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Frydenberg says Zibelman “doing really great job” at AEMO

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Energy minister Josh Frydenberg has declared his full support for new Australian Energy Market Operator chief Audrey Zibelman, who is expected to play a leading role in Australia’s energy transition, but who has started to come under attack from coal-defending conservative commentators.

Audrey Zibelman 2.2

Zibelman’s role in Australia’s energy market is going to be critical, and she has already pushed hard on key measures such as demand management, and rejected suggestions that the business models of the past will be fit for purpose in the future.

Zibelman and AEMO will also play a crucial  role in the Finkel Review recommendations, particularly about the role of storage and firming capacity, and the redesign of markets to incorporate and encourage more renewables.

predictably, however, her vision has ruffled the feathers of conservatives. Last week, in a two-pronged attack, broadcaster Alan Jones labelled her a “global warming hoax alarmist” and suggested Zibelman be “run out of town”, while Alan Moran described her a “refugee” from Hilary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign.

Frydenberg – who himself has been targeted by Jones & Co. for not being conservative enough (Jones labeled him the “minister for blackouts”) – on Tuesday defended Zibelman.

“Audrey Zibelman is doing a really good job – even though she is not Alan Jones’ favourite – she is doing a really good job as the new head of AEMO,” Frydenberg said in an on-stage “chat” with media personality Annabel Crabb at the dinner function of the Clean Energy Summit.

The industry will be reassured by Frydenberg’s support, given that Zibelman is seen as a critical change agent for the transition of Australia’s energy market.

Her focus on demand-side technologies – such as efficiency, demand management and energy storage – rather than the traditional response of building new plants and new networks, has won widespread applause.

Frydenberg said that the transition was devilishly complex, and used Zibelman’s description of it being like a Rubik’s Cube. “You can’t twist one bit without impacting on another.”

Frydenberg conceded that since he took over the merged portfolios of energy and environment “my views have changed enormously” and he had been “struck by the innovation” of new technology and “how things are changing” so quickly.

“These technology breakthroughs and falls in market prices are really what is going to determine how the market sets itself up into the future

“I have been amazed, encouraged, excited by the level of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

However, he did concede that the interest in new coal generation was based in the fact that Australia was a major coal exporter.

In a nod to the Coalition’s ability to push through policy initiatives by defining them in three word slogans – “axe the tax”, “stop the boats”, and “Give a Gonski” – Crabb suggested that maybe Frydenberg could coin a term like “Fancy a Finkel.”

Frydenberg did not bite. “You won’t please anyone all the time …. it’s a really wicked problem,” he said. “There are a lot of raw nerves around this issue.”  

  • trackdaze

    Does Mr Jones have dual citizenship? If only

    • john

      The said parrot has as much substance as that light drop of mist that fell last night on the lawn.
      A possibly more deplorable exponent of knowledge it would be hard to find

      • MaxG

        It is like “who voted for the clowns in power”… millions are listening to his rants. So while being like a drop of mist, he certainly has clout.

    • John Burnett

      He does Australia and the Society Of The Flat Earther’s.

      • MaxG

        Mind you flat earther’s have been around since ancient Greece… and they are still not convinced we live on a planet… sounds like the duopoly of parties to me.

  • john

    Frydenberg is between a rock and a hard right place, he has obviously been able to read the information that has been presented to him and has come to the understanding that the “hard right position” is untenable.
    Just how to change the mindset of his colleagues is going to be an impossible mission.
    Just remember that two leaders of federal parliament have lost their jobs due to the issue of energy and the other aspects of it.
    As to how he deals with the outcomes is going to be fraught with difficulty as there is a large push to build a coal generator in north Queensland, because those who are pushing it have the idea that this will deliver cheaper power.
    He has to try and point out that in fact that proposal will not survive in today’s market let alone as more Renewable Energy producers come into the market.
    It was after all only a few months ago he was castigated by the South Australian Premier about his attitude toward Renewable Energy.
    We live in interesting time indeed.

    • Alastair Leith

      His personal ambition put him exactly where fate finds him. His lying has been on him and him alone. Nobody can force him to lie for a living.

    • JeffJL

      No effin’ sympathy from me. As Alastair points out, he chose his bed.

  • George Darroch

    “my views have changed enormously”

    Good work Frydenberg. While we’d like a lot more from him, at least he’s not a dinosaur.

    • Tom

      I don’t trust him. He’s told far too many destructive lies, and Jay Weatherill is still my hero for humiliating him.

      PS – my surname is not Koutsantonis, but I wouldn’t be ashamed if it was.

      • John Burnett

        Frydengerg is now known as “Captain Blackout”.

    • MaxG

      Sounds like my neighbour who said it is a good thing that Turncoat is in (after Abbott). Really??? Yes, he actually believed that. Which demonstrates how little the public knows about party politics and what agenda they are actually driving.

  • John Burnett

    Why do people listen to idiots like Jones and Moron. These so-called journalists or poor excuse for constantly get it wrong. These nasty vile people who believe in free speech (and abuse it too) and believe only they can wield. These hypocrites go out into the never never to find some odscure fool nobody has ever heard of to back up their mostly silly ideas. Their “I reject reality and substute my own” journalism should be baned and they should be banished from our country never to harm it again.

    • MaxG

      Keep on dreaming :))
      You know for merely being present at a murder, you become an accessory. Well, you would need to extend that by saying: who listens and votes for them becomes an accessory. There are heaps of them… I always ask: who voted them in???

    • Joe

      Please do not give journalists a bad name by associating the Jones with our journalistic friends. Jones is no journo and never will be. He plays to a mostly small audience but the wider mass media give him National billing. Why is Jones’ hate and bile promoted like it is? He publicly bullies and threatens female leaders – Julia G, Gladys B and Audrey Z – and gets away with it every time. Why aren’t the Police called in? If Joe average ( ha, ha ) said those things we’d be down at the local cop shop for a little interview….”assisting Police with their enquiries”

  • Alastair Leith

    “lots of raw nerves around the issue…” geez I wonder if that has anything to do with a corrupt bunch of MPs in Australia who are in ideological denial about the greatest existential threat to civilisation, mainly because of their inability to think rationally, blocking all progress on matters energy and climate in this country. And that these same corrupt buffoons are getting shown up by the terrific technological progress renewables and storage are making globally in spite of the fossil fuel mafia waging a culture war in English speaking countries for the last two decades.

    Good that Frydenberg can say some nice things about renewables every now and then, shame his decision making seems to be straight out of central casting for climate joker.