Policy uncertainty and the slow pace of reform of an increasingly outdated electricity market are making the energy system more volatile and pushing up power prices, the Clean Energy Council said in its submission to the review of Australia’s energy security.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said investors are looking to governments to establish stable energy and climate policy settings that will deliver investment for the next two to three decades.

“The uncertainty caused by the rush to politics over policy has led to a substantial under-investment in electricity over the last decade, leading to issues in the ongoing resilience of our power sector,” Mr Thornton said.

“One of the few good news stories is the massive investment already committed this year of $5.8 billion into more than 2900 MW of wind and solar projects, creating more than 3000 new direct jobs and underpinned by the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target.

“A range of policy measures will be crucial to ensure the managed closure of high-emission power plants which are past their expected operating date, and to create investment confidence in new zero-emissions generation. It’s clear that renewable energy and battery storage are proven and available solutions for a secure energy system that is also affordable and clean,” he said.

The Clean Energy Council submission to the Independent Review of Future Energy Security in the National Energy Market focuses on:

  • The increasing urgency for long-term alignment of national energy and climate policies
  • The availability of proven technology and solutions to deliver a secure, affordable and zero-emission power system
  • The importance and benefits of a portfolio of technologies and solutions for the energy market
  • The importance of a clear long-term plan for the energy system
  • Changes to energy market regulations and institutions to manage energy security during a period of significant change

“Australia must accelerate the deployment of new energy infrastructure in preparation for the closure of ageing energy assets. This will ensure we have enough power to replace the ongoing closure of our oldest and most polluting power stations, while also achieving our global carbon commitments,” Mr Thornton said.

“The deployment of battery storage and other cutting-edge innovations will put downward pressure on power prices and improve both the reliability and security of our electricity supply. However, current market frameworks are stuck in the 20th century.

“Comprehensive reform is required to design a zero-emission electricity sector, incorporating energy and ancillary service market design and incentives, new investment signals and long-term transition planning.”

The full submission to the Independent Review into Future Energy Security in the National Electricity Market can be downloaded from the Clean Energy Council’s website.

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.