Tag Archives: Renewable energy

Greens welcome investment in NSW energy transmission infrastructure as opportunity for supporting new renewables

A fortnight after the Greens released its plan for eight renewable energy zones and upgrades to transmission projects in NSW, the State Government has today released its NSW Transmission Infrastructure Strategy.

The Greens have welcomed the four priority transmission projects identified in the strategy, including upgrades to the interconnectors with Queensland and Victoria, and a new interconnector with South Australia to enable renewable energy projects to connect to the grid and increase the resilience of the power network.

However, Greens MP and Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said that with the end of the Federal Renewable Energy Target and no carbon price in place, additional and specific state-based policies were needed to provide the framework for renewable energy investment.

“The Greens strongly support new electricity transmission infrastructure for NSW to facilitate renewable energy, but we need the right policy framework in place to ensure provide the investment certainty for renewable energy,” he said.

“We are in a climate emergency which requires a rapid transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy and storage. This strategy is a good start, but we need more state-based policies to drive the transformation.  Victoria, Queensland and the ACT are all leaving NSW behind.

“The Greens want NSW to be a renewable energy superpower.  We have the solar and wind resources and the expertise, what we need is the political will and right policy settings that will bring jobs and investment to regional areas of NSW.

“We want support from all major parties for our plan to establish eight priority Renewable Energy Zones for NSW as part of a national plan to supercharge investment in large-scale renewables connected to new transmission infrastructure.

“NSW should prepare now for the major transformation in the energy grid over coming years as outdated coal-fired power stations reach the end of their life and new connections from wind and large-scale solar plug in. It’s a great opportunity to become a renewable energy powerhouse,” he said.

Tiny, last minute spend on ’emerging energy’ won’t fix govt’s lack of credible energy and emissions reduction policy

The NSW Government has today launched an Emerging Energy Fund that promises $55 million for gas and renewable energy, a figure the Greens have slammed as totally inadequate and  lacking the ambition needed to transition NSW towards 100% renewable energy.

The $55 million is totally insufficient when you consider the NSW Government:

  • Received $37 billion from privatising the state’s electricity assets since their election;
  • Received $4.1 billion for the transfer of Snowy Hydro to the federal government;
  • Underspent the NSW Climate Change Fund by $252 million between $2014-17;
  • Gave $70 million to the Greyhound racing industry;
  • Spent $87 million on advertising; and
  • Gave $100 million to the horse racing industry as a tax break.

The Emerging Energy Program represents just 0.14% of the $37 billion the government reaped from selling off public energy assets.

Greens Energy and Climate Action spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham labelled the Emerging Energy Fund nothing more than a fig leaf announcement that barely covered the fact NSW remained without a genuine, effective energy or emissions reduction policy.

“This is a damp squib of an energy policy from a Liberal/National Government that has neglected renewable energy and climate change for seven and a half years,” he said today.

“The community would recognise that $55 million is a drop in the ocean for the energy-system restructure that is underway and will not stop NSW from lagging behind other states on renewable energy.

“It’s just 0.14% of the $37 billion the government has reaped from selling off energy assets in NSW. It’s also miserly when you consider they underspent the climate change fund to the tune of $252.9 million between 2014-17.

“It miserly compared to the Victorian Government’s $1.24 billion scheme investing in rooftop solar alone or its substantial state-based Renewable Energy Target.

“This money could be spent on fossil fuels, with the emissions limit is set at 0.5 tonnes of CO2/MWh which allows gas projects, not just true renewable energy.

“What NSW needs is genuine investment with long-term support policies such as state-based Renewable Energy Target, a tax on carbon pollution and renewable power purchase agreements by the State Government.

“NSW should not miss out on the clean energy, lower power prices, jobs and economic growth from growing our share of energy from wind, solar and other renewables.

“I’m pleased the government has finally recognised that the shift away from coal to renewable energy is inevitable. Premier Gladys Berejiklian should have a conversation with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to to burst his delusions about building new coal-fired power stations in Australia.

“Renewables, energy and climate change will be at the very top of the agenda at the NSW and Federal elections. If this Liberal/National Government doesn’t stop the spin and get real on energy policy, it will find the community will vote for other leaders who will,” Mr Buckingham said.

Greens propose eight Renewable Energy Zones for NSW

The Greens have proposed eight priority Renewable Energy Zones for NSW as part of a national plan to supercharge investment in large-scale solar and drive an unprecedented move towards 100% renewable energy for Australia.

The plan would establish a national network of 31 Renewable Energy Zones to enable the efficient planning and development of large-scale renewable energy, including Broken Hill, North West and Northern NSW. A new $2.8 Billion Grid Transformation Fund would support the augmentation of transmission infrastructure required to connect these new zones to the existing electricity grid.

NSW Greens Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “The Greens want to unlock NSW’s future as a renewable energy powerhouse.

“The recent IPCC report warned of the need to end coal by 2050 to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, strengthening the push for fast-tracking renewable energy in Australia.

“Labor and the Liberal/Nationals are ignoring the science. If we don’t end their addiction to coal, we’re stuffed.

“The Greens are the only party with the policies capable of implementing the rapid and far reaching transitions required to limit global warming.

“Our plan for a network of Renewable Energy Zones can unlock NSW’s potential, creating clean energy and jobs.

“The current national energy grid is stuck in the past, sending wires out to polluting coal-fired power stations. NSW needs better connections out to regions with abundant solar and wind resources so they can feed cleaner renewable power into the grid and help bring electricity prices down for all.

“We must prepare now for the major transformation in the energy grid over coming years as outdated coal-fired power stations reach the end of their life and new connections from wind and large-scale solar plug in.

“The Greens want NSW to power ahead as a special Renewable Energy Zone and enjoy cheap power, greater energy security and the opportunity for new jobs and innovation.

“Energy and climate policy in Australia and NSW is in a shambles. The NSW Government has been in for seven years yet it has no significant policy for supporting a low-carbon energy or driving investment in renewable energy and associated jobs in regional areas.

“We need a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy for a chance of a future free from pollution and climate damage,” he said

IPCC Special Report means NSW must phase out coal within 10 years

The IPCC’s Special Report out today outlines a climate catastrophe of unprecedented scale and impact on our community and nature if global warming is permitted to rise by more than 1.5 degrees.

The scientific consensus found:

  • all coral reefs would be unlikely to survive global warming of 2 degrees, including the Great Barrier Reef;
  • sea level rise would be about 10cm less at 1.5 degrees; and
  • an increased risk of long-lasting or irreversible changes at 2 degrees, including the loss of more species and ecosystems.

In terms of fossil fuels, the report finds coal use for electricity must be virtually eliminated by 2050 if the 1.5-degree limit is to be met.

Greens Energy and Resources Jeremy Buckingham said, “Today’s IPCC Special Report is a call to arms — the coming decade is critical in the fight to protect the people we love and our planet from dangerous climate change.

“That’s why the Greens policy is to phase out coal mining in NSW in the next 10 years. The science of this report makes it clear that we cannot continue to burn coal and protect the climate.

“The failure by the Federal Government to have a credible climate or energy policy means that NSW must implement its own climate and energy policies. Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia all have credible climate and energy policies, while NSW has sat on its hands waiting for direction from the Federal Government. Meanwhile, Federal energy policy has descended into chaos and farce.

“The next few years will be history defining. This government and the next can either fiddle while the climate heats beyond our control, or they can transform our community, economy and natural world by phasing out coal and powering our world by 100% renewable energy.

“This transformation will bring with it great opportunities for new jobs and innovative technologies. Australia can transition away from being a quarry and lead the way on renewable innovation, exporting our science, know-how and clean solar power fuel to the world.

“The task of phasing out fossil fuels is now critically urgent. If the world had acted after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the task would be easier, but Labor and Liberals, taking millions from fossil fuel donors, have squibbed it.

“Climate and energy policy will be at the top of the March 2019 state election, including seats where the Greens are challenging the Coalition such as Lismore and Coogee, and the seat of Barwon where the National’s backing of coal seam gas is deeply unpopular.

“The Greens are the only party serious about dealing with the climate emergency in Australia. When will the other parties take steps towards the serious levels of carbon emission cuts we need and admit there is no future for coal or coal seam gas?” he said.

IPCC Special Report on impact of global warming of 1.5 degrees online here:

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

Greens NSW Greens 10-year plan to phase out coal and protect the climate available here:

https://jeremybuckinghammlc.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/phase-out-coal-policy.pdf

NSW should reject a NEG that hampers state efforts to reduce emissions

MEDIA RELEASE – 6 August 2018

The Greens NSW energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today said the NSW Government should reject the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) if it fails to recognise state efforts to reduce emissions as additional to the National Emissions Reduction Target, to ensure that all options are open to the current and future NSW Governments to act on climate change.

“The National Energy Guarantee has been cobbled together to try to placate the dinosaurs within the federal Coalition party room. The NSW Government should reject any framework that restricts the ability of our state to implement real action to address climate change,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Victoria, the ACT, Queensland and South Australia all have state based renewable energy targets. Any future NSW Government should also implement an ambitious state-based renewable energy target and associated schemes to achieve this target.

“If the NEG undermines state-based renewable energy targets or emission reduction targets by not making them additional to the NEG’s emissions reduction target, then it ties the hands of any future state government to reduce emissions and attract jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector to NSW.

“While investment in renewable energy is currently booming, it may come to a crashing halt once the federal RET is fulfilled. That’s why state policies to develop renewable energy are important and should not be undermined by a NEG with no ambition that is primarily aimed at pleasing the dinosaurs in the Liberal and National parties.”

Canavan ignorant of technology and climate. Coal should be phased out in a decade

MEDIA RELEASE – 28 March 2018

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today labelled federal resources minister Matt Canavan ignorant on disruptive technology and negligent on climate change as Canavan sets up a panel to push more fossil fuel mining in Australia.

“Pushing coal mining in an age of climate change and cheap, mature renewable energy is not only negligent, but is like advocating fax machines in the age of the internet,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The science very clearly says that 90% of coal must remain in the ground if we are to have even a 50% chance of keeping global warming under the two degree target that Australia signed up to at the Paris climate summit.

“The Greens want coal mining in NSW phased out within a decade. That is the only path to preventing runaway climate change.  That’s not hyperbole,  that is unfortunately the physical reality we face.

“Rather than ignorantly promoting polluting fossil fuels, Australian governments should be working on transition packages to rapidly transition our energy system to renewable energy and to transition mining dependent communities to other economic sectors.

“History is full of disruptive technologies rapidly replacing existing technologies. The motor vehicle and the horse and cart, film and digital cameras, sailing ships and steam ships, mobile phones, computers, and it is clear that renewable energy, which is rapidly decreasing in price and does not pollute the atmosphere is a disruptive technology that is spreading very fast.

“To tie the Australian economy to the extraction of fossil fuels and runaway climate change is a shockingly bad move from a government that is failing on climate change and lacks a sensible energy policy.”

Greens move for 10 year phase-out of thermal coal mining in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE – 3 March 2017

Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale and NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham will today launch a new policy to phase-out thermal coal mining in ten years with a bill that would set up a framework to limit further coal mining to one billion tonnes.

The policy is a framework for:

  • 10 year time limit for thermal coal mining in NSW
  • A limit of one billion tonnes of thermal coal production
  • A competitive allocation framework for companies to bid to mine coal under a reducing cap
  • Mining royalties go to a transition fund for workers and regional economies

Here is a brief on the framework and also the bill Jeremy Buckingham will introduce into parliament next week.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said: 

“It is a scientific fact that we cannot continue to burn coal and protect the climate. We must act now before it is too late.

“We have run out of time. We are teetering on the edge of disaster and must act seriously now or we will lock in catastrophic levels of global warming with the significant environmental, economic and social disasters that will be caused by a changing climate.

“A transition away from coal is inevitable. The real question is whether we transition fast enough to protect the climate, and whether it is a managed transition, or a chaotic collapse.

“The Greens are being prudent in seeking to set climate policy according to the science and in setting up a market-based framework to implement a phase-out of thermal coal mining.”

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Richard Di Natale said: 

“Since we cannot rely on the federal Government to provide any meaningful action towards mitigating dangerous climate change, we have to rely for now on the states to provide the country with a 21 st century energy policy. That’s exactly what the NSW Greens are proposing to do with this policy of phasing out coal.”

NSW Greens launch framework for
10 year phase-out of thermal coal mining

Key points:

  • 10 year time limit for thermal coal mining in NSW
  • A limit of one billion tonnes of thermal coal production
  • A competitive allocation framework for companies to bid to mine coal under a reducing cap
  • Mining royalties go to a transition fund for workers and regional economies


A legislative framework to phase-out coal in ten years

The NSW Greens will introduce a bill into NSW Parliament which will set a ten year phase-out timeline with a total limit on the amount of thermal coal that can be mined in NSW.

The Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017 establishes a framework for a managed phase-out of coal mining in NSW in order to protect the climate from catastrophic global warming.  Research published in the esteemed scientific journal Nature found that 90% of global coal reserves must remain in the ground if there is a 50% chance of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius.  The Paris Climate Summit agreement set a target of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, with an ambition of limiting warming to only 1.5 degrees.

Phase-out trajectory

Under this bill, a maximum of one billion tonnes of thermal coal can be mined over the next ten years (no action would see 2 billion tonnes mined in this period).

mining-amendment-climate-protection-phasing-out-coal-mining-bill-2017

The framework implements a smooth phase-out trajectory over ten years.
The Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017 legislates for the following timetable of maximum thermal coal production in NSW:

Year 1 180 million tonnes
Year 2 163 million tonnes
Year 3 145 million tonnes
Year 4 127 million tonnes
Year 5 109 million tonnes
Year 6 91 million tonnes
Year 7 73 million tonnes
Year 8 55 million tonnes
Year 9 37 million tonnes
Year 10 20 million tonnes
Year 11> 0 tonnes

The bill empowers the minister to implement a competitive process to allocate coal production under the caps. Mining companies would take part in a competitive auction to purchase the right to mine coal during the phase out period.

Export coal is a major contributor to climate change

Around 90% of Australian coal is mined for export.  Even if Australia shifted to 100% renewable domestic energy generation, our contribution to climate change through the mining and export of thermal coal would still be huge.

Last chance to act

The latest climate science and observations conclude that we are in a critical period for action on climate change.  If we fail to make the necessary changes to significantly reduce emissions now, then catastrophic climate change will be unavoidable.

While these measures may seem drastic, they are a bare minimum of what is required according to the science.  A less drastic phase-out of coal could have been possible if the world had started to act after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, or in the decades since.  However, successive governments have instead sponsored and approved a massive expansion of coal mining.

Without a phase-out plan, almost 2 billion tonnes of thermal coal will be mined in NSW during the next decade, and NSW Treasury forecasts that 9.2 billion tonnes of thermal coal will be mined by 2056.  Mining and burning this amount of coal will be a major global contributor to climate change.

A competitive auction for mining rights over the ten year phase-out period is expected to raise over $7 billion, a significant proportion should go to assisting workers and regional economies transition to a post-fossil fuel era.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham will introduce the Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017, into NSW Parliament next Tuesday 7 March.

 

3 March 2017

« Older Entries