A poll released today has found more than two-thirds of Australians want the government to set a more ambitious renewable energy target to put downward pressure on power prices.
Commissioned by Greenpeace Australia Pacific, the ReachTel survey was conducted on 30 July, collating answers from 3,999 Australians about their stance on renewable energy and the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), the latter of which is due to be voted on at the next government meeting in Sydney.
Of those polled, 67% said that renewable energy should receive the majority of government funding, rather than fossil fuels such as coal. Only 25% of participants disagreed with this sentiment, a figure that may worry the predominantly coal-oriented government.
Investment in renewables was seen by 66.7% of participants as the best means of ensuring reliable electricity at lower costs, alongside dispatchable storage solutions such as batteries. In addition, 59.7% of voters predicted that renewable sources such as solar and wind would supply the majority of the country’s electricity by 2030.
In a statement, Greenpeace said the results act as a “rebuke” for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, both of whom are advocates for the NEG, a scheme which the environmental group said would ‘hobble’ the country’s renewable industry.
Head of Greenpeace research and investigations Nikola Casule said the plan would go against “both the will of the people and market realities”, and labelled it an environmental and economic failure, as well as “politically disastrous”.
A recent report from Reputex supported the argument that renewable energy would help keep power prices low, concluding that the more ambitious target of achieving 45% renewable energy would see prices dip by 25% by 2030. This is compared to the government’s proposed emissions reduction target of 26%.
Despite criticism of the NEG, a group of major businesses including the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group released a statement today calling for opponents to “put aside politics and ideology” and support the scheme.
The group stressed the need to end delays on the policy’s implementation, saying “a decade of policy uncertainty” has caused increased electricity prices and system instability, adding that the NEG is needed to spark confidence in the sector “needed to make the important, long-term decisions for a reliable, affordable and clean energy system”.