COAG agrees to independent review of NEM

Photo: Debbie Prosser

A review of the national electricity market will be undertaken to ensure energy security, following agreement at the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council meeting today.

The review will be led by chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel and a preliminary report will be delivered to the Energy Council’s meeting in December this year.

The minister’s-only meeting was called in response to the statewide blackout in South Australia last week, caused by a severe wind and electrical storm which tore down powerlines.

According to an AEMO report released this week, the lines continued to function, however a surge in wind power caused the Heywood interconnector to shut down, leaving the state without power.

The COAG Energy Council has agreed to review the national electricity market to provide a blueprint for energy security across the grid.

Minister for Energy and the Environment Josh Frydenberg said the South Australian blackout was “a wake up call which reminded us of the urgent need for energy ministers to respond in a collective way to the issue of energy security”.

The Energy Networks Association welcomed the decision by COAG today.

Chief executive John Bradley said an independent and evidence-based review might assist reducing the political conflict, which he saw as undermining the stability and affordability of energy decarbonisation.

“If this independent review can be apolitical circuit-breaker and provide robust evidence, then its good news for Australian energy customers,” he said.

“Energy security and reliable power supply are vital to Austrlaian jobs and quality of life – they should always have been at the centre of nationally integrated policies agreed by governments.”