In what could be one of the pivotal moments in the current energy debate, the Australian Energy Market Operator will on Monday deliver a report commissioned by the government on the country’s needs for “baseload and dispatchable” generation.
What that says, and why, is likely to have a deep impact on the frame of Australia’s political debate, and its policy choices – particularly in the framing of a new clean energy target.
The suggestion is that the government may look to extend the life of current coal generators, although there is always the possibility they might confect a scenario for new plant.
Bruce Mountain, from Carbon and Energy Economics, joins regular Energy Insiders Giles Parkinson and David Leitch to discuss this and the other big issues of the week.
In particular, we look at the second Turnbull summit on energy prices with the heads of the big retailers, and why it completely missed the point.
Mountain, whose work has analysed the extraordinary rises in consumer prices over recent years – including network, generation and retail costs – also makes a telling observation about South Australia.
That state, he notes, has the highest retail prices in the world, a fact embraced by renewable energy critics as proof of the failure of wind and solar.
But Mountain says it has nothing at all to do with wind and solar, but by the ability of a small cabal of generators to price energy as they like.
That analysis is supported by our new story on how the big energy players caused market prices to jump by controlling supply.
Every time the market operator needed a certain amount of capacity to keep the grid stable, the big energy users provided one megawatt shy of their needs – forcing prices to soar for that last megawatt.
The key, emphasis Leitch, is more competition. That means more renewable energy, and not more coal or gas.
We hope you enjoy this podcast, and our now Solar Insiders podcast, which focuses on the solar industry.
We’d also like to welcome our new co-sponsor Wattwatchers, who join today, and our foundation sponsor, Solaray Energy, for their continued support.
If you like our podcast, please take the time to leave a review on iTunes! This will help us spread the word.
To listen to past episodes of Energy Insiders as well as our new podcast Solar Insiders, please click here.