Voters favour a clean energy target: poll

October 09, 2017

An opinion poll has found overwhelming support for a clean energy target.

As the Turnbull government hints it might be stepping away from a clean energy target, a new poll shows nearly three-quarters of coalition voters think the policy is a good idea.

The clean energy target recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel is unpopular with conservative MPs, who do not want more subsidies for renewables and favour government support for coal-generated power.

But polling for the Australia Institute in September, released on Monday, finds it's not at all on the nose with voters.

Overall, nearly four in five people polled said the government should introduce a clean energy target to encourage the construction of new clean energy sources.

While the policy won over a majority of people across the political spectrum, support was lowest among One Nation voters (58 per cent), followed by coalition voters (72 per cent).

Greens supporters were the strongest in favour (94 per cent) and 85 per cent Labor voters backed the policy.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told an energy summit on Monday the government was considering its new policy against a backdrop of the rapidly falling cost of renewables and storage, greater efficiencies being found in thermal generation and the need for power that can be delivered according to the market's needs.

He also equated the "hidden" costs of pollution from thermal generators, often cited as a justification for renewable energy subsidies, with the costly burden of building renewables without storage back-up.

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said it was clear the public strongly supported a clean energy target.

"In the medium and long term, renewables and storage are the solution," he said.

"Failing to establish a clear policy, such as a strong CET, will delay investment and achieve the trifecta of higher prices, greater instability and rising emissions."

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