CANBERRA, AAP – Labor is planning a fresh move in parliament to maintain the renewable energy focus of Australia’s green bank.
The federal government has survived several attempts to strike out regulations allowing the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to invest in low emissions technologies including carbon capture and storage and hydrogen made with the use of fossil-fuel generated energy.
ARENA can still make its own investment decisions based on merit.
Labor energy and climate change spokesman Chris Bowen told a business audience on Tuesday that the “doubtful legality” of the regulations will be part of the opposition’s action.
“Labor is yet to move our disallowance motion. We will do so at an appropriate time and we will be working hard to try and get the extra vote to prevail,” Mr Bowen said.
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Labor is facing criticism for having no 2030 emissions reduction target.
Critics also expected the party to give up on another parliamentary move to protect ARENA’s role.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor expects more than $80 billion in private and public investment over the next decade in the government’s preferred technologies to reduce and remove global emissions.
Mr Bowen slammed the Morrison government’s “repeated attempts to water down” the renewable energy commitment of both ARENA and the government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
“The latest attempt is of course by Minister Taylor. To expand ARENA’s remit by regulation, because he knows he will fail by legislation.”
The Smart Energy Council, representing thousands of companies, has said it may sue the federal government to make sure ARENA’s mandate matches the laws that set it up.
As well, a proposed legislative framework for offshore renewables was meant to be in place by mid-2021.
Mr Bowen said offshore wind should be an important part of a clean energy future.
Some of the best resources are located just off the coast of the regions that have powered Australia for generations in Gippsland and La Trobe, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, Illawarra and central Queensland, he says.
New laws to remove blocks on the development of offshore wind projects are promised by Mr Taylor, but are yet to be introduced to parliament.