Stable policy and better targeted support to help industry develop and invest in the right emerging renewable technologies are key issues that must be addressed, CEDA, Chief Executive, Professor the Hon Stephen Martin said today.
Launching CEDA's latest policy perspective, Renewables and efficiency, Professor Martin said billions of dollars of investment were needed in our energy market to transition to low-emission energy sources but the ad hoc nature of energy policy meant investors did not have the security necessary to make the large investments needed.
"Even the government's policy of putting a price on carbon should have provided some certainty but with the Opposition promising to rescind the legislation there is no policy stability for investors," Professor Martin said.
"There also needs to be better forward planning that allows for nationally coordinated investment by governments in research and development, pilot plants or infrastructure and land to allow future development of renewable technologies if predicted breakthroughs occur.
"Subsidies to already commercial technologies should be removed and policy measures should be aimed at addressing market failures and barriers affecting deployment of emerging technologies, such as transmission connection hurdles.
"Forward planning of regulatory frameworks for emerging technologies and investment in infrastructure or land is also important. Reserving land now is potentially much more cost effective than waiting until a technology is ready to be deployed when the best sites or locations may have been developed for other purposes.
"Low-cost, low-carbon, secure energy is vital if Australia is to remain competitive in the global economy.
"Our energy sources and supply are going to dramatically change over coming decades and we need predictable forward planning to allow us to develop the best options, without being hindered by political cycles."
In addition to highlighting the need to review existing energy polices around renewables, Professor Martin said the policy perspective also examined:
Professor Martin said improving energy efficiency has the potential to buy Australia up to a decade of time, allowing development of emerging renewable technologies to advance further before we make decisions about which energy sources will make up our energy portfolio in the long-term.
"In addition, the methodology used to examine energy options explored in the policy perspective provides an alternative model to look not only at the technological breakthroughs required for emerging technology but the probability of those breakthroughs occurring, aiding policy and investment decisions," he said.
This policy perspective is the second of three in CEDA's Australia's Energy Options series and draws together five experts. The previous policy perspective in this series was Australia's Nuclear Options.
This policy perspective will be launched at 11am at an event at the RACV Club, Level 17, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC at 11am today.
Australia's Energy Options project supported by:
CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation.