Newly-minted Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, has announced the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council will be held on August 19 in Canberra.
Minister Frydenberg says Australia’s energy sector is undergoing a major transition and the meeting will provide an opportunity to strengthen co-operation between various levels of government with view to ensuring the nation’s energy markets remain stable and secure.
Among the issues up for discussion will be transforming energy markets with view to seeing effective integration of renewables and battery storage.
Also to be raised is the increasingly thorny issue of gas prices and supply, and the promotion of gas market reform to ensure prices are competitive. As we mentioned recently, it appears Japan pays significantly less for Australian gas than we do here at home.
Another topic for discussion will be how to ensure energy investments are made in the long term interests of energy consumers.
The announcement of the meeting may have been triggered by recent massive spikes in the cost of wholesale electricity in South Australia, due in part to rapidly increasing gas prices.
“I look forward to working with my state and territory colleagues as we seek to put in place policies that provide for a lower emissions future while ensuring affordable, accessible and stable energy supply,” said Minister Frydenberg.
Previously Australia’s Energy and Resources Minister, Mr.Frydenberg was sworn in as Minister for the Environment and Energy on 19 July; taking over the Environment portfolio from Greg Hunt. Mr. Hunt had been in the role since September 2013.
While Minister Frydenberg appears to understand the growing economic contribution of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, he has also backed nuclear energy in the past and is a supporter of coal. Mr. Frydenberg has previously spoken of a “moral case for coal“.
The last meeting of the COAG Energy Council occurred in December last year. That gathering discussed issues similar to those being covered in the upcoming August meeting. The communiqué for the December meeting can be viewed here.
The Council was established by COAG in December 2013 as part of efforts to streamline and refocus the COAG council system.