Call for focus on long-term carbon neutrality at COAG Energy Meeting

Thursday 6 October 2016

ANU Energy Change Institute Director, Professor Ken Baldwin, has called for a big-picture approach to the COAG Energy Ministers meeting tomorrow which will consider the national implications of the recent electricity events in South Australia.

Ahead of this meeting the South Australian Government today convened a discussion on key goals to ensure that the national electricity system transitions to a carbon-neutral future, while at the same time achieving the objectives of secure and affordable supply.  

“These discussions were informed by the lessons learnt from the recent blackout in South Australia, which has been shown not to have been caused by the high level of renewable energy in that State, but by an extreme weather event – more of which can be expected as a result of climate change,” Professor Baldwin said.

“It is a myth that the high level of renewable energy in the state caused the blackout – the system would have crashed regardless of how the electricity was generated. 

"The nation needs to focus on the long-term endgame of carbon neutrality by 2050,” he said.  

“When this is drilled down, it requires the implementation of three key reforms:

  • Inclusion of a climate and environmental mission in the National Electricity Objectives, 
  • the adoption of a carbon pricing mechanism to drive carbon reduction across the entire electricity sector and the entire economy, and 
  • a complete overhaul of the National Electricity Market to harness new and potentially disruptive technologies before the NEM regulations are overwhelmed by technological change.


“The outcome of the COAG meeting will be monitored closely to see whether the Federal Government can provide the leadership needed to end years of Government policy uncertainty in the energy sector.

“By merging the Federal Departments of Environment with Energy under Minister Frydenberg, the Government has a unique opportunity to address our international climate objectives through energy policy,” Professor Baldwin said.

The ANU Energy Change Institute will - jointly with Engineers Australia – be holding an invitation only Energy Security summit organised months ahead of the recent events in South Australia.  The summit will examine the security of the electricity system, as well as security of fuel supply chains, in a forum to be held in Canberra on Thursday 13th October.  

Updated:  24 August 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director, Energy Change Institute/Page Contact:  Webmaster