Australian Renewable Energy Tentatively Hopeful With New Prime Minister

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Australia’s new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, might mean better days are ahead for the country’s renewable energy industry.

© www.timbauerphoto.comMalcolm Turnbull took power from the previous Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, in a leadership contest last week. At the time, it was unclear what Malcolm Turnbull’s stance on climate change and renewable energy would be, with conflicting evidence suggesting succor for both sides of the argument. However, after revealing his new cabinet, the new Prime Minister’s motives are becoming a little clearer.

Speaking to radio station 774 ABC Melbourne on Monday, newly elevated Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Minister Josh Frydenberg told host Jon Faine that “clearly renewable energy is a key part of our energy platform.” Frydenberg added that “I think wind farms, I think solar, I think they all have a role to play.”

This isn’t the biggest surprise, but after Malcolm Turnbull said on the night he acquired leadership of the Liberal Party that the existing climate policy was “very well designed” and “a very good piece of law” there were questions over what the new administrations view towards the climate and renewable energy would be.

img_JoshFrydenbergProfile_0Jon Faine pushed the new Cabinet Minister on exactly what renewable energy as a “key platform” meant, and whether it was a U-turn for the Liberal Government:

“Don’t play it up to be bigger than it is Jon, what I’m saying is that we as a Coalition Government have entered into a bipartisan agreement with the Labor Party, on a 23.5% renewable energy target by 2020, this will see a doubling of large scale renewable energy.

“I’m saying that we have a commitment to renewable energy, that existed under the Abbott Government and will exist under the Turnbull Government, and my good friend and colleague [Environment Minister] Greg Hunt will be driving that agenda in many respects.

Sadly, there seems to be no suggestion right now that coal will be any less of an important aspect of Australia’s energy and export solutions:

“When you talk about coal, that’s a very important part of our energy mix, both here at home as well as overseas and will continue to be because it creates thousands of jobs and is an important source of electricity for much of the developing world.

“I don’t see these issues as mutually exclusive.”

Nevertheless, despite this, there is hope in the renewable energy industry as a result of these moves. In a press release published on Monday, Australia’s Clean Energy Council said that it was looking forward to working with “Energy and Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg, as well as continuing its strong relationship with Environment Minister Greg Hunt.” Specifically, Clean Energy Council Policy Manager Darren Gladman welcomed the new Government’s rhetoric about increasing the agility of Australia’s economy to leverage new opportunity and embrace change.

“The last decade has already seen great change in the way we produce and use energy across the globe,” Mr Gladman said. “Australia is well placed to take advantage of these changes, and the renewable energy industry is looking forward to working with Minister Frydenberg, whose early comments show that he recognizes the growing economic contribution of clean energy like wind, solar, bioenergy and energy efficiency. We are also looking forward to continuing our relationship with Environment Minister Greg Hunt, whose support was critical in restoring bipartisan support to the national Renewable Energy Target (RET).”

“Australia has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world, and we believe the new Cabinet can see the job and investment benefits of these newer forms of energy for rural and regional areas of the country. Clean energy generated US$310 billion in investment around the world last year, and we will be working with the government to attract as much of that benefit to Australia’s economy as possible. Under the RET, the amount of renewable energy across the country will approximately double over the next five years. It’s an exciting time to be working in this industry.”

The shift in Australia’s leadership — which now not only includes a new Prime Minister, but also a number of new Cabinet position appointments — could bring a huge boost to Australia’s renewable energy industry. Under the leadership of Tony Abbott, Australia quickly found itself on the path to being a climate pariah, suffering condemnation from a large part of the global community, seeing a 70% and more decrease in renewable energy investment, and a plethora of companies pulling out of the country to seek more promising and secure ventures elsewhere.

In the end, a shift in leadership of the Liberal Party may not result in revolutionary changes to the country’s renewable energy industry, but as it stands, any change is good change.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

Joshua S Hill has 4403 posts and counting. See all posts by Joshua S Hill

7 thoughts on “Australian Renewable Energy Tentatively Hopeful With New Prime Minister

  • The good news is he will enjoy destroying the planet less.

    • Is it still a Coalition Government?

      • It is still the Coal-ition. No change in government, just a change in Prime Minister. And forgive me for being cynical, but it keeps with the spirit of things as Turnbull has said he will carry on with Abbott’s policies which in the past he described as “bullshit”.

        I suppose that as far as the environment is concerned he is probably the best of a bad bunch. Should the Coalition manage to win the next federal election, which at the moment seems unlikely thanks to the train wreck the Abbott government has been, we can expect to see improvements on Abbott’s policies. And if Turnbull is serious about turning the bull around, we should see an indication of that before hand. So fingers crossed.

        OW! My finger just snapped like a dry twig thanks to Abbott replacing all our milk with coal slurry. Or Mother Nature’s Vital Essence as he called it.

  • Tony Abbot held back solar pv as long as he could with his coal money.

    Sorry Tony, solar pv won and you lost.

  • It’s entertaining to watch the almost Stalinist rewriting of history to present the U-turn as continuity. “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia!” We’ll soon have clips of Abbott saying something nice about a wind farm.

    • Oh, no need for rewriting. They went into the last election promising one million more solar roofs and no change in the Renewable Energy Target, and promised to deliver cuts in carbon emissions at a lower cost than our carbon price; so all the clips of them saying nicey nice things about the environment are there. They just said whatever they thought it would take to get elected and then once they were in they did what they wanted. Which happened to be get rid of the mining tax which just by sheer coincidence happened to to help out their mates in the mining industry, and get rid of the carbon price which just happened to help out their friends in the coal industry, cut the Renewable Energy Target which happened to help out the coal industry and incumbant fossil fuel generators, and institute Direct Action which was the Kafkaesqe opposite of our carbon price in which instead of making companies pay for emissions and giving that money to the people, they took money from the people and gave it to companies in return for promises not to emit so much.

      Oh and they also did wog bashing to try to drum up votes from flogging the corpse of the White Australia Policy, and wanted to cut welfare, health care, and education; which was apparently vital due to Australia’s precarious economic situation. You know, the best performing economy in the developed world. Or at least it was when they got in.

  • I really hope Turnbull is better. It would have been hard for him to have been worse.

Comments are closed.