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Energy industry set to transform for a solar-powered Australia

13th Jul 2011

Large-scale changes have been announced to the electricity sector as part of the government's plans to make Australia less reliant on coal-fired power stations.

Two new measures have been announced to facilitate the changes necessary to build clean energy infrastructure.

The first is a new Energy Security Council, which features experts in the fields of energy and financial markets, as well as energy market bodies.

It’s role will be to advise the government on the steps and safeguards required to secure the country's energy needs for the future.

In addition, the Energy Security Fund designed to specifically support our electricity industry during the period of transition.

The fund will manage several key initiatives set to help Australia rethink the way it approaches the electricity sector.

This includes the government's intention to buy out some of the coal-fired power plants responsible for the highest levels of emissions in Australia.

Those generators which have been identified as outputting high levels will be bought and shut down in order to make way for an increase in large-scale solar power systems and wind mill farms.

International Power, which owns two such power plants, has already publicly expressed interest in negotiating with the government over a buyout.

The company owns the Hazelwood and Playford generators, which were noted by energy minister Martin Ferguson last month as ideal candidates for a buyout.

No details have been released yet regarding the amount of money the government is willing to pay in order to buy and close down these plants.

The government has also pledged to assist other emissions-intensive power plants which will be affected by the carbon price.

The $5.5 billion set allocated will be in the form of cash handouts and free permits, but will cease in 2016-2017.

The road ahead for Australia's energy sector will also be overseen by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) who has been directed to begin planning for new development and risk scenarios with the focus on renewable energies.

The future looks bright for the solar power sector- as coal-fired power generators are scaled down, Australian's alternative energies will experience a boom as the country moves to secure cleaner energy for the future.

Those who are worried about potential electricity price hikes if energy providers are forced to pass on the cost of the carbon tax to consumers should look into securing their own solar energy supply for the future.

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