The Federal Government wants to buy a larger share of the Snowy Hydro scheme to bolster its renewable energy stores. The announcement was part of the 2017 Federal Budget handed down last night.
Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the budget’s $265 million energy package will ensure Australia maintains a secure, reliable and competitive energy system.
“The nation’s energy system is undergoing its greatest transition since electricity became widely available in Australia,” he said.
“The measures in this package will set Australia up for a modern and dynamic energy system, allowing us to keep pace with changing energy technologies, as we transition to a lower emissions future.”
Federal Budget Solar energy & hydro power get nod
The Commonwealth has indicated to the New South Wales and Victorian State Governments that it is open to buying a larger share or outright ownership of Snowy Hydro.
The motive? To accelerate the expansion of the scheme as a ‘battery storage’ of renewable energy.
The Federal Budget solar energy news was that the Turnbull Government has also committed up to $110 million to build a solar thermal plant at Port Augusta in South Australia.
The move is seen as a reaction to last year’s embarrassing state-wide blackouts.
The budget separately provides up to $36.6 million over two years to target investment in energy infrastructure in South Australia under a bilateral Asset Recycling agreement.
Further hydro-electricity and pumped storage opportunities in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland.
“By learning more from consumers, exploring innovative options to expand existing renewable energy sources and unlocking new energy supplies, the Government is building the future energy market,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Praise for ARENA and Clean Energy Finance Corporation
Mr Frydenberg said commercial and residential consumers already benefit from smarter, lower emissions technologies.
The Australian Energy Regulator will receive an additional $7.95 million to scrutinize energy providers to ensure they are serving consumers’ needs.
He also praised ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for their input.
The budget includes $28.7 million over four years to encourage the responsible development of onshore gas for the domestic market.
Longer-term changes to the energy market are being considered in the context of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.