Finkel’s Clean Energy Target a welcome change of carbon strategy: industry

The Clean Energy Target proposed to reform the National Electricity Market signals an important and welcome change in energy policy strategy, the energy industry said today.

Welcoming the release of the Finkel Review today, the Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, said the new model proposed was a potential game changer to the current energy policy and investment gridlock.

“For the past decade we’ve been trying to devise economic instruments to force the early closure of high emissions electricity generators.  This has resulted in a decade of discussion and experimentation with carbon pricing or taxing in some form.

“Dr Finkel’s report identifies that the real challenge in the national electricity market has shifted: old coal generators are exiting faster than we can replace them.  What we face is an investment problem rather than a carbon pricing problem.

“The Finkel Review provides a welcome re-set in the debate on energy and climate policy in Australia.  It provides a real and credible pathway to build a lower emissions grid and lower energy prices whilst maintaining a reliable system. 

“An integral part of the Finkel proposals is the generator reliability obligation. It is essential that energy security is not compromised as we rebuild a cleaner electricity system.  This will require more formal partnering of all technology types to meet the clean energy target thresholds and get the job done at the lowest cost.

“We need to end the 20th century perception that renewable and conventional energy technologies are rivals.  They are partners.  Coupling these generation sources with the growing suite of energy storage technologies and a more strategic approach to demand response is the cheapest and most reliable pathway to a lower emissions future.”

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