Energy market suspension fully lifted

Origin Energy is buying the Yanco Delta Wind Farm project, one of the largest in NSW.

Origin Energy is buying the Yanco Delta Wind Farm project, one of the largest in NSW. Photo: AAP

The suspension of the national energy market has been lifted, more than a week after the unprecedented move was enacted.

The Australian Energy Market Operator removed the suspension at 2pm on Friday, indicating the market would be able to resume as normal.

“Returning to regular operations of the national energy market is now possible, as we are currently seeing more normal electricity bidding and dispatching through AEMO’s automated resources,” the market operator said in a statement.

“AEMO expects conditions to remain dynamic in the short term once the suspension is lifted.”

The suspension – the first time such a measure was used – was enacted on June 15, due to coal-fired power station shutdowns, cold snaps across the east coast and spiking gas prices.

The market operator had briefed energy industry stakeholders earlier this week about resuming normal operations.

The market was able to set prices from Thursday as part of a staged transition before the suspension ended.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen was pleased the suspension had been lifted.

“We’re very vigilant to the risks in the system, we’re very aware of the long-term challenges and the need to get more renewables and storage into the system,” he said.

“That work will continue. In the meantime, we’re managing very vigilantly a short-term crisis.”

Earlier, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the onus fell on the energy minister to improve reliability, noting power prices decreased during the coalition’s tenure in government but rose when Labor was last in power.

“Chris Bowen now has created this situation where you’ve got uncertainty about supply. Pensioners have been told over winter to prepare for blackouts or hospitals being told to not keep all of their electricity running,” he said.

“That’s a dire situation and I just don’t think Chris Bowen has a handle on it.”

However, Mr Bowen hit back at the claims, saying there had been almost a decade of inaction from the previous coalition government when it came to the energy sector.

“Renewables don’t spook people, and renewables certainly don’t spook coal-fired powered generators into not working,” he said,

“If the Liberal Party wants to be taken seriously, they might sort of start being more mature about the discussion.

Mr Bowen cited the lack of blackouts across the energy grid as proof the government had been working collaboratively with generators, operators as well as the energy regulator.

“The government remains very alive to the issues that need to be worked through as the market returns, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation very closely,” he said.

Mr Bowen on Friday announced $45 million of Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding for the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics to extend its cutting-edge research to 2030.

As well, Infrastructure Australia revealed it had assessed a $35 billion solar power export venture backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest as “investment-ready”.

Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia Powerlink scheme will be the largest solar farm, largest battery and longest subsea electricity cable ever developed globally – delivering power from the Northern Territory to Singapore, as well as powering Darwin.

Construction is indicated to start in 2024, with the Darwin offtake completed by 2026 and the Singapore link by 2029.


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