Greens propose 30 renewable energy zones, backed by grid fund

A plan to create up to 30 special renewable energy zones across Australia, and establish a $2.8 billion grid transformation fund, has been proposed by the Australian Greens.

The plan, outlined by energy and climate spokesperson Adam Bandt on Wednesday, would see renewable energy zones dotted around the nation, from the Pilbara in Western Australia, across to the wind and solar-rich east coast.

“Australia’s grid is still largely a set of wires out to coal mines. Government now needs to build the grid out to where the sun shines and the wind blows,” Bandt said in his prepared speech.

“Renewable energy is the cheapest form of electricity. With the right policy, Australia can become a renewable energy superpower,” also noting the potential for significant exports of renewables, either through carrying technologies such as hydrogen or direct links to Asia.

The Greens policy builds on the draft Integrated System Plan presented by the Australian Energy Market Operator, but pushes for 100 per cent renewables, rather than the 46 per cent targeted by the ISP.

“I am worried that the potential of REZs and AEMO’s ‘Integrated System Plan’ will be squandered unless federal government grabs the issue by the scruff of the neck and starts building the network in the public interest,” Bandt said.

Giles Parkinson