The Coalition Senators do not support the Recommendations contained in
the Final Report. The majority report does not adequately or fairly reflect
the evidence presented to the committee. Further, the Coalition Senators
object to the ideologically driven conclusions which are counter to the
Government's technology agnostic policy approach.
The Coalition Senators recognise that the energy sector is essential to
Australian's wellbeing and standard of living, and plays a pivotal role in
Australia's ongoing prosperity. Energy security must be government's number
one energy policy priority. The transition to a lower emissions economy must
be done in a way that maintains a secure and affordable energy supply to
industry and households.
The bringing together of the Environment and Energy portfolios under the
Federal Minister for the Environment & Energy in August 2016 is
facilitating the integration of climate change and energy policy with the
central aim to keep energy secure, reliable and affordable whilst achieving
The Government has a comprehensive policy framework in place to achieve
ratification of both the Paris Agreement on climate change and
the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol;
Australia's ambitious and responsible target to reduce emission
by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030;
Australia is currently on track to beat its cumulative 2020
target by 22 million tonnes;
the successful Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) has delivered over
178 mt of abatement at an average price of $11.83;
the 2017 review of climate change policies which follows the
Government's commitment to review its policies when it set Australia's target
to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 is underway
and set to be completed by the end of 2017;
the Renewable Energy Target (RET);
the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP) that will see our
energy productivity increase by 40% by 2030;
measures to support clean energy investment, including the $10
billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable
Energy Agency (ARENA);
vehicle emissions standards; and
a domestic phase down of hydrofluorocarbon gases as part of a
recently developed global agreement.
At the same time, the Federal Government, in conjunction with the COAG
Energy Council, is currently developing a long-term national blueprint for the
national energy sector through the Finkel Review. A final report to the Energy
Council is expected mid 2017.
Since these measures have been announced, the Government has also been
actively pursuing a technology neutral approach as evidenced by:
At the Government's request, ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance
Corporation agreeing to work together on a new funding round for large-scale
energy storage and other flexible capacity projects including pumped hydro.
The Government is making energy storage infrastructure a critical priority to
ensure better integration of wind and solar into the energy market and more
efficient use of conventional power.
The Government commitment to the Snowy Mountains Scheme 2.0 plan
that will increase the generation of the Snowy Hydro scheme by 50%, adding 2000
megawatts of reliable renewable energy to the National Electricity Market –
enough to power 500,000 homes.
The Government through ARENA partnering in a feasibility study
for a 100‑200 megawatt pumped hydro project at Cultuna in the Spencer
Gulf in South Australia.
Together with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, ARENA is
assisting Genex Power to investigate the feasibility of a pumped storage hydro
power plant at the discussed Kidston Gold Mine in North Queensland. This has
potential to generate up to 250MW of rapid response flexible power for the National
Electricity Market (NEM).
ARENA is supporting a study by ANU to develop a map of potential
sites for off-river pumped hydro projects.
The Government has obtained commitments from east coast gas
producers to guarantee that gas will be available to meet peak demand periods
in the national electricity market as soon as possible. This agreement is
especially important given the increasing reliance on gas as a stabilising
energy source able to quickly respond to the variability of intermittent sources
The Coalition Senators support a transition of the energy market which
is supportive of displaced workers, their families and surrounding
communities. The indirect impacts on associated small-medium businesses need
to be considered in any Government response which is why the Federal Government's
package in response to the Hazelwood closure not only supported workers and
their families but was also designed to support the broader community across
Fundamentally, and contrary to the Majority Report, Coalition Senators
do not believe that the best way to achieve an effective transition is to force
the exit of coal fired power generation from the electricity system.
Senator Linda Reynolds Senator
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