Manufacturing Australia welcomes revised energy plan

Manufacturing Australia has welcomed the government’s new energy plan, saying it is right to focus on affordability and reliability alongside emissions reduction.

In a statement, the group’s executive director Ben Eade said the move would encourage all parties to make a “clear eyed assessment” of the plan and that the Finkel energy review, which was scrapped by the Turnbull government this week, “redefined the problems” facing Australia’s energy market.

In place of the Clean Energy Target (CET), Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG) will require energy retailers to buy cleaner power.

“Restoring Australia’s international energy cost advantage, securing and transforming our baseload generation and tackling market concentration should be our main policy objectives,” Eade said.

“This could be the energy policy compromise that Australian industry has been waiting for. It recognises the importance of renewables to reducing emissions but also prioritises affordability, security and a diverse energy mix.

“If this plan can encourage energy investment, without picking winners or relying on costly subsidies, then it could be a breakthrough.”

Eade insists the best system for energy users is one that has a diverse mix of technologies.

In Australia’s case, he said that includes investment and competition in wind, solar, hydro, gas and coal fired generation, rather than picking winners.

“It is clear that renewables generation will play a growing role in Australia’s future energy mix,” Eade continued.

“It is therefore right for policymakers to focus on the challenges of maintaining affordability and reliability as we integrate more renewables into the grid, rather than continuing to subsidise new generation.”