Energy

The Greens (WA) are committed to an energy future that produces and utilises energy in the most efficient and environmentally sustainable way

Our society relies on the consumption of energy to provide us with the goods and services we need and value.  Many of the fundamental aspects of our existence, such as transport, heating and cooling, water supply and sewerage require energy.  We have come to rely on low cost, reliable and secure energy supplies in order for our economy and society to function.

Energy, in the form of heat, electricity or fuel for transport is derived from many sources.  Historically this energy has been sourced mainly from fossil fuels, i.e. coal, oil and natural gas; but this has led to localised air, ground and water pollution and ultimately to climate change. 

The Greens (WA) are committed to an energy future that produces and utilises energy in the most efficient and environmentally sustainable way.  This is not only for the obvious environmental benefits, but also for the economic and societal benefits that will accrue through adoption of the associated new technologies and business models.  The transition to renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, represents the future for Western Australia.

Aims

The Greens (WA) want:

  • clean, safe, secure, reliable and diverse energy supplies that are produced as efficiently as possible
  • rapid transition to a net zero-pollution economy that is primarily based on renewable sources of energy and efficient energy conversion processes, with specific near and long-term targets
  • Western Australia to transition to 100% renewables by 2030 for stationary energy (see Energy 2030)
  • Western Australia to become a source of expertise in the application of low polluting technology through research, engineering and business innovation and investment

Measures

The Greens (WA) will initiate and support the following legislation and actions:

State Energy Plan

  • develop a long term State Energy Plan that includes:
    • transition to zero-carbon energy for transport, industry, agriculture and electricity generation
    • consideration of the various electricity grids and how they can be optimised to reduce costs, improve access to renewable energy sources and improve service, e.g. replace the inefficient parts of the South West Interconnected System with micro-grids
    • transition plans to phase out fossil fuel electricity generation
    • emissions reduction targets with timetables (see also The Greens (WA) Climate Change policy)
    • an implementation plan that identifies the accountable bodies, regulatory changes, costs, timeframes and reporting requirements

Renewable Energy (see also Energy 2030)

  • commission a planning study for 2030 100% renewable energy scenarios for the Western Australian electricity market
  • reform electricity market access arrangements to allow maximum possible participation by renewable energy suppliers, and work to harmonise these arrangements with a national open-access regime
  • establish a feed-in tariff scheme, to provide long-term, guaranteed prices for prospective renewable energy supply technologies until they no longer require such assistance
  • establish streamlined processes for planning approvals and electricity network connections for utility-scale renewable energy plants

Regulatory and Institutional

  • identify regulatory barriers to achieving a zero-emissions economy and institute timetables to remove those barriers
  • require each Government agency to report annually on its energy usage.  Each agency will establish targets for energy use and report on its achievement of those targets and how they can be improved 

Energy Efficiency

  • support community engagement in household renewable technology options, energy efficiency measures and energy auditing. 
  • ensure compliance with the minimum requirements for energy efficiency in new buildings 
  • encourage modifications to existing buildings to improve energy efficiency. 
  • require new homes to have high standards of energy efficiency included at the design stage (see The Greens (WA) Housing policy and also the Australian Greens Housing policy). 
  • require mandatory energy efficiency disclosure of residential and commercial property prior to sale or lease

Electricity Market Reforms

  • maintain public ownership of the Western Australian electricity transmission and distribution system
  • ensure that owners of renewable energy systems are paid a fair rate for the electricity they export to the grid, recognising the grid service they provide by reducing network spending, fortification and peak demand generation capacity
  • provide fair access to the grid for owners of renewable energy systems.  In setting access charges for renewable energy systems, financial recognition also needs to be made of their contribution to lowering greenhouse gas emissions
  • reform electricity market access arrangements to foster increased participation by renewable energy suppliers, including residential suppliers.  This would include the support of regulated, consumer focused business models that allow renters, house movers and lower income families to access low cost, clean, renewable electricity
  • in order to reinforce the above measure, support longer-term measures to allow trading of electricity by smaller generators and consumers (even down to individual residences) over local electricity networks and micro-grids
  • Implement reforms that encourage the establishment of local micro-grids to allow communities, especially those towards the fringe of the existing grid, to generate and use their own electricity

Fossil Fuel Resource Management

  • remove or phase out subsidies for the use of greenhouse gas emitting energy sources and end direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel energy sources  
  • oppose any new coal-fired power stations or coal mines, and any expansion to existing coal fired power stations or mines
  • immediately develop a transition plan for the decommissioning of existing coal-fired power stations and coal mines while supporting the development of programs to assist the Collie community to transition to alternative sources of economic prosperity
  • oppose any new conventional gas well developments or expansion of existing developments
  • support the development of programs to assist LNG dependent communities to transition to alternative sources of economic prosperity as existing developments diminish 
  • end the development of coal-seam, shale or tight gas-field industries in Western Australia, given the short and long-term risks to our water, land, communities, tourism and agricultural industries, and our climate

Biomass

  • support the establishment of appropriate and environmentally sustainable biomass processing plants that can turn marginal agricultural products into useful goods and generate energy (heat) and electricity as a by-product.  Processing plants such as those using mallee are especially valuable where they also assist in land repair and provide additional economic activity for depressed rural communities
  • such biomass processing projects should be carefully assessed on environmental, sustainability and social grounds.  For example, they should not utilise old growth forests as fuel or compete with food production using prime agricultural land

(See also the Australian Greens Climate Change and Energy policy)

The Greens (WA) Energy policy ratified in 2017