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Greens would demand ’700% renewable energy’ target in any Labor power-sharing deal

watoday– The Greens would demand a minority Labor government commit to producing seven times more energy than current levels, solely from renewables, and invest more than $20 billion in generation, storage and transmission as part of any future power-sharing agreement.

The party’s only lower house MP, Adam Bandt, will reveal his asking price on Sunday as part of a pitch to voters in Queensland, where the anti-coal campaign at the last election caused major pain for the opposition.

Mr Bandt said a target of 700 per cent of Australia’s current energy production, all coming from renewables, would be central to any negotiation should the Greens hold the balance of power after the next poll, which must be held between August and May next year.

He said Labor would be “very unlikely” to win a majority government in its own right but could “turf the Liberals out” if it agreed to address climate change and economic inequality.

“In a shared-power government, the Greens will push for Australia to generate 700 per cent renewable energy, turning Australia into an energy superpower, exporting clean energy to the world and fighting the climate crisis,” Mr Bandt said.

Labor’s 2019 election review identified the Coalition’s campaign associating Labor with the Greens in voters’ minds as contributing to former leader Bill Shorten’s disastrous results in regional electorates and found it “devastated” its support in the coal mining communities of regional Queensland and the NSW Hunter Valley.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown led a convoy from Tasmania to northern Queensland to protest over the Adani coal mine, which was widely viewed as damaging to Labor’s election hopes and highlighted its inconsistent policy on the future of coal.

A 700 per cent target would mean the end of all coal and gas-fired power generation. Australia’s electricity needs would be provided through wind, solar and other renewables, and there would be a massive green energy surplus to promote energy-intensive manufacturing such as “green” steel and aluminium and power export industries such as green hydrogen.

Australia, on average, produces 264 terawatt hours of electricity, with 52 terawatt hours of that from renewables. The nation is on track for rooftop and large-scale solar and wind projects to rise from 27 per cent of the National Energy Market to 55 per cent by 2030.

Renewable advocates argue that with a drastic scale-up, Australia could be producing between 1700 and 2300 terawatt hours of renewable energy by 2040.

Mr Bandt said over the next decade, Australia needed to rapidly transition its power grid to wind and solar backed by storage, and electrify its transport, industry, business and homes to run on clean energy.

He would seek Labor’s commitment to invest $20 billion to transform the energy grid by upgrading transmission lines and adopting an accelerated electrification plan for transport, buildings and industry.

Mr Bandt said he would also ask for a clean energy and green materials government procurement program and a renewable export strategy.

“This clean energy revolution will create hundreds of thousands of well-paid, long-term jobs, enabling workers in fossil fuels industries in Queensland and elsewhere to transition and farmers to be paid to farm carbon and protect the land.”

“To unlock the revolution the government will need to lead the way with public investment in renewable generation, storage and transforming the power grid. Putting in 110 per cent effort to stop the climate crisis is no longer enough. Let’s aim for 700 per cent.”

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