Anthony Albanese has told energy industry leaders Australia must move towards renewable energy or risk being left behind.
In a speech and panel discussion at NewsCorp’s Future Energy summit, the prime minister outlined his vision to transform the country into a “renewable energy superpower”.
“The global shift to clean energy is Australia’s biggest opportunity for growth and prosperity,” he said on Friday.
“This is a decade in which we either move forward and seize the opportunities which are there, or the world will just go past us.”Australia had immense potential due to its abundance of sunshine and wind alongside the availability of minerals critical to creating infrastructure necessary for renewable energy, Mr Albanese said.
He noted the importance of gas in the energy transition and said it would support the electricity grid during low renewable periods.
“It would not be responsible to just turn the tap off overnight as some would suggest,” he said.
“I am forecasting gas-generated power will play a key role in our energy system.”
Though the country’s transition to renewables has lagged behind other nations, the prime minister said the government’s commitment to reduce emissions 43 per cent by 2030 and hit net-zero by 2050 was an improvement.
“That’s a big step on where we were a few years ago, where we would have been having a debate of whether climate change is real, about the science, about whether the transition was happening.”
With debate over climate change’s existence having largely subsided, the country could move towards energy that was more sustainable and cheaper.
When asked if the Labor government would stick to its election promise to reduce power bills by $275 in 2025, he did not directly answer the question but maintained renewable energy could reduce costs.
“We know what happened with the invasion of Ukraine … but there’s no question that renewables will reduce prices. That’s why the investment is going there,” he said.
On Monday, unions, energy and environment groups called on the government to provide a $100 billion clean energy package to support Australia’s low-carbon technology manufacturing base.