The state’s peak environment group says the State Government should go further than delaying the vote on its electricity privatisation plan and drop the proposal all together.
“There are strong environmental reasons not to privatise the state’s electricity assets and today’s delay shows the Iemma Government has lost confidence in the plan,” Cate Faehrmann, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW said today.
“The Nature Conservation Council holds reservations that once private companies are in control of the state’s electricity, they will be a new powerful force lobbying government not to act on climate change. They will most likely have made a massive investment in electricity generation utilities and have an incentive to invest in the cheapest possible energy sources – most likely high emissions and not renewable sources.
“The electricity companies will lobby Federal and state governments for weaker action on climate change, and they will be a powerful voice.
“Environmental concerns will be harder to address as private companies are likely to lobby against government policy changes that they perceive to impact on their commercial interests,” Ms Faehrmann said.
NSW Treasurer Michael Costa has already indicated he will push for ‘free’ emission permits for coal-based electricity generators in order to maximise the sale price of the electricity system.
“Providing emissions trading compensation to coal-fired electricity generators wrongly rewards polluting plants and re-directs money that could be better spent on energy efficiency and developing renewable energy technologies,” Ms Faehrmann said.