The Clean Energy Council has joined a broad coalition of peak bodies to call on the 8 June 2022 Energy Ministers' meeting to work together to calm chaos and introduce longer-term measures to moderate energy prices and cut emissions by improving supply and lifting demand-side efficiency, energy management and fuel switching.
With wholesale electricity and gas prices and futures soaring to unprecedented levels that are threatening intense and lasting pain for households and businesses, the Commonwealth, states and territories, and energy stakeholders must work together to find a collaborative, balanced and staged response that addresses both the supply and the demand sides of this crisis.
A collaborative response between the Commonwealth, States and energy stakeholders is needed because no one player holds all the powers, resources and information to resolve this crisis. Industry and community leaders can bring expertise, urgency and goodwill to the table and we ask energy ministers to work with us. Working together and being transparent will give us all the best chance of success.
A balanced response will address both the supply and the demand sides of this crisis. Energy supply is essential, including behind-the-meter solar and storage accessible to all. But final energy costs depend not just on the price of energy, but how much energy households and businesses have to use to meet their needs. A long-standing lack of investment in energy efficiency, energy management and fuel switching has left Australians more vulnerable both to high prices and to extreme weather.
A staged response is essential because this crisis includes both acute price pain and the likelihood of chronic high prices thereafter. Accelerating our clean energy transition in a fair and inclusive way will ultimately deliver durable help, but while that requires immediate action it will largely impact the medium term. A faster buildout of large-scale renewables and transmission makes all the sense in the world, as does a speedier move from natural gas to alternatives such as electrification, biogas or hydrogen.
While all short-term options should be evaluated, financial support to the most vulnerable energy users is essential. Priority should be given to:
Without urgent action, this winter will be a difficult one for energy users and the next few years may not be much easier. We are confident, however, that Australia’s governments can alleviate this pain and build a stronger, more affordable and clean future if they work together and draw on the expertise and goodwill around them.