The $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund is essential to accelerating investment in the electricity transmission network and preparing the energy system for the shift to one underpinned by renewables.
Therefore, it is lamentable that debate over the legislation to amend the Clean Energy Finance Corporation's (CEFC) remit has been hijacked by tedious proposals that promote the use of fossil fuels.
"It's time to get on with the job and focus on what's important – targeted government funding to kick-start urgent investment in a future-ready network," said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton.
"A 21st-century economy needs a modern electricity network that supports reliability, security and lower emissions technologies, and delivers low-cost energy to consumers.
"A lack of transmission investment is now one of the most critical challenges facing the industry. This underinvestment is stifling new generation investment, constraining existing generation and resulting in increased energy security and reliability risks as well as higher power prices."
The Clean Energy Council also warns that the hijacking of the debate to promote coal-fired power affects workers and communities by injecting uncertainty into what needs to be a clear and strong economic signal for an orderly transition away from fossil fuels.
Allowing the CEFC to invest in gas generation or unproven coal technologies is an unnecessary distraction and could further undermine investor confidence in new renewable energy and the energy sector in Australia. The CEFC must continue to focus on clean technologies. Therefore, the Clean Energy Council encourages the Australian Parliament not to support the proposed change to the 'low-emission technology' definition, which would allow it to support higher emissions generation.
"There is no such thing as clean coal and gas is not a low-emissions technology," said Thornton.
"The best way to manage the declining reliability of the ageing coal fleet and scheduled plant closures is through timely investment in transmission, renewable energy generation and storage."
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Clean Energy Council Media Manager
+61 409 470 683