NEG – COAG Energy Council Meeting Outcome

At the COAG Energy Council Meeting on Friday, the Federal Government was told to get its act together on the National Energy Guarantee if it is to have any hope of getting it over the line.

For all the bluster in the lead-up to the meeting, the COAG communique said relatively little about it.

As expected, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT declined to endorse the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), even in principle, but they have agreed to keep working towards it.

All three have maintained their positions and will not be supporting the NEG unless a range of conditions are met, including:

  • The NEG must be approved by the Coalition Party Room first.
  • The draft Federal legislation must be released.
  • Emissions reduction targets can never be allowed to reduce.
  • Future targets must be set by regulation every three years.
  • A transparent registry be implemented.
  • States/ACT must be able to have more ambitious renewable electricity and emissions targets, and these targets additional to the national emissions target for the electricity sector.
  • Conflicts with existing renewable energy schemes must be resolved.

Regarding the requirement of the Coalition’s Party Room blessing, Queensland Acting Energy Minister Cameron Dick said:

The Coalition party room is the biggest risk to energy and price stability – and has been for 10 years – so we need that party room certainty.”

At the meeting, ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury also again pushed for the release modeling on the NEG’s claimed cost savings.

“Climate experts are not sure how these apparent cost savings have been reached, and we need to make sure the cost promises are right,“ he stated.

Victoria’s Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio said her state would not sign up to any scheme that threatens Victoria’s renewable energy industry.

The Clean Energy Council is also calling for other issues to be addressed, including:

  • Owners of solar power systems being able to decide where their emission reductions go.
  • Energy storage projects not being subject to the reliability obligation.
  • Western Australia and the Northern Territory are currently excluded from the emissions reduction target – there should be a comparable scheme in these jurisdictions.
  • Offsets should be excluded from the scheme as this would mean less investment in new energy generation, resulting in higher electricity prices.

The Smart Energy Council said it was right for VIC, QLD and ACT to demand the Federal Government get its house in order first.

“The current NEG does not reduce power bills or emissions and won’t stimulate investment in renewable energy,” said Chief Executive John Grimes

If the Federal Government and Energy Security Board was disappointed in the outcome of Friday’s meeting, they weren’t showing it. Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg said the meeting was an important step in “advancing the Turnbull Government’s plan for a more affordable and reliable energy system” and ESB Chair Dr Kerry Schott said the result was a “great step forward”.

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.

Comments

  1. David Thompson says

    What will happen to the 49 recommendations by the chief scientist that were adopted by COAG?

  2. Soaring energy prices resulted from Martin Ferguson REVERSING THE ONUS OF PROOF for energy suppliers applying for increases to the energy regulator. He did that shortly before the end of the Gillard government’s demise.

    Martin Ferguson subsequently became chairman of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association. The NEG is a limp response to the energy industries unfettered regulation. NEG is window dressing!!! We are currently paying the highest prices for electricity in the world.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s 16 billion dollar tax cut for large corporate entities will give him access to directorships in the highest board rooms in Australia. There is an entrenched pattern of political behavior that personally promotes corporate lawyers careers at the expense of the Australian public.

    Sadly, the press are collaborators in this ongoing pantomime. Lawyers should be banned from the parliaments, or the peoples house. Only a fool would think the NEG would result in significant lower energy prices.

    • Have to agree.
      In China domestic electricity is around 14c/KWh, India even less. No one is asking why our energy costs are so high.

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