The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has today acknowledged the release of the Integrated Systems Plan 2022 by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “AEMO has released its Integrated Systems Plan for the National Energy Market which outlines the agency’s views on the shape of the energy market and energy mix over the next thirty years.

“NIC supports the transition of the energy market and the opportunities it presents for a cleaner and greener future, which contributes to halting the energy sector’s contribution to climate change. We do however encourage the Market Operator and the Government to ensure the transition is appropriately planned with industry and consumers properly consulted. Market players must also negotiate and engage with landholders in planning and building transmission lines.

“The transition is happening at a rapid pace and governments must work hand-in-hand with the power generators and transmission companies to invest now to protect the affordability, reliability and security of the energy grid now and into the future.

“The Market Operator is predicting a thirty-fold increase in storage capacity to sixty-one gigawatts by 2050. It says grid-scale solar and wind will expand from the current sixteen gigawatts to one hundred and forty one gigawatts in 2050. There will be a five-fold increase in distributed solar up to sixty-nine gigawatts.

“AEMO is predicting electricity usage to double between now and 2050, as our world is electrified to deliver cooking, transport, heating and cooling, and industrial processes currently powered by fossil fuels. It predicts coal generation will be completely withdrawn by 2043 with only a marginally higher investment in gas-fired peaking plants from seven to ten gigawatts.

“There will be an almost $13 billion investment in transmission projects replacing the old lines from coal power plants, with AEMO flagging HumeLink, VNI West, Marinus Link, Sydney Ring and New England Renewable Energy Zone Transmission Links as projects which, if delivered early, could ensure the grid transitions faster and delivers more benefits to consumers. AEMO has acknowledged the market is now in a ‘complex, rapid and irreversible energy transformation’. The future, it says, is powered by firmed renewables over the fossil fuels of today.

“Farmers need energy to grow the produce which is feeding and clothing Australia and the world. It is fundament we get the transition right to ensure Australian agriculture remains internationally competitive and can help keep prices down for consumers.”

Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890