Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel today presented the Preliminary Report of the National Electricity Market (NEM) Security Review to COAG leaders in Canberra.

The Preliminary Report identifies the forces of change confronting the NEM and key questions to guide consultations on the development of a blueprint for Australia's electricity future. 'The blackout in South Australia reminds us that our national electricity grid is under pressure and in need of urgent attention,' said Dr Finkel.

'We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the electricity sector to maximise its resilience in the face of rapid market changes. The goal is to ensure we have a secure electricity supply, at an affordable price for all Australian consumers, while meeting our international obligations to lower emissions.'

The first two months of the review highlighted the speed of change and the complexity of the NEM. 'We are feeling the force of a global shift away from traditional electricity generation technologies to greater reliance on solar and wind generated electricity, which have very different characteristics,' Dr Finkel said.

Residential consumers are helping to drive the transformation as they begin to take charge of their energy use and bring down their bills. Australia leads the world in solar rooftop penetration per capita, with more than 1.5 million systems installed.

Some key observations identified in the Preliminary Report:

  • the security and reliability of our electricity supply is less assured than in the past 
  • the rate of technological change is unprecedented and consumer expectations are shifting rapidly
  • household energy bills rose on average almost 50% in the six years to 2014

The Preliminary Report is available now and includes information on making submissions until 21 February 2017.

The Final Report will be presented to COAG by mid-2017.