Coalition MPs could get their first glimpse at the Turnbull government’s energy policy as early as next week.
Cabinet’s energy subcommittee met on Wednesday to examine what one minister described as an “enormous amount of progress” on the policy.
Minister Christopher Pyne told Sky News on Friday: “We will soon have a comprehensive energy policy.”
He indicated the government’s thinking on subsidies for renewable energy had changed in recent times.
“One of the things we have discovered is the competitive disadvantage of solar and wind in the past versus coal and gas is no longer the case,” Mr Pyne said.
“It’s as competitive to bring solar and wind into the equation as it is to do coal and gas – when that happens you need to change your thinking about things.”
The government has received advice from business and industry, the Australian Energy Market Operator, energy regulators, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Energy Security Board, which was set up in August.
The advice is understood to have covered the topics of gas supply, wholesale market structures, integrated energy and climate policy, network regulation and retail competition.
Federal cabinet is expected to discuss progress on the policy on Monday and the coalition joint party room is scheduled to meet in Canberra on Tuesday.
Beyond next week’s meeting, there are only two more scheduled meetings of the full coalition joint party room – senators and members – before the end of the year.
AAP understands ministers have given a commitment that backbenchers will be given ample time to consider the policy.
Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told a forum this week he understood the “delicate balance” in developing a policy that dealt with escalating power bills, preventing summer blackouts and reducing emissions in line with Australia’s Paris agreement commitments.
“Should reliability and affordability be compromised, public support for tackling climate change will quickly diminish and previous gains lost,” he said.
“This is in nobody’s interest.”
An estimated $200 billion in investment is needed in the Australian energy industry during the next three decades and investors have been crying out for a long-term policy framework.
Parliament will next week receive a report on proposed laws to abolish limited merits review and possibly pass the laws.
Mr Frydenberg says abolishing the review system, in which network companies can appeal decisions on the prices they can charge, could take pressure off energy prices in the order of billions of dollars.