Tasmania signs up to National Energy Guarantee

Guy Barnett
Guy Barnett

Tasmania has signed up to the National Energy Guarantee, which Energy Minister Guy Barnett says will further the state’s ambitions of becoming the battery of the nation.

Australia’s Labor states have expressed concern about the NEG, refusing to endorse it until Coalition unity on the policy is assured.

The nation’s energy ministers will meet on Friday to discuss the proposed deal, while the Coalition party room will attempt to reach a conclusion on the issue next Tuesday.

There are notable NEG detractors within the federal government.

The NEG would seek to lower power prices and carbon emissions across the country and require energy retailers to provide a minimum level of dispatchable energy.

A report from the Energy Security Board found Australians would save roughly $150 on household power bills per year under the NEG.

On the same day the South Australian Liberal government signed up to the deal, Mr Barnett also committed Tasmania to the NEG.

“The NEG supports Tasmania’s best interests,” Mr Barnett said.

“This is in our interests because it builds the case for further interconnection and pumped hydro to be the battery of the nation where we can deliver the lowest possible power prices for Australia here in Tasmania.”

Mr Barnett took a swipe at Labor and the Greens, both at a state and federal level, for supposedly standing in the way of the NEG.

“The Labor states will proceed with politicking at their peril,” he said.

“There is no plan B.”

Deputy Opposition Leader Michelle O’Byrne, however, said there was, indeed, a plan B.

“Labor states have said that they want to work on a longer term plan that has measurable targets, increased each year, that are assessed in advance,” she said.

“That is a sustainable plan.

“What we’ve got from Guy Barnett is somewhat confused, unfunded and unsupported.”