It is time to step up energy market reform to overcome the barriers to renewable energy and battery storage and start developing a 21st century energy system, the Clean Energy Council said in a letter to state and federal Energy Ministers ahead of the COAG Energy Council meeting this Friday.

The Clean Energy Council has written to Energy Ministers with a detailed plan to address barriers that are slowing the transition to a cleaner energy system. These include making renewable energy and storage a priority and best practice approaches to connecting new renewable energy projects to the electricity grid.

“The Clean Energy Council believes that a range of barriers already distort the energy market. The result is frustration and delays to the efficient entry of new technologies that will empower consumers, deliver greater competition and lower energy sector emissions,” the letter says.

“With ongoing cost reductions of renewable energy and battery storage, the pace of technology change will only continue to accelerate across Australia. It is increasingly apparent that policymakers, regulators and market operators need to take a more strategic approach to prepare for future electricity system needs.”

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said progress on energy market reform had lagged behind the rapid advancement in new technologies, while the very objectives of our energy market continue to ignore Australia’s stated commitment to reduce carbon emissions and facilitate renewable energy.

“More than 70 per cent of Australia’s coal-fired power generators are at or beyond their expected operating life, and the expectation is that they will be progressively replaced with clean, modern renewable energy generators, yet the electricity market remains stuck in the 20th century,” he said.

The measures outlined in the letter to the COAG Energy Council are grouped into the following themes:

  • Accelerate the transition to a cleaner energy sector by overcoming conflict between institutions and ensuring that the National Energy Objectives recognise the importance of climate change policy and renewable energy commitments.
     
  • A strategic approach to South Australia’s transitioning electricity sector with reforms that can facilitate technology changes and increased renewable energy deployments, while ensuring reliability and at lowest cost.
     
  • Establish best practice regimes that end the discrimination of new energy technologies and their access and connection to electricity grids.
     
  • Ensure tariff reform that encourages innovation and consumer investment in new technology.
     
  • Work with industry to ensure a regulatory framework for energy storage technologies that ensures integrity and safety of battery storage installations and prevents discrimination.

The full letter and a briefing package sent to state and federal Energy Ministers, as well as best practice guides to connecting renewable energy can be found on the Clean Energy Council website.

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