Emissions pressure prompts calls for 'national leadership' from top government energy adviser

Dr Kerry Schott, during a discussion forum at the Clean Energy summit. Source: AAP

As the Morrison government comes under pressure over climate policy, it is finalising an energy sector investment roadmap that considers more than 100 new technologies and hopes for 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

A top energy adviser for the federal government has called for national leadership to coordinate the sector, to safeguard Australia's electricity supply. 

Energy Security Board chairwoman Kerry Schott told Nine newspapers the increase of renewables into the grid has put pressure on its security and reliability, with more hydroelectricity, battery storage and gas needed if the grid is to continue to function. 

"It's that co-ordination link that not having a national policy makes it very difficult to manage," she said.

"Some individual projects are helping - like Snowy 2.0 and transmission investments - but a co-ordinated policy is required."

Dr Kerry Schott.
Dr Kerry Schott.

It's been revealed future plans for Australia's energy sector are being mapped out by the federal government, as pressure continues to mount for a more ambitious emissions reduction goal.

The Morrison government is expected to release a draft technology roadmap later this year.

The roadmap lays out an investment blueprint and includes more than 100 new technologies and hopes for at least 50 per cent of Australia's energy sources to be renewable by 2030.

Dr Schott said a policy that links reducing emissions to the reliability, such as the government's previous National Energy Guarantee, would be a good option for reducing emissions.

This call comes after former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used the bushfire crisis to pressure Prime Minister Scott Morrison to reinstate the policy scrapped after his dismissal.

“There are simply no more excuses. We cannot allow political prejudice and vested interests to hold us up any longer,” he wrote in an opinion piece for the Guardian.   

“Morrison has the chance now to reinstate the NEG with higher targets.”

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during the National Smart Energy Summit.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during the National Smart Energy Summit.

In response, Mr Morrison told the ABC that the principal aspects of the policy remained in place.

“That’s Malcolm's view … the key component was the national energy guarantee. And the emissions target has not changed,” he said.

The unprecedented bushfires ravaging Australia have increased pressure on the government's emissions reduction goals and approach to climate change.

A handful of backbenchers dispute climate change, but the prime minister has adapted his comments on the matter to emphasise the Coalition's understanding of the science.

Mr Morrison hinted at a shift in the government's climate change policy this week, saying the approach would “evolve”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressing the media in Canberra.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressing the media in Canberra.

He has vowed the government will “meet and beats” its emissions targets under the Paris Agreement.

Australia is committed to reducing emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent by 2030 based on 2005 levels.

But the nation has attracted criticism for its decision to use of so-called “carry-over” credits, from the previous Kyoto Protocol to meet future targets.

The usage has been described as an “accounting loophole” by critics, who believe it should not count towards further steps towards emissions reduction.

Australia is responsible for around 1.3 per cent of global emissions.

Meanwhile, Lumo Energy and Red Energy - Snowy Hydro's retailers - have announced they would give $200 credit to customers who are volunteer firefighters.

Customers who have been affected by the fires will have $200 taken off their bills, while those who have lost their homes will have their bills wiped.

with AAP...

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