COVID-19 is an unprecedented global event having an enormous impact on businesses and households around Australia, and everyone is still coming to grips with what it means, what the economic impact will be and what the recovery will look like.
Our industry can play an important part of the economic recovery. We are lobbying the federal and state and territory governments to make renewable energy and energy storage a key part of their COVID-19 response packages to both stimulate the Australian economy and protect households and businesses from high electricity costs.
The Clean Energy Council has written to governments around Australia calling on them to adopt a number of important initiatives as part of their economic recovery and stimulus packages:
Adopting these initiatives will help to save jobs in the renewable energy industry, boost the economy and reduce energy costs for consumers.
In the large-scale sector, governments should accelerate projects and initiatives such as Queensland’s RE400 program and the Australian Energy Market Operator's Integrated System Plan to support large-scale renewable energy and energy storage projects. The economic response to COVID-19 provides a golden opportunity for governments to accelerate such plans, providing much needed stimulus to the economy while simultaneously accelerating the move to a cheaper, more reliable energy system.
Finally, governments should prioritise strategic interconnections and upgrades to the transmission network, such as the NSW and Queensland interconnector and the many opportunities in Victoria. The build-out of a robust high-voltage transmission network will enable jobs and investment in regional Australia at a critical time, while paving the way for the ongoing energy transition from centralised to more distributed generation. New transmission will unlock investment and construction in new renewable generation in regional areas throughout the country.