NEG negotiations yet to address key issues: ACT

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

Ahead of today’s Energy Council meeting, the ACT has again reiterated serious concerns about the 'National Energy Guarantee' (NEG) and called for serious changes to ensure a deal can be done.

“It would be irresponsible for states and territories to sign on to this deal as it currently stands. Significant changes will need to be made to make this policy work,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“We cannot afford to lock in poor outcomes for the climate, for renewable energy, for states and territories who are pursuing strong climate actions, and ultimately for electricity consumers.

“With some of the country’s most ambitious renewable energy targets - on track to deliver 100% renewable electricity by 2020, and zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest - and some of the country’s cheapest electricity, the nation’s climate action capital is proof positive that you can achieve real climate outcomes while saving consumers money.”

While the technical design of NEG mechanisms prepared by the ESB have an improved approach to accounting for emissions, there are serious deficiencies in the policy parameters proposed by the Commonwealth.

As yet unresolved concerns include: 

  • Locking in a weak target of 26% emission reduction in the electricity sector. A more ambitious emissions reduction target will improve outcomes for the climate, promote the construction of more renewable generation capacity and provide greater investor confidence and certainty.
  • A failure to recognise additionality. The Commonwealth proposes to use its weak emission target to undermine the work done by progressive states – such as the ACT – to reduce emissions and stimulate investment in renewable energy.
  • The likelihood of allowing carbon offsets. The proposal to allow retailers to use offsets to comply with emissions reduction obligations would further hold back the transition to renewable technologies and risks the integrity of emissions reductions by shifting them to overseas.

"This current generation has an environmental, economic and moral obligation to do our best to tackle the threats posed by climate change, and this policy in its current form does not deliver on those obligations," Mr Rattenbury added.