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In the transformation of energy systems: what is holding Australia back?

Grace Cheung and Peter J. Davies

Energy Policy, 2017, vol. 109, issue C, 96-108

Abstract: Australia has had a strong GDP growth rate, is endowed with a diversity of renewable energy resources yet has been unable to unshackle its dependency on fossil fuels. Our study identifies causes underlying Australia’s underachievement in its transformation towards a renewable-energy economy. We apply a combined mixed-methods case-study and multi-criteria analysis to evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions and energy targets, policies and programs of four Australian Prime Ministers between 1996 and 2015. We identify four high-impact factors that contribute to Australia’s underachievement. The Prime Minister’s political stance on climate and energy is critical in setting the direction of government. The absence of target-driven policy frameworks results in less-effective policy outcomes. Orderly and cost-effective energy system transformation requires bipartisan, strategic long-term planning and substantial capital investment to provide policy certainty and stability that can induce new investment in renewable technologies and industries. Energy policy is primarily a political and ideological issue not one driven by underlying economic conditions. Going forward, Australia must achieve a bipartisan position on climate and energy policy at both federal and state levels. This will provide long-term certainty and stability to support investment in renewable energy and so doing achieve international emission reduction obligations.

Keywords: Energy system transformation; Climate change politics; Multi-criteria analysis; Renewable; Energy policy; Energy economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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