"As the ACCC has pointed out, there is room for some targeted and well-designed underwriting initiatives to overcome specific market failures in the energy market and the Government is exploring the range of ways these objectives can be achieved.
"The step the Government has taken today is designed to further inform the Government's design of the program and give it a stronger indication of the sorts of proposals that might be forthcoming when it formally issues a Request for Proposals (anticipated to be in the first quarter of 2019).
"The Government remains open minded about the design of the program and how it may change over time. Notwithstanding its list of 'indicative eligibility criteria' and 'indicative project merit criteria', the Government remains open to the eligibility criteria for participation in the program and to the project merit criteria that will be applied. While the details will need to be firmed up before the program commences, given the compressed timetable and limited opportunities for consultation to date, at this early stage the lack of detail is both understandable and desirable.
"Ai Group has previously indicated our concern that the selection of projects should be:
- independent of political influence (especially but not only in this pre-election period), and;
- closely linked to and coordinated with the existing energy market regulatory arrangements.
"Further details on the decision-making processes to be adopted in the program’s design, and their transparency and oversight and will need to be provided if there is to be confidence in the processes announced today.
"Today's step to find ways to provide more certainty for investors in generation capacity is a move towards the greater certainty that is needed over energy and climate policy that is necessary to put a strong foundation in place for both energy suppliers and users," Mr Willox said.
Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347