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Australia’s Labour must consult widely with energy industry on renewables pledge

Published by , Editor
World Coal,

Affordable and reliable electricity is critical if Australia’s world-class minerals sector is to remain internationally competitive.

Yet, Australia now has some of the most expensive electricity in the developed world.

MCA represents companies which use around 12% of all electricity in the National Electricity Market.

MCA members use electricity to ensure safe mining operations and transform basic minerals into high value products that are sold globally and found in virtually every device, home and business.

MCA supports technology-neutral policy approaches that reduce emissions to meet its global commitments while safeguarding jobs and businesses at home through a diverse future energy mix.

Federal Labour’s energy policy calls for 50% of Australia’s electricity to be sourced from renewable energy sources by 2030.

In 2017, renewable energy sources provided 15.1% of all electricity in Australia, coal 61.3% and gas 21.2%.

Labour’s policy, therefore, requires an effective tripling of renewable energy power generation within the next 11 years.

As a number of analysts have outlined, rapidly increasing the level of intermittent renewable energy will lead to the early closure of older low cost 24 hr/d power generation, possibly by the mid-2020s – only six years from now.

This should not be cause for celebration.

With Liddell power plant closing in 2022, MCA has identified four additional power plant which could also close: Yallourn in Victoria, Vales Point in NSW, Gladstone C in Queensland and Torrens B in SA.

The closure in 2017 of Hazelwood power plant, which supplied around one-quarter of Victoria’s power saw wholesale power prices jump 80%.

The challenge for Labour and others proposing rapid increases in renewable energy is to explain how this will occur in just over a decade while ensuring reliable, low cost, 24 hr/d baseload energy supply for Australian homes and businesses.

It is crucial that Labour consult widely with Australian industry to ensure the real-world impact of its policy proposals is fully understood.

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