National Energy Guarantee to next be discussed on Tuesday

Energy ministers agreed in-principle to support the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee at a meeting in Sydney on Friday.

This means if a Coalition party room meeting agrees to the policy on Tuesday, and energy ministers give it final approval, draft legislation on changes to the National Electricity Law will be released for public consultation over a four-week period before Parliament considers it.

The agreement would force energy retailers to agree to a minimum amount of power supply to be available at all times and electricity sold to customers would need to meet an emissions level in line with the country’s carbon reduction target.

These targets would be set in legislation and reviewed every five years. Nationwide, it will mean a 26 to 28-per cent reduction on the 2005 level of carbon emissions by 2030.

States would be able to exceed that target if they wanted to.

Central to the plan is a promise of reduced power prices.

The Victorian Government has said it would not support the policy unless emission reduction targets increased over time and targets were set every three years.

Tasmanian Energy Minister Guy Barnett said the in-principle agreement was positive for renewable energy projects in Tasmania as the Energy Council had agreed to priority reviews on the state’s Battery of the Nation project and a second interconnector. 

”The review is been undertaken by the Energy Security Board and we look forward to working with the board on the review which is due in December,” he said.

Labor’s energy spokesman David O’Byrne said more detail was needed on the plan and its potential impact on the state’s future renewable energy projects.