Energy ministers agree crisis action plan

·2-min read

KEY POINTS OF MINISTERS' COMMUNIQUE:

*Federal, state and territory energy ministers met on Wednesday and agreed on immediate actions to help settle and restore confidence in the energy market.

*Governments will continue working with industry executives to ensure sufficient gas and coal supply, including working with rail authorities for transport of fuel and with power station operators to get generation back online as quickly as possible.

*Ministers agreed Australia will require large amounts of clean generation, storage and transmission to combat the energy crisis and update the electricity grid.

*Officials will report back to ministers on renewable energy and storage projects across the nation to identify supply chain and cost issues, and opportunities for local manufacturing and minerals processing.

*Prioritise work on a "capacity mechanism" to quickly bring on more renewable energy sources and battery storage to support stability for the national energy market.

*New laws to expand gas and electricity contract market monitoring powers as an immediate priority, to ensure the Australian Energy Regulator has the information it needs.

*Electricity generators to be reminded of their obligations to the market operator to maintain up to-date information on availability of energy supply.

*Update on the east coast gas supply and demand situation, including any barriers to supply, will be provided to ministers by July, to guide further actions needed by the Commonwealth or states and territories.

*Review the Retailer of Last Resort scheme, which is designed to ensure customers continue to receive electricity and/or gas supply in the event of retailer failure.

*An urgent rule change to assist the market operator to manage peak day gas supply shortfalls by enabling them to better utilise storage.

*Ministers noted actions have already been taken by industry and market bodies, including invoking the Gas Supply Guarantee to increase gas flows from Queensland LNG producers to domestic markets.

*Energy ministers agreed governments must be ready to act to implement further measures, consistent with both domestic and international commitments.

*The ministers plan to meet face to face in July, for the first time since 2019, and may convene additional virtual meetings before then to approve reforms.

*The competition regulator will continue an ongoing inquiry into the national electricity market, and will report back next month.

*The energy regulator will provide initial views in July on bidding behaviour and the ability of generators to access gas and coal at reasonable prices.

*A broader package of east coast gas market proposals will be developed by July, including more effective use of storage and demand management, further transparency measures and a work agenda for the gas market.

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