Australian State and Federal Energy Ministers have endorsed all but one of the recommendations from the Chief Scientist’s review of Australia’s energy security but a Clean Energy Target is a missing piece of the puzzle.
Chief Scientist Alan Finkel made 50 recommendations to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), but one of them wasn’t accepted – a Clean Energy Target. In response, four states – South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have declared no confidence in the Federal Government. However, the Turnbull Government has warned that ‘going it alone’ would only create chaos and inefficiency in Australia’s electricity system.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said that a Clean Energy Target is the missing piece of the puzzle to provide much-needed certainty that is essential for new investment to drive down power prices and ensure energy security.
“The endorsement of these recommendations by the COAG Energy Council will go a long way towards ensuring a clean, secure and affordable energy system” Mr Thornton said. “While there is a great deal of detail to work through, with the right market and regulatory settings, these recommendations will allow Australia to take advantage of the full capabilities of sophisticated new renewable energy and energy storage technologies. We look forward to working with the key industry and business bodies to carefully design the implementation of these recommendations. But the Finkel Review recommendations need to be implemented as a whole package to ensure they operate as a coherent, strong and enduring energy strategy. We now wait for the Government to finalise its support for a Clean Energy Target as the most important policy for the future of Australia’s energy system”.
Federal Minister Josh Frydenberg has said that time is needed to get it right for the national electricity market and that Dr Finkel made that any Clean Energy Target would be implemented from 2020, meaning there is no real urgency on the matter.
The Finkel Review was conducted following agreement in October 2016 by COAG Energy Ministers on the need for an independent review of the Australian electricity market in order to assess its security and reliability and to agree on a coordinated national reform programme.