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Reliability Fund only part of the energy security solution

Release Date: 30/10/2019
The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed today’s federal government announcement of a $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund but warned that more must be done to achieve energy security for industry in the region.
The fund will be used to support clean energy projects including energy storage, pumped hydro, grid stabilising technologies and transmission and distribution infrastructure, including eligible projects listed under the Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program.
Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the shortlisted projects in the UNGI program, which were spread across the country, would only generate just over half of the power currently produced by Vales Point, Liddell and Eraring power stations.
“Renewables have an important part to play in our future energy mix and further investment in supporting infrastructure is welcome, but there is still a significant gap in supply that needs to be addressed as our coal-fired power stations come to the end of their operating lives,” Mr Hawes said.
“Our manufacturing industries cannot operate viably without a reliable and affordable energy supply. As a country, we need to ask ourselves what level of industry we want to have in Australia into the future and whether the policy directions and project outcomes we are contemplating support those needs.
“If it fails, there are thousands of jobs in the balance regardless of the employment pick-up from whichever form of energy we choose to use to generate electricity.
“There is a lot at stake in the Hunter and the Chamber does not see evidence yet that our policymakers have the right formula to ensure our manufacturing industry and its jobs are protected or have sufficient certainty to continue investing.
“We support a shift to a lower-carbon future but this transition needs to be a reasonable and pragmatic one that does not drive our manufacturing industries offshore.”
The Hunter and NSW Business Chambers have called for a national policy on energy that addresses the energy trilemma of affordability, security of supply and Australia’s international commitment to emissions reduction targets.

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