Energy

Our society relies on energy for all our daily needs, therefore we need low cost, reliable and sustainable energy production. Energy production methods to date have largely relied on the extraction and burning of fossil fuels which has promoted localised air, ground and water pollution and ultimately lead to the current climate change crisis. 

The Greens (WA) are committed to an energy future that produces and utilises energy in the most efficient and environmentally sustainable way.  This is both to ensure environmental benefits derived from the adoption of new, renewable and clean energy technologies and business models that promote low-cost energy.  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 (SWIS) 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
    • prepare the SWIS for the potential impact of domestic, service and industrial charging of electric vehicles

Renewable Energy (see also Energy 2030)

  • commission a planning study 100% renewable energy scenarios for the Western Australian electricity market by 2030
  • 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
  • support the continued research and development of hydrogen from renewable sources

Winter Wind Drought

  • fund and support research into the best technologies for overcoming short one to two week periods in winter when solar and wind resources may be insufficient to maintain adequate electricity supplies on the SWIS grid in southwest Western Australia. Candidate technologies would include the available non-nuclear energy sources or storage methods that come closest to zero greenhouse gas emissions across their life cycles

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 emissions reduction actions, including household renewable technology options, energy efficiency measures, energy auditing and carbon offsetting programs
  • establish mandatory energy efficiency audits for major energy users, with compulsory implementation of energy management plans to drastically reduce emissions, and where elimination is not possible, have very minimal approved offsetting mechanisms
  • increase minimum requirements for energy efficiency in new buildings and homes at the design stage and provide incentives to exceed these minimum requirements (see The Greens (WA) Housing policy and also the Australian Greens Housing policy)
  • increase incentives and subsidies for substantial retrofits to existing buildings to improve energy efficiency, with explicitly stated and timed targets for overall state-wide efficiency improvements
  • 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 (see also The Greens (WA) Mining & Fossil Fuels policy)

  • 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 
  • ban 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 liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities and work toward the replacement of the industry with renewable energy, leading to the near-term retirement of the gas industry
  • prohibit the exploration for, or development of, any gas well developments that involve hydraulic fracturing (fracking)1
  • oppose the expansion of existing natural gas production and work toward the replacement of the industry with renewable energy, leading to the near-term retirement of the gas industry
  • require full, open and transparent annual disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions from all components of the production train in all oil and gas facilities without exclusion, as part of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory reporting requirement (under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007)
  • require full disclosure in any areas of uncertainty from data reporting for all components of the production train in all oil and gas facilities, as part of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory reporting requirement
  • force existing LNG producers to comply with all licence conditions, established at either a State or Federal level, with respect to carbon pollution mitigation
  • require existing gas producers to offset emissions where agreed mitigation measures have failed
  • 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, shale2 or tight3 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

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

Glossary

1. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid. The process involves the high-pressure injection of 'fracking' fluid' into the well-bore to create cracks in the deep rock formations through which natural gas and petroleum will flow more freely.

2. Shale gas - natural gas that is trapped within shale formations. Shales are fine grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum and natural gas.

3. Tight gas - natural gas produced from rocks with such low permeability that massive hydraulic fracturing is necessary to produce the well at economic rates.

The Greens (WA) Energy policy ratified in 2020

The Greens (WA) energy spokesperson is Tim Clifford MLC