NSW Coalition for Conservation
NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean has doubled down on his commitment to ramp up decarbonisation of the electricity grid and the wider economy, saying a NSW energy policy will address the issues of reliability and affordability of energy supply.
“This is not effortless and requires careful policy design, system planning, the creation of clear signals for efficient investment, the right combination of engineering and economics, coupled with healthy dose of pragmatism and common sense,” he declared at last week’s meeting of the Coalition for Conservation (C4C).
The C4C initiative is designed to lay the groundwork for the bipartisan support for action on climate change to fill the void in Australian politics which currently stands at a crossroads on climate change.
The Smart Energy Council welcomes C4C as a breath of fresh air.
Minister Kean declared “Where NSW goes, so too does the nation. We’re going to set a decisive and strong plan which we’re happy to lead on. If they don’t want to lead, then I’m prepared to step up and take charge. I think we can do the right thing and I think we can encourage other states and the commonwealth to follow our lead. I don’t intend to sit on my hands and leave this task to people who want to ignore it.”
The meeting room was packed with influential policy drivers and energy experts.
Addressing the C4C forum at NSW Parliament John Grimes of the Smart Energy Council welcomed the Minister’s promise, stating: “What we must do is make you so successful politically that nobody else would choose doing anything else.
“This is the most critical thing that we need to solve as a nation; we need to stop this conversation and we need to reward those who stand up and lead, and we need to back them in a real way, so you’ve got the Smart Energy Council on board.”
Environmental scientist and explorer Tim Jarvis AM emphasised that Australians are using three times per capita the available amount of resources on Earth.
There is consensus on the science behind climate change and urgent action is needed to combat the growing economic and environmental risks we face, he said.
Earlier this year the NSW Energy Minister commented on the successive failure of federal governments to deliver a national climate and energy policy, saying “the era of ideological indulgences" cannot continue.
“We need a national framework that properly integrates climate and energy policy … [and] the NSW government will continue to support a national mechanism that integrates climate and energy policy, which provides business with the freedom to innovate."
He urges "new politics" on energy and climate policy based on pragmatism and evidence, declaring: "No responsible leader can accept the contribution made by science but then ignore the risk posed by climate change.”
"Today, the most economic form of reliable generation is firmed renewables and that is driving the biggest change in our electricity system’s history.”
In a related move the NSW Berejiklian government is pledging $1 billion to increase interstate grid connections to reduce risks to electricity supplies following the 2023 closure of the Liddell coal-fired power plant.
The project involves a new connector between NSW and South Australia and an additional link to Victoria.
If approved, the Transgrid project will add 800 kilometres of transmission lines and create 800 regional jobs during the construction.