Electricity Roadmap offers opportunity and stability
The Hunter Business Chamber says the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap package released today by the NSW Government provides a pathway to a lower carbon economy that promises to stabilise the volatile energy market and increase opportunities in production of renewables.
The Roadmap, announced by Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean, will incentivise the replacement of all coal-fired power stations with renewable energy by 2042 in a move designed to provide investors with certainty and keep electricity prices low.
“We are pleased to see that the Government is proactively planning a pathway to a new energy future that both addresses environmental imperatives and also acknowledges the need for outcomes that ensure energy affordability and reliability,” Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.
“It is a complex document and the Chamber, along with Business NSW, will take some time to analyse the Roadmap in consultation with our members, but we welcome the intentions of the package and note it appears to have support across the political spectrum.”
Mr Hawes said the Roadmap had the potential to deliver industry and employment benefits to the Hunter region, despite the region not being identified as a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
“The Hunter region is well-placed in terms of our existing generation and distribution networks, access to the grid, skilled workforce and also our global gateways, given the probable import and export activity industry growth will generate,” Mr Hawes said.
“It is encouraging that the Roadmap identifies and includes needs for industry, including proposing cross-subsidisation of energy-intensive industries to deter them from relocating overseas or interstate.”
Mr Hawes said the focus on competitive tendering and auctions was an innovative approach designed to keep downward pressure on prices.
The effectiveness of the proposals will depend on the role and decisions of the ‘Consumer Trustee’ – an agency to be established that will set the rules for energy procurement and be charged with finding the right balance of cost, reliability and sustainability,” Mr Hawes said.
“The Trustee will also give industry stakeholders and consumers access to independent decision-making which, given the politically charged journey of energy policy over the past 10 years, will make a refreshing change.
“Of great significance will be the impact the package has on regional NSW, where the bulk of the new investment and jobs will be located.
“It will be a significant achievement if the proposals deliver on promises to lower energy bills for business users.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the major concerns for business owners as reported in our regular Business Conditions Survey were the rising costs of energy prices, as well as the reliability of supply.”