Energy market report shows crucial impact of coal and gas caps, and more renewables on electricity prices

The Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Wholesale Markets Quarterly Report, released today, shows that average wholesale electricity prices for the last quarter were less than half those in the same period last year.

This highlights the significant impact of the Albanese Government’s coal and gas price caps in limiting the worst impacts of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine on power bills for Australian homes and businesses.

Those caps were opposed by Peter Dutton and the Opposition.

The report also shows the benefit of getting cleaner, cheaper renewable energy into the grid in bringing down prices.

The report shows a major additional factor in the drastic fall in wholesale prices was the huge increase in rooftop solar – which was 41% higher in September than last year. Black coal output was also at its lowest on record.

Increased low-priced capacity offered into the NEM this quarter, particularly from hydro and large-scale solar generators, played a vital role in driving down electricity prices.

Australia needed urgent action to mitigate global fuel price spikes. We also need investment in cleaner cheaper energy and the transmission lines to deliver it over the medium and long-term - which is exactly what we’re doing.

The Albanese Government is rolling out the Capacity Investment Scheme, which will deliver firmed power across the grid to keep the lights on and put downwards pressure on bills as aging plants retire.

The AER highlights that ‘With 8.3 GW of firm capacity scheduled to exit the market in the next decade as ageing and unreliable coal plants retire, there is a pressing need for new investment to be realised across the NEM.’ P.21

This report reveals that Dutton and Littleproud’s plan to “pause” all new renewable and transmission investment is a reckless path to blackouts and soaring prices this decade.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the government had acted to provide urgent relief for Australian energy consumers, and is delivering the investment in cheaper, cleaner energy to keep the lights on and push prices down over the medium and long-term.

“Cleaner and cheaper renewable energy in the grid, including on millions of Australian rooftops, has led to drastically lower wholesale energy prices this quarter than the same period last year.”

“And the urgent action taken by the Albanese Government to cap coal and gas prices shielded Australian households and businesses from the worst of the global energy crunch.”

“But we’re also ensuring new investment in cleaner cheaper energy, and $1.7 billion for energy upgrades, delivers energy price relief over the medium and long-term too.”