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No ‘bipartisan climate and energy policy’ will keep power prices high

The Australian Energy Council says power prices won’t come down, or even stabilise, until the government decides on a bipartisan energy and climate policy.

The new Energy Minister Angus Taylor has been given one directive by Prime Minister Scott Morrison: bring energy prices down.

Today, Minister Taylor told Alan Jones he “will allow nothing to get between me and bringing down prices”.

But the CEO of the Australian Energy Council Sarah McNamara tells Ross Greenwood without a bipartisan climate and energy policy, that simply won’t be happening.

“What a national climate and energy policy will do is address what they call the trilemma of affordability, of reliability, and of emissions reduction expectations.

“We’re going to need that policy so we can have the kind of investment in the wholesale market we need to stabilise prices.”

Ms McNamara says we’ve seen 5,000 megawatts of baseload generation close in the market since 2012 because we “haven’t got the investment signals right”.

“That comes back, again, to the lack of policy clarity at a national level.

“That’s why we were so supportive of the National Energy Guarantee, that’s why we’re going to keep calling for a bipartisan climate and energy framework.

“Because that’s the only way we’re going to get prices down for Australian consumers and businesses.”

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When it comes to whether a royal commission into the energy sector is needed, Ms McNamara says there’s been “no case made” for one.

“It’s not clear what taxpayers would learn from a royal commission that we haven’t learned already from the many and various reviews into this market.”