Australia to end clean energy target

Oct 17, 2017
Government to phase out subsidies for renewable energy

Australia plans to abandon its clean energy target aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions in favor of coal power generation, in a plan that resembles US President Donald Trump’s energy policies.

In the announcement made on Tuesday, energy companies in Australia must deliver a certain level of power from sources such as coal, gas, hydro or batteries.

The government is set to phase out subsidies for renewable energy from 2020 in what appears to be a clear rebuff to meet its emissions reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement.

‘Past energy plans have subsidized some industries, punished others and slugged consumers,’ says Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s prime minister. ‘Our plan has no subsidies, no certificates and no tax.’

Bruce Mountain, director at Carbon and Energy Markets, a consultancy focusing on energy markets, says Australia’s plan ‘looks like a carbon copy of the new Trump energy policy in the US as it would likely mandate energy retailers to purchase electricity from coal-fired generators.’

Energy and climate policies have long been a source of political conflict in Australia, which is the world’s biggest coal exporter and relies on the fuel for more than half its electricity generation.

In 2014 it became the first country to repeal a carbon tax – a move that prompted a rise in emissions. 

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