CEC : “Big Questions” About The National Energy Guarantee

Large scale renewables under the National Energy GuaranteeAustralia’s Clean Energy Council says it while it has not endorsed the Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee, it remains open to the idea – but more detail is needed.

Last week, the Financial Review published an article stating the NEG had the CEC’s backing. However, the CEC was quick to point out the report (which still states as such at the time of publishing) was incorrect.

The Council has today published its official position statement on the National Energy Guarantee. Among its major concerns is that investment in new renewable energy projects could fall away after the Renewable Energy Target (RET) stops encouraging new large-scale facilities in 2020.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton says more renewable energy capacity is under construction during 2017 than what the NEG is expected to deliver in total between 2020 and 2030.

“The information currently available suggests that between 250 to 670 MW of large scale renewable projects will be deployed per annum throughout 2020-2030,” Mr Thornton said.

Currently, 4,300 MW of large scale renewables is under construction in Australia, or committed to begin construction this year.

“If this policy is going to be effective, we will need strong support from major political parties right across the country,” states the CEC. ” But first we need to ensure that we have a policy that will deliver the new clean energy investment and lower power prices that all Australians want.”

The Clean Energy Council’s full position statement can be viewed here (PDF).

It seems it’s not just the future of large-scale renewables that’s uncertain. On October 20, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler, warned the National Energy Guarantee could cripple small-scale solar power as well as large-scale renewable energy.

Last week, Mr. Butler said the Turnbull Government’s energy plan is already strangling renewable energy jobs.

When announcing its Gigawatt Program yesterday, Zen Energy Chairman Sanjeev Gupta stated:

“I have been asked whether today’s decision is contingent on how current uncertainty in national electricity policy is resolved. Naturally we are watching developments in policy closely. In the meantime, we are proceeding with the first 520MW of capacity based on positive interactions with relevant stakeholders.”

More detail on the National Energy Guarantee should be available next month when the Federal Government attempts to sell it to the states during November’s COAG meeting, the date of which is yet to be advised.

The CEC says it intends to “engage constructively with the Energy Security Board and the Federal Government on the merits and potential design of the potential policy.”

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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