Loon Pond comes for clean energy Turnbull

Coal-burning power stations would continue to operate beyond 2050 according to the Finkel report

The renewed tensions over climate policy come after Mr Turnbull's Liberal-National coalition failed to gain a bounce in the polls from last month's annual budget, which hit the major banks with higher levies and promised increased funding for infrastructure and schools.

The energy crisis has crept up on Australia, despite its rich endowment of coal and gas, as states have promoted rooftop solar and wind power in the absence of stable carbon policy at a federal level over the past 10 years.

He said despite the initial disagreement about the implementation of a Clean Energy Target, there was still scope to involve high efficiency coal power generators - a claim which Abbott said was nonsensical considering coal power would not be subsidized and therefore unfairly punished.

"We want power prices going down, not up, we want Australian coal to continue to be usable in this country, as it is in other countries and we want Australia to have a strong manufacturing sector", he said, adding that Labor was the party of "greenie posturing".

Labor opposition's climate spokesman Mark Butler said the same old toxic internal divisions in the coalition were re-emerging.

As tempers frayed, a frustrated Mr Turnbull took an apparent swipe at his predecessor for reducing climate policy debate to "glib" slogans on Wednesday.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government had yet to settle on the clean energy target as formal policy.

He called, pointedly, for an end to the ideological wars over climate change and a clear national energy plan based on economics and engineering rather than politics and positioning.

The recommendation comes from a five-member panel led by Alan Finkel, a neuroscientist and former chancellor of Monash University in Melbourne.

Later on Wednesday, Frydenberg told Sky News that, as the report was only handed down to the government on Friday, there was always going to be conjecture in regards to its contents. Renewable energy plants could then partner with other forms of generation such as energy storage to meet these requirements.

He said it was naive and unrealistic to expect the government's response to the Finkel review to "all be presented nicely tied up in a bow" given the complexity of the issue.

Frydenberg conceded that backbenchers "are concerned about the future of coal".

While acknowledging the need for Australia to be much smarter in integrating sophisticated storage technologies, Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton, said: "The need for additional standards on new renewable energy projects to support energy security - such as the proposed "Generator Reliability Obligations" - needs careful consideration to ensure they do not act as punitive measures that stifle innovation and unnecessarily drive up costs".

"Incentives for new investment in new low-emission baseload power generation need to be set now".

The review, in fact, finds power prices would be lower under a CET than compared to a business-as-usual scenario and predicts coal would play a larger role in power generation through to 2030.

Finkel tells the real story - we can have a clean energy future with reliable and affordable supply, Nathan Vass writes. "They are absolutely at war over the Finkel report and the tragedy is that the Australian people are the losers from it".

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