Legislative Council: Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Retail Energy Prices

In reply to the Hon. S.L. GAME ().27 June 2023).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Energy and Mining had advised:

1. The final report by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia about its inquiry into retail energy prices will be published in compliance with the terms of reference.

2. In regard to the contribution to electricity supply of solar panels and wind turbines in winter, renewable energy is definitely not rendered useless in winter. The Australian Energy Market Operator publishes quarterly reports on energy dynamics. The most recent quarterly report for a winter period–Q3 2022–showed that across the National Electricity Market, average variable renewable energy generation reached a record quarterly high of 4,465 megawatts.

South Australia is, of course, part of the National Electricity Market. During August 2022, records were set for wind generation and for the output of wind and grid-scale solar combined. What did decline in the quarter, was the contribution of generation from power stations fuelled by black coal.

The Australian Energy Market Operator said this was 'primarily due to a shift in supply offers to higher price bands' from these coal-fired generators. That is, coal is essentially pricing itself out of the market when competing with cheaper renewable energy. Those high prices for coal ultimately flow through to consumers' bills.