The Albanese Labor Government’s reckless rush to renewables is threatening Australia’s energy grid and the livelihoods of farmers and their communities, Member for Mallee Anne Webster says.
In its draft 2024 Integrated System Plan (ISP) released on Friday, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has brought forward the expected exit of the network’s coal-fired power stations to 2038 – five years earlier than the 2022 ISP.
The report says Labor’s 82 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 requires is under threat and that urgent infrastructure investment through 10,000km of transmission poles and wires, or the National Electricity Market will not be ready for the early exit of coal.
“AEMO has not secured social licence for projects such as VNI West, which is railroading transmission lines through prime agricultural land and pristine native bushland – now they are panicking that new infrastructure won’t be ready in time for when they prematurely retire coal powered stations,” Dr Webster said.
“The Energy Minister Chris Bowen and his Government have failed to accept reality over their green ideology in Rewiring The Nation. They are compromising agriculture while risking blackouts. The VNI West transmission project continues to face fierce opposition by many farmers in Mallee with and Australians have a right to seriously doubt whether Labor can keep the lights on.”
Dr Webster said AEMO’s accelerated and increasingly desperate timeline should concern those in the path of proposed transmission line projects.
“Those who have already experienced the shambolic excuse for ‘consultations’ carried out in Western Victoria through the Western Renewables Link (though Ausnet) and then VNI West (through AEMO and their shell Transmission Company Victoria) have good reason to be anxious about the proposals and how their farmland and lifestyles will be impacted,” Dr Webster said.
“Family homes are threatened and farmers are left in the dark over what will become of their land, communities are kept out of the loop, while tick box consultation sessions are carried out so AEMO and TCV can pretend they have achieved social licence.
“I will keep standing with Mallee’s farmers while Labor pushes its reckless renewables agenda and while they fail to acknowledge other viable options such as nuclear power that would deliver emissions free, reliable energy that won’t destroy our productive land.”