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On climate, the consumer’s vote will be more important than the party room’s

Giles Parkinson writes in Inside Story (10.6.17) about Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s energy sector report, arguing that it is a political more than a policy document – which might, or might not, be its strength, according to the author.

‘Chief scientist Alan Finkel got a lot of people very excited when he released his draft report into Australia energy security last December, less than three months after the September blackout put conservatives into a flap over wind and solar.

‘We were in the midst of an unstoppable energy transition, he said, one based on cheap renewables, storage and smart software. And the technologies to address the reliability and security issues were at hand, though they were not being encouraged by the design of the market.

‘The energy system, Finkel went on, would need to shift dramatically from a centralised model (aka coal plants) to a decentralised model (aka rooftop solar and storage). The power, quite literally would return to the people. It was all rather exciting.

‘Fast forward to 9 June, and Finkel’s delivery of his final report to Council of Australian Governments leaders in Hobart, and many people are wondering what happened in between. Blame the full moon or Dark MOFO happening in the same city, but Finkel’s view of the energy future didn’t look much different to the one we’ve got now.’

The Australia Institute launches National Energy Emissions Audit

After the release of the much-awaited Finkel review into Australia’s energy market, The Australia Institute has announced its own quarterly update on the Australian market and energy policy.

‘The Australia Institute has launched the National Energy Emissions Audit (The Audit), written by respected energy analyst and ANU Honorary Associate Professor, Dr Hugh Saddler, which tracks Australia’s emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels.

‘The National Energy Emissions Audit will be published on a quarterly basis, in September, December, March and June each year. In each intermediate month the NEEA Electricity Update will report on changes to emissions from electricity generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

‘The first edition of the National Energy Emissions Audit finds that Australia’s total energy emissions have increased in the quarter to March 2017 and, on the basis of official government projections, would reverse reductions and return to 2005 levels by 2030. In Paris, Australia committed to reduce emission by 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030.’

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