Stinging critique of NEG

In a stinging critique of the NEG prepared for the Australian Conservation Foundation, energy economics consultancy CME says the NEG – the detail of which remains scant – would deliver an inefficient and opaque electricity market that deliberately hides emission prices and undermines competition in wholesale and retail markets.

The report – co-authored by CME director Bruce Mountain, who has been vocal in his concerns about the NEG – also argues that the policy would deliver outcomes to protect coal generators from competition from increasingly cheap wind, solar and battery storage.

The “ultimate cost” of this inefficiency, the report warns, “will be borne by consumers in the form of higher electricity prices, in emission reductions that are more expensive and in a less secure power system.”

— Sophie Vorrath, reporting in renewEconomy on Feb 2nd… Read more >>

Little storage needed for 35-50% renewables: new Finkel report

A new report commissioned by chief scientist Alan Finkel, The role of Energy Storage in Australia’s Future Energy Supply Mix, says the required investment in energy security and reliability over the next five-10 years will be minimal, even if wind and solar deployment moves far beyond levels contemplated by the Energy Security Board.

“At an aggregated national level, Australia can reach penetrations of 50 per cent renewable energy without a significant requirement for storage to support energy reliability

The contrast with ESB modelling – and the attempts by Coalition parties at state and federal level to dismiss high levels of renewable energy as “reckless” – could not be more pronounced.

While the ESB, in arguing for a National Energy Guarantee, speaks of the system threats and urgency to act with a level of “variable” renewables accounting for between 18 and 24 per cent of total generation, this new report says surprisingly little storage may be needed with 35 per cent to 50 per cent wind and solar.

Even in the 50 per cent variable renewable energy scenario – more than double that contemplated at the high end by the ESB – the new report suggests enough battery storage may be available “behind the meter,” households and businesses, to meet the storage needs.

Pointedly, the study models levels of “variable”renewable energy – wind and solar” that are far higher than that contemplated by the ESB in its argument for an “urgent” reliability option.

The new study’s “low renewable” share – 35 per cent – is twice the amount of wind and solar modeled by the ESB for 2030, at just 18-24 per cent, and yet it sees little need for a lot of added storage.

The study’s medium renewables scenario aims at 50 per cent share of variable renewbles by 2030, while its “high” share models 75 per cent wind and solar penetration.… Read more >>

Doctors for the Environment call for NEG to be rejected

A letter on Nov 19th from Doctors for the Environment Australia addressed to State Premiers, Energy and Environment ministers points out the problems with the Government’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG):

The States must continue their strong leadership at the approaching COAG Energy Meeting, totally rejecting the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) because of its egregious denial of action on pollution and global warming and its deleterious effect on Health.

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) represents hundreds of medical experts across Australia. We are supported by a Nobel laureate, recipients of the Australian of the Year award and many other distinguished health professionals.

DEA is deeply disturbed by the health implications of the Government’s proposed (NEG) plan. As more analysis accumulates it is increasingly evident that the NEG is designed to encourage continued burning of fossil fuels. It is also clear that the NEG will lead to much less investment in decarbonisation of the energy market, leading to more pollution and rising CO2 levels. It is extraordinary that the design proposes no further reduction in CO2 emissions between 2020 and 2030. It thus fails Australia’s commitment to COP 21 in Paris.
— read the full letter at the DEA website


NEG needs more work

COAG energy ministers agreed today (Fri 24 Nov) to commission more design work on the Turnbull government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee, forcing the renewable energy industries in Australia into a new era of policy uncertainty.

The decision was expected, given that Queensland could not vote due to its state election tomorrow, the Liberal governments in NSW and Tasmania would always support it, and Victoria earlier this week declared itself open to finding out more about the plan.

This left South Australia and the ACT in the minority in their opposition to the NEG – or, as federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg put it in a press conference in Hobart this afternoon, they “they had their say today, and they lost.”

The federal government was forced to abandon its original tactic of asking the states to actually approve of the NEG, instead merely seeking consensus on doing further work.… Read more >>

Electric vehicle charger station opened in Adelaide

South Australia’s first “Tesla supercharger” points for electric vehicles opened on 27 October on Franklin St between The Joinery and the new Bus station – “the start of a state-wide charging network the company promised as part of the deal to win the State Government’s “world’s largest battery” tender”.

Tesla’s Elon Musk included 50 charging stations as part of the negotiations to build the battery.

The Indaily report continues here