UPI Energy Resources informs us Australia has released its energy white paper, considered by many to be the centerpiece of its future energy policy. According to the document, it “faces up to major challenges such as rising energy prices, pressures in Australia’s natural gas markets, remaining competitive in the development of our energy resources, maintaining our liquid fuel security and bringing new clean energy technologies to market.” The paper suggests that Australia could “rival” Qatar as the world’s biggest natural gas exporter as exports increase 19% annually. The government wants to rely on competitive markets to develop the country’s gas resources and views government intervention as a “last resort.” As for electricity, the paper proposes deregulation of electricity pricing and the roll-out of smart meters. Nationwide, average retail electricity prices in Australia have risen about 40% over the past four years but above 50% in some states. The white paper highlighted that renewable energy technologies can provide 40% of Australia’s electricity by 2035 and up to 85%t by 2050. Presently, Australia relies on coal for 75% of its electricity generation. The paper does makes it clear that fossil fuels will continue to dominate Australia’s energy supply “for many years to come”. You can access the white paper here.

Other sources weighed in with their comments on the Australian energy white paper.

The Sydney Morning Herald noted the transformation from coal dependency to a renewable energy future would require more than $200 billion investment in new power plants, including $100 billion in renewable sources of powers and $50 billion to $60 billion in natural gas.

The Australian zeroed in on the rising cost of electricity and said: “If the government were serious about easing energy price pressures, it would do better to address the cost impact of the carbon tax and the renewable energy target.” The government has set a target of 20% renewable energy by the end of this decade. In July of this year the country introduced a carbon tax of $23 per tonne on CO2 emitters which is imposing a $9 billion a year cost increase on Australian business. The author argues that the combined impact of the renewable target and the carbon tax has been to reduce demand for electricity, causing low cost power utilities to shut down, and forcing customers to purchase much higher priced wind and solar power which has priority.  The net result is higher electricity prices for Australian residential and business customers.

The same source focused on the carbon tax in Our carbon tax is uniquely costly.

ABC also addressed the rising price of electricity in Higher power bills flagged in energy white paper. “Consumers who use lots of power at peak times could soon be forced to pay more for electricity, as part of the Federal Government’s plan to cut energy consumption and create a fairer billing system.”

Clean Technica looked at the country’s long term renewable energy plans in Australia Targets 85% Energy Generation From Renewable Sources By 2050.

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