Craig Warhurst

Greens unveil renewable power plan

AUSTRALIA would run on 90% renewable energy within 15 years under the Greens' $5 billion plan to retire fossil fuels from public consumption.

Federal Greens Senator Richard Di Natale launched the party's 2030 strategy to replace traditional power sources with a system "twice as efficient".

Dr Di Natale said the RenewAustralia program would generate thousands of jobs, as long as the government listened to the Greens' pleas.

"Transitioning to clean energy is the key to unlocking Australia's economic potential and combating global warming," he said.

"While both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten talk about tackling climate change, they have locked us into the industries of the last century, supporting coal and vested interests.

"Charting a course for a more confident, prosperous and healthy Australia needs much more than empty rhetoric. It needs real leadership.

"RenewAustralia is not just an ambitious vision for our country, it's the blueprint for making it happen."

The Federal Government has announced plans for 23.5% of the country's power to be derived from clean sources by 2020.

NSW has gone a step further, setting a 50% clean energy target for 2030.

But Greens Energy spokesman Adam Bandt said the bar needed to be set higher if Australia was to pull its weight globally.

"Australia can become a new energy superpower," Mr Bandt said.

The scheme included government funding for major renewable energy projects.

"By setting tough pollution standards RenewAustralia will enable the gradual, staged closure of coal-fired power stations as renewable energy capacity increases," Mr Bandt said.

Former prime minister John Howard last week warned against hastily abandoning Australia's mining industries, saying they would be vital to the country's economic stability.

"We should not imagine that we are not, for years into the future, going to rely very heavily on our resource industries," Mr Howard said.

"We've got to keep a sense of balance about the economic challenges that we face."

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