Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Greens call for an independent energy authority – Renew Australia

Greens push for electricity crisis to be taken out of politicians’ hands, The Age Adam Morton , 25 Mar 17, 

The Greens are pushing for a new public authority to take responsibility for Australia’s beleaguered electricity system out of politicians’ hands.

It follows several organisations, including energy company Origin, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and ClimateWorks, calling for an independent body, similar to the Reserve Bank, to manage what has been described as an energy crisis.

Focus on the future of the electricity system has heightened in the lead-up to the closure this week of Hazelwood, Australia’s oldest and most emissions-intensive power plant, which when fully operational had the capacity to deliver about a quarter of Victoria’s electricity.

The Greens will introduce legislation in the Senate to create what it calls Renew Australia, which it says can short-circuit a stand-off between the federal and state governments by taking responsibility for the transition to a clean electricity supply……

Energy companies, business groups, unions, charities, scientists and environmentalists have called for a bipartisan national plan, including an emissions intensity scheme, to drive a smooth change as greenhouse gas emissions are cut.

The Snowy Hydro Scheme, owned by the NSW, Victorian and federal governments, is the latest to back this sort of scheme. The federal government has rejected this sort of scheme.

Not all the above groups would endorse the Greens’ model, which requires that at least 90 per cent of energy is renewable by 2030, expands the national renewable energy target and introduces a emissions intensity standard that sets out a timetable for the closure of coal-fired power plants.

The authority would cost $500 million and would be expected to leverage $5 billion of energy construction in four years. The Greens also want to create a $250 million clean energy transition fund to help coal communities as plants close and change electricity market rules to make it encourage large-scale battery storage…….

In a submission to an energy security review by chief scientist Alan Finkel, ClimateWorks – a research body affiliated with Monash University – called for an independent statutory body to take over regulatory responsibilities from the COAG Energy Council, which is made up of federal and state energy ministers.

Origin backed the creation of a body similar to the Reserve Bank to manage the shift to lower emissions.

The ACTU called for the introduction of an Energy Transition Authority. Its responsibilities would include managing a planned closure of coal plants and an industry-wide scheme that allowed retrenched coal workers to get jobs at other power stations.

This model has been used at Hazelwood, where some workers will transfer to other Latrobe Valley generators.

March 27, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics


  1. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    It appears that many journalists, politicians and correspondents don’t understand the differences between a government run electricity authority and a privately run system made up of power stations, electricity distribution, electricity transmission, electricity retailers and an electricity market operator.

    True we have an overcapacity of gas-fired power stations in SA (The Advertiser 27/3/17) but, as is now well known, they are either mothballed or unwilling to supply electricity at the going rate and it seems that the owners are unwilling to sell to the SA Government.

    As a result of privatisation the SA Government has little to no ability to manage the system. If there is any doubt about this then consider what could have happened in the last six months of electricity crises.

    Would the SA government have withheld supply at the critical moment ?

    Would the SA Government have mothballed its best gas-fired powered station ?

    Sixty years ago Premier Tom Playford revolutionised the electricity industry. Hopefully, Premier Jay Weatherill is about to do the same.

    Dennis Matthews


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | March 27, 2017 | Reply

  2. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    For the last six months we have been constantly told that the “mothballing” of ENGIE’s gas-fired power station at Pelican Point was because it couldn’t compete with wind power.

    The simultaneous availability of the “mothballed” Pelican Point generator and the closure of ENGIE’s old, cheap and nasty Hazlewood power station now make it obvious that ENGIE’s gas fired Pelican Point generator couldn’t compete with ENGIE’s Hazlewood brown coal fired power station.

    Pity we had to go through six months of costly, disruptive electricity crises before ENGIE decide to “demothball” its Pelican Point turbine.

    The sooner the SA Government builds our own power station the sooner we can be free from such single bottom line, market driven, carry-on.

    Dennis Matthews


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | March 29, 2017 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: