The 2019 Federal Election this coming Saturday has been touted as one of the most important for climate change and energy policy in recent history.
All three major parties have announced their energy and climate change policies ahead of what is expected to be a tight race.
At the end of April, the Labor Party announced a new solar and battery program for schools. The Solar Schools program would allow schools across the country greater access to rooftop solar and/or battery storage technologies through a $1 billion government loans scheme.
The program would further Australia’s push towards renewable energy, whilst also giving the schools involved access to considerable savings on their electricity bills.
Analysis from the Clean Energy Council estimates that smaller schools could save $7,000 to $15,000 per year, whilst larger schools could save $89,000 to $120,000 per year. These figures depend on the size of the system installed, electricity usage, location and their contract with the energy operator.
The aim of the program is to create a nationwide Virtual Power Plant (VPP) that can be transferable between the schools’ own energy needs and the electricity demands of the grid. The advanced solar and battery technology used by the VPP also has the added benefit of being centrally operated.
Once the complete system is entirely operational, the scheme would create up to 364MW of VPP capacity by providing almost 4,000 schools the opportunity to install solar or upgrade existing systems.
The Labor Party’s other notable climate change and renewable policies include; 45% emissions reduction target by 2030, 50% renewable energy target by 2030, introduction of the National Energy Guarantee, and an additional $10 billion to the CEFC to finance new clean energy projects.
The Liberal-National coalition has also stated its commitment to influencing the impacts of climate change with a 26% to 28% emissions reduction target by 2030.
The crux of this target will be formed by an additional $2 billion provided to the Climate Solutions Fund, previously known as the Emissions Reductions Fund. The policy will provide additional funding for bush fire prevention for Indigenous Australians, small business energy bill reductions and farmers looking to re-vegetate and drought-proof farms.
In addition, business and community organisations will benefit from almost 2,500 grants totalling $50 million to assist in energy efficiency projects.
To further provide diversified energy solutions, both Labor and the Coalition support the construction of Snowy 2.0, which will increase the generation capacity by up to 2GW.
The Greens are often at the forefront of climate change and renewable energy policy and this year’s election is no different.
The Greens are promising an emissions reduction target of 63% to 82% by 2030, 100% renewable energy target by 2030, $10 billion additional funding to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and creating a Clean Energy Export Development Fund valuing $1.7 billion.
In addition to these policies, the Greens will impose bans on new coal mines, fracking and conventional gas and oil fields.
No matter who takes power this coming weekend, now more than ever there is an increased importance on introducing clean energy targets and solutions to limit the impacts of climate change.
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