NEG is ‘third-best option’, SA energy minister says

The South Australian government has announced it will look into alternative energy policies, after being outvoted at Friday’s COAG Energy Council meeting in Hobart.

The state’s energy minster Tom Koutsantonis asked the council to model a clean energy target (CET) and an energy intensity scheme in parallel to the National Energy Guarantee.

The move was supported the ACT, but Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Commonwealth voted against commissioning the further work through the Energy Security Board.

The state will now go ahead and commission modeling of alternative energy policies.

Mr Koutsantonis said a NEG would stifle investment in renewables and extend the life of coal power stations.

“If you truly believed the NEG was the best option to drive down power prices, why wouldn’t you agree for it to be compared against other mechanisms?” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“The answer is the NEG is in truth the third-best option. That simply isn’t enough and can’t be supported by South Australia.

“What’s clear from the Energy Security Board’s report into the NEG is that it stifles investment in renewables, keep dying, uneconomic coal power stations alive longer, and enriches the generators with the most market power.”

Victorian Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio has also threatened to go it alone on energy policy.

The minister said the NEG was “half-baked” and desperately needed work.

“The COAG Energy Council has made one thing absolutely clear – this policy lacks detail,” she said.

“The clean energy industry is demanding more detail and have raised concerns about the possible impacts of this scheme on investment.

“We won’t be signing up to anything that undermines Victoria’s nation-leading renewable energy and climate change policies.

“Otherwise the only guarantee is that we won’t support it.”