NSW Government has welcomed the agreement by Australia’s energy ministers to develop a national plan ensuring the nation’s energy security and reliability.

The agreement follows  emergency meeting in Melbourne of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council in the wake of the recent South Australia state-wide blackout.

Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, said the nation’s energy ministers have agreed to an independent review into the South Australian incident and options for ensuring the reliability and security of the National Electricity Market (NEM).

“The national reform blueprint is intended to identify national policy, legislative and rule changes required to maintain the security, reliability and affordability of the NEM,” Mr Roberts said.

“This is something for which the NSW Government has been advocating for some time and I am pleased that this comprehensive review is now about to happen.

“Integrating greater levels of renewable energy into the grid is a delicate balancing act, one that requires responsible management from governments.

“NSW has a diverse energy mix of 79 per cent coal-fired power generation, 7 per cent gas and the remainder from renewables, which last year alone increased by 3.1 per cent.

“As I’ve previously stated, we all agree on the benefits of renewable energy, however we must ensure the transition to greater renewable energy use does not compromise our secure and affordable power supply.”

Mr Roberts said the NSW and South Australian Governments would work with the transmission network businesses in their respective states to expedite processes for assessing interconnection options and implementation of any proposal.

“However, we need to see the detail that comes out of the feasibility study to assess the merits of the project for NSW energy suppliers and consumers,” he said.

“Any final investment decision will be subject to meeting the Regulatory Investment Test-Transmission (RIT-T), overseen by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).”

The independent review to develop a national electricity market blueprint will be headed by the Commonwealth Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, with a preliminary report to be prepared for the COAG Energy Council in December 2016.