Energy experts call for end to politicking

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg. Picture: Andrew Meares.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg. Picture: Andrew Meares.

Energy experts have urged the federal government to quit laying blame at the feet of state government and establish a clear national directive on energy. 

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg this week said state governments’ gas moratoriums and renewable energy targets were to blame for rising electricity prices. 

But former Waubra Wind Farm manager Melanie Robertson said the factors driving up power prices were largely outside of the Victorian government’s control. 

The cost of renewables is continuing to fall – and the cost is less than to build a new coal-fired plant. - Energy consultant Carl Daley

There was “absolutely nothing” the state government could have done to prevent the recent closure of Hazelwood Power Station.

“The main issue with pricing has been the very, very sudden withdrawal of coal-fired power stations (and) the gas pricing and the exporting of gas overseas has played a significant role. “We’ve got to stop politicking about the issue. The best thing is for the federal government to have a very, very sound policy and the states would fall into that.”

Energy consultant Carl Daley said investing in renewable energy would cost less than building a new coal-fired power station. 

A number of backbench Coalition MPs, including former prime minister Tony Abbott, have advocated for new coal-fired power stations to be built rather than implementing the clean energy target proposed by chief scientist Alan Finkel.

Mr Daley said the state’s moratorium had gone some way to tighten gas supply but affected electricity price only to “some extent”. 

Mr Daley said both state and federal governments had contributed to the market uncertainty which had prevented investors planning for the long term. He said governments needed to work together to create a “clear path for energy policy”. 

“We need to transition to renewable generation and we need to make sure that the system is secure and the cost of renewables is continuing to fall – and the cost is less than to build a new coal fire plant.”