Australia still does not have a coherent energy and climate policy, despite the Morrison government’s new “technology roadmap”, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor used a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday to outline the priority technologies which the government will back in a bid to cut Australia’s emissions by 250 million tonnes by 2040.
Mr Turnbull said the $18 billion plan fell far short of the national energy guarantee policy which Mr Taylor “helped wreck” when he led the nation.
“People are just punchdrunk with these random interventions from government – it’s got to stop,” Mr Turnbull told the ABC.
“We need a coherent energy and climate policy. We had that with the NEG, sadly that was blown up in 2018, but that is what we need to get back to and then, I promise you, the market will do its work, and we will have affordable, reliable and low emission energy.”
He said he had spoken with business leaders who believed the Australian energy market was “uninvestable”.
“That is what you hear right across the business sector,” Mr Turnbull said.
He also rejected the government’s focus on gas, arguing it was priced too high to make it a cheap form of electricity generation.
“The cheap electricity opportunities come from wind and solar, backed by storage – batteries and pumped hydro – and then with gas playing essentially a peaking role.”
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association said the government’s roadmap appropriately focused on technology to reduce emissions.
“Natural gas-fired generators are flexible technologies which can be easily ramped up and down to meet demand, making them complementary with intermittent renewable energy,” APPEA chief Andrew McConville said.
“Alongside this opportunity at home, exporting natural gas as LNG is allowing our Asian trading partners to reduce emissions in their economies.”
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government also missed an opportunity to announce a net zero emissions target by 2050.
“We need to give the business the confidence they require to invest in cleaner and cheaper energy,” he said.
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