Victorian Premiere Daniel Andrew compares Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott as the federal and state governments debate over standardised renewable targets. Turnbull blames South Australia’s blackout on Wednesday to the state’s heavy reliance on wind power.
Turnbull says the power outage is a “wake up call” for states. He ordered Australia’s energy ministers to meet, and he hit the state Labor governments for placing “ideological renewable targets” higher than energy security, reports The Australian.
He says the priorities and renewable targets set by some states are extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic and paid little or zero attention to energy security. In citing SA’s dark Wednesday that caused 1.7 million residents to have no electricity, Turnbull challenges the states to “end the ideology and focus on clear renewable targets.”
Besides SA, the PM named Victoria and Queensland as the states that paid scant or no attention to energy security. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and SA Senator Nick Xenophon agree in blaming the power outage on SA’s heavy reliance on wind power, although energy experts attribute it to the destruction of infrastructure caused by the wild weather.
Andrew retorts, “This is a natural disaster and the Prime Minister is peddling completely ill-informed rubbish about how we generate our energy … It seems Tony Abbott's back,” quotes ABC Radio. He accuses Turnbull of lecturing people on subjects the PM does not know much about and playing politics.
The federal government’s target is to generate 23.5 percent of Australia’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. However, Australian Capital Territory Minister Andrew Barr and Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner say they would not alter their targets.
Turnbull insists he is a strong supporter of renewable energy, but says while reducing emissions, Australia has to maintain energy security and reliability and maintain affordability. He accuses Andrew of doing one-off deals that distort the electricity market.
VIDEO: SA storms: Malcolm Turnbull blames Labor for ‘aggressive’ renewable energy targets