Extract from an article by Mark Butler
his speech was delivered on Tuesday by Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler at the NEM Future Forum. The speech is entitled “First impressions of the NEG”.
This is a really useful opportunity after a pretty tumultuous fortnight in Canberra to outline some initial impressions, at least, about the National Energy Guarantee (the NEG) from the Opposition’s point of view.
I say initial because it is not easy to provide a detailed response to what at the moment is still just an eight page letter, with probably more questions being raised in those eight pages than answers.
The Energy Crisis
This has been a pretty challenging twelve months in energy policy.
The NEG is the third major iteration of energy policy presented at a national level to deal with what I think is now broadly recognised as a deep energy crisis confronting Australia.
Uniquely, this energy crisis is largely self-inflicted. It is not one of those crises that we experienced in decades past which were the result of an external shock.
Instead, this is largely the result of pretty profound policy failure across government levels, but especially at a national level.
The causes of the crisis are pretty familiar to people in this room so I’m not going to go into those.
Instead, what I am going to do is respond to the latest attempt by the Federal Government to put in place a framework that will at least provide some investor certainty to a system that is in profound transition.
The Shift to a NEG
The first thing to say about the NEG is that it was an incredibly rushed job.
Over the last week, we’ve had Senate Estimates that have been able to delve into the degree of prep work that was undertaken to give birth to this eight page letter.
It’s revealing to contrast the process leading up to the NEG, or what we have of the NEG so far, with the process that led to the previous two iterations of national energy policy presented; the first being the Emissions Intensity Scheme and, more recently, the Clean Energy Target.
The Emissions Intensity Scheme, as you would recall, was essentially a proposal from the Australian Energy Markets Commission (AEMC) in 2015, which was then subject to a whole range of different pieces of work.
As the Federal Labor Opposition, we picked it up and took it to the 2016 election.
As is well known, there was a lot of work done to model the Emissions Intensity Scheme according to different baselines, including our emissions reduction target of 45 per cent by 2030 and the Abbott/Turnbull emissions reduction of 26 per cent, leading into the COAG meeting that was scheduled for December 2016..(continues)
SOURCE: Mark Butler, “NEG: A rushed job that takes us backwards, not forwards”, Renew Economy, 02 Nov 2017
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