Federal Labor is backing a 50% renewables target, saying it will lead to “a new manufacturing boom”.
ALP Leader Anthony Albanese’s vision for Labor is revealed in the draft of a speech to be given in Perth today.
Labor has been debating its policy on renewable energy since its election defeat in May, where it took a 45% emissions reduction target to the polls.
While Albanese’s speech maintains the difference between his party and the Morrison Government, Labor’s new vision is also about the positive impact renewables have on the economy
Jobs and growth with clean energy
Albanese is stressing the ‘jobs and growth’ grounding of Labor’s clean energy vision, adding “this means jobs” according to a Guardian report.
It’s an obvious attempt by Labor to reposition itself as the party of realistic ambitions, following perceived blunders in its failed election campaign under Bill Shorten.
The Shorten error, according to commentators, is that Labor failed to connect with its traditional working-class base on energy.
Labor’s failure to put a positive spin on its opposition to Queensland’s Adani coal mine and its lack of justification for its ambitious emissions reduction scheme cast it as a party out of touch with everyday realities.
Australia as a super (clean) power
Today’s speech substitutes coal with solar power but adds a crucial caveat: renewables are a means to achieving industrial and economic prosperity. Clean energy = jobs and growth.
“We have the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any continent,” Albanese says.
“We also have some of the best wind and wave resources and we have some of the best engineers and scientists, breaking the barriers of what is possible with renewable energy.
“Australia can be the land of cheap and endless energy – energy that could power generations of metal manufacturing and other energy intensive manufacturing industries.”
Hydrogen exports from solar energy
In the speech, Albanese says an Australian hydrogen export industry “would create 87,000 good, well-paid jobs”.
One way to create hydrogen is to use solar energy to separate the gas from water — the cleanest method. This means our abundant solar energy would be exported in the form of hydrogen to countries less blessed with sunshine.
Labor’s vision of a clean energy future is already a reality for those Australians who have rooftop solar panels.
After all, the huge savings on power bills with a 5kW solar system make economic sense. But with solar there’s also the reassurance that despite national debates over energy policy, it’s possible to make a positive impact at home.