After a lengthy consultation process, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel has released his Blueprint for a World-Class Electricity System. The report hopes to optimise the National Electricity Market to both meet the needs of today and rise to the challenges of tomorrow.
“Our electricity system is entering an era where it must deal with changing priorities and evolving technologies. If the world around us is changing, we have to change with it. More of the same is not an option, we need to aim higher,” Dr Finkel said.
Professionals Australia welcomes the recommendations in the report, and hopes to see bipartisan support for an evidence-based approach to energy policy.
“We have long argued for energy policy based on the expertise of technical professionals, and this plan goes some way to achieving this”, said Mr Chris Walton, CEO of Professionals Australia.
“The next step forward is for our Nation’s key decision-makers to give Dr Finkel’s blueprint the gravitas it deserves, and for once actually action the recommendations.
“When you have the best and brightest scientists and engineers, supported by business leaders and the community, there should be nothing stopping this blueprint becoming a reality.” Said Mr Walton
The report made a number of recommendations that aim to deliver a secure energy supply as the nation transitions towards new technologies. In doing so, Dr Finkel has recommended a new Clean Energy Target, balanced by a transition period and new obligations on new and existing generators.
Existing large electricity generators will be required to give a three years’ notice of closure, while new generators will be required to guarantee supply of electricity when needed.
The report signals a new era for Australia’s energy supply, informed by a system-wide grid plan. This will support network investment decisions, ensure security is preserved in each region, and will include a list of potential priority projects.
The report also recommends the establishment of a new Energy Security Board to drive implementation of the blueprint and deliver an annual health check on the state of the electricity system.
Additionally, Dr Finkel recommended that the Australian Energy Market Operator update its Constitution by introducing a new skills matrix for directors to ensure an appropriate level professional power systems engineering or equivalent expertise.
“We are particularly pleased to see that the report recognises the need for engineering expertise at the decision-making table.
“The AEMO make decisions every day that affect the reliability of Australia’s power supply. It is vital that we have skilled engineers guiding these decisions to protect the security of our energy supply, now and into the future.” said Mr Walton.