The Government program to underwrite new generation investments presents a number of risks that could jeopardise rather than improve the reliability and affordability of electricity, with the key question around whether the Government even has the authority to do so.
In a submission to the Department of Energy, The Australia Institute has questioned why the Government is seeking interest before the program is designed and whether it lacks the legislative mandate to proceed with the full suite of loans and contracts proposed.
“The Government is rushing to fund its pet projects: coal power, clearing the decks before the election,” says Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute.
“Asking for expressions of interest before it even completed the funding guidelines is Minister Taylor putting the cart before the horse.
“The electricity sector is suffering from poor policy planning and the Government’s knee-jerk response is policy on the fly — possibly without the authority to do so.
“Taxpayers should be concerned the Government is gearing up to sign risky contracts for billions of dollars without the authority to do so.
“To make matters worse, Minister Taylor wants the Australian taxpayer to take on the liability arising from our future climate policies.”