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COAG Energy Council must reduce investment risk and deliver new transmission

Following confirmation that Friday’s COAG Energy Council meeting will proceed via teleconference, the Clean Energy Council has today released its briefing paper on the key issues facing Australia’s energy ministers.

The Clean Energy Council urges the COAG Energy Council to prioritise reforms that will remove the growing risks placed on clean energy investors and take further steps to accelerate investment in much needed electricity transmission and the development of Renewable Energy Zones (REZs).

The Clean Energy Council has welcomed a revised approach to the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) proposed Coordination of Generation and Transmission Investment (COGATI) reforms. The clean energy industry had serious concerns about the previous proposal and the process expediting its development and implementation. We thank the AEMC for listening to the clean energy industry’s concerns and we support the revised proposal for reform to the current access regime to be undertaken as part of the Energy Security Board’s (ESB) post-2025 market review process.

Investment in large-scale renewable energy collapsed by 50 per cent in 2019, so addressing the growing risks and accelerating transmission investment will be critical to ensuring investment in new renewable energy and energy storage projects picks up again. The Clean Energy Council has written to energy ministers asking them to prioritise the following actions at this week’s COAG Energy Council meeting:

Accelerate transmission investment

The underinvestment in transmission is one of the most critical challenges facing Australia’s energy system. It is stifling new generation, constraining existing generation and resulting in increased energy security risks and higher power prices. The COAG Energy Council should endorse the ESB’s proposed rule change to action the Integrated System Plan and fast track changes to the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose for the changing energy market.

Review access regime as part of the ESB’s post-2025 market review

The COAG Energy Council should support the revised proposal for reform to the current access regime to be undertaken as part of the ESB’s market review process.

Support the development of Renewable Energy Zones

The COAG Energy Council should support the development of REZs by agreeing flexible design elements and committing to delivering priority REZs across all states.

Review marginal loss factor (MLF) regime

The COAG Energy Council should commission a comprehensive review of the current MLF regime, including an assessment of options that can address loss factor volatility while avoiding any negative impact on customers.

Accelerate reform of stand-alone power systems for bushfire recovery

The COAG Energy Council should approve the framework to allow distribution network service providers to utilise stand-alone power systems for bushfire recovery as a matter of urgency.

Review of governance of distributed energy resources (DER) standards

Grid connection rules and DER standards suffer from a lack of good governance and coordination. The current system is a bureaucratic maze that places an unnecessary burden of cost and complexity onto Australia’s solar industry. The COAG Energy Council should approve the governance review of these standards proceeding to the next steps.

Visit the Clean Energy Council website for the full briefing paper outlining all the key issues facing energy minister’s ahead of Friday’s COAG Energy Council meeting.