The Turnbull government has bowed to criticism of its electricity emissions reduction target with plans for a review in 2024, but an energy expert suggests it should happen sooner.
Plans for the National Energy Guarantee would lock in a 26 per cent emissions reduction target for the sector until 2030.
But AAP has confirmed the government is willing to compromise with those who fear it’s not ambitious enough by offering a review in 2024, which would allow the target to be raised from 2025.
The Grattan Institute’s Tony Wood called for the review for the 2026 to 2030 period to happen earlier so changes by companies aren’t needed at the last minute.
He believes a review in 2021 would give businesses some predictability.
“What we want to get is a balance between enough certainty for investors but also enough flexibility to deal with change,” he told AAP.
“We thought (reviews every) three years would be enough, the government said five … but no one is thinking 10 years and it does feel a bit too long given that the world will change.”
He said regular set reviews of the target would provide certainty for companies in the same way the Reserve Bank provided predictability with regular interest rate decisions.
Five-yearly reviews of the target beyond 2030 have always been part of the guarantee.
The target, a step toward Australia’s commitment to reduce overall emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030, has been criticised for putting too much pressure on other sectors like agriculture and transport by not having a more ambitious electricity target.
Projections already forecast the electricity sector will reduce its 2005-level emissions by 24 per cent, by 2021.
Labor is calling for a more ambitious target as well as a commitment for 50 per cent renewable energy, but leader Bill Shorten says they’ve not reached a final position on the current iteration of the plan.
“We are not at a final position and how can you be?” he told reporters in Tasmania.
“This government hasn’t even presented a draft legislation of what they’re proposing.”
State and territory energy ministers will meet with their federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg next month to finalise plans for the guarantee.
Mr Frydenberg hopes legislation could pass parliament by the end of this year.
On renewable energy targets, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reiterated the guarantee policy is technology-agnostic.
“If renewables are cheaper, as many people say they are, then we’ll see a lot more renewables and everyone will be happy,” he told Tasmania’s LAFM radio on Thursday.
National Farmers’ Federation chief executive Tony Mahar said agriculture was suffering from “paralysis” due to uncertainty in energy policy.
“We want the energy market fixed. It’s clearly broken,” he told Sky News.