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Australian Energy Minister To Forge Ahead With Climate Agenda

After the surprising conservative win in Australia’s recent general election, the new Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, has claimed the majority government formed with the Liberals had a mandate to implement climate policies.

“We’re firmly committed to the policies we took to the election. We now have a clear mandate to implement those policies and we’ll be doing so,” Taylor told the Sydney Morning Herald today, adding There's now an opportunity for a bipartisan approach to energy and emissions. Labor should adopt our plan, which was supported by the Australian people, and I know industry wants to see bipartisanship. Now's the opportunity."

While Taylor said his ministry will strive to deliver both cheaper energy to Australian households and climate change targets, he also said the government will not renew the National Energy Guarantee initiative proposed by the previous government and later dropped amid the government crisis.

The National Energy Guarantee aimed to combine lower emissions with lower prices and with supply security by obliging energy companies to first make sure they have a constant minimum supply of electricity regardless of what they use to generate it—including solar and wind— and second, to guarantee that the emissions resulting from the production of this electricity are in line with the country’s Paris Agreement commitment.

Not everyone is a fan of this approach, including provincial governments as well as industry groups, although some industry groups were vocally in favor of the plan last year. In any case, it seems it won’t be returned to the table under this government.

Electricity supply has become a serious problem in Australia in recent years. The previous government blamed it on the fast adoption of solar and wind capacity without any backup or storage to prevent blackouts. Another serious problem is a looming LNG shortage due to excessive exports, which is also contributing to higher electricity prices and lower security of supply.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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