Speeches

OPENING REMARKS TO ENERGY STORAGE ROUNDTABLE

March 14, 2017

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We’re really excited about adding the exciting area of storage technology to our very comprehensive climate change and energy policy that we’ve been working on very hard for the last couple of years. I think it is probably fair to say that this area has come on faster than anyone has anticipated, even when I was doing comprehensive consultations with the industry 15 – 18 months ago. The cost curve, particularly of battery technologies, is just gobsmacking. We’re at the point now, you would have seen through Jay Weatherill’s announcement a couple of hours ago, and the Victorian Government’s announcement this morning, that we are at a point where we can roll out storage technology much faster than we thought possible 12-18 months ago. We are conscious of the need, as the alternative government of this country, to add a substantial policy around storage technology to our existing, comprehensive policy framework.

We are conscious that you can’t have a policy around storage technology without having something to store. It has got to be a policy that sets out a clear way in which we are going to charter a path forward for electricity generation in Australia. That is modern, clean energy around the country. We are very keen to make sure these two things fit together. We’re also keen to make sure that we tap into the extraordinary abilities of our Australian companies, our businesses and also our researchers. We’ve got a strong record of leading and innovation in generation. Particularly in solar generation through the University of New South Wales, ANU, the CSIRO and many others. We know the same sort of cutting edge leadership exists in the storage area as well. We want to make sure as this transition happens, as much of it as possible is achieved by using Australian knowhow, Australian investors and Australian businesses.

Now obviously over the weekend there was a fairly high-profile series of Twitter exchanges that crossed the Pacific Ocean, and I think they were very useful in terms of giving the Australian people a sense of how fast this has come on and what it can do for the modernisation of Australia’s electricity system. But I know from Jay Weatherill’s announcement, he is keen to open up this opportunity to a full-tender process that sees businesses applying and being right at the forefront of leadership in this venture. That is certainly the view that Bill and I have about this exciting area as well.

We are here to really hear from you about what exciting things your businesses are doing in this area. We also want to know, from your point of view, what ambitious policy agenda from a national government would look like. We are keen to be governing this country within a couple of years. We think we have got a very good set of policies around renewing our electricity generation infrastructure, and renewing our market rules. Adding a comprehensive policy around storage technology, this is really what I think the Australian people want us to do as the alternative Government.  

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