Garnaut flags Western Australia as a clean energy superpower

Western Australia can become a global leader in clean energy by adopting a state-based emissions intensity scheme, according to leading energy and climate economist Professor Ross Garnaut.

In a public lecture at Murdoch University, Professor Garnaut said following the Finkel Report and the federal government's subsequent national energy guarantee policy, Australia can rebuild its profile as an energy strong nation, and state-level policies in Western Australia can lead the region to be a leader within the country.

Professor Garnaut said that as the rest of Australia “wallows in incoherent energy and emissions policy”, WA can capture this market advantage by transitioning to high levels of renewable energy, meanwhile reducing the price of power.

"Australia has the potential to become an energy superpower in the low carbon world economy, but it needs to shake off the shackles of those with ideological or vested interest in the old ways of supplying energy," he said.

"Western Australia can benefit from its own vast and diverse renewable energy, mineral, land and marine resources and play a vital role contributing to the national and global transition to a zero carbon energy future," he said.

"Its policy independence from the National Electricity Market allows it to avoid legacy problems of high costs and unreliability in other states."

Professor Garnaut also forecast WA turning northwards towards Asia, and participating in its electricity market.

"There probably will be long distance, high voltage DC transmission from the north west [of Western Australia] across Indonesia to the Asian mainland," he said.

Professor Garnaut said as Western Australian was outside of the National Electricity Market, the state could become an "island of competitive energy and energy-intensive investment".

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