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New generation and transmission urgently needed to ensure the security of Australia's energy system

A new report released by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) shows the urgent need for new generation and transmission – and national policy leadership and coordination – to ensure the security of the power system into the future, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the AEMO report identified significant challenges as a result of the increased withdrawal and reliability issues for ageing fossil fuel power plants, combined with a lack of policy to encourage new investment in generation into the future.

“The older Australia’s coal plants get, the less reliable they are. The answer isn’t to keep the oldest, least reliable plants open as long as we can – it’s to replace them as fast as possible with renewable energy and storage technology which can do exactly what our old power plants can do, but cleaner, cheaper and more reliably,” he said.

Mr Thornton said new transmission investment will ensure power can be directed to the parts of the country which need it most at any given time.

“This will help to relieve the pressure on the power system and make the best use of the electricity we already have available. AEMO has already identified many of the best value areas for investment through its Integrated System Plan. Transmission will also open up major new pumped hydro projects in Tasmania and Snowy 2.0, which will be important in years to come,” he said.

“Without policy certainty to ensure investments in our energy system are made efficiently where they are most needed, we are left with using emergency measures to keep the power on over the hottest parts of summer. We need policy that will encourage new clean energy projects to be built before the old coal plants close – not leave us scrambling after they have already closed down.

“Record amounts of renewable energy and energy storage will be built over the next few years and this will help provide additional power generation to push power prices down and make the system more reliable.”

Please contact Mark Bretherton, Clean Energy Council Director - Media on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.