NEG needs more work, says ACT

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

The ACT has today declined to endorse the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) in principle, but has agreed to keep working on the scheme.

Speaking at today’s Energy COAG meeting, ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said that the “the ACT continues to push for an improved NEG that will genuinely help deliver a modern, sustainable, affordable, and reliable electricity system.

“We remain committed to getting the best deal for consumers, for the environment, and for renewable energy. The ACT remains at the table, alongside our jurisdictions, prosecuting our long-held concerns and possible ways forward.

“It remains to be seen whether the Commonwealth will negotiate with states and territories in the national interest. So far, the Commonwealth has mostly taken a ‘take it or leave it' approach, despite issues raised in good faith by states and territories and a wide range of stakeholders.

“We look forward to further negotiations with the Commonwealth, and other jurisdictions, after the NEG has gone to the Coalition party room and the draft Federal legislation has been released.

“We'd be doing everyone a disservice to accept a NEG that doesn’t genuinely address affordability, the climate challenge, or reliability. Until the concerns can be addressed, the Commonwealth stands in the way of real progress,” Mr Rattenbury said. 

Action in key areas will bring down costs for consumers

The ACT Cabinet recently agreed on several critical issues that need improvement in the current NEG proposal, including:

  • Emissions: The NEG’s 26% emission reduction target in the electricity sector is inadequate, will not meet Australia’s climate change targets, and will cause detrimental environmental and economic outcomes, including for electricity consumers. This target needs to be increased. The final design mechanism should not unreasonably lock in targets. The review of the target needs to be made more rigorous and occur earlier.
  • “Additionality”: The ACT Government and other jurisdictions must be able to have more ambitious renewable electricity and emissions targets, and these targets additional to the national emissions reduction target for the electricity sector, and this is confirmed by the draft NEL Amendment Bill.
  • Conflict with ACT scheme: The current NEG proposal interferes with the ACT’s 100% renewable electricity mechanism. These issues have not yet been resolved. They require further consideration, including legal advice.

Questions over energy savings – release the full modelling

“I have also sought the release of the full and detailed modelling on the NEG's apparent cost savings for peer review and to ensure transparency. Climate experts are not sure how these apparent cost savings have been reached, and we need to make sure the cost promises are right,“ Mr Rattenbury added.