Energy Council (CEC) chief executive Kane Thornton has said, after the Labor party in Victoria pledged to increase its renewables target.

The 240MW Ararat wind project in Victoria, Australia

Thornton said the electricity industry needed confidence after 2020, when the federal government’s renewable energy target (RET) framework expires, without a replacement.

"The national large-scale renewable energy target essentially stops encouraging new renewables from 2020. The industry is not calling for new subsidy, but we do need investment certainty.

 "Federal energy policy remains in chaos following the demise of the national energy guarantee [the proposed replacement for the RET], and the renewable energy industry is now looking for leadership at the state level beyond the end of this decade," Thornton said.

The Labor Party in Victoria, which is currently governing the state, had pledged to extend its RET to 50% by 2030, up from 40%, if it is re-lected.

The Victorian state election takes place on 24 November.

Current state premier Dan Andrews said the state’s target would put 5.4GW of new renewables on the grid.

Meanwhile, Vicotria's opposition leader, Matthew Guy of the Liberal Party — the same party as Australia’s new prime minister Scott Morrison — reportedly said he would scrap the scheme, according to local news outlets.

CEC’s Thornton added: "Victoria has now introduced an impressive and comprehensive suite of policies to encourage the transition to clean energy, and is setting the pace for other states to follow."