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COAG Energy Council makes progress, but elephant remains in the room

At today’s COAG Energy Council meeting, state Ministers came together to reflect on the Finkel Review and discuss the path to implementing the Chief Scientist’s recommendations

While they have agreed on 49 of the 50 recommendations, the Clean Energy Target (CET) remains unresolved. But with some of the states threatening to go it alone on a CET if the Federal Government can’t reach a consensus, national energy policy could well continue to be the strange and frustrating rollercoaster ride we have come to know over the last decade.

The CEC gave a presentation to the Energy Ministers and key stakeholders yesterday afternoon, urging them to swiftly adopt the 49 recommendations made by the Finkel Review and reminding them that managing Australia’s energy transition effectively will require the introduction of enduring long-term energy policy. At the moment, our best hope remains the CET proposed by Dr Finkel. Regardless, today’s strong progress from the state energy ministers on the future of Australia’s energy policy is a fantastic lead into next week’s Australian Clean Energy Summit.

The 2017 Australian Clean Energy Summit, the Clean Energy Council’s flagship annual event, begins on Tuesday next week in Sydney. In this unprecedented year for renewable energy investment, the interest around this year’s Summit has been greater than ever before. The ticket sales tell the story: the conference sold out earlier this week and the last Gala Dinner tickets went weeks ago.

The program for the 2017 Australian Clean Energy Summit features more than 80 speakers, including leading government decision-makers, business leaders and financiers. Some of the names joining us from the business community include AGL Chief Executive Andy Vesey, Origin Energy Managing Director and Chief Executive Frank Calabria, President and CEO of GE Renewable Energy Jérôme Pécresse, Australian Energy Regulator Chief Executive Michelle Groves, Business Council of Australia Executive Director Policy, Energy and Climate Change Clare Savage, TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano and Goldwind Chair Wu Gang.

We are also looking forward to diverse political perspectives from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, NSW Minister for Resources, Energy and Utilities Don Harwin and Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio. In addition, Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will be speaking at the Gala Dinner in conversation with our host Annabel Crabb, fresh from negotiations with state Ministers and his own party over the future of the energy system.