Super-Charge COVID Stimulus: Open Letter Asks COAG to Accelerate Energy Market Reform

An open letter to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council, coordinated by The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program and signed by a range of energy and technology leaders, has called for an accelerated pace of electricity market reform.

While Australia deals with the economic impact of COVID-19, COAG has an opportunity to take a fast-tracked, stimulatory approach to opening up the National Electricity Market to more competition from renewables, energy efficiency and enabling technologies such as batteries.

The open letter appears as a full-page advertisement in the Australian Financial Review today and has been signed by Atlassian Co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes, Renewable Energy Entrepreneur Simon Hackett, Tesla’s Managing Director of Energy Products and Programs Mark Twidell, Amber Electric Co-CEO Dan Adams and other energy industry leaders.

“Australia’s energy market rules are designed for a slow, old electricity grid built around coal and they are no longer fit for purpose. The faster we can move to a modern, responsive energy market, the sooner Australia can unlock its extraordinary renewable energy potential and all of the economic and environmental benefits that come with that.” said Richie Merzian, Director of The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program.

“Energy, industry and technology innovators from around the country want our political leaders to understand that now is the time to be accelerating energy market reforms, not delaying them.

“New rules that would encourage a genuine two-sided market, where consumers can take charge of their energy use, feed power back into the grid and reduce their usage at peak times, are all required to increase stability and reduce prices for Australians.”

The open letter asks today’s COAG Energy Council meeting to;

1 // Prioritise the Energy Security Board’s P2025 project and interim reliability measures, for delivery from 2023;

2 // Pause or delay all other non-priority rule changes and reviews by the ESB, AEMC, AER and AEMO;

3 // Accelerate the Integrated System Plan including Group 1 and 2 and Renewable Energy Zone projects even where this means states moving forward unilaterally to build transmission and interconnectors.

“For too long, incumbent energy providers have been able to game the system and delay reform. An old, inefficient and expensive market design helps fossil fuel energy producers and they are fighting to delay reform, even though that means increased carbon pollution and higher costs for consumers,” Mr Merzian said.

“Addressing the need for reform in the energy market will stimulate Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery by lowering prices for consumers and encouraging a renewable energy jobs boom across the country.”

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