Port Pirie's biggest employer 'questions' govt energy policy: Liberals

DOUBTS: Nyrstar has raised doubts about the state government's ability to achieve wholesale power price reductions.

DOUBTS: Nyrstar has raised doubts about the state government's ability to achieve wholesale power price reductions.

Nyrstar, operator of Port Pirie’s lead smelter, has queried the state’s energy policy.

This is according to Opposition energy spokesman and Stuart MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan, of Wilmington.

He said the Liberal Party had released submissions made to the state government from Nyrstar, AGL, Momentum Energy and Alinta “pouring cold water on Labor’s claim its Energy Security Target will drive down the price of wholesale electricity”.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said Nyrstar had said on May 19 that “while the intention of the scheme is to lower wholesale prices, given the generation market structure and in particular the high concentration of generation in South Australia and the high underlying cost of the predominant fuel (gas), it is debatable whether the scheme will be effective at reducing wholesale pricing due to these factors”.

He criticised Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis for saying the “target is set to commence at 4500 gigawatt hours of generation, rising by about a third by 2025 to 6000 gigawatt hours” and that ”Frontier Economics modelling shows that this scheme will result in lower wholesale electricity prices due to the increase in competition from local dispatchable generation”

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said comments by Nyrstar, Momentum Energy and AGL were “evidence that the government’s chaotic energy plan was conceived in panic and delivered without detailed analysis of its impacts”.

“Once again, the government has been exposed as overselling the benefits of its $550 million energy plan,” he said. 

“It is little wonder the government has pushed back the start date of its target to the beginning of next year.

“The government must conduct independent economic modelling of the impact of its target before inflicting even further pain on long-suffering businesses.”

Comment is being sought from Mr Koutsantonis.

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