Energy industry calls on COAG to develop NEG

The Australian energy industry is calling on federal and state governments to make development of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) a top priority.

A group statement, released on behalf of 16 organisations, said the country’s energy woes are set to worsen if policies aren’t adapted soon.

“Australia is suffering unsustainably high electricity prices and rising emissions, and our reliability and cost challenges will worsen if the retirement of ageing generators is not managed well,” the statement said.

“The new private investment needed to turn the situation around will not be forthcoming without confidence in a credible, scalable, integrated and enduring long-term energy and climate policy framework.

“To be a success, any framework needs both to sustain broad political support and to address the energy trilemma, supporting a clean and reliable energy system at the lowest sustainable cost.”

“The guarantee is only a concept at this point, with much development required, but we are hopeful this further work will identify that the proposed mechanism can deliver.”

The group, which includes Energy Networks Australia, St Vincent de Paul Society, Ai Group and the Australian Energy Council, said the electricity sector needs certainty.

“The guarantee must be fit for purpose. Our organisations will not agree to just anything, and neither should COAG,” the statement said.

“What the COAG Energy Council meeting should do is agree a work plan and full consultation to resolve the many unanswered questions about the guarantee as soon as possible and produce a fully-fledged design ready for consideration, agreement and implementation.

“Without timely progress Australia will see energy costs and emissions increase, threatening our society, environment and economy.”

The statement was released ahead of the COAG Energy Council meeting in Hobart this week.