• Malcolm Turnbull says the 'most obvious' option for AGL is to keep the Liddell plant open. (AAP)
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says he knows of two enthusiastic buyers for the Liddell power station.
Source:
AAP
12 Sep - 5:48 PM  UPDATED 12 Sep - 7:29 PM

Energy giant AGL won't have any problem finding a buyer for the ageing Liddell coal-fired power station, says Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

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.

Having met with Mr Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra on Monday, AGL chief Andrew Vesey has also promised to report back to the government in 90 days on how to source 1000MW of reliable power beyond 2022.

But Mr Vesey insists the company can find the best solution for the energy market while still closing Liddell in 2022 as planned.

Mr Joyce said the best option was to keep the NSW station running for another five years.

The Nationals leader said he knew of two potential buyers.

"I've had people in my office who have said: 'I want to buy it'," Mr Joyce told Sky News.

Asked about a reported figure of between $500 million and $1 billion to upgrade the plant and keep it going, he said: "You are in a good range there."

The comments came as the government weighs up how to implement a clean energy target, as recommended in a landmark report by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Nationals members meeting in Canberra over the weekend passed a resolution to oppose such a target.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott told the coalition party room on Tuesday a clean energy target grafted onto the existing renewable energy target - which he wants scrapped - would "be a difficult position to sustain".

Mr Joyce said investors cared about a clean energy target, but it must be set at a level "that keeps our baseload power in play".

"They (investors) know we will do the responsible thing ... to keep the capacity for coal-fired power in this nation," he said.

Labor says it will support a clean energy target to deliver certainty to investors, but want it set to promote greater investment in renewables.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten asked the prime minister in parliament how the government could expect investors to decide on new generation - which would drive down power prices - without a target.

Mr Turnbull said it was "under consideration".

"We need to ensure that the energy market design provides a suitable framework for investment that doesn't simply get new generation, but gets generation of the right kind," he said.

"Because you have to keep the lights on, and you have to ensure that people can afford to pay to keep the lights on ... and of course we will meet our international emission reduction obligations."

Mr Shorten accused the coalition of inaction over power prices since the Abbott government was elected in 2013.

"The Liberals promised power bills would go down by $550 every year. They lied," he told Labor MPs.

"Under the Liberals, power bills have just gone up and up and up."