Australian news, and some related international items

Energy executives tell Turnbull they aren’t interested in prolonging life of coal plants

Executives also tell prime minister that policy uncertainty is contributing to rise in power prices, Katherine Murphy, Guardian, 9 Aug 17 Senior energy executives have taken the opportunity of a face-to-face meeting with Malcolm Turnbull to argue policy certainty is required to help lower power prices for consumers – and to signal they are not interested in prolonging the life of coal plants……..

Government backbenchers report being under huge pressure from their constituents over soaring power bills but internal divisions have prevented the Turnbull government, thus far, from resolving whether it wants to adopt the Finkel recommendation of a new clean energy target.

The message the executives delivered to the top echelons of the government was the country needed policy action that would lower or stabilise wholesale electricity prices, not just a focus on retail prices.

  Executives told the prime minister, the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, the treasurer, Scott Morrison, and the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, that they were interested in running businesses that were intent on reducing their climate risk, so they weren’t interested in maintaining the lifespan of existing coal-fired plants, like Liddell in New South Wales………

After the talks, the prime minister was asked whether he would deliver a full response to the Finkel review by the end of the year.

Turnbull hedged, saying the government was waiting on additional information from the Australian Energy Market Operator about the amount of dispatchable power required to stabilise the grid after the departure of major coal plants which are coming to the end of their operating life.

He said the government would receive that information on 1 September…….

The government will hold another meeting with the same group of executives on 18 August to hear progress.

A report released by the Grattan Institute five months ago highlighted the problems addressed in Wednesday’s meeting.

The Grattan report pointed out that consumers struggle to find better deals to reduce their power bills because they find the market too complicated. It also argued that, if energy retailers failed to clean up their act, political pressure would increase for price regulation given the rapid escalation in energy costs.

On Tuesday night, the Greens called for price regulation by the end of 2017.


August 11, 2017 - Posted by | energy, politics

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