Renewing the Economy
Costings by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator confirms that wind, solar and storage technologies are by far the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia, and are likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming decades.
Every jurisdiction must cooperate and commit to rapid transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions to get a handle on climate change.
Fossil-fueled power generation is a major source of greenhouse gas pollution worldwide. However, it should be the easiest industry to decarbonise, with outstanding affordable renewable energy technology and solutions now available.
We do not need the introduction of any other alternative transition fuels on our pathway to 100% renewable energy.
- “Natural” gas is methane gas: a fossil fuel. While gas emits less carbon than other fossil fuels during combustion, during extraction, production, and transportation this powerful greenhouse gas is released in significant amounts as fugitive emissions, especially with the fracking of shale gas.
- Nuclear energy is the LEAST viable option. It may not emit significant greenhouse gases but it is not cost effective, presenting high capital costs, long deployment lead-times and significant management challenges well into the future.
Already many jurisdictions around the world, as well as here in Australia, are committing to 100% renewable energy. This ambitious and strong commitment can stimulate valuable investment, boosting and transforming the economy with sustainable jobs and cheap and clean energy. A 100% renewable energy target has already been achieved in the ACT with an elected Greens Territory Minister.
The Greens in 2016 launched the Renew Australia 2030 national plan to transform our economy by driving investment in new renewables projects and creating tens of thousands of jobs, whilst phasing out fossil fuels.
Political corruption in Australian governments through large donations and lobbying from fossil fuel companies stands in the way of a just transition to renewable energy. Elected Greens Senators and MP’s have called for the establishment of a federal ICAC to investigate the influence of these political donations. In the NT there has been an ongoing revolving door between elected MLA’s and Chief Ministers and the oil and gas industry.
What the NT Greens want:
The NT Greens believe in a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy in the NT by 2030. The technology and solutions are available to transition to renewable energy the NT’s major grids, currently powered by methane gas fired turbines.
The NT should be one of the world leaders in renewable energy generation, decentralised energy systems, energy efficiency, community ownership of energy, sustainable construction, urban design, and good land management.
The NT has a great opportunity to capitalise on our solar advantage. We can not only stake out a role in the inevitable growing renewable energy industries already taking shape, but also develop at a large enough scale to export clean energy, and grow new local industries on the back of the clean, cheap, plentiful energy we are poised to take advantage of as outlined in the 10 GW Vision.
The renewable energy plan needs to benefit all Territorians. Low income people must reap the benefits of the renewable transition. The roll out of renewable energy is an opportunity to transform our economic landscape with cheap energy for all communities.
It is only with unashamedly bold and ambitious targets that we will see long term large-scale economic investment that will benefit the Territory. Conversely, unambitious weak targets offer a perverse incentive to invest in infrastructure and supply agreements for old, polluting technologies that will ultimately cost us more.
It takes GW-scale vision to attract the private investment that can realise the flow-on effects of thousands of jobs, new economic opportunities for all communities in the NT. The Sun Cable project, which aims to export more than 20 times the 50% target, ahead of the 2030 deadline illustrates that low-carbon economic growth and new export industries underpinned by renewable energy can be realised in the short term.
The renewable energy plan requires integrated systems with an energy mix of solar and production hydrogen gas from this clean energy. The technologies and solutions are already available to make this leap.
The principles of ecological sustainable development need to be applied in the plan for renewable energy. Careful consideration of the environmental constraints for the production of clean hydrogen for export is required. Site election studies need to evaluate environmentally considerate location for solar farms that require large areas of cleared land. Manufacturing impacts of available solar and battery technology options demand scrutiny.
With innovations in production of hydrogen gas, advanced battery storage now on the market, and sophisticated control systems available, there should be no technological barriers to being able to regulate a stable and secure power grid and small remote systems. This expertise already exists locally.
We need to ensure that the market is not dominated by large players.
Commercial arrangements between Government and Power and Water must be transparent. New agreements must not be hidden as “commercial in confidence”, but must be subject to public scrutiny in essence and to an independent Authority in detail where appropriate.
Stop any new public investment in major fossil fuel infrastructure.
Launch a vision for rapid transition to a 100% renewable energy economy with an ambitious plan and marketing strategy to attract the large-scale long term investment, with clear interim targets.
Implement all recommendations in the NT Government Roadmap to Renewables report to ensure economic regulations are in place to provide a consistent and trusted environment for renewable energy investors; and regulatory changes for utilities that allow the uptake of renewable energy.
Develop a blueprint for the integration of large scale renewable energy infrastructure, technology and distribution for the NT, working with Power and Water Corp, Smart Energy NT Alliance (NGO’s), councils, traditional owners and industry.
Implement a renewable technology sector reference group consisting of small, medium and large local enterprises to assist business to overcome impediments and formulate an effective government strategy to the sector.
Plan and fund for supportive infrastructure and industry development.
Directly support Indigenous owned renewable projects.
Commit public funds to support large scale solar farms.
Support Investment in centralised battery storage to ensure stable and secure power grids.
Endorse a competitive energy and capacity market framework for renewable energy.
Promote and incentivise the uptake of solar panels by individuals, business and commercial enterprises.
Transition to a tariff regime which supports renewables.
Accelerate the program of undergrounding power lines in the top end of NT to improve reliability, reduce tree trimming and reduce the risk of damage by weather events.
Local community ownership of decision making is crucial to the success of service delivery in remote communities. We will:
Inform communities of the status of their infrastructure.
Accelerate the replacement of non-renewable diesel power generators and gas power generators in rural communities with clean energy systems by 2030.
Fund training and employment of local community members to manage remote power generation systems more sustainably.
Pursue cross-cultural engagement of Aboriginal communities to better understand community perceptions and use of energy.
Just Transition for Workers
We want to work with communities, unions, industry, and the education sector to support a just transition; identify education and training needs to meet labour demands; and generate employment opportunities with local supply.
Build capacity of NT Government energy utilities in renewable energy production and related services.
Set a clear target for all Territory government energy needs to be sourced from renewable sources.
Implement and support a skills development program to train a renewable energy workforce, and create new employment opportunities with local educational institutes.
Provide targeted support for local governments to modernise their operations to achieve energy efficiency and reduced dependence on nonrenewable energy.
Require efficiency consideration in all relevant policy areas such as building regulations, and transport
Introduce time of use tariffs through energy retailers – Virtual Power Plants
Require all new commercial buildings to meet a minimum 5 star Australian Building Greenhouse Rating (ABGR).
Provide government accredited technical assistance to identify and implement energy efficiency retrofits for buildings for any company, organisation or individual.
Audit energy efficiency and safety of Territory public housing assets and implement an accelerated plan for upgrades.
Phase in mandatory disclosure at the time of sale and lease of energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings and tenancies.
Implement a targeted plan of incentives and support, to small and medium sized enterprises, in order to retire inefficient and legacy equipment, to improve energy efficiency, and to reduce cost of operations.
Promote renewable energy infrastructure for transport fuel, including electric vehicle charging stations.
Commission a comprehensive plan to establish renewable energy infrastructure for the transport sector; addressing the requirements of different subsectors of the transport industry including passenger transport and freight transport.
IPPC - Global warming of 1.5°C Report
Roadmap to Renewables
Australian Greens. (2019). Renew Australia 2030: Powering Past Coal to a Clean Future for All of Us.
Beyond Zero Emissions. (2019). The 10 Gigawatt Vision: How renewable energy can power jobs and investment in the Northern Territory.