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“We have the map, now it’s time to hit the road,” experts on new energy plan

Climate Media Centre 4 mins read

15 December 2023

 

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released the Draft 2024 Integrated Systems Plan today. AEMO says its ISP, released every two years, is a roadmap for the development of the National Electricity Market (NEM) over the next 20 years and beyond. 

 

This time AEMO has noted that coal-fired power is moving out of the grid faster than predicted two years ago, as ageing unreliable power stations struggle to compete with cheaper options. 

 

The draft plan has also called for a speedier build of large scale renewable projects and transmission lines, while noting rooftop solar will need to increase four fold by 2050. 

 

The following experts are available for interview today (Friday December 15)

 

To arrange interviews, please contact:

Jacqui Street 0498 188 528 / jacqui.street@climatemediacentre.org.au

 

Stephanie Bashir is the Principal of Nexa Advisory

Stephanie is an energy expert with more than 20 years experience. She previously led the policy vision and strategy at AGL Energy as Senior Director of Public Policy. She was also on the AEMO consumer panel for the 2022 ISP. Location: Melbourne

 

Stephanie Bashir said: “The ISP has played a critical role in providing the roadmap to date. This draft in particular is calling for urgent action as the unreliable coal-fired power stations shut. And for the first time tells us the cost and benefits of following their ‘optimal path’, in short, doing it their way could save consumers $17 billion.

 

“The ISP is the map. We need to get on the road and put our foot to the floor and build the renewable generation and transmission. Transmission continues to be the missing link and every year we delay the build out that is planned, it will result in higher bills. There has to be genuine engagement with the impacted communities and targeted supporting benefits to address regional community concerns.

 

"The Federal Government’s announcement about the expansion of the Capacity Investment Scheme recently was important, yes. More important though, is we need to ensure an orderly closure for the coal power stations is in place and fast.  So dates must be agreed and set in stone – this will give a critical clear signal for investment in what will replace them. "

 

“The cost of delays on consumer bills far outweighs any savings made from not building these big transmission projects.  For example, we have modelling that shows that the cost of not building the interconnector between Victoria and NSW is $5 billion in extra renewable generation in Victoria – that is on top of more intra-regional transmission to connect that and higher bills while it’s built! The Interconnector is estimated to cost 3.56 billion and make us more resilient into the future too.”

Tim Buckley, senior energy market analyst, director of Climate Energy Finance

Climate Energy Finance (CEF) is a non-partisan think tank established in 2022 that works pro bono in the public interest on accelerating decarbonisation in line with climate science. Location: Sydney

 

Tim Buckley said: “The AEMO ISP Draft 2024 is an excellent framework for discussion of the accelerating energy transformation in Australia, highlighting how this is taking shape as we progress to 82% renewables and beyond.

 

“Whilst AEMO is very focused on the big transmission and large scale renewables and firming projects, it is great to see AEMO mapping out increased prominence of distributed energy resources (aka rooftop solar) , and the acceleration ahead of expectations even 1-2 years ago.

 

“While AEMO models more gas peakers capacity (16GW by 2050, up from 10GW in the 2022 ISP), the actual methane gas generation is modelled to decline as utilisation rates remain low, and progressively decline, eaten by ever-cheaper renewable competition.

 

“AEMO makes it clear that the current 4GW pa run-rate of renewable energy installs needs to accelerate by 50% to deliver on the 82% renewables by 2030 target. This looks entirely feasible when one sees the proposals bid into the last Victorian tender. There is a wall of capital and a massive wave of new proposals in the pipeline once the approval and grid access bottlenecks are progressively overcome.”

 

Andrew Bray, REAlliance Director

RE-Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation working to secure an energy transformation that delivers long-term benefits and prosperity to regional Australia. Location: Melbourne

Andrew Bray said: “To connect more wind and solar power to the grid, we need to build new transmission lines. 

 

“Transmission lines have been part of our landscapes for generations, so not many people associate them with action on climate change, but that is exactly what they are now because they will connect more wind and solar power to our grid.

 

“The transmission lines outlined by the ISP will save us billions over the long term by linking our electricity bills to the abundance of Australian wind and sun instead of inflationary global coal and gas markets. 

 

“Regional communities, Traditional Owners and environmental stakeholders need to be brought to the table as we plan and build this critical infrastructure. We’ve been pushing AEMO and transmission companies to better listen to and reflect regional community priorities.”

 

Also available for interview: 

Simon Corbell, CEO of the Clean Energy Investor Group (CEIG)
Location: ACT
Simon is an expert in renewable energy, climate change and public policy. His more than two decades of experience includes being the Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change of the Australian Capital Territory. His advocacy for a strong climate change policy for Canberra saw the ACT achieve national and international recognition as a best-practice jurisdiction.

Jay Gordon, Energy Finance Analyst, IEEFA (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)
Location: Melbourne
Jay Gordon is an Energy Finance Analyst at IEEFA, focusing on the Australian electricity sector. He has extensive experience in modelling Australia’s energy system transition including at Climateworks Centre, collaborating with the CSIRO and working on modelling projects for the Australian Energy Market Operator.

ENDS

 


Contact details:

To arrange interviews, please contact:

Jacqui Street 0498 188 528 / jacqui.street@climatemediacentre.org.au

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