Clean energy target still on govt's table

September 13, 2017

AGL is considering whether to keep the Liddell power station open beyond its shutdown date of 2022.

The sparks between the government and Labor over the future of Australia's power grid are set to continue to fly, as both sides ramp up the blame game in Canberra.

While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has taken to labelling senior Labor figures "Blackout Bill", "No-Coal Joel" and "Brownout Butler", the opposition has accused the coalition of inaction over power prices since coming to power in 2013.

The planned closure of the AGL-owned Liddell power station in the NSW Hunter Valley in 2022 will create a 1000MW shortfall in the energy market.

AGL is considering whether to keep the Hunter Valley station open for another five years beyond its shutdown date of 2022 or sell it to another company.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce revealed on Tuesday he knew of two potential buyers, while Mr Turnbull promised to consider all options to plug the predicted shortfall.

"I've made it clear that we will not allow this gap in baseload power to occur," Mr Turnbull told the Australian Forest Products Association dinner at Parliament House on Tuesday night.

"Ideology and good intentions are not enough."

Mr Turnbull rejected a last-ditch call from former prime minister Tony Abbott to keep Victoria's Hazelwood power station open earlier in the year.

But Mr Turnbull said Australia couldn't afford a repeat of Hazelwood's closure, as he remains hopeful Liddell's life will be extended by AGL or another party.

"It's closure at such short notice taking so much dispatchable power out of the energy market caused a dramatic rise in wholesale energy prices," Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Abbott has argued it is inevitable the government will have to fund new coal developments, while Labor want a clean energy target to promote greater investment in renewable energy.

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