NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean’s green energy dream has been labelled a “train wreck”, with spooked investors steering clear – forcing the federal government to intervene.
NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham said Mr Kean’s promised “avalanche” of green investment didn’t materialise – forcing taxpayers to cough up at least $600m to fund a public gas-fired power generator in the Hunter Valley.
“Matt Kean was promising an avalanche of private sector investment – not only in renewables but in gas peaking plants and pumped hydro – to keep the lights on when the sun’s not shining and the wind’s not blowing,” Mr Latham told Sky News.
“He promised $30b of new investment. But it hasn’t come about. AGL have pulled the pin because of the uncertainty his roadmap has caused in the energy market.
“It’s left a huge hole.”
Mr Latham said it wasn’t just the $600m Hunter Valley spend – announced mid-May by federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor – that Mr Kean’s incompetence had triggered.
“Let’s not forget Tallawarra in the Illawarra – the 330mw gas peaking plant. The NSW government had to put in $85m of taxpayers’ money to make it happen,” he said.
“Kean has destabilised the market. The private investment hasn’t been there and now we need enormous public money to do the obvious thing and provide power generation to keep the lights on.”
Social media commenters rallied behind Mr Latham’s concerns.
Scott Sherrington wrote: “Go away Matt, join The Greens! That is where you belong.”
“The federal Labor and Liberal parties have gone nuts and are destroying Australia,” wrote bad 666.
Magic Mike wrote: “Kean is just doing the bidding work of his factional master and his lobbying company – conflict of interest?”
Mr Kean’s green energy roadmap was announced in 2020 promising 100 per cent renewable energy for NSW off the back of $30b private investment.
At the time, it received harsh criticism from federal Liberal Party colleagues, industry experts and NSW’s own Parliamentary Development Committee.
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor fired a broadside at Mr Kean saying his go-it-alone $32b renewables “roadmap” threatened to increase power prices.
Of particular concern, Mr Taylor said, was NSW’s failure to place a cap on costs that could be passed on to consumers.
Mr Taylor had attempted to obtain copies of Mr Kean’s cost-modelling, however, these requests were ignored.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported last November that Premier Gladys Berejiklian had demanded the roadmap bill be passed priot to Christmas – triggering a 30-hour plus marathon sitting of parliament.
Almost 250 amendments proposed by One Nation’s Mark Latham were rejected. Mr Latham warned at the time that Mr Kean’s roadmap would increase the cost of power by up to $400 a year per household.
AGL CEO Brett Redman said he was concerned the NSW government was doubling up on private investment already in the system.
“It’s important we let the market make those big investments and not muddy up what technology can do,” he said.
Even Mr Kean’s own parliamentary colleagues on NSW’s powerful Parliamentary Development Committee warned him last September that renewable energy alone was incapable of meeting the State’s growth demands.
Committee member Natasha Maclaren-Jones said at the time that Mr Kean’s plan would not deliver renewables that were “viable” or “reliable”.PC