Labor leader Bill Shorten will announce a $140 million spend on a battery scheme. Picture: AAP
Labor leader Bill Shorten will announce a $140 million spend on a battery scheme. Picture: AAP

Bill’s energy policy short on reliable power sources

Bill Shorten's signature energy policy boils down to a niche battery scheme, abandoning reliable coal-fired power and even half-heartedly backing the Coalition's dumped ­National Energy Guarantee, which cost Malcolm Turnbull his prime ministership.

The Labor leader will announce on Thursday that, if elected, he will pump $140 million into a battery scheme that will hand 100,000 Aussies with solar panels up to $2000 to install their own battery system.

Despite fears about blackouts linked to unreliable renewable power generation, Labor plans to open the taxpayer bank to underwrite new generators, including windmills and solar farms - but not coal fired-power stations.

Mr Shorten also ­hinted that he would abandon legislating Labor's 45 per cent emissions reduction target if the Coalition did not want to work together on ­reviving the NEG.

"I want Australia to be a clean energy powerhouse and I want more houses powered by clean energy," he said. "Labor's plan for more renewables and cheaper power will be good for households, good for the economy and good for the environment.

"It will help deliver 50 per cent of power from renewables by 2030, keep power ­prices lower, and create thousands of jobs in the ­renewables industry."

A further $100 million would be used for "community power hubs" to help disadvantaged households access cheaper power through solar panels on apartment rooftops and community wind farms.

The battery scheme will be rolled out over four years from January 2020 and will work on a first-in, first-served basis. It will be reviewed after two years to make sure it is helping to contribute to Labor's target to have battery systems installed in one million households by 2025.

An image showing wind turbines at the Sapphire Wind Farm in Kingsland, NSW. Picture: AAP
An image showing wind turbines at the Sapphire Wind Farm in Kingsland, NSW. Picture: AAP

Mr Shorten's scheme has already been outdone in SA and the ACT, where households are offered up to $6000, while Victorian Labor promised 10,000 households $4838 for battery systems in the lead-up to this weekend's Victorian election.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor has pledged to end green schemes, savaging such subsidies as "expensive programs that deliver ­little else other than funnelling consumers' hard-earned money into vested interests resulting in increased prices and reduced reliability".

Mr Shorten said he was still willing to work with the Coalition to pass the NEG, which Labor could use to legislate its 45 per cent emissions reduction target. He said he would not "put on hold" the subsidy plan if he could not secure agreement.



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