National Energy Guarantee

Port Augusta solar power plant in South Australia

The federal government's National Energy Guarantee (NEG) policy, which was announced last year, was given provisional approval by state governments at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in April, subject to further negotiation on details, including the emissions targets. What does this mean for renewable energy and climate action, key issues affected by Australia's coal-dominated electricity grid?

Energy Security Board chairperson Kerry Schott told the 150 people attending a public forum on the National Energy Guarantee in Sydney on February 26 and the 500 or so linked through the live webinar: “We’re here to listen”.

But apparently not to the activists from the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN), who gate-crashed the event, calling for the proposed policy to be rejected because of its weak carbon reduction target and impact on renewable energy.

Seven years after he launched a ground-breaking study showing how Australia could re-power with 100% renewable energy by 2020, Malcolm Turnbull, now Prime Minister, has announced a “National Energy Guarantee” (NEG) policy that will have no renewable energy target.

Finally, the federal government has a policy for the electricity sector: the National Energy Guarantee. (NEG. Did it think this one through?)

It is, effectively, an emissions trading scheme applied to electricity. It is similar to other schemes — the Clean Energy Target (CET) and the Emissions Intensity Scheme (EIS) — supported by Labor.

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