In case you missed it, South Australia was plunged into darkness last week, with a severe storm front causing a mass power outage in the state.
Following this, there was plenty of blame being thrown around, with the use of renewable energy being questioned.
Today, state and territory energy ministers are set to discuss whether to hold a review of Australia’s electricity market at a snap meeting in Melbourne with the Federal Government.
The meeting was called by Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg who said the meeting would see briefings from experts discussing the practical aspects of incorporating large-scale wind farms into the electricity grid.
There is expected to be discussion about whether a broader review into Australia’s energy market is needed — a topic likely to trigger a brawl between Federal and State Governments.
Labor-led State and Territory Governments say they will not be changing their renewable energy targets, despite the Federal Government calling for a nationally-consistent approach.
That includes the ACT Government, which set a 100 per cent target for sourcing energy from renewable sources by 2020.
NT Environment Minister Simon Corbell said the target enjoyed bipartisan support from the Canberra Liberals.
“So there’s not even agreement on Malcolm Turnbull’s own side when you look at state and territory parties when it comes to an ambitious and realistic and achievable renewable energy target,” he said.
He warned any major review of the system could reveal the Federal Government regulators have not kept up with technological advances.
“Technology is rapidly changing, wind is the cheapest form of new-build generation in Australia, and globally, and the cost of solar and the emergence of battery storage in households and businesses is going to transform the electricity market,” he said.
“We need to re-write the architecture of the National Electricity Market, to prepare for these changes, and that will need more than some grandstanding on the part of Josh Frydenberg at a one-minute-to-midnight meeting.”
SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said any review should be conducted by an independent panel and not by the Federal Government’s energy regulators, the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Australian Energy Market Commission.
Mr Koutsantonis said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should look at his Government’s own regulators to ensure they were doing enough on energy security.
“They’re barking at us to keep the lights on, well, if you read his own legislation, he’d know that actually it’s the Commonwealth Government that’s responsible for the Australian Energy Market Operation and the Australian Energy Market Commission and the National Electricity Market,” he said.
“So, if he’s saying keep the lights on and the lights aren’t on, it’s his fault.”
The main concern of this review occurring is that every state may follow in South Australia’s footsteps with high electricity costs.
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