Power privatisation debate ignores climate change

This week's announcement from Premier O'Farrell that his government would merge NSW's electricity distributors fails to address the real problem.

Australia has access to abundant clean energy from sources like wind, solar, wave and geothermal. Any shift in electricity ownership or changes in the electricity market must guarantee outcomes that help combat dangerous climate change. Our future is too important to be left to the market alone.

The Electricity Generator Assets (Authorised Transactions) Bill allows the Government to restructure the electricity generation industry before selling generator assets, but the restructure is solely about short term profit.

Almost 80 per cent of Sydney's greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity supplied to homes and businesses from distant coal fired power stations. The City of Sydney is investing in local trigeneration networks which will provide energy, heating and cooling using natural gas. This reduces our reliance on coal-fired electricity, and our impact on the environment.

In the long term, in order to provide reliable, clean and affordable energy for the people of NSW the State Government will need to invest in new ways to generate energy.

We should be using this opportunity to reduce the industry's impact on our environment. I told Parliament that any future contracts for the sale of NSW's energy assets should exclude any protection from present or future carbon abatement schemes or any expansion to coal power.

I am not convinced that the proposal will create a market that favours clean energy and I cannot support the loss of control over the power industry.


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