Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP has announced a bold plan to expand and repurpose Snowy Hydro, the Commonwealth owned corporation, to build over 25 GW of wind, solar and energy storage over the next decade, the equivalent to Australia’s current coal
generation capacity. The Greens will push for this plan in balance of power after the next election.
The expanded and repurposed ‘Snowy Hydro 3.0’ - renamed Clean Energy Australia - will be supplied with $40 billion of equity over the decade by the Commonwealth to invest in the equivalent capacity to Australia’s remaining 20 coal fired power stations.
The plan will also create a new not-for-profit electricity retailer from Snowy Hydro, called Power Australia, that will sell electricity on a cost-price basis, driving down household and business power bills. Power Australia will incorporate Snowy’s current retail arms, Lumo and Red Energy.
The plan will also reverse the Liberal-Labor subsidy of $600m to build a gas-fired power plant in the Hunter Valley.
Mr Bandt unveiled the plan in Canberra where a Labor-Greens government has already transitioned the ACT to 100% renewables and has a government owned retailer.
The Greens want to kick the Liberals out and put the Greens in the balance of power in the House of Representatives and the Senate to ensure the next government takes real climate action.
Quotes attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt
“To fight the climate crisis and to secure Australia’s economic prosperity we need a large scale public investment in renewables, not subsidies for coal and gas.”
“The government’s plan locks the Snowy Hydro into a fossil fuelled failure with expensive and polluting gas. In balance of power the Greens will kick the Liberals out and push for a big build of renewables.
“This investment will push out coal and gas and create tens of thousands of jobs by providing cheap electricity and making Australia a renewable energy superpower.
“With a massive government-led build of renewables, we can tackle the climate crisis while growing jobs.
“Cheap electricity from the sun and the wind should be Australia’s international advantage. By selling electricity at cost-price to homes and businesses, we will drive down power bills, attract energy-intensive industries to Australia and become the region’s clean energy hub.
“We need a Snowy Hydro for the twenty-first century, with the biggest public investment in infrastructure we’ve seen for decades to get us to zero emissions as quickly as possible.
“Liberal and Labor talk up renewables, but they want more coal and gas, not less, and they don't have a policy to drive investment at the scale we need.”
“Clean Energy Australia will lead our plan to power past coal and gas and into a clean energy future and a safe climate.”
Quotes attributable to Greens MLA and ACT Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury
“The ACT is 100 percent renewable electricity because the government took a deliberate decision to make it happen.
"The climate crisis means we don’t have the time to sit back and passively wait for the market to solve it - government can and must play a leadership role. The ACT has shown what is possible when you do that.
"The community is not only supportive, but many are proud of this achievement, and the policy has created significant economic and job opportunities in the ACT, with around $500 million of local investment resulting from the policy.
The big renewables build is part of the Greens’ plan to get Australia to 100% renewables by 2030 and a goal of 700% renewables in the coming decades, turning Australia into a renewable energy superpower, exporting renewable electricity, green hydrogen and zero-emission products like green steel and aluminium to the world.
The plan for converting Snowy Hydro to Clean Energy Australia will be a critical part of a rapid transition out of coal and gas in line with Australia’s commitment to the Paris climate goals.
Clean Energy Australia’s renewable investments will be guided by the latest Integrated System Plan recently released by the Australian Energy Market Operator, particularly the Hydrogen Superpower scenario.
This investment will be the biggest investment in the public sector for a decade. However, generation in the National Electricity Market will continue to require a mix of public, private and community generation as electricity demand expands to meet the challenge of electrifying homes, businesses, transport and industry.
The Greens will make further announcements on investment in the national electricity grid, the future of coal power stations and support for coal workers in the coming weeks.