UNGI projects shortlisted; hydro the big winner

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The Federal Government has announced the 12 projects which have been shortlisted as part of its Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program.

The program is a key part of the Morrison Government’s plan to deliver affordable and reliable power, and is shaping up to be a key pillar of its energy policy ahead of the Federal Election.

The Government received a strong response to the UNBGI Registration of Interest process, with 66 proposals submitted across a range of generation types and states in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

After considering the 66 proposals against the program’s guidelines, the Government has agreed to a shortlist of 12 projects – six renewable pumped hydro projects, five gas projects and one coal upgrade project.

As recommended by the ACCC, the selection process has been technology neutral, with projects selected for the shortlist representing a range of fuel types.

The inclusion of six hydro projects ties in well with the Government’s recent announcements in this area, and the five gas projects signal the Coalition’s focus on gas as a transition fuel as we move towards a more renewables-focused energy market.

There has been some opposition to the inclusion of a coal upgrade project in the mix, in particular from the Clean Energy Council, with Chief Executive Kane Thornton stating that the inclusion of the project “would spook private investors in new clean energy generation”.

“Government funding for extending the life of existing coal is at odds with the original recommendation of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and simply serves to spook private investors who have backed renewable energy and storage technology to the tune of more than $20 billion over the last year alone,” Mr Thornton said.

Mr Thornton also stated that “the UNGI program is rushed and lacking in transparency,”  and believes the Federal Government should instead “focus on long-term market-based energy policy to provide investment confidence and a shift from the current trend of picking winners and distorting the energy market.”

The twelve shortlisted  projects are:

Alinta Energy, Gas, East Gippsland, Victoria

Alinta Energy, Gas, Reeves Plains, South Australia

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, Gas, Gatton, Queensland

APA Group, Gas, Dandenong, Victoria

Australian Industrial Energy, Gas, Port Kembla, NSW

Sunset Power and Delta Electricity, Renewable Pumped Hydro, Lincoln Gap, South Australia

Rise Renewables, Renewable Pumped Hydro, Baroota, South Australia

UPC Renewables, Renewable Pumped Hydro, Armidale, NSW

BE Power Solutions, Renewable Pumped Hydro, Cressbrook Reservoir Crows Nest, Queensland

Hydro Tasmania: Battery of the Nation, Renewable Pumped Hydro, Tasmania

SIMEC Zen Energy, Renewable Pumped Hydro, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

Delta, Coal Upgrade, Lake Macquarie, NSW

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