Australia

PM accuses generators of ‘gaming’ energy crisis

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused power generators of “playing” the system and taking advantage of the ongoing crisis that is expected to be a hot topic at Friday’s national cabinet meeting.

The Australian Energy Market operator this week for the first time took control of directing supplies from power generators to the East Coast’s electricity grid until further notice.

It came after some generators were withdrawn from the market this week, after AEMO had limited soaring power prices. Then the operators were ordered to pump power to the network, and compensation for that.

Mr Albanese said discouragement was building up in the electricity market for generators.

“There was a bit of play going on in the system, which is why AEMO used its tools at its disposal to intervene, so we have these short-term issues,” he said.

He has already signaled that he will seek to rewrite the rules on how the energy market operates to prevent a repeat of this week’s brinksmanship when power generators were left on reserve while waiting for the compensation to be triggered.

Consumers are still being told to prepare for more challenges in the coming weeks, as AEMO intervention continues.

Mr Albanese said AEMO’s action would last as long as necessary, but collaboration between jurisdictions would be essential to reduce the impact of the power outage.

“States and territories, of course, all have a role to play,” he told Sky News on Friday.

“Gas will continue to play a role in the future as we transition, gas will be important in providing this security for the system.”

Meanwhile, after days of threatening blackouts in NSW, state Treasurer Matt Kean has granted emergency “precautionary” powers to ensure energy supplies in the state.

Risk of breakdowns, along with routine plant maintenance, have repeatedly forced NSW energy supplies this week. On Wednesday, Mr. Kean urged residents to reduce use, causing fears of shortages.

Queensland, ACT, Victoria and South Australia also faced blackout threats.

NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet confirmed on Friday that Mr Kean now had more power to intervene in the market to boost the state’s energy supply.

It is reported that the Perrottet government will be able to force coal companies to provide power and gas generators.

“These are steps that we have taken just as a precautionary approach,” Mr Perrottet said in Canberra ahead of Friday’s meeting of state and territory leaders and Mr Albanese.

“These are not new approaches, we’ve done that in the past and the advice we have at the moment is that … it can lead if it needs to.”

The latest advice to the NSW government is that the state’s power system is stable and supply conditions will improve by Friday. They are also stable forecasts for other states.

Asked about Canberra’s role in resolving the crisis, Mr Perrottet said each state faced energy challenges but the federal government should coordinate responses at the national level.

“The national cabinet certainly has a role to play,” he said.

Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan told the ABC the east coast should follow its state direction to introduce laws to force companies to maintain some reserves for domestic use.

WA introduced a mechanism in 2006 that required future gas projects to retain at least 15 percent of what was produced for local use.

Mr McGowan said similar laws would have prevented crises this week if they had been available on the East Coast.

Victoria also backed a domestic supply, with state energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio stressing this week’s crisis was not a supply issue.

“AEMO has advised that we continue to have sufficient energy reserves,” he said.

“It is disappointing the energy generators have potentially played into the system … this behavior is unacceptable and will be investigated.”

Pressure on the grid is expected to decrease from Friday and the weekend, as more units may return online.

Mr. Kean warned of another pinch point for NSW on Thursday, but he said he remained very optimistic. A major generator was due to go back online late on Thursday.

“Reserve conditions will be eased,” he said.

“At this stage, we are confident there is enough spare capacity in the system to ensure that we do not have to ask people to consider their options tonight.”

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen said AEMO’s decision to take control of the market was the best option for families.

-with AAP

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PM accuses generators of ‘gaming’ energy crisis Source link PM accuses generators of ‘gaming’ energy crisis

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