Renewable Power Anger at New Australian Authorities on Reliability Dedication for Bodily Retailers – Glad?
Guest contribution by Eric Worrall
Subsidies For All – The Australian federal government is pushing for electricity traders to be held accountable for continuity of supply, which will likely force them to pay for fossil fuel generators to hold reserve capacity to fill gaps in renewable energy supplies.
States reject subsidies for coal and gas power plants
From political reporter Melissa Clarke
Posted on Thu, Aug 26th 2021 at 6:27 pm
- The government wants to introduce a system whereby energy traders have to pay for free energy capacity when needed
- Energy Secretary Angus Taylor wants to include coal and gas generators
- Renewable energy companies are lobbying against the plan
Federal Minister for Energy and Emission Control, Angus Taylor, is campaigning for state and territorial support for his plan to get electricity traders to pay for coal and gas-fired power plants to continue operating.
With a Physical Retailer Reliability Obligation (PRRO), the federal government wants to ensure that enough energy is available in the national electricity market (NEM) at all times to close gaps when wind and solar power cannot meet demand.
The PRRO would require energy retailers to pay for spare energy capacity if needed.
This reserve capacity could come from renewable resources like batteries, pumped storage power plants and demand management, but the federal government wants it to include unused capacity in coal and gas power plants as well.
That could result in energy traders giving money to coal-fired power plants and extending their use through the system if their existing spare capacity is cheaper than developing new storage options.
Energy security under threat – Australia “only has months” to fix major problems on the electricity market, according to a controversial assessment of the state of the energy sector.
While the Commonwealth is aggressively promoting it, states and territories have yet to be convinced as the program could undermine investments in renewable alternatives.
Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-26/states-push-back-angus-taylor-subventiones-coal-gas-power-plants/100410770
What can I say – as an Aussie, I don’t have a big generator downstairs for nothing.
In my opinion, Australian electricity providers have long since given up on the idea that it is their job to maintain grid stability and so there has been a rush for the exit door and outdated coal and gas generator operators have welcomed the new age of renewable energy.
The federal government has belatedly realized that the only people blamed for the inevitable power outages and grid instability are the politicians who have caused this chaos if they do nothing.
I doubt this last minute outbreak of near sanity will save the day. Coal and gas power plant operators still have no motivation to invest in proper maintenance or to build new power plants. As a result, Australia’s obsolete fossil fuel generators are likely to quickly become almost as decrepit and unreliable as the renewable energy systems they are designed to replace.
And squeezed in somewhere in this circus will be the energy traders, now forced to buy expensive, unreliable electricity from renewable power plant operators when it is available, while also being forced to pay the owners of the ailing coal and gas-fired power plants that supposedly ready to step in if renewable energies fail. As part of the new reliability obligation, energy traders are also likely to pay heavy fines to the Australian federal government if everything inevitably falls into a heap.
There is no doubt that energy retailers will soon be demanding their own subsidies in order to continue operating in such a hostile regulatory environment.