Electricity generation and emissions reduction in Australia: we need a coherent policy to foster technology development and investment, Stephen Anthony for Energy Policy Institute of Australia, August 2021

The key points from a new Energy Policy Institute of Australia report from Macroeconomics Advisory’s Stephen Anthony are:

  • Science and public opinion is forcing governments around the world to commit to major reductions in emissions over the next several decades. This creates a problem for Australia: we lack a credible national policy for energy and lack a national technology-based energy plan to guide investment in electricity generation and emissions reduction.
  • Current policy settings can be summed up as a complicated way of trying to make solar and wind work and result in fragmented oversight and planning.
  • Much more attention needs to be paid to overall grid stability and the destablising impacts of asynchronous generation.
  • A blind preferential approach may not deliver for Australia. Indeed it may also lead to huge fail as it embraces massive uncertainty. Either way, we need to thoroughly examining all of our options.
  • Without a serious and properly analysed national policy based on technical realities as well as market needs, institutional investors will be reluctant to support the needed infrastructural investment.
  • Underpinning national policy must be fundamental economic analysis of all technologies.
  • A serious energy and emissions reduction policy should follow basic economic principles and use whatever technologies are best suited to solving the problem.
  • It would be possible for government to substantially reduce costs by leveraging the large holdings of funds held in institutions and unlocking a stream of appropriately priced equity and debt funding.
Stephen Anthony