POLL: Australians want renewable energy

More than 70% of Australians want ambitious renewable energy target to drive down electricity prices

6 August 2018


SYDNEY, Aug 6, 2018 – Over two-thirds of Australians want the Federal Government to set a high renewable energy target to put downward pressure on power prices, according to a Reachtel poll commissioned by Greenpeace Australia Pacific.


The result serves as a rebuke to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, who have been pressuring embattled state leaders such as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk to pass the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) that will hobble the thriving renewables industry with an emissions reduction target below the expectations of their electorates.

“Australians want lower electricity prices and the way to achieve that is to get more renewables in the energy mix. The Australian people know it and expect governments to act on it”, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Research and Investigations, Nikola Casule, said.

“Instead, Turnbull’s NEG is a policy that directly undercuts the renewable energy industry, going against both the will of the people and market realities. Turnbull’s pathetic NEG dis-incentivises the clean and reliable renewable energy that the public knows is bringing down prices and pollution right now.

“We already know that Turnbull’s NEG will be an environmental and economic failure – now we can add politically disastrous to its growing list of unflattering adjectives.”

More than 67 percent of those polled agreed that renewable energy should receive more government support than fossil fuels such as coal – and worryingly for the ardently coal-loving Turnbull government, only 25 percent of people disagreed.

“It is clear that Australians love renewable energy and want more of it. They want government to champion the industry, as this polling clearly shows. Unfortunately, Turnbull’s NEG goes against both market realities and the desire of the Australian people – why attempt to strangle such a popular technology? For Labor Premiers like Andrews and Palaszczuk, dragging their heels on ruling out the NEG makes even less sense given their states’ strong commitment to renewables”, said Dr Casule.

In other signs of the NEG’s unpopularity, 66.7 percent of Australians agreed that the best way  for the government to ensure low cost reliable electricity supply was to invest in renewables, along with dispatchable storage solutions like batteries. They are right, as was demonstrated by a recent Reputex report on the impact of the NEG on wholesale power prices, which concluded that by 2030 prices would be 25 percent lower under a more ambitious 45 percent renewable energy target than under the government’s proposed 26 percent emissions reduction target.

The poll conducted on Monday July 30 surveyed 3,999 Australians on their views on renewable energy and the NEG, which states will be asked to vote on at next week’s COAG meeting in Sydney.