The Australian Energy Market Operator’s 2016 ‘electricity statement’, released today, confirms the importance of a well-managed transition to cleaner energy in Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

AEMO’s statement emphasises the “growing importance of network and non-network developments to securely manage an evolving, lower carbon electricity generation future”.

A similar conclusion is drawn in a new research report by the Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI), commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, that examines the reasons behind the recent spikes in electricity prices in South Australia.

The MEI report notes that coordinated planning during the transition period will help avoid the disruption of energy supplies.

“The closure of coal-fired power plants is inevitable, absolutely necessarily and a number of plants are already past their use by dates,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“Coal is an energy source of past centuries – it is polluting our atmosphere, damaging human health and bleaching the Great Barrier Reef – so the transition to clean energy is absolutely necessarily and urgent.

“The AEMO statement and the Melbourne Energy Institute research both show the need for the federal government to manage the transition carefully.

“Australia can close coal-fired power stations in an orderly way, build renewables with storage to power a clean economy and help affected communities through the transition.

“We currently have an excess of capacity, so one or two big coal plants can close without affecting supply. We need to replace them with renewable energy with storage.

“The federal government needs to manage this transition in the interests of all Australians, not just the big electricity generators,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

Read Melbourne Energy Institute report

Read ACF’s brief on energy prices in South Australia

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