The worst pressures on the energy grid have passed, but significant strains remain, Energy Minister Chris Bowen said.
Mr Bowen said the regulator and market operator had worked to avoid any outages or the need for load shedding.
“We believe we are going through the worst pressures on the energy system, but the national energy market continues to operate under pressure,” he said Monday.
“Nevertheless, we are in a situation where more generation has come on board.”
Mr Bowen said the government would work with the Energy Security Board on the proposed capacity mechanism to ensure power reliability during the transition to renewables.
The council has recommended gas and coal-fired generators as a permanent part of the energy mix, while renewables and storage are gradually taking over from the national electricity grid. This could include paying generators for providing reliable power supply rather than just for the energy they produce.
It came as the consumer watchdog warned electricity prices in Australia soared up to five times higher in June, and another small supplier urged customers to find another retailer .
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said the watchdog is actively monitoring power companies to ensure they are not acting against the interests of consumers and withheld supply or set retail prices above the market safety net.
“The market is changing fast, so keep up to date with your plan and the prices you’re paying,” Cass-Gottlieb said.
“It may also be more difficult to find another plan at this time, as some retailers are not accepting new customers. Still, it is important to ensure that customers shop to ensure that they benefit from the best offer available to them.
In another development, retailer Electricityinabox has urged customers to go elsewhere. Chief executive Morgan Duncan said “only the lazy or the crazy would stick around” with his company, whose rates are set to jump 95% on July 1.
“We need you to switch electricity providers. The sooner you do this, the more likely you are to find a good deal,” he told customers in a letter.
“Other retailers bought energy a long time ago at a much lower cost and can still give you a good deal. The time and their spare capacity for customers may run out.
NSW-based Electricityinabox is just the latest of smaller retailers to urge customers to leave, after ReAmped followed suppliers LPE, Discover Energy and Weston in the same move nearly three weeks ago. Other small suppliers have stopped recruiting new customers.
make the transition
Supporting coal and gas companies by including them in a proposed capacity mechanism would not affect the country’s transition to renewable energy, said ESB Chair Anna Collyer.
Extending the life of coal and gas-fired power stations was not the council’s intention, she said.
“We have several principles, one of which is to ensure continued emission reductions,” she told the ABC.
“We want to make sure that can happen and part of that is bringing the new assets into the system and getting the right mix of assets.”
Mr Bowen said the capacity mechanism was consistent with the emissions reduction trajectory as it supported the development and transition to renewable energy.
“It will complement our emissions reduction target, not contradict it,” he said.
“It will provide that foundation [of power generators] so that we can ensure that the system remains reliable as we undertake this massive transformation. »
A separation of energy markets and capacity that has been used overseas could also be used before the mechanism evolves with changing circumstances in the future, according to the ESB chairman.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said all of the east coast states and territories that make up the national energy market have their own energy mix but will work towards renewables.
“The future is in renewables, whether it’s wind, solar or battery storage, especially when they’re scaled up and turned into synchronous baseload power,” he said.
“At the same time, however, I am the first to recognize the fact that coal and, to a lesser extent, gas right now and even…until 2025 are still part of our mix.”
Mr Andrews said that while coal and gas companies continued to seek help from the Victorian government, the sector could not be completely abandoned despite lagging economic viability.
“They can’t get funding for maintenance. However, we can’t have them running for the exits and leaving us without the baseline we need,” he said.
“But now is the time to stop talking about transition and move on.”
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said: ‘We have always been clear that a capacity market operating in Victoria would make payments for zero emissions technologies and not for fossil fuels’ .
NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean said his state needed to balance its investments in renewables for the future and keep existing energy infrastructure running to provide electricity.
“We have to make sure that we modernize our electrical system,” he said.
“That is why we are working with the energy companies, the Australian Energy Market Operator and with the Energy Security Board to ensure that we manage this transition responsibly from old equipment to new. “
The post-2025 capacity mechanism plan has been released for industry comment, with a July 25 submission deadline.
Energy ministers will meet on Friday to discuss the immediate energy crisis.