No guarantee for renewable energy industry in NEG

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The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has released a new position paper on the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) and its ability to deliver the confidence required for new investment in clean energy.

According to the CEC, the industry remains open-minded and prepared to engage constructively on the NEG, but new analysis suggests that investment in new renewable energy could hit a wall after the Renewable Energy Target (RET) stops encouraging new large-scale projects in 2020.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said more renewable energy is under construction in 2017 than what the NEG is expected to deliver over the entire next decade.

“The information currently available suggests that between 250 to 670MW of large-scale renewable projects will be deployed per annum throughout 2020-2030,” Mr Thornton said.

“Compare that to the 4300MW of projects currently committed or under construction and you can probably understand why the industry has some serious concerns.

“If the emissions abatement under the scheme is pushed out closer to 2030 as some have suggested, this would make the prospects for renewable energy bleak early in the decade.”

The analysis is based on preliminary information released by the Energy Security Board, and the renewable energy industry is keen to see more detail on the policy.

Currently the focus for the industry is on understanding the risks and benefits of the NEG, and informing the design of the core policy architecture.

The CEC said a national energy policy needs to drive investment in new renewable energy and the lower power prices that all Australians want, but a range of key design questions remain.

It said there is a current lack of guarantee for investors on either an appropriate price signals or long-term confidence, with investors unlikely to outlay the new investment which would place downward pressure on power prices.

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