Renewable energy sharing to be looked at in energy wars, as government finalises NEG legislation

IMAGE: Indi MP Cathy McGowan and Senator Bridget McKenzie

Cathy McGowan will hold off giving her support to the National Energy Guarantee until the federal government considers including community energy.

Legislation on the NEG is expected to be introduced to Parliament later next week, with the government saying its plan was the best way to guarantee energy supply.

Ms McGowan has also stressed the need for reliability, but with a different focus: she said that could be achieved through residents generating and sharing their own renewable energy.

She said the government needed to take rural communities into account and has asked Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to consider the initiative.

More than 600 people in the North East have signed up to take part in a Community Energy Retailer, to be launched next year.

“We’ve got to do something, we’ve got to stop prices increasing and we’ve got to deliver security to our rural communities,” Ms McGowan said.

“I’m really pleased to say that the government’s listening. We’ve organised a telephone conference next week between the minister's office, the department, Mondo Energy and Totally Renewable Yackandandah to talk about how to NEG will impact at a local level. 

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do before we get to the final position.”

She described government discussions as “fluid”.

“I’m still negotiating with the government, I haven’t reached a final position,” she said

“The NEG is there and that’s what the government is pushing, so I’d be inclined to support it, but we’ve got to take account of community energy and where it fits in.”

Senator Bridget McKenzie was standing by the NEG on Friday, saying the incidents of blackouts were “absolutely ridiculous” in 21st century Australia.

“Reliability of power, being able to get dispatchable power where we need it, when we need it, is important, which is what the National Energy Guarantee actually goes to,” she said. 

“End the climate wars, end the energy wars. 

“We have got a solid plan to bring down prices and we just need to get on with it.”

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