PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland government has welcomed public consultation on proposed reforms to the National Electricity Market, which will help shape the future of Queensland’s energy supply.
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the Energy Security Board’s (ESB's) suite of potential reform pathways provides an important opportunity for the state government to future-proof Queensland’s energy supply and workforce.
“We know Queensland is blessed with a reliable mix of renewables and more traditional forms of electricity generation which, combined with a robust publicly-owned distribution network, powers our communities, our industries and our neighbouring states,” De Brenni said.
“I am keen to hear what energy sector participants have to say on these important proposals, which will be considered by the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee in coming months.”
The ESB this week released a shortlist of options for the redesign of the National Energy Market, addressing the influx of renewables, and retirement of coal generation in some jurisdictions, which are pushing the existing energy system to its technical limits.
A final round of consultation will happen over the next few months prior to the ESB providing advice to the Energy National Cabinet Reform Committee by mid-2021.
ESB independent chairperson Dr Kerry Schott said it is impossible to overstate the scale and pace of change in Australia’s electricity sector, and that reforms are needed to address it.
“The rapid spread of large-scale wind and solar, along with rooftop PV, across Australia means our energy system is experiencing the fastest and most substantial change in the world,” Schott said.
“We are already exceeding the step change scenario forecast in the Integrated System Plan (ISP) in 2020. Our generation mix is changing fast, but the physics of our power system cannot change in the same way.
“We are preparing the advice Ministers need to enable the critical decisions needed for an affordable, reliable and secure electricity system that can ultimately operate at net zero emissions.”
De Benni noted that a critical element of the ESB paper is the reform of essential system services, which means that Queensland’s current thermal generators could be transformed to help stabilise intermittent renewable energy.
“This will keep the lights on during peak usage, while ensuring the ongoing livelihoods of generation workers and the communities in which they live.
“Queensland needs significantly more generation to meet our aspirations for growth of our manufacturing and resources sectors, and our publicly-owned assets will play a key role in Queensland’s future energy mix. There are no plans to decommission any of our generation assets in Queensland ahead of their time.”
De Brenni said owning major power assets provides the government with real options to shape the future look of the state’s grid as Queensland works to meet its 50% renewable energy target by 2030.
“This public ownership also gives us extra ability to provide the National Electricity Market with an ongoing supply of cheap and reliable power while supporting essential regional jobs,” he said.
“We’ve also committed to unlocking three Renewable Energy Zones and to build the associated transmission infrastructure to support investment and renewable development in North, Central and Southern Queensland.
“An affordable and reliable energy supply is crucial to a post-Covid economic recovery, and we’ll continue to be guided by the Energy Security Board in our future energy economy.”