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Australian Clean Energy Summit shows business is booming but political agreement still elusive

It’s time for politicians to agree on a carefully-designed Clean Energy Target and put in place the framework to deliver continued new investment in the energy sector, the Clean Energy Council said while launching day one of the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said rising power prices are a huge concern across the country and the business sector is increasingly frustrated about the inability of politicians to come together on energy and climate to provide the necessary stability for new investment to fix the issue.

“We have a business sector which is increasingly recognising the economic opportunities provided by clean energy, both in meeting their own energy needs and in building multi-million dollar wind and solar projects across the country,” Mr Thornton said.

“The energy transition towards cleaner energy is underway, but we are still missing policy beyond 2020 which would provide businesses with confidence to invest their money. There are jobs going begging, economic benefits being wasted and power prices spiralling out of control.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the inability to agree on some kind of long term energy policy is driving the cost of power up significantly for everybody.

“The only thing that is helping is the $8 billion worth of large renewable energy projects that are either under construction or will start in 2017. This new generation will help to push down the cost of power, but this level of new investment is unlikely to continue beyond 2020 without a clear policy roadmap.

“It takes years for the investments of today to have a major effect on the cost of power, yet politicians are still arguing over whether to support any energy policy at all.

“Currently the only policy acting to keep prices down is the national Renewable Energy Target (RET). It is helping to provide an incentive for new large projects to be built, as well as encouraging households and businesses to install their own renewable energy to keep their power prices lower,” he said.

With the RET delivering billions of dollars in new investment via dozens of projects – and the debate continuing about the Chief Scientist’s proposed Clean Energy Target – the Australian Clean Energy Summit features some of the industry’s leading lights for a frank and fearless discussion at a critical time for Australia’s energy policy.

Confirmed politicians include:

Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister; Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition; Richard di Natale, Leader, the Australian Greens; Don Harwin, Minister for Resources, Energy and Utilities, New South Wales Government; Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Victorian Government; Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Energy and the Environment will appear in conversation with Annabel Crabb at the NAB Gala Dinner on Tuesday 18 July.

Confirmed business speakers include:

Andy Vesey, Chief Executive, AGL; Frank Calabria, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Origin Energy; Clare Savage, Executive Director Policy, Energy and Climate Change, Business Council of Australia; Jérôme Pécresse, President and CEO, GE Renewable Energy; Michael Thorpe, Global Head Infrastructure and Utilities, Commonwealth Bank; Michelle Groves, Chief Executive, Australian Energy Regulator; Chloe Munroe, member of the Finkel Review panel; Paul Italiano, Chief Executive, TransGrid; Wu Gang, Chairman, Goldwind

Please contact CEC Media Manager Mark Bretherton on [email protected] or 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.