NSW energy minister to renewables opponents: "enjoy your Kodak moment" | RenewEconomy

NSW energy minister to renewables opponents: “enjoy your Kodak moment”

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NSW energy minister Matt Kean says “we cannot allow ideology and politics to get in the way of our clear path” to renewables and economic prosperity.

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NSW energy minister Matt Kean believes it would be “negligent” to miss the economic opportunities that would be created through embracing renewable energy, telling those with vested interests in the fossil fuel sector to get ready to “enjoy their Kodak moment.”

Speaking at the National Smart Energy Summit in Sydney, Kean compared those who have chosen to oppose the transition to renewable energy and defend investments in the fossil fuel sector to that of Kodak, the film photography company that infamously end in bankruptcy, after it failed to prepare for the emergence of digital cameras.

“We cannot allow ideology and politics to get in the way of our clear path to economic prosperity, let alone the health of our planet to future generations of Australians,” Kean said.

“To those with vested interest and ideologues, that want to stand in the way of this transition. I say, enjoy your Kodak moment, because the energy iPhone is on its way.”

Kean told the conference that many economic sectors, including manufacturing, are set to be transformed by the emergence of low-cost renewable energy and that it was crucial that NSW seizes this opportunity.

“Taking action to reduce our emissions today is not about a cost that we’re morally obliged to pay. It’s about taking an economic opportunity that we would be negligent to miss,” Kean said.

“We are already seeing mums and dads across the country installing solar panels on their roofs, not because it’s good for the environment, which it is, but because it saves money on their bills.”

“It makes economic sense, but the opportunities that renewables provides households extends to every part of our economy, in how we fuel our cars, in how we manufacture steel. In how we produce cement, in how we power our ships that are the basis of trade all around the world. All of that’s going to change because renewables offer nearly no-cost energy,” Kean added.

Last month, the NSW government unveiled a new strategy for the electricity sector in the state, which included plans to establish Australia’s first coordinated renewable energy zone in central NSW and an expanded energy security target to drive investment in energy efficiency measures.

NSW plans to establish a 3,000MW renewable energy zone centred around Dubbo in the state’s central-west region, ensuring that the necessary enabling infrastructure including transmissions network infrastructure is built.

Kean told the summit that there is a huge natural advantage for Australia in the shift to renewable energy, particularly due to a natural abundance of solar resources. Kean pointed to the strong commitments to renewables being made by European countries that do not enjoy such ready access to solar.

“The north of the Netherlands has been a major producer of gas for Europe, but recently they have decided to stop gas production because of the earthquakes associated with extraction. They have decided to use their activities and the transition and use their expertise and transition to hydro.”

“They intend to build more than 100 gigawatts of renewables over the next two decades to help them get there. We are far better placed than the Netherlands to be an energy superpower. We have the land, the wind, the solar, as well as the supply lines, expertise and infrastructure,” Kean added.

On Monday, the Australian Energy Market Commission released projections that showed NSW electricity prices falling by as much as 8.3% by 2021/22, driven primarily by increased uptake of renewables, including almost 1,200MW of large-scale solar.

Kean said he hopes the NSW’s electricity strategy will be able to deliver further savings for energy users, as well as supporting investment and jobs creation in the state.

“It’s a roadmap of how the government will work with the private sector, energy market institutions, households and businesses to secure a sustainable electricity future for our state here in New South Wales,” Kean told the summit.

“It will drive over $8 billion in private sector investment and support over 1,200 new jobs, mostly in rural and regional New South Wales.”

“It will also have the added benefit of driving down household electricity bills by on average $40 per annum.”

The NSW energy minister has worked to push an ambitious transition to renewable energy technologies, particularly in light of the looming closure of the Liddell power station in the Hunter region.

The NSW Liberal government initially sought to set itself apart of from the policies of its federal counterparts but has also been able to benefit from a shift by federal energy minister Angus Taylor to deal with State governments on a one-on-one basis, rather than trying to coordinate actions through the COAG energy council.

In October, the federal government announced that it would provide financial backing to parts of NSW’s transmission infrastructure plans, including the establishment of a new network interconnector between NSW and Queensland.

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10 Comments
  1. Peter Farley 7 months ago

    Since July 1 the NEM has averaged 25.1% renewables. In the fourth quarter next year it will be 30%, just allowing for the ongoing installations of rooftop solar and commissioning of large scale plants already under construction. Once Russian gas starts flowing to China it is quite possible that Australian coal and gas exports will fall, depressing demand in Queensland so it is quite likely that by the time Liddell closes we will be at 40% renewables

    • Malcolm McCaskill 7 months ago

      Are you expecting that the new gas pipeline will cause a decrease in Australian coal and gas production, which will require less grid electricity for their production? Would this not be offset by lower prices for these commodities, which will make them more cost-competitive with renewables? Perhaps Australia’s gas cartel, and the 20% annual decline rate for Bass Strait gass, will make sure we don’t get lower gas prices.

  2. juxx0r 7 months ago

    Well Matt, write 10GW of CFDs and work out a plan for getting some storage happening. Time is a wasting.

  3. Chris Jones 7 months ago

    The Netherlands are turning to Hydro eh?

  4. MrMauricio 7 months ago

    There is also your Nokia moment,your Blockbuster video moment,your Xerox moment.Industry is replete with incumbents who didnt see or anticipate the speed of challenging technologies.Just as Kodak invented digital photography, Esso invented L-Ion batteries before it turned to the dark side-funding denial and sowing doubt.Now how delicious would that comeuppance be??

  5. Joe 7 months ago

    Hang on a second. Is this the same Matty Kean that spoke only a month ago to say that coal is here to stay for decades? The Kean, speaking with a different message depending upon the audience in front of him. Don’t trust a word he says.

  6. Ian 7 months ago

    Not so sure about the Kodak moment for NSW it’s more like a realisation that the car ignition and the light switch are both linked to drought, extraordinary summer heat and horrendous fires.

    People are starting to realise that using FF to provide power for their lifestyles is just plain wrong. We just can’t be ruining our climate when there are such viable alternatives. How many motorists feel guilty every time they start their cars? Or put on the kettle?

  7. Alan Wilson 7 months ago

    Lets see if they do something … l doubt it l think they will do as little as possible and do a lot of talking while NSW burns and the country towns run out of water to drink …

  8. Glynn Palmer 7 months ago

    Well that speech by the NSW LNP energy minister, combined with the South Australia LNP pro renewables government is indicating that the Federal LNP is becoming the “last man standing” in its protection of coal generation.

    As a Queenslander I have not heard any encouraging statements from the LNP opposition to feel confident that, if they win government in 2020 they will support the 50% renewables target.

    The NSW minister’s speech is contrary to the Federal Environment Department’s 2030 forecast for NSW to be the laggard in renewable generation share with 40% projected for 2030.

  9. solarguy 7 months ago

    Enjoy your Kodak moment, love it Matt. But I wonder, like the black knight will they still be fighting for coal once the industry has collapsed. LOL!

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