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Dec 21 2017

Renewables need national policy certainty, not state targets: industry

Victoria’s renewable energy auctions and legislative target should be part of a national approach to effectively lower emissions generation, the energy industry said today.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, said “renewable energy will play an important role in the decarbonisation of electricity in Australia this century. 

“In his recent report to the Federal Government, Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel called for a move away from technology specific targets to deliver the energy transformation as quickly as possible, at the lowest cost whilst maintaining reliable energy supply.

"Victoria’s electricity system is interconnected to other states as part of a national grid.  Decisions made here affect other states.  That’s why major policy measures to reduce emissions should be implemented at a national level,” Mr Warren said.

“Australia has had a bi-partisan national renewable energy target in place since 2009.  Despite the best efforts of all stakeholders, we have seen that targets alone struggle to deliver the efficient and reliable transformation of energy supply.

“Renewables are already an important part of the new electricity grid.  They continue to fall in cost and we are adapting the way the electricity system works to manage more renewable energy without compromising on reliability and cost.

“That will entail more flexible demand and competitive retail energy markets to deliver this flexibility for households and businesses at the lowest cost.

“We are yet to see the modelling that the Victorian Government has used for its cost projections. We have learnt from South Australia that more renewables initially reduced prices, but as they push out traditional, firm generation without equivalent replacement supply wholesale prices have almost doubled.

“This is avoidable with better planning and a broader, technology neutral approach, noting that renewables are now a competitive new source of generation without the need for further support.”

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.

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