This election, to do what’s best for the climate and for regional Australian communities, there are four critical priorities:
Transforming our electricity system to 100% renewable energy
Best practice community engagement and community investment
Orderly transition from coal-burning power generation
Effective emissions reduction mechanism outside the electricity sector
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The Australian Wind Alliance calls on political parties and candidates to commit to:
- 100% Renewable Energy Target, grid modernization, electricity market reform
To play our part in limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, Australia should set a target to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, backed up by a robust policy mechanism to deliver it. Renewable energy is a cost-effective way to reduce emissions and is the cornerstone of decarbonisation efforts in other sectors of the economy, such as battery-powered transport and greater electrification of industrial processes.
Additional enabling policy is urgently required to modernise transmission and distribution infrastructure in line with AEMO’s Integrated System Plan to make them fit for purpose for an electricity supply dominated by distributed and variable sources. Significant electricity market reform is also required to include decarbonisation as part of the National Electricity Objective and to incentivise both large- and small-scale energy storage. ARENA and the CEFC should continue to be supported and properly funded.
- Supporting best practice community engagement and community investment
While Australians are world leaders in the uptake of solar panels on their rooves, interest in direct community investment in utility scale wind farms is also becoming more prevalent. Additionally, best practice community engagement promotes widespread support for renewable energy projects.
Reverse auction processes undertaken by the ACT and Victorian governments prioritized community engagement and this led to strong community outcomes in winning bids, including a public investment scheme for a large-scale wind farm. Reverse auctions undertaken at a federal level could seek to emulate these results. Alternatively, ARENA could allocate funds to further develop and support community investment models and deliver the best outcomes for rural and regional Australia.
- An orderly transition from coal-burning power generation
The falling cost of renewables and storage and the urgent need for action on climate change mean that coal as an energy source does not have a long-term future in Australia’s electricity sector.
It is important that future closures of coal-burning power stations are orderly to ensure electricity demand continues to be met and that the well-being of coal communities is properly considered and supported. A well-resourced Commonwealth body should be established to oversee this process and ensure just transition arrangements for coal communities, including re-training of power workers for long term jobs in the clean energy sector.
- Effective emissions reduction mechanisms outside the electricity sector
Since the repeal of the Gillard Government’s carbon pricing mechanism, Australia has lacked an effective and coordinated policy to transition Australia’s economy towards a zero-carbon future. While electricity is the sector best prepared to quickly decarbonise, a robust and cost-effective mechanism is also required for non-electricity sectors of the economy. With the right policies, lower electricity sector emissions can facilitate reductions in other sectors by, for example, allowing vehicles to switch from high emissions petrol to emissions free electricity. Sectors where emissions are harder to achieve, such as agriculture, should be supported to adapt practices and adopt new technology, but in the meantime their sectoral emissions should be limited to thresholds consistent with limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
AWA 2019 Federal Election policy platform pdf
 Deep Decarbonisation of the Australian Energy Industry, 2019. Lu, Blakers, Stocks, Cheng, Nadolny
 Sydney Morning Herald, https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/six-panels-a-minute-two-million-australian-homes-now-have-solar-20181203-p50jtn.html (accessed 5 April 2019)
 Building Stronger Communities: Wind’s growing role in regional Australia, 2018, Australian Wind Alliance.
 Australian Wind Alliance, ibid.
 100% Renewable Electricity Penetration, 2019. Stocks, Lu, Blakers