Green bank remains target of energy spat

·2-min read

A key crossbench senator has waded into Australia's latest energy policy spat, which is being played out over the nation's green bank.

The Nationals have hijacked Energy Minister Angus Taylor's bill that sets up a $1 billion fund under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in order for gas projects to get taxpayer money, in the name of making the electricity grid more reliable.

Nationals backbencher Barnaby Joyce has introduced amendments to the bill so the CEFC could fund coal-fired power, while his Senate colleagues want the green bank to invest in nuclear power.

Passing the bill has been a priority for Mr Taylor so a raft of projects could go ahead, but it has disappeared from parliament's business list for this sitting week.

Crossbench senator Rex Patrick joins Labor, the Greens and two independent MPs by introducing other amendments to the bill.

The South Australian says the CEFC should be given more resources to invest in a sensible energy transition towards clean renewables and storage.

"It is unacceptable for the government to demand that the Senate open the door to a 'gas-fired recovery' when it has shown a total lack of transparency and accountability in relation to its energy policies," Senator Patrick said on Tuesday.

"The role of the Senate is to serve the people it represents, not boost the interests of a few big corporate donors who would line their pockets from government underwriting new gas capacity."

Senator Patrick's amendments would ensure the CEFC remains independent and free from political influence.

It comes as two unlikely groups band together on the side of renewable energy and net zero carbon emissions.

Coca-Cola Amatil has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and 100 per cent renewable electricity in Australia and New Zealand by 2025.

Environmental group Greenpeace has applauded the corporation.

"Coca-Cola Amatil is one of Australia's major energy users," a Greenpeace spokeswoman said.

"Coke committing to 100 per cent renewable electricity will reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and put pressure on other major businesses to make the switch."