ENA calls for clear accountability in Finkel Review submission

In a submission to the Finkel Review, Energy Networks Australia has rejected calls for a ban on more variable renewable energy being connected in key National Energy Market regions.

The organisation also warned state targets should not be pursued without better analysis of the possible impacts on energy security.

“Arbitrary State targets to drive in additional variable renewable energy in key jurisdictions should not be implemented without assessing potential system stability issues and planning for contingencies,” the submission stated.

Energy Networks Australia chief executive officer John Bradley said the Finkel Review’s Energy Blueprint could make Australia’s energy system stronger if there is clear accountability for implementation.

“The greatest single risk to an efficient and secure energy transition is conflicting government policy and regulation in a national market,” Mr Bradley said.

“The Finkel Review is a watershed opportunity to reach agreement on a national approach to energy policy and regulation.

“However, energy customers need governments and industry to follow through, where too many reforms have sat idle.

“Developing the blueprint for security, affordability and sustainability is hard enough but we also need to fix a broken governance system which doesn’t follow through and is mired in politics.”

Mr Bradley said the submission recommended the blueprint be expanded into a plan of action, with concrete timeframes, actions and accountabilities.

“The blueprint can promote innovation throughout the supply chain if it takes a technology neutral approach rather than trying to find ‘silver bullets’,” he said.

“While it may seem hopeless today, Australians can achieve reliable, affordable power and achieve zero net carbon emissions over time, as demonstrated in a recent Roadmap by Energy Networks Australia and CSIRO.”

The Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap highlighted the need for collaborative action by industry and government on stable national carbon policy, pricing reform and standards for new energy technologies.

“Maintaining power system security is likely to require a mix of solutions which are currently not valued in our outdated market frameworks,” Mr Bradley said.

“Stronger interconnection between states and gas-fired generation should be valued for their security benefits, while frequency can be stabilised by large scale battery storage, transmission equipment and other assets.”