find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Australia will ‘rise to the challenge’ of sustainable energy

Australia will ‘rise to the challenge’ of sustainable energy

Australia will ‘rise to the challenge’ of sustainable energy

A global firm has responded to the recommendations of the Finkel review into Australia’s electricity market.

Norton Rose Fulbright issued a response to the Finkel review (Finkel) earlier this month, led by the firm’s global head of energy Simon Currie.

“Overall I feel the panel hasn’t managed to catch the excitement and dynamism that is driving our industry forward or convince the readers that there is a lower cost sustainable energy ecosystem just around the corner,” Mr Currie said.

“It is now up to all of us to deliver that message.”

The report coincided with the release of the 2017 Lowy Institute Poll, which found that climate change is a growing concern for Australians. Fifty-seven per cent of Australians believe climate change is a critical threat to Australia’s vital interests and 81 per cent want the government to focus on renewables, according to the Lowy Institute.

Elisa de Wit, who leads NRF’s Australian climate change practice, said that even if the government adopts Finkel’s recommendations Australia will not meet its commitments under the Paris climate agreement.

“Should the government adopt the electricity sector pathway recommended, then Australia would not be able to meet its obligations under the Paris agreement because it is inconsistent with the 2ºC goal, let alone the ‘well below 2ºC’ or 1.5ºC,” she said.

“In particular, not requiring the electricity sector to do more would mean that a higher burden is placed on other parts of the economy, which would result in higher costs and slower action in terms of Australia’s Paris targets. It also risks locking in fossil fuel-intensive infrastructure which will be at risk of becoming stranded in the future, with associated economic and social costs.”

The future of Australia’s energy market depends on co-operation between regulators and various levels of government, according to NRF.

“The need for better coordination between regulators and interested parties is a familiar international refrain,” said Claire Forster, special counsel, competition and regulatory.

“Joining up the gaps between those responsible for grids, generation policy, licencing, consumer protection and even financial markets regulation will be important in an ever more complex world.”

Rebecca Hoare, a Brisbane-based partner in the firm’s environment and planning and climate change practices, added that agreements between Australia’s federal, state and territory governments are needed to drive Australia’s movement to clean energy and renewables.

“The Finkel review recommends that the federal, state and territory governments agree to a national emissions reduction trajectory and a national strategic energy plan.

“What interests me in particular is the interplay between the call for national agreement and the individual initiatives of the various state and territory governments, in particular the Queensland government’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

“The recently released Powering Queensland Plan affirms this commitment and foreshadows the establishment of a government-owned generator (referred to as ‘CleanCo’) to operate existing renewable and low-emissions energy generation assets and develop new renewable energy generators.”

On the other side of the equation, NRF welcomed Finkel’s emphasis on the integration of consumer systems into Australia’s clean energy generation.

“Finkel’s recognition of the importance of consumer integration into the solutions is very well-received,” said power and renewables senior associate Kelly Davies.

“The rapid decline in price for delivery of alternatives to traditional generation and consumer ‘bill shock’, as they are faced with heavy increases in their consumer tariffs, is already crystallising into the delivery of alternative solutions. From large industrial users and national commercial businesses to local councils and individual households, consumers are driving innovation.”

Mr Currie concluded that although Finkel is “light on detail”, the Australian energy market has a sense of its own direction.

“Full implementation is likely to take years to achieve, but fundamental market reform is being implemented in other jurisdictions over similar time frames,” he said.

“Australia will be able to rise to the challenge. Above all, doing nothing is no longer an option, so be prepared for significant developments in the electricity sector over the coming months and years.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Australia will ‘rise to the challenge’ of sustainable energy
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Queensland University of Technology, ruby milestone
Queensland law school reaches ruby milestone
Celebrating 40 years since establishing a law course in 1977, the Queensland University of Technolog...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...