Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader draft rule demonstrates need for more reliable generation

The Hon. Angus Taylor MP

Minister for Energy

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring affordable, 24/7 reliable energy for all Australian energy users.

The Government welcomes the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) draft determination to improve the transparency of the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) scheme.

The AEMC’s draft determination demonstrates the supply and demand pressure faced by the market, as we have seen across the National Electricity Market (NEM) in January.

The RERT, which provides the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) with the power to contract for additional reserves, is playing an essential role as the last resort in keeping the lights on. With the retirement of thermal generators – including Northern in South Australia and Hazelwood in Victoria – AEMO is relying more and more on its emergency powers to ensure there is enough supply to meet demand.

The AEMC’s draft rule proposes a number of changes to the existing mechanism which are designed to increase transparency, bring down costs for consumers and align the RERT with the Retailer Reliability Obligation, which is a priority for the Morrison Government.

Improving the RERT aligns with the Government’s priority to ensure there is enough reliable generation in the system. Alongside the Retailer Reliability Obligation, the Government is also pursuing a program to underwrite new reliable generation investment.

The conditions experienced in January in New South Wales, South Australia and particularly Victoria where 200,000 customers experienced blackouts, reinforce the need for more investment in reliable 24/7 generation.

The draft determination is open for public consultation until 21 March 2019, with the final determination due on 2 May 2019.

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