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Large-scale Nuclear Costs: Has the CSIRO hit the mark?

Large-scale Nuclear Costs: Has the CSIRO hit the mark?

The latest iteration of the CSIRO’s assessment of generation technology costs for Australia can be expected to come under close scrutiny. It comes in the lead up to the Opposition’s planned release of an energy strategy which will include proposals for nuclear power plants in Australia, and the CSIRO’s work estimates the capital costs, along with the potential timelines, for large-scale nuclear for the first time. We take a look at the CSIRO’s approach and the factors driving it.

BY Carl Kitchen May 23 2024
A peek at community attitudes and awareness towards the energy transition

A peek at community attitudes and awareness towards the energy transition

Recent surveys from KPMG, SEC Newgate and the CSIRO have all provided good insights into the community’s attitude to the changes underway in the grid and the way we generate electricity. They also highlight the level of knowledge of what this involves as well as how overall views on the speed of the transition are being influenced by factors like cost-of-living pressures. We take a look at what they found.

BY Tom Monaghan May 16 2024
Just Transition: Case Studies Highlight Work Underway

Just Transition: Case Studies Highlight Work Underway

With the recent introduction of legislation to establish a Net Zero Economic Authority, there has been a renewed focus on the issue of coal-fired power station closures and how their operators are supporting their employees through the transition. We take a look at four transition program case studies, that are in progress or emerging.

BY Braeden Keen May 16 2024
Report assesses state of play for SMRs

Report assesses state of play for SMRs

A recent report by a pro-nuclear UK think tank has shone a light on the challenges needed to be overcome to accelerate the development and rollout of small modular reactors (SMRs) globally. While the sees SMRs playing an important role in helping countries decarbonise and impressive growth out to 2050, it is a little less optimistic than some projections and highlights the uncertainties and key hurdles that need to be dealt with. We take a closer look.

BY Carl Kitchen Apr 26 2024
National Energy Performance Strategy: What’s In it?

National Energy Performance Strategy: What’s In it?

On 5 April, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water released the National Energy Performance Strategy. The strategy is intended to provide a long-term framework to manage energy demand, “so our community can enjoy the economy, climate and health benefits of improved energy performance”. It also designed to contribute to Australia meeting its legislated emissions reduction and renewable energy targets. We take a look at what is included in the strategy.

BY Tom Monaghan Apr 18 2024
Queensland’s pumped hydro plans

Queensland’s pumped hydro plans

In September 2022, then Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced plans to construct two new pumped hydro projects: Borumba Dam – a 2GW facility located in Imbil, 50km west of Noosa, and the Pioneer/Burdekin facility which plans to offer 5GW of storage, located 75km west of McKay. We take a look at pumped hydro and how it can support the energy transition.

BY Tom Monaghan Apr 11 2024
Gas outlook highlights peaking plant role in transition

Gas outlook highlights peaking plant role in transition

Apart from raising some alarm bells over future potential gas shortfalls, the release of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s assessment of gas needs again highlighted the important role gas generation will play in the energy transition.  Gas generation is seen increasingly as a “strategic reserve for power system reliability and security” and “will be critical when it runs”. We take a look. 

BY Carl Kitchen Apr 04 2024
Negative prices and revenues in the NEM over the past decade

Negative prices and revenues in the NEM over the past decade

Negative prices have become an increasing feature of the NEM. Here we explore negative spot prices through the lens of negative spot revenues as well as their ratio to positive revenues. Additionally we assess the possible outlook for negative prices/revenues and consider other supply and demand metrics that may influence future negative prices/revenues.

BY Peter Brook Apr 04 2024
How to make the transition to EVs: Inquiry looks for answers

How to make the transition to EVs: Inquiry looks for answers

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water is expected to inquire into and report on the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and has been taking public submissions to inform its considerations. For transport, electrification is the obvious solution to assist this sector begin to decarbonise. Part of the inquiry’s focus is on the issues related to the supply and sale of electricity for EVs and EV integration more broadly. We take a look.

BY David Markham Mar 28 2024
Spot market prices and revenues - ten years of historical spot prices

Spot market prices and revenues - ten years of historical spot prices

Elevated spot prices have received a lot of attention in recent times, and with justification, following the events of 2022. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the suspension of the National Electricity Market (NEM) in June 2022, load weighted prices (LWPs) have declined. We take a look at the price trends over the past decade.

BY Peter Brook Mar 21 2024
Explainer: Regulated prices and hedging contracts

Explainer: Regulated prices and hedging contracts

Each financial year, Government regulators (the Australian Energy Regulator and the Essential Services Commission in Victoria) set regulated prices – the Default Market Offer in New South Wales, South Australia and South-East Queensland, and a separate Victorian Default Offer (VDO). These take effect on 1 July each year. With the release of the latest draft determinations we take a look at how they are set, and how they came about. We also consider retailers’ approaches to contracting, which is considered as part of the default setting process.

BY Australian Energy Council Mar 21 2024
CER and a changing energy landscape

CER and a changing energy landscape

Australia’s energy landscape is being transformed by the proliferation of consumer energy resources (CER). Already, around one in three Australian homes have solar panels, with one in two expected by 2040, while more than 50,000 small-scale battery systems have been installed in the past seven years. Australia is also predicted to have 22 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2050. A big part of Australia’s energy future is CER, and if well integrated, there will be positive outcomes for all market participants and flow-on benefits for consumers. We take a look at what is being proposed.

BY David Markham Mar 14 2024
High Profile: Calculating consumption for DMO

High Profile: Calculating consumption for DMO

A draft decision on the next Default Market Offer (DMO) – the regulated price set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) – is expected soon, and there has already been speculation on what it might be. There is interest in particular around the AER seeking stakeholder views on whether the way it calculates the load profile for energy users should change, to take into account smart meter data. We take a look at what is proposed and why.

BY Carl Kitchen Mar 14 2024
Reviewing the Reviews, Part II

Reviewing the Reviews, Part II

The first meeting of the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council (ECMC) for 2024 brought to the fore the extent of change underway in the energy sector. The ECMC’s communique hints at the breadth of reviews and assessments into the energy sector and operations of the National Electricity Market (NEM). It's part of a now long-established pattern. For well over a decade, energy has been at the forefront of policy developments, largely because of the significant changes to our grid. Along with those changes has come a heightened political involvement. With political interest has come a myriad of reviews, assessments and interventions to make the NEM “fit for purpose”. We take a look at the latest ECMC work and the extent of reviews underway.

BY Carl Kitchen Mar 07 2024
Fuel efficiency standards: Driving emission reductions in transport

Fuel efficiency standards: Driving emission reductions in transport

The release of the Federal Government’s preferred option for an Australian fuel efficiency standard has quickly fallen into another version of the so-called climate wars while also being firmly couched as a ‘cost of living’ and ‘loss of vehicle choice’ issue. The Government’s proposal is for an “ambitious but achievable” standard that would allow Australia to catch up to markets like the US.

BY Carl Kitchen Feb 29 2024
Internal Carbon Pricing – on the pathway to net-zero or just another sidetrack?

Internal Carbon Pricing – on the pathway to net-zero or just another sidetrack?

Leading into the last federal election, the then Labor opposition pledged no economy-wide carbon price under its leadership, reflecting the continued vexed nature of climate policy in Australia. Since then the Federal Labor Government has maintained its promise and is pursuing emissions reductions through targeted sectoral reforms. In this environment, many businesses have started setting their own internal carbon price based around various government decarbonisation policies. Now, under new reforms being proposed by Treasury, these businesses will be required to disclose their internal carbon price.

BY Rhys Thomas Feb 29 2024
Green schemes: What are they and how are they causing greater inequality?

Green schemes: What are they and how are they causing greater inequality?

For the past two decades, state and federal governments have introduced various policies aimed at incentivising households and businesses to be more energy efficient and to support renewable technologies, which are often referred to as ‘green schemes’ or ‘environmental schemes’. While well intentioned, the cost of these schemes are typically passed onto consumers through electricity bills, impacting energy affordability for some users.

BY Tom Monaghan Feb 22 2024
Embedded networks, regulation and energy innovation: Is IPART on the right track?

Embedded networks, regulation and energy innovation: Is IPART on the right track?

The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has undertaken a review of embedded networks and is grappling with how best to set prices to reach its objectives to incentivise customers and embedded network sellers to supply and use energy efficiently as well as enabling the efficient use of energy and encouraging sustainable energy solutions and accommodating innovation and investment in the energy sector. Not a simple task. Are they on the right track? We take a look.

BY David Markham Feb 15 2024
Port of Hastings decision – what does it mean for electricity planning?

Port of Hastings decision – what does it mean for electricity planning?

Last month, the Federal Government blocked progress of the Victorian Renewable Energy Terminal – Victoria’s flagship offshore wind support project – on the grounds it posed “clearly unacceptable” risks to biodiversity in the Westernport Bay region. The impact of this decision was magnified by the Victorian Government reportedly being unaware that this ruling was coming. We untangle the regulatory process that led to this decision and consider what it means for energy transition planning.

BY Rhys Thomas Feb 08 2024
2023 - The Year That Was

2023 - The Year That Was

In recent years the pace and breadth of change and developments in the energy sector has been remarkable. Looking back over the past 12 months it is apparent that continues to be the case.

BY Australian Energy Council Dec 19 2023
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