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Politics with Michelle Grattan: Chris Bowen on ‘calling out’ claims about the energy transition’s cost

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Chris Bowen on ‘calling out’ claims about the energy transition’s cost

The climate wars have been reignited with the Coalition’s release of its controversial plan for nuclear power, an option totally rejected by the government.

Meanwhile, a report this week from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AMEO) has indicated the government needs to speed up efforts in what has become a challenging energy transition.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen joins the podcast to discuss the issues.

On the cost of the energy transition, which the opposition has claimed will be between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion, Bowen says

Today the Energy Market Operator released their latest Integrated Systems plan. It has the updated cost – $122 billion. That’s the system-wide non-customer owned cost of renewable energy generation, transmission and storage.

Now let’s just call it out. The opposition goes around saying, oh it’s $1.2 trillion. They’re are utterly misquoting and misrepresenting a report which was about the cost of net zero across the entire economy, not just electricity, which is what we’re talking about, but industry, transport, agriculture, everything and that’s to get to net zero by 2050, which they allegedly sign up to.

If you’re asking what’s the cost of getting […] our electricity sector to 82% renewables by 2030 and then net zero by 2050, what we’re talking about is that figure in the Australian Energy Market report.

Labor has faced some criticism over mocking the Coalition’s nuclear plan.

Bowen says

the basis of a mature debate must be facts, and the opposition should be putting more facts out there about their policy.

The reason I’m so firmly against nuclear energy for our country is that it doesn’t stack up. It’s economically irrational and for the alleged party of free enterprise to admit that no private sector investment is going to come in to do nuclear, so therefore, they have to set up a government monstrosity to run it.

On Julian Assange’s return to Australia, Chris Bowen says

I think this is a very good outcome. I don’t support what he did all those years ago, but I think he should be free.

The prime minister’s been very modest about claiming any credit, and I understand why, but I just want to say, from the prime minister, the foreign minister, ambassador Rudd, and High Commissioner Smith – I think they played a blinder in working behind the scenes.

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