Australian electricity producers could face a $1.6 billion hit if Chinese investors take control of the country’s electricity sector, according to a report by the Australian Energy Market Operator.
Key points:The AAP report found that solar energy producers could lose a total of $1 billion if Chinese buyers take controlThe AAP has warned that if Chinese companies take control, it could result in a “fatal outcome” for Australian solar producersThe AAP said it expected a takeover would cause significant disruption to the Australian electricity sector and potentially threaten the future of the nation’s solar energy sector, but said it would not take any position on whether it should or shouldn’t do so.
Key highlights:AAP found that Australian electricity generators could lose $1bn if Chinese Chinese buyers took controlThe report said Chinese investors had previously been involved in controlling solar projects in Australia, including one that had a $400 million bid in 2019, but had since sold that project.
In its report, the AAP said Chinese companies had previously taken control of several solar projects and said it was expecting a takeover of the Australian power sector.
“China’s aggressive move to become a major player in solar energy is putting Australian energy producers at risk,” the report said.
“A takeover of Australia’s energy sector by Chinese companies could result with significant disruption and a fatal outcome for the Australian energy sector.”AAP said it planned to release its first report on solar power on Thursday, but the company did not make clear when the report would be published.
It said it understood that a takeover deal had been negotiated between a Chinese company and the company that owns the Australian Solar Council, and that the company had asked for an increase in the size of its stake in the Australian market.
“In the past, the Australian and Chinese governments have negotiated a number of trade deals and arrangements for the supply of solar energy in Australia.
These deals have not included a requirement for the solar energy market to be administered by the Chinese government,” the AAP report said, adding that “in the case of a takeover, a takeover price is likely to be a major factor”.”
In light of this, it is critical that the AAP investigate whether the Australian Government should have a role in the management of the solar market and if so, what this role should entail,” it said.
The AAP’s report comes as the Federal Government has warned it could take action if Chinese firms took control of Australia electricity markets, including on the rooftop solar sector.
The Federal Government said it has been “very clear” that the Australian PV market should be managed by an independent body, but was not ready to confirm whether it would consider action if the Chinese companies were to take control.
In the same interview with ABC’s AM program, Assistant Treasurer Tim Pallas said the Government was not “done” with the rooftop sector, and there would be “more to come”.
“The Government is aware that there are significant opportunities for Australian producers to access renewable energy on the rooftops,” Mr Pallas told ABC radio on Tuesday.
“But we’re not done with the market and we’re still working with the private sector to explore opportunities that will benefit Australian industry.”
So, we’re in a position where we are doing a lot more with solar.