Clean Energy Council calls on state & federal governments to remove remove hurdles for renewables

Australia’s clean energy industry has appealed to federal and state environment ministers to remove barriers that threaten to stifle the deployment of renewable energy and the much-vaunted “energy revolution”.

These barriers – particularly to the deployment of large-scale renewables and rooftop solar and battery storage – were outlined in a letter written to the ministers by the Clean Energy Council has written to the ministers outlining the barriers

The CEC is particularly concerned about the presence of rules that discriminate against new technologies, and tariffs that are structured to discourage the deployment of new technology such as solar and storage.

It says Australia’s predominantely coal-fired electricity grid remains stuck in the 20th century, and policy makers, regulators and market operators are being slow to respond to new disruptive technologies.

“With ongoing cost reductions of renewable energy and battery storage, the pace of technology change will only continue to accelerate across Australia,” CEC chief executive Kane Thornton says.

“It is increasingly apparent that policymakers, regulators and market operators need to take a more strategic approach to prepare for future electricity system needs.”

Four of the council members – Tasmania, ACT, South Australia and Queensland – have targets of 50 per cent or more renewable energy by 2030 at the latest. And in Western Australia, energy minister Mike Nahan, a former conservative die-hard once dismissive of renewable energy, accepts that solar and storage will dominate the energy market within the next 10 years.

But there are also real concerns that the pace of change may be artificially slowed because of the poor response from policy makers and regulatory, and a range of reglations that favour the fossil fuel incumbents.

“It is time to step up energy market reform to overcome the barriers to renewable energy and battery storage and start developing a 21st century energy system,” the CEC says in its letter to COAG ministers, who are due to meet on Friday.

“(There are) a range of barriers already distort the energy market. The result is frustration and delays to the efficient entry of new technologies that will empower consumers, deliver greater competition and lower energy sector emissions,” the letter says.

The CEC has proposed a detailed plan to address and remove the barriers, and make renewable energy and storage a priority, and encourage a more strategic approach from regulators and policy makers.

It warns that the pace of technology change will continue to accelerate with ongoing reductions in the cost of renewable energy and battery storage.

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Giles Parkinson