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New resources minister promotes renewable energy

Australia’s new Energy and Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg has been welcomed by the mining industry, and has used his first day in the job to promote renewable energy.

Clean Energy Council Policy Manager Darren Gladman said the Turnbull Government’s early rhetoric on increasing the agility of Australia’s economy to leverage new opportunities and embrace change was extremely positive.

“The last decade has already seen great change in the way we produce and use energy across the globe,” Mr Gladman said.

“Newer technologies such as rooftop solar power have disrupted traditional energy business models and smarter infrastructure has helped people make more efficient use of energy. This cycle of disruption is only going to accelerate as new technologies help to bring down the cost of energy for everyone.

“Australia is well placed to take advantage of these changes, and the renewable energy industry is looking forward to working with Minister Frydenberg, whose early comments show that he recognises the growing economic contribution of clean energy like wind, solar, bioenergy and energy efficiency.”

He said the Clean Energy Council is looking forward to continuing their relationship with Environment Minister Greg Hunt, whose support was critical in restoring bipartisan support to the national Renewable Energy Target (RET).

“Australia has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world, and we believe the new Cabinet can see the job and investment benefits of these newer forms of energy for rural and regional areas of the country,” Mr Gladman said.

Mr Frydenberg told ABC Radio the Turnbull Government was committed to boosting renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions – but not at the expense of coal.

“If you’re talking about coal, that’s an important part of the energy mix and an important part of Australia’s energy production. But at the same time, renewable energy is too,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC Radio.

“I think we have shown our true colours there with a very strong bipartisan agreement to increasing – and in some ways doubling – our renewable energy production. I’m very comfortable with that.”

Mr Frydenberg also said Australia needed to make the most of the opportunities that arise from the expansion of the Chinese and Indian economies.

“I’m very excited about the opportunities in energy and resources from the export income from the sale of our resources overseas, but also to create tens of thousands of new jobs in Australia,” he said.

“We export 80 per cent of our energy production. Over the next decade or two you’re going to see an increase of about one-third of global demand for energy. So Australia is well placed to capitalise on this.”

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