Mixed response to technology-neutral energy policy
A decision was made on Friday, 20 April by the COAG Energy Council to progress to the final design stage for the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), which is said to be a technology-neutral energy policy.
Modelling undertaken by the Energy Security Board (ESB) shows that wholesale electricity prices will decrease by 23% under the NEG, flowing through to households and businesses.
However, John Grimes, Chief Executive, Smart Energy Council, believes the NEG was deliberately designed to destroy renewables. He said the NEG locks in high levels of coal until at least 2050 and as a result hardly any new renewables would be built until 2035, except for under Victorian and Queensland state targets.
The Andrews Labor government has announced that Victoria will ensure that the NEG framework will not compromise the implementation of its emissions reduction of net-zero emissions by 2050 and renewable energy targets of 40% by 2025.
“The NEG is a recipe for uncertainty,” said Greens energy and climate change spokesperson Adam Bandt MP. He said the NEG’s low 2030 targets will be met as early as 2020, and to cut pollution consistent with the Paris Agreement any deal will need to be reopened and re-legislated within a year of signing.
Whereas, Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel is pleased the government is acting to expand the benefits of a sensible program to lighting. “A strong pro or anti-NEG position is premature at this point as there is still so much detail to be worked through. What is positive is seeing Australia’s energy ministers engaged in a constructive process focused on resolving questions that have plagued policymakers for well over a decade,” said Menzel.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton also welcomed the progress at the COAG meeting. “The ESB has clearly reflected on the extensive feedback from a very diverse group of stakeholders and developed a strong high-level design for the NEG architecture,” Thornton said.
The Turnbull government will continue to work with the states and territories and the ESB to finalise the design of the Guarantee in the lead-up to the next COAG Energy Council meeting in August 2018.
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