This year has been one of the most volatile in Australia’s energy history.
It has been punctuated by some of the highest electricity prices in the world, a future gas shortage, power station closures, fears of a repeat of South Australia’s total state blackout, and a half-built energy policy as a breakwater against an under strain power grid’s failure.
The National Electricity Market – a series of interconnecting energy assets that powers the east coast – is undergoing an enormous transformation, as more renewable energy comes in and older coal-fired generation is shut down.
While the NEM was pushed to its limits in February, when a heatwave hit the coast and stressed out the entire system, AGL’s announcement that it would close the NSW Liddell coal-fired power plant was the straw that broke the camel’s back and made the Turnbull government realise a change was needed immediately. It came after more than a decade of inaction at the federal level from successive governments.