14 Dec 2023

Media Release: Victorian energy policy disappears further down the rabbit hole

Victoria’s extension of its Gas Substitution Roadmap will load more demand on to the state’s fragile coal-based electricity system – risking blackouts and driving up energy prices for little climate benefit.

Australian Energy Producers Chief Executive Samantha McCulloch said Victoria continued to ignore the fundamentals of the energy system transformation to net zero – including the importance of gas as a partner to renewables in reliable electricity generation.

Ms McCulloch said extending a taxpayer-funded gas-to-electric appliance switching program to existing dwellings removed freedom of choice for consumers.

“Higher prices and a higher risk of blackouts for little climate benefit will be the result of ignoring the important role of natural gas,” she said.

“As the world last night recognised at the COP28 Summit the important role of natural gas in the energy transition, Victoria continues to undermine it and back coal-based electricity.

“Victoria’s energy policy continues to remove from consumers the right to choose.

“Meanwhile, the state ignores the urgent need for new local gas supply close to the state’s millions of households and business users to reduce emissions and put downward pressure on prices.

“Given Victoria generates over 60 per cent of electricity from coal, the focus should be on reducing emissions from electricity, through renewable generation and gas as an instant backup, before adding to power demand.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) have repeatedly warned of looming energy shortfalls in southern states.

In August, AEMO said Victoria needed “substantial volumes of gas” to avoid shortfalls in coming years and the fragility of its electricity system meant the state would fail to meet minimum reliability standards set by AEMO within a few years.

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