A key figure behind the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee is mourning the policy she once knew.
The Energy Security Board spent close to a year developing the proposal, which sought to tie climate and energy policy together by ensuring reliable power while reducing emissions.
ESB chairwoman Kerry Schott told an industry event in Sydney on Wednesday that she hasn’t left the “anger stage” of grieving over the policy.
However, she thinks its premature to label the NEG as “dead” and called for reliability measures to be implemented.
Energy prices have surged and a coordinated approach is needed to get costs down, she added.
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is hoping to salvage the reliability mechanism from the NEG, which will put pressure on states with the highest renewable targets.
“I am committed to working with the states and territories … to progress the implementation of the retailer reliability obligation as soon as practicable,” he told the industry forum on Wednesday.
Mr Taylor believes the reliability guarantee will encourage investment in “fair dinkum” affordable power generation that can provide on-demand supply.
“Generation that delivers when you need it, in the right place at the right time, to ensure reliability in the national electricity market,” he says.
Labor energy spokesman Mark Butler says Australia needs a bipartisan approach to manage the transition to a clean energy future.
Industry stakeholders had encouraged Labor to salvage the NEG, he added.
“Transitioning from a thermal-based system to a system based more on renewables is going to pose challenges for managing that intermittency,” he said.
“Which is why there is going to have to be substantial investment in firming technology – pumped hydro, gas peaking plants and batteries.”
Mr Butler says solar and wind technologies are becoming more affordable.
Acting AGL CEO Brett Redman told the forum building a new coal plant is not viable and the provider’s strategy was to get “out of the carbon game”.
Origin Energy CEO Frank Calabria is encouraged by the government’s commitments to ensuring reliable supply, but says the provider does not support support fixed price regulation.
Mr Taylor intends to discuss the reliability measure at a COAG Energy Council meeting later this month.