The Federal Government’s Climate Change Review in 2017 must consider all sensible options to repair the existing electricity system, the energy industry said today.
The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, said the electricity sector is already exhibiting the effects of a decade of policy uncertainty and consequent investment gridlock.
“Old generators are exiting the market, but political uncertainly means we are unable to build the kinds of assets that can effectively replace them.
“As a result, the grid is now visibly deteriorating. Reliability is being compromised. The grid will continue to deteriorate until this uncertainty is resolved, which requires effective, efficient, durable, national climate and energy policy.
“To arrive at a well-considered policy the Government’s review needs to assess all feasible options.
“It is no more sensible to say we should just build new coal-fired power stations as it is to suggest we can switch the grid over to 100 per cent renewables over the next decade.
“The practical reality lies, as it always does, somewhere in the middle. Policy settings should support the building of new gas and renewables generation to deliver the low emissions system Australia needs in the 21st century. In the meantime, there will continue to be a role, although diminishing, for existing plant in the transition.
“The industry wants to deliver an affordable, decarbonised electricity system at the lowest cost to consumers. This cannot occur unless banks and investors are able to underwrite the investments necessary to achieve it.
“The Federal Government must leave all policy options on the table as it prepares to undertake this critical review of climate policy in 2017.”
About the Australian Energy Council
The Council represents 21 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia and sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses.
Media contact Carl Kitchen 0401 691 342
The Australian Energy Council welcomes the release of the Energy Security Board's advice to Energy Ministers, and in particular its call for coordination and a common approach by jurisdictions but notes there is still much work to be done on the detail.
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