Miners take aim at Finkel energy review

Katina Curtis

Mining bosses have taken a shot at the independent scientist reviewing the national electricity market following serious blackouts in South Australia.

The Minerals Council of Australia's submission to chief scientist Alan Finkel's review into the electricity market's future security is highly critical of his preliminary report, saying it ignores the true cost of an emissions intensity scheme, ignores the role of advanced coal power, and only pays lip-service to being technology neutral.

The council also repeatedly says Dr Finkel's early report, given to governments in December, is wrong to say consumer demand is driving the rising share of renewable energy.

It complains the review's proposals seem to be "structured ... primarily on the integration of renewables as an end itself".

"The independent review appears to accept price rises to this point as inevitable, yet fails to appreciate the very real impact this will have on Australia's international competitiveness over the next decade," the Minerals Council says.

It wants the blanket ban on nuclear power lifted and for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to be allowed to fund coal generation that includes carbon capture and storage.

The council says replacing Australia's existing coal plants with advanced ultra-supercritical technology would cut emissions up to 34 per cent.

The CEFC's guidelines say it can only finance projects that cut emissions by at least 50 per cent and it is explicitly banned in legislation from funding carbon capture and storage projects.

The miners also take aim at the Finkel panel's apparent preference for an emissions intensity scheme, for which other big businesses, including large energy generators, have spoken of favourably.