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Industry leaders welcome Finkel Report

Government and industry leaders have welcomed the findings of the Finkel Report, commenting that its recommendations were necessary to secure the future of Australia’s energy.

The final report, prepared by an Expert Panel and chaired by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO, was released on 9 June 2017 and recommends action to create a reliable and affordable energy system, and supports practical steps to address climate change and modernise our electricity grid.

The report also reflects the vital role of renewable energy and energy storage.

Dr Finkel and the Expert Panel have found that the energy market reform process has not kept pace with the transition that is already underway in the energy sector.

The absence of a stable long-term national emissions reduction policy for the sector has also created investment uncertainty, impacting energy prices and reliability to the detriment of consumers and the wider economy.

GE welcomed the Finkel Report’s recommendations as an opportunity to bring the world’s best energy technology solutions to Australia.

Geoff Culbert, President & CEO, GE Australia, New Zealand & PNG, said, “Australia has the potential to become a world leader in hybrid renewable and battery technology, and the integration of renewable energy into traditional grid systems.

“The technologies necessary to implement the Finkel blueprint already exist. All we need is stable policy, and companies like GE will invest to secure Australia’s energy future.

“We urge Australia’s political leaders to adopt the proposals and stick with them for the long term, because if they do, industry will meet the challenge.”

Energy Networks Australia CEO, John Bradley, said the 200 page Blueprint would require careful evaluation, followed by urgent implementation actions to stabilise Australia’s energy system.      

“This Blueprint is the last, best hope that Australian energy customers have for a secure, reliable and affordable energy transition,” Mr Bradley said.

“The individual measures in the Blueprint need careful review but its greatest success would be compelling Australian governments to act together to lock down an agreed, national ‘Strategic Energy Plan’.”

Mr Bradley said bipartisan support for a Clean Energy Target recommended in the Blueprint could give much-needed certainty to investors and Australians confidence that emissions targets would be met.

“A well-designed, national Clean Energy Target would meet abatement outcomes without picking technology winners, so that would mean lower costs to customers,” Mr Bradley said.

“To be successful, the Clean Energy Target needs an enduring, broad political commitment that lasts beyond the next election cycle.”

Mr Bradley welcomed proposals for an Energy Security Board to deliver the Blueprint and provide oversight, a system-wide Grid Plan, and regional security and reliability assessments.

“A transforming energy system needs strong well-resourced and proactive energy market institutions, with a shared plan of action and accountability for clear milestones,” Mr Bradley said.

“We welcome the Report’s emphasis on improved forecasting capabilities, cyber security, and millions of small customers with solar, storage and other resources in an integrated grid.

“The Report recognises Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap analysis, highlighting the potential to avoid $16 billion in future network spending by ‘orchestrating’ distributed energy resources.

“We also welcome the recommendations to remove arbitrary barriers to new gas supply development, with a focus on evidence-based environmental regulation.

“Australia can’t address electricity system security without removing arbitrary blockages to gas supply and ensuring gas markets are working effectively.”

Mr Bradley said Australian energy networks would provide every assistance to COAG Energy Council as it provides its implementation advice to COAG by August 2017.

The Victorian Government said that the Finkel Review provides a way forward for climate and energy policy at a national level.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “We’ve said all along that more renewable energy means lower prices and we’re glad that Dr Finkel agrees.

“Inaction is not an option. It is critical that we have an electricity grid and energy market institutions that are fit for purpose in our modern energy system.

“We welcome the Expert Panel’s Final Report and will take to time to consider its recommendations. It’s great to see actions already underway in Victoria getting the support they deserve.”

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