Easing Exit of Coal: Australia Institute Welcomes New Plans for National Electricity Market

The Australia Institute today welcomes the Energy Security Board (ESB) Post-2025 Market Design Consultation Paper, as an important step towards a National Elelctricity Market (NEM) designed to deliver reliability and affordability as coal-fired generators retire.

“This report is an invitation to Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, to lay out his plan to update the governance and rules of the National Electricity Market, to meet the challenges of the 2020s,” said Dan Cass, energy regulatory and policy lead at The Australia Institute.

“The ESB has done a good job setting out the big choices for Australia’s elelctricity market re-design, now it is up to Government to back the process over the next year or the NEM will not be ready for the inevitable retirement of Liddell in 2022/23, and other coal-fired generators—the dinosaurs of Australian energy generation.

“A coherent roadmap for market reform will reduce risk for investors and allow state governments to get on with their Renewable Energy Targets.

“Bringing forward elements of the new NEM design, including Renewable Energy Zone rules, should also help attract investment and help with economic recovery in regional areas.

“Households, investors, large energy consumers and state governments are making the switch to renewable energy, the ESB’s design makes clear that it’s about time the Federal Government got on board too.

“When wholesale demand response commences in October 2021, it will mark the start of a new era of energy consumption which puts consumers at the centre and allows them to compete with their own energy retailers, lowering the cost of energy.”

“Australia has a clear obligation to meet zero-net emissions by 2050, which will be impossible to achieve without reforms that make the National Electricity Market compatible with clean energy,” said Richie Merzian, director of The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program.

“It is right that the ESB has included emissions reduction as one of the principles against which design options will be assessed.

“A fundamental redesign of the National Electricity Market  is a vital part of climate policy and can deliver a better electricity system for consumers.”