Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused some state governments of putting too much emphasis on generating electricity from wind farms, putting Australia’s energy security at risk and “distorting the national energy market.”
Turnbull is claiming that Labor party-run states are too reliant on wind and solar power as they seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions. His Liberal-National federal government called state energy ministers to a meeting in Melbourne on Friday after fierce storms last week knocked down transmission towers in South Australia, causing blackouts in a state that gets 41 percent of its power from renewables.
“This has been very much a Labor obsession, to set these heroic renewable energy targets,” Turnbull told an Adelaide radio station. “They assume that they can change the composition of the energy mix and that energy security will always be there and the lights will stay on, and that has been brought into question.”
State ministers agreed to hold an independent review to provide a blueprint for energy security across Australia, national Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne.
Renewable energy — championed globally as a tool to combat global warming — is a contentious issue in Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter. Since winning power in 2013 under then-leader Tony Abbott, the coalition government has dismantled a levy on carbon emissions and cut targets for how much energy it aims to draw from wind and solar generation by 2020.
Turnbull, whose support for an emissions trading scheme cost him his job as opposition leader in 2009, hasn’t diverged from Abbott’s climate-change policies since taking power more than a year ago. His government is pledging to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2030.