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Renew Economy:

New Zealand gen-tailer Meridian Energy has confirmed it is still seriously considering an exit from the Australian market, where it says heavy-handed political and regulatory interventions and the lack of a price on carbon emissions have nobbled renewable energy investment.

In its annual results announcement on Wednesday, the Wellington-based company reported a nearly 30 per cent dip in its underlying net profit across the group, to $NZ232 million ($A222m Australia) – down $84m on the prior year.

And it confirmed the ongoing review of its strategy in Australia, first flagged in June, with any decisions on the sale of its Australian renewable energy and retail assets likely be confirmed before the end of December 2021.

In Australia, where Meridian’s total revenue was also down on the prior year ($NZ333 million, compared to $353 million in 2020) the results reports painted a picture of a “highly politicised” energy market, where government and regulatory interventions were creating “significant uncertainty.”

“In our assessment, intervention in the Australian electricity market and a lack of emissions pricing have led to spiralling and unintended consequences that will hinder investment in renewable generation and limit the overall ability of Australia’s energy sector to mitigate climate change,” the report said.

[Sophie Vorrath]

More: Meridian confirms possible exit from “highly politicised” Australian energy market

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