“Australia hasn’t a moment to lose now that we have a comprehensive, independent blueprint to restore the security, reliability and affordability of our electricity system,” Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said following the release today of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Report into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market.
“Many of the recommendations will need detailed consideration, but we can’t afford to lose momentum. Political leaders and market institutions, working closely with industry and customers, must press ahead towards implementation.
“Companies will only invest in new electricity infrastructure if they can see a stable policy framework, with minimal government intervention, that will endure whomever is in power. This means ending the ideological wars plaguing our energy system.
“The panel accepts that private investment in the electricity system will be essential to restoring security, reliability and affordability of power while maintaining a competitive economy.
“Dr Finkel rightly acknowledges the need for a long-term trajectory that allows market participants to determine the right energy mix, and a Clean Energy Target to send the signal for investment.
“Removing ideological preferences for specific fuels and technologies, and making sure all technologies contribute to security and reliability, will allow fair competition on a level playing field.
“Dr Finkel has run a thoroughly consultative process, considering hundreds of submissions with expert evidence from market participants and customers. His report provides our best hope for bipartisanship.
“We’re encouraged that the federal opposition has approached the government with an open mind and a willingness to reach a bipartisan solution.
“Australia’s recent history tells us that genuine industry consultation will also be essential.
“Many of our specific recommendations were picked up in the final report including: measures to address security concerns; improved market information; measures to ensure adequate ‘firm’ capacity in the system; and improved access to competitively priced gas.
“To implement this blueprint successfully, we must support policy initiatives such as the Clean Energy Target with a truly national policy framework. This will require the removal of state and territory based renewable energy targets and moratoriums on the development of our gas resources.
“A Clean Energy Target for electricity can be both fuel and technology-neutral and preserve the broadest range of options to meet future emissions reduction targets.
“A properly constructed Clean Energy Target, designed in consultation with industry and customers, could be an effective solution to deliver secure, reliable and affordable electricity while also assisting us to meet our emission reduction targets.
“We urge all stakeholders to give Dr Finkel’s report the careful, holistic consideration it deserves,” Ms Westacott said.