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Distribution networks and the energy transition

Distribution networks and the energy transition

The roles and responsibilities of electricity distribution networks are being challenged by the changing mix of resources in the grid. The energy transition is not just about reducing emissions by changing technologies in large-scale generation, it is also about a trend towards more localised, or distributed energy resources (DER). The Australian Energy Council’s latest discussion paper looks at what the transition might mean for distribution networks and customers.

BY Australian Energy Council Aug 11 2022
Solar's China Syndrome?

Solar's China Syndrome?

A recent report by the International Energy Agency has highlighted the dominant role of China in the world’s solar supply chain. The transition underway in the global energy market will not be immune from this dominance. The IEA estimates one out of every seven panels produced internationally now comes from a single manufacturing site in China. As we have seen recently with Russia’s gas supplies, a supply chain dependency can be extremely disruptive. So, are there options to avoid this?

BY Australian Energy Council Aug 11 2022
Emission reductions: implications for regional transitions

Emission reductions: implications for regional transitions

The latest discussion paper in the Australian Energy Council’s “55 by 35” series on Australia’s Energy Future focuses on the implications of the target and the transition to net zero for regional economies in the light of the progressive closure of coal power plants. It recognises that there is a policy case for a focus on these regions, given that coal power plants (and in some cases associated mines) are major employers in those regions.

BY Australian Energy Council Aug 04 2022
Hydrogen: Big opportunities, but bigger barriers?

Hydrogen: Big opportunities, but bigger barriers?

The latest discussion paper in the Australian Energy Council’s “55 by 35” series on Australia’s Energy Future focuses on hydrogen. The AEC has proposed an interim economy-wide emission reduction target of 55 per cent from 2005 levels by 2035 and the papers consider options for decarbonisation. Hydrogen undoubtedly has considerable potential, but it’s still also a long way away from delivering on that potential.

BY Australian Energy Council Jul 28 2022
Energy Challenges Reflected in Consumer Sentiment

Energy Challenges Reflected in Consumer Sentiment

The most recent assessment of consumer sentiment shows a dip this year from the record levels of satisfaction with retailers recorded last year. Despite the 3 per cent drop in sentiment (to 80 per cent) it remains at one of the highest levels reported since the start of the surveys in 2016.

BY Australian Energy Council Jul 21 2022
CSIRO does the maths: RE + Integration

CSIRO does the maths: RE + Integration

The CSIRO’s latest assessment of the cost of various generating technologies shows renewables remain the cheapest new build, even when integration costs for additional transmission, storage and synchronous condensers are included. We take a closer look at the numbers and what the GenCost report finds.

BY Carl Kitchen Jul 14 2022
Renewable applications of District Energy

Renewable applications of District Energy

District heating has been designed around efficiently capturing waste heat from thermal power stations. But what about when those power stations close in favour of renewable energy – is the district heating system stranded? Developments are emerging overseas that could give these systems a life in even a fully renewable power system.

BY Mitchell Cutting Jul 14 2022
German Energy: Necessity is the mother of (re)invention

German Energy: Necessity is the mother of (re)invention

The extent of the current energy challenges in Europe stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been starkly highlighted by measures being undertaken in Germany. To reduce its reliability on Russian gas Germany is readying around 10,000MW of non-gas generation reserve capacity, including coal plants that were slated for closure. We take a look at the measures and the potential impact of diverging from its coal phase-out strategy.

BY Carl Kitchen Jul 07 2022
Will the WEM have enough capacity?

Will the WEM have enough capacity?

AEMO recently released its latest Wholesale Electricity Market Electricity Statement of Opportunities. The ESOO is important in setting the Reserve Capacity Requirement and but the biggest takeaway from this year's ESOO is the sharp reduction in excess capacity in the short term and a forecast capacity shortfall from 2025-26.

BY Graham Pearson Jun 30 2022
NSW Clean Air Reforms: A delicate juggling act

NSW Clean Air Reforms: A delicate juggling act

The NSW EPA recently concluded its public consultation on reforms to the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation. The Draft Regulations propose new air emissions limits on industrial facilities, including electricity generation, stating that the health benefits will offset the ‘significant costs to industry’. While it's uncomfortable to critique reforms that promise health benefits, questions remain over what the benefits are and whether the risks to electricity affordability and reliability have been fully captured.

BY Rhys Thomas Jun 30 2022
The difficulty is in the detail

The difficulty is in the detail

Victoria’s ESC recently released its review of the Payment Difficulty Framework that sought to investigate whether retailers had appropriately implemented, and were effectively complying with, the new rules. While the headline of the ESC's media release appeared to suggest retailers were not delivering on their intent, when taking a closer look at the report it actually shows retailers have done an excellent job in implementing the reform.

BY Ben Barnes Jun 23 2022
Reforming the Safeguard Mechanism: The opportunities and challenges

Reforming the Safeguard Mechanism: The opportunities and challenges

The ALP’s policy platform going into the recent Federal election included a promose to reform the Safeguard Mechanism. Those reforms represent an intent to accelerate Australia’s decarbonisation journey. Both opportunities and challenges lay ahead, but this is a necessary step forward if sectors other than electricity are to achieve net-zero.

BY Rhys Thomas Jun 16 2022
A post-blame explainer of the current energy crisis

A post-blame explainer of the current energy crisis

A combination of energy shocks which resulted in more than a week of very high wholesale electricity prices first triggered an automatic price cap in the National Electricity Market, and then the suspension of the market. Suspension was a radical step, reflective of the extreme market conditions. It was also better than where we were before when some generators were in the market, while others were being directed.

BY Sarah McNamara Jun 15 2022
Opposition changes tack on energy

Opposition changes tack on energy

Last week the Peter Dutton-led Opposition unveiled its front bench with the member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien MP, announced as the shadow Climate Change and Energy Minister. The new shadow Minister wasted no time putting nuclear energy into the public debate.

BY Carl Kitchen Jun 09 2022
Vic RE report card: Could do better

Vic RE report card: Could do better

A state parliamentary inquiry into renewable energy in Victoria has recommended the state aims for 100 per cent renewables by 2030, but it has also heard that firming technologies such as pumped hydro and particularly utility scale batteries do not cover energy shortfalls for long periods of time.

BY Hamish Fitzsimmons Jun 02 2022
New Minister, new policies to steer energy market transition

New Minister, new policies to steer energy market transition

The Hon Chris Bowen MP was this week appointed as Climate Change and Energy Minister in the new Labor Government. in the lead up to the Federal election he highlighted two policies in particular as priorities - reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism and Rewiring the Nation, which aims to accelerate transmission investment

BY Carl Kitchen Jun 02 2022
Same same but different: US grid challenges

Same same but different: US grid challenges

The challenge of accommodating increasing amounts of renewable generation in Australian grids has been much discussed and the recent impact of high wholesale prices is likely to help sharpen the debate about the energy transition.

BY Australian Energy Council May 26 2022
Background on Factors Behind Retail Electricity Prices, DMO/VDO

Background on Factors Behind Retail Electricity Prices, DMO/VDO

Each financial year Government regulators (the Australian Energy Regulator and the Essential Services Commission in Victoria) set default regulated prices – the Default Market Offer (New South Wales, South Australia and southeast Queensland). Victoria has its own, the Victorian Default Offer (VDO).

BY Australian Energy Council May 25 2022
Inflation, interest rates, commodity prices and electricity prices

Inflation, interest rates, commodity prices and electricity prices

There has been growing concern about inflationary pressures, the prospect of higher interest rates and higher fuel costs for the economy generally. But what do these factors mean for electricity prices? We have taken a detailed look at the factors at play and how they are likely to determine and influence our power prices.

BY Peter Brook May 19 2022
The UK energy market and its parallels with Australia

The UK energy market and its parallels with Australia

For any British tourist, spending time in Australia is an absolute pleasure - even during your winter! The weather is wonderful, the food is excellent, your access to the outdoors is enviable and everyone seems to be incredibly friendly and welcoming. While those differences are refreshing, there are also some similarities too – the structure of the energy market has many parallels and sometimes the best way to predict what’s going to happen here is to look to the UK.

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