THE severe storm that left South Australia in the dark a fortnight ago has become the catalyst for an independent review into Australia’s energy security.

Following an urgent COAG meeting of energy ministers last Friday, federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg announced the review to ‘develop a national electricity blueprint to ensure Australia’s energy security as we transition to a lower emission future’ (click here for the terms of reference.

Chaired by Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel AO, the independent panel will devise a plan to ensure future energy security, affordability and sustainability as more renewable energy comes into the electricity system, and more coal-fired power stations close.

“The idea is to prepare a blueprint for Australia to meet not only its climate change goals but also to ensure primarily the energy security, sustainability and affordability of the system,” Mr Frydenberg said after COAG.

The preliminary report is expected to be prepared in time for the COAL Leaders’ Meeting in December with a final report early in the New Year.

Ongoing debate on targets

Given Australia has inconsistent national and domestic renewable energy targets, AMMA principal adviser – industry and economic policy, Tristan Menalda expects significant ongoing debate around harmonised renewable targets and whether current ‘aggressive’ targets were set without proper consideration of energy security and reliability.

“AMMA welcomes this independent review led by Dr Finkel,” Mr Menalda said.

“As the outcome of the review will have a potentially significant impact on resource companies, both as key producers and users of energy, AMMA looks forward to consulting with the panel on the implications for industry and the wider Australian community.”

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COAG Energy Council Ministers were also provided a preliminary report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) on the ‘black system’ event in South Australia. The report concluded that extreme weather led to the interconnector overloading.

AMMA will keep members informed on developments with the independent review to develop a national energy security blueprint. Please contact Tristan Menalda at [email protected] or (03) 9614 4777 for further information or feedback.