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Build renewable storage capacity to boost reliability: Turnbull

Politics

Malcolm Turnbull has called on the Morrison government to invest in more long-term storage capacity to ensure the reliability of renewable energy.

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The former prime minister points to Snowy Hydro 2.0, one of his pet projects, as an example of what’s needed for a zero-emissions economy.

“We’ve just got to get on and build it because you can build a wind farm in a year or two, you can build a solar farm in months, literally,” Turnbull told ABC radio on Friday.

“But to put in place the long-term storage takes forward planning and takes some vision.

“That’s what we did with Snowy Hydro 2.0. But we need a lot more of it, both here and right around the world.”

Resources Minister Keith Pitt has proposed the government become a $250 billion financier of last resort for mining projects that don’t get private funding.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed regional areas would be part of the transition to new forms of energy, delivering new types of jobs.

“I believe Australia can do this and ensure that the regions excel, that the regions actually exceed their current prospects,” he said.

“That is done by embracing a new energy economy and the technology that is needed to support that.”

Negotiations are ongoing within the coalition to extract agreement from the Nationals for a stronger emissions reduction target weeks out from COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.

The progressive Australia Institute think tank warns the government will be perpetrating a fraud if it commits to net zero emissions by 2050 while refusing to abandon fossil fuels.

It’s launching an ad campaign to up the pressure on the coalition ahead of the Glasgow summit starting on October 31.

“While the prime minister is poised to announce a net zero by 2050 target, we can see from this government’s actions that it has little intention of meeting such a target, let alone beating it,” the institute’s climate and energy program director Richie Merzian said.

He points to recent coal project approvals including the expansion of Glencore’s Mangoola Coal in NSW as evidence the government isn’t serious about combating climate change.

“Without putting an end to new gas exploration and new coal mines and a transition plan to power our nation with renewable energy, any purported net zero by 2050 target is a fraud.”

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