Energy

Principles

The NSW Greens believe:

1. Access to adequate energy is fundamental to participating in society.

2. As an essential service and public good, government has a responsibility to ensure that all people and businesses have access to adequate energy at a reasonable cost.

3. Burning fossil fuels for energy is incompatible with a safe climate and healthy environment.

4. Fossil fuels must be rapidly phased out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

5. Government has an important role to implement policies and actions that rapidly transform the energy system from polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable energy.

6. Government must ensure that the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is managed and just. This includes implementing strategies, policies and targets to ensure the transition is rapid enough to meet emissions targets compatible with a safe climate and international agreements, and includes support for communities, and workers, that have traditionally derived income from fossil fuel related industries.

7. Achieving a just transition from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency and reducing the energy intensity of the economy will require a commitment from all levels of government, industry and society.

7. Energy efficiency measures which result in a reduction in overall energy use offer major economic, social and environmental benefits, including by lowering energy costs, improving air quality, removing the need for new generating capacity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

8. Wherever possible, any external impacts of producing and using energy should be factored into the price of energy.

9. Nuclear energy presents too many significant environmental and social risks and costs to be pursued as an electricity option. Uranium exploration and mining should be prohibited in NSW.

10. Energy consumption, on both a per capita and an overall basis, should be reduced to lower greenhouse gas emissions and conserve resources.

11. Public ownership of key energy producing assets provides the most effective mechanism to prioritise and implement the transition to clean energy.

12. “Re-nationalisation (bringing back into public ownership) of some or all existing entities, or the creation of new state-entities to own and operate electricity infrastructure and retailing is critical to building a socially just society and providing the means for a rapid response to the climate emergency we are facing.

13. As part of the developed world responsible for making the major contribution to climate change, Australia has a corresponding responsibility to accomplish an end to the mining and burning of fossil fuels as quickly as possible AND for aiding developing countries to reach the same end in the shortest possible time frame.

Aims

A. Renewable energy

The Greens NSW will:

14. Support a rapid build of renewable energy and storage technologies, including legislated, binding targets that achieve a minimum of a 5% increase per annum, and increase over time to 100% of all electricity generated in NSW by 2030.

15. Support government investment in the research, development and growth of renewable energy industries such as wind, solar photovoltaics and solar thermal, small-scale hydro, pumped hydro, sustainable biofuels, wave and geothermal energy and storage technologies.

16. Support an energy storage target to ensure reliability of supply.

17. Require all NSW government agencies to purchase 100% renewable energy, and where practical directly install renewable energy capacity on their buildings.

18. Legislate to prevent non-Greenpower accredited electricity products from being sold or advertised as green or environmentally friendly.

19. Legislate that all new water heaters must be either solar (or other high energy efficiency technologies) or offset by renewable energy.

20. Fund sustainable energy programs and offset any inequitable social consequences resulting from the shift to sustainable energy.

21. Implement a state-based renewable energy target, including interim targets, in the absence of an adequate federal target or mechanism.

22. Support a fair minimum purchase price for energy generated by solar PV that takes into account the wholesale price of electricity and the avoided environmental, social, health and network costs.

23. Support the development of community and local-government owned and operated renewable energy projects.

24. Require new buildings, existing government buildings and large car parks be fitted with solar photovoltaic and solar hot water, where possible.

25. Encourage reform to the planning and regulation of renewable energy projects to ensure genuine community consultation without unnecessary barriers and that adjoining neighbours and communities have opportunities to benefit financially from the project.

26. Support the development of large renewable energy and storage projects, under public ownership and control, including the use of capital funding mechanisms such as Green Bonds, especially where private capital is not prepared to invest and take risk.

27. Oppose the burning of native forest biomass for electricity and its classification as ‘clean’ or ‘renewable’ energy or as ‘Greenpower’, as native forest logging is unsustainable and environmentally damaging.

28. Oppose the classification of the incineration of municipal, industrial or commercial waste as ‘clean’ or ‘renewable’ energy as much of the waste is derived from fossil fuels, releases significant air pollutants, and diverts waste to incineration that could be recycled, reused or composted.

29. Support research into the development and viability of hydrogen as a fuel and form of energy storage when produced using renewable energy.

B. Fossil fuels

The Greens NSW will:

30. Oppose any new emissions-intensive generation or emission-intensive large scale industrial processes in NSW.

31. Reject carbon capture and storage as a solution to ongoing use of fossil fuels given the failure of trial projects, the risk of long-term leakage, the high cost and the fact that limited economic resources can be used far more effectively in reducing emissions and providing cost-effective energy supply if diverted to renewable energy development and energy efficiency.

32. Oppose the expansion of coal or gas mining in NSW and the expansion of coal or gas export infrastructure, including Hunter rail networks and the Newcastle Port.

33. Support the managed phase out of thermal coal mining for both domestic and export energy by 2027.

34. Work to phase out existing coal-fired and gas-fired power stations, starting with the most carbon- pollution-intensive, while guaranteeing continuity of employment, equivalent conditions, and access to retraining for all affected workers as well as financial assistance and targeted industry development for affected communities and regions.

35. Work to phase out the burning of gas and oil, because this releases significant greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants and their production increasingly relies on unconventional methods such as hydraulic fracturing and tar sands which have negative environmental effects.

36. Support the provision of assistance to households, businesses and industrial gas users to reduce gas use, transition away from gas use, and improve energy efficiency, in recognition of the rise in domestic gas prices caused by the development of gas export facilities on the east coast of Australia. Ensure that the assistance protects low- income households from energy poverty but is not delivered as a subsidy on gas prices.

37. Oppose gas export and import facilities and work to resist their provision.

38. Require regular testing of existing gas infrastructure for fugitive emissions.

C. Energy regulation

The Greens NSW will:

39. Oppose any further privatisation or deregulation of the state’s electricity infrastructure, including the networks.

40. Support the return of the state distribution network to public ownership to operate as a non-profit, essential public service.

41. Review and improve the regulation of the energy sector, including stronger pollution control measures.

42. Move to create a state-based greenhouse gas pricing regime and renewable energy targets where federal schemes are not sufficient to reduce the state’s emissions.

43. Support investment in electricity transmission infrastructure which is directed to increasing the supply and availability of renewable energy.

44. Reform the regulation of the energy market to:

44.1. Empower the energy market operators (AEMO)to ensure supply so it cannot be held back to artificially inflate pricing.

44.2. Facilitate decentralised energy generation and peer-to-peer trading.

44.3. Create and enforce mandatory energy efficiency standards.

44.4. Require least-cost planning.

45. While recognising that pricing is only one mechanism for reducing emissions, work to remove all market barriers to the rapid transition to 100% renewable energy, including:

45.1. Integrating full environmental, economic and social costs in energy pricing.

45.2. Removing direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuels and pricing signals that encourage inefficiency.

45.3. Implementing more advanced models of integrated least-cost planning that maximise demand side efficiencies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

45.4. Supporting the transition to low emission hot water systems powered by or boosted by renewable energy.

45.5. Including in prices the full cost of transmission and losses as current pricing mechanisms unfairly disadvantage local embedded generation such as solar PV, and distributed co-generation.

45.6. Introducing tax deductions and allowing accelerated depreciation for investment in renewable-energy and energy-efficiency technologies.

45.7. Providing financial assistance, investment subsidies and support and expertise to low-income households to enable them to become more energy efficient and to avoid energy poverty.

45.8. Ensuring that levels of electricity-supply reliability used in planning are set at levels that are realistic and do not result in over-investment in transmission and distribution and unnecessary increases in power bills.

46. In recognition that the adoption of a national carbon-pricing mechanism is a step towards incorporating the environmental costs of energy generation into the price signals, work to ensure that any carbon pricing mechanism is accompanied by measures to ensure that:

46.1. Low- and middle-income households receive adequate protection from increased prices in the form of assistance in reducing demand and monetary compensation.

46.2. Industries such as aluminium smelting that are dependent on the consumption of large amounts of energy or fossil fuels are not protected from, or compensated for, the costs of carbon pricing or emissions trading.

46.3. Targets are set in accordance with the latest understanding of climate science to minimise the chances of dangerous increases in global average temperature and include short lived climate pollutants such as methane, black carbon and carbon monoxide in addition to carbon dioxide.

47. Ban exploitative contracts and billing practices, including excessive pay-on-time discounts, excessive grid connection fees and daily charges and require all discounts to refer to a common base price to allow bills to be easily compared.

48. Prohibit gas connections and solid fuel heaters for new grid connected residential dwellings and develop incentives for households to move from gas to electricity.

49. Oppose the expansion of gas distribution infrastructure other than for non-greenhouse gases such as hydrogen.

D. Energy in Transport

The Greens NSW will:

50. Support the electrification of transport to reduce oil use, recognising that significant extra renewable electricity generation will be required to provide energy for the electrification of the transport sector.

51. Support the roll-out of electric vehicle charging stations, preferably supported by renewable energy generation.

52. Support improved fuel efficiency and air pollution standards for internal combustion vehicles.

53. Support a substantial investment in public transport, cycling and pedestrian facilities, rail and maritime transport of goods and the development of alternatives to travel and transport.

54. Support research and introduction of sustainable biofuels for, or electrification of, air and sea transport, recognising that the expanding air transport sector is responsible for significant emissions.

55. Support the installation of electric charging facilities in new residential and commercial developments with parking spaces.

E. Energy efficiency and conservation

The Greens NSW will:

56. Implement programs and policies to achieve high levels of energy efficiency and effective demand management.

57. Support greater energy efficiency targets in the NSW Energy Savings Scheme.

58. Implement a greenhouse trigger that requires all developments with energy related emissions above 10,000 tonnes CO2e pa to implement all available energy efficiency measures with a payback time of four years or less.

59. Require all NSW government agencies to take the lead on energy efficiency.

60. Extend the Building and Sustainability Index (BASIX) scheme to all new commercial and residential developments, and substantial renovations to both existing buildings and existing housing stock.

61. Improve the BASIX energy use target to a minimum 80% reduction from the baseline and require new buildings and developments to be ‘energy positive’ (produce more energy than is used on site) where possible.

62. Require all new commercial and residential buildings to meet an equivalent minimum 6 Star energy rating under the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) for commercial buildings and 8 Star energy rating under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHers) for residential buildings.

63. Remove restrictions on local councils from requiring greater than BASIX compliance for new dwellings.

64. Implement mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards for rental dwellings, including public and community housing.

65. Implement a ratings system for the energy efficiency of a dwelling that must be provided to potential tenants or purchasers.

66. Develop finance support mechanisms to enable households, especially low-income households, to fund energy efficiency upgrades and best-in-category appliances to improve household energy efficiency.

67. Provide government-accredited technical assistance to identify and implement energy-efficiency projects for any company, organisation or individual. This assistance will be free of charge if all projects with a payback of four years or less are adopted.

68. Support the widespread roll-out of ‘smart’ metering, which measures electricity use and price by demand and time of day, along with new tariff arrangements to encourage energy conservation and strategic demand reductions with mechanisms to protect low-income households from avoidable increases in energy bills.

69. Manage demand and supply equitably and efficiently, all major distributors and generators should be given a target date to implement smart grid technology.

70. Seek agreement at COAG meetings to expand and increase national Minimum Efficiency Performance Standards (MEPS) for all energy-using products, banning the most inefficient products from sale in Australia and moving towards world’s best practice in standards.

71. Remove all subsidies to energy-intensive industries that continue to rely on fossil fuels.

72. Support research into and development of low-carbon-fuel alternatives and improved energy efficiency for emission-intensive and fossil-fuel-dependent industries.

73. Develop industry transition plans for all energy-intensive industries that cannot substantially reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, including financial support for the development of new sustainable industries in affected areas, employment guarantees, and training and transition assistance for the workforce.

74. Ensure building design standards, urban planning and load management minimise the need for air conditioning.

75. Mandate the transition of all public street lights to high energy efficiency LEDs or equivalent within 4 years.

F. Peak Oil

76. The Greens New South Wales recognise that the global supply of oil will reach a maximum in the future and that growing demand and declining supply will lead to escalating prices and increasing scarcity. It is therefore imperative that the transition to non-fossil fuel power sources to replace oil takes place as quickly as possible.

G. Biofuels

The Greens NSW will:

77. Restrict the sources of biofuels to genuine waste.

78. Ban the importation or domestic production of biofuel sources such as palm oil that compromise recovery of endangered species, biodiversity and sustainable land use management.

79. Ensure that crops grown for biofuel production are based on ecologically sustainable practices such as zero land and soil degradation, optimal conservation of water and protection of the river systems.

80. Ensure that the production and processing of biofuels are based on ecologically sustainable practices such as minimal air, land and water pollution.

81. Establish second and third generation biofuel production facilities that demonstrate positive environmental and social outcomes through stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) life cycle analysis, environmental impact assessment and Energy Return on Investment analysis prior to production.

82. Support a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organism for any part of the biofuel production process.

83. Support quantification and monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions from biofuel production by requiring the implementation of an accredited life-cycle analysis and publication of GHG mitigation assessments.

84. Support the concept of 'land-to-tank' analysis of the whole chain of biofuel production and use, including (Particulate Matter) PM2.5 and PM10 air emission levels.

85. Prioritise research and development into second and third generation biofuels including algae to biodiesel and cellulosic fuels over the extension of the ethanol excise rebate.

86. Repeal the volumetric biofuel mandates until there is independent evidence that they are a cost-effective measure for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or improving air quality.

87. Dismantle subsidies and tax exemptions for biofuels.

88. Amend environment and planning laws to provide targeted environmental assessment of biofuel production including soil impacts, invasive species impact and water use impacts.

89. Cancel the ethanol excise rebate and a diversion of this government expenditure into development of non-fossil fuel based transport and second generation biofuels production.