“A new era of cooperation” to revive Australian energy

Energy market players have backed a plan by Labour, Green and Liberal energy ministers to accelerate renewables, battery storage and hydrogen to avert another energy crisis.

Australian energy ministers met their federal counterpart Chris Bowen on Wednesday and agreed to work together in what they call a “new era of cooperation and collaboration”.

Australia’s leading solar, storage and smart energy body welcomed the ministers’ post-meeting communiqué, in particular the new energy transition plan.

“Governments should make it easier for families, businesses and the grid to access renewable energy,” the Smart Energy Council tweeted.

“Any new generation must be zero emissions.”

Ministers also have the backing of the oil and gas industry, which wants the gas sector to be recognized as a vital fuel as governments seek to overhaul the coal-dependent power grid.

Acting CEO of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Damian Dwyer, said gas will play a vital role in coming decades by displacing higher-emitting coal and acting as a stabilizer for carbon sources. renewable energy.

“Gas companies have already acted to ensure that gas gets to where it is needed, using the mechanisms put in place to help us do so – mechanisms that provide market transparency, accessibility and supply,” he said. -he declares.

But wholesale electricity prices have quintupled in eastern states, potentially crippling industry and threatening jobs, as Australia’s fossil fuel-powered power stations absorb the surge in global prices.

Oil prices are far from peaking as demand from China has yet to pick up as Germany and other countries struggle to wean off Russian gas, the NAB strategist said, Rodrigo Catril, in a note to clients.

Andrew Stock, former executive of Origin Energy and former director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, said Australia needed to “break free from expensive, dirty and unreliable fossil fuels – and quickly”.

The country’s energy ministers will meet in person next month, the first time since 2019, to consider a national plan to rapidly decarbonize the power grid.

Ministers have already agreed that Australia will need large amounts of generation, storage and transmission, and faster construction of solar, wind and battery storage.

A secure energy sector, including hydrogen, will support a modern, low-carbon economy, they say.

In the short term, a new gas supply and storage plan will be managed by Australia’s energy market operator to keep the industry functioning.

“While the meeting focused on current pricing challenges, energy ministers reinforced the critical importance of a sensible and thoughtful mid- to long-term reform agenda,” the post-release statement read. meeting.

This will position the sector to be more resilient and able to meet future global or national challenges, the ministers agreed.

A “capacity mechanism” will be proposed as a priority to call on renewable energies and storage to support the stability of the national energy market.

“It was about time,” said Greg Bourne, former chairman of BP Australasia.

“After Australia’s lost decade of climate action, we finally feel like we are catching up with much of the rest of the world and embracing the future, rather than clinging to the past.”

Energy market analyst Tim Buckley said Labor was elected with a clear climate and energy mandate, including 82% renewables by 2030 and a roadmap $20 billion for rewiring the already fully costed nation.

“Rather than more plans, coordinated actions are urgently needed now, too many years have already been lost under the previous government,” he said.

The oil and gas industry says it’s important that the whole energy system is considered.

“We are doing everything we can to take care of customers and fill the energy void left by coal-fired power generators in particular,” Dwyer said.

But years of unnecessary state moratoriums, bans and delays on new gas supplies have contributed to the current situation in the East Coast energy market.

“Natural gas provides stability to the energy system. But the industry needs an investment environment that promotes stability,” Dwyer added.

-PAA

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