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Australians want faster move to renewables: poll

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A national poll shows two thirds of Australians believe the nation is moving into renewable energy too slowly.

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The poll of 1420 people by the Australia Institute, a progressive, pro-renewables think tank, found 67 per cent of respondents believed Australia was “moving into renewable energy” too slowly.

The result was similar among South Australians, with 64 per cent of those surveyed saying the move to renewables was too slow.

Nationally, a majority of Coalition voters – 55 per cent – also wanted a faster move to renewables.

Clear majorities were also recorded on questions about whether those polled support an increase in state renewable energy targets (77 per cent in favour, 78 per cent in South Australia), and whether a new national renewable energy target, to be put in place for 2030, should be higher than the current target (73 per cent in favour, 66 per cent in South Australia).

Australians were less enthusiastic about the current RET for 2020, with 52 per cent wanting to increase the target (50 per cent in South Australia), and 26 per cent wanting it to remain as it is (same figure for SA).

Asked what would happen to power prices if the renewable energy target was removed, 45 per cent believed they would increase, 19 per cent said they would decrease, 13 per cent thought they would be unchanged and 24 per cent did not know. The results were similar among South Australians, with 48 per cent believing energy prices would go up if the RET was scrapped.

The survey found that 55 per cent of Australians rated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s performance on renewable energy and climate change as “poor”, with 25 per cent rating it as “good”. Among South Australians, 62 per cent rated the PM’s performance as poor, while 23 per cent believed it had been good.

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The results fly in the face of intense political attacks on the speed of Australia’s move to renewable energy, with South Australia coming in for particular attack from the Federal Government following last year’s statewide blackout.

The State Liberals have vowed to scrap South Australia’s renewable energy target, also arguing the state has destablised its electricity grid by moving too quickly into renewable energy.

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said the war on renewables was “the political version of the Somme”.

“Furious attacks have not made any ground on the popularity of renewable energy,” he said.

“As prices for renewables and battery storage tumble, clean energy options continue to look better economically and politically.

“Changes to national electricity market rules – such as the introduction of the ‘5-minute rule’ – can ensure renewables, batteries and demand management are priced fairly and this this trend will accelerate.”

The survey was carried out from March 17-24.

 

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