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AEMO continues energy trading suspension; VIC, NSW invest in kindergartens; ASX; Federal Reserve

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Energy Minister Chris Bowen says ageing coal power plants are at the heart of the ongoing energy crisis and Australians are now paying the price for years of inaction.

“The system is creaking,” Bowen told Today this morning.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen said he backed AEMO’s suspension of the electricity market.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen said he backed AEMO’s suspension of the electricity market.Credit:Janie Barrett

“There are many coal-powered station outages, which is putting huge pressure on the system in NSW.

“Some are expected and some unexpected – unexpected breakdowns at coal-fired power stations, which is inevitable as the coal-powered fire stations get older. And we haven’t seen the investment in renewable energy and storage – nowhere near the amount we need.

“We’re getting on with the job. I met with state energy ministers to develop an integrated plan – this saw Labor, Liberal and Greens [representatives] working together to get the investment we need.”

Bowen said he was confident the nation could avoid any blackouts caused by the crisis.

“When markets are tight there will be different approaches,” Bowen said.

“NSW is the state that’s the tightest today, and we’re all working to avoid any load shedding, if at all possible this evening; this evening is where the crunch comes.

“In relation to gas, I know gas [gets] ba lot of attention here. Quite right[ly]. We said we will look at reforming what powers the Commonwealth has to manage the gas system.

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“The so-called trigger is ineffective for a situation like this. It wouldn’t work.

“We need to look at what powers we have. At the moment, we don’t have the powers. We have been talking to gas companies.

“I want to make this point: at its heart, it’s a problem caused by coal-fired power station closures and outages, some expected maintenance, some delayed maintenance from COVID, and some old equipment. We need the new investment. That’s what our policies do and that’s what we will deliver.”

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