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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1247 ..


result of their actions. Given electricity prices are soaring and Canberrans are making decisions on whether they heat their homes, cook a meal or just eat toast and go to bed early with a hot water bottle, I am not sure that it can be classified as a benefit.

He talks of the need to provide long-term policy certainty and support for the development of a reliable and secure electricity supply system. And yet in today’s Canberra Times he said the federal government must overhaul its power policies or suffer defeat at next week’s COAG meeting of energy ministers. He has been quoted previously making similar threats.

In a recent article in the Australian newspaper, the minister raised the prospect of the ACT blocking the national energy guarantee because he feels that it is weak. This is ignoring the fact that the Australian Energy Market Commission has called for a consistent national policy relating to energy, as it is the best option for securing reliable energy that meets our climate commitments. Minister Rattenbury has called for “an agreement to move the national energy market forward”. That is exactly what the national energy guarantee is offering. As the smallest jurisdiction in the national energy market—we make up 1.5 per cent—the ACT ought to be seeking consensus, not picking fights. Minister Rattenbury’s reckless words in the Australian do the latter.

The ACT government spruiks its green credentials at every opportunity. The Canberra Liberals have acknowledged the benefits that have come from being early adopters in the renewable space through the reverse auctions, which did—we have acknowledged it before and I do so again today—bring price certainty through the locked-in contracts. We do not dispute this.

In an article in the Australian edition of the Conversation, an online journal, in October last year, David Blowers, Energy Fellow at the Grattan Institute, stated that the national energy guarantee will deliver two new obligations on electricity retailers: the first is to ensure we have enough electricity generation available to meet our need, the reliability guarantee; and the second is to drive down the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, the emissions guarantee. Under the emissions guarantee, retailers will be required to buy or generate electricity with a set level of emissions intensity. The allowable level of emissions intensity will be reduced each year to stay in line with Australia’s Paris climate target.

David Blowers notes also that the NEG should be reasonably cost-effective. Rather than the government imposing quotas or limits for various types of technology, retailers will be given a free hand to pick the cheapest mix. The reliability guarantee requires retailers to contract or own a certain amount of dispatchable generation—electricity that can be switched on at will—to meet demand in each state or territory. It is regrettable that Ms Orr’s motion makes no reference to the NEG. It does not encourage her government’s minister to do the right thing by ACT taxpayers and work collaboratively on an outcome that benefits all Australians and ACT residents instead of grandstanding an ideological goal at any cost.

The Canberra Liberals are committed to energy reliability and affordability, and emphasise the importance of national consensus on energy policy. The federal government’s national energy guarantee aims for sufficient energy to meet demand,


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