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New survey shows shifts in consumer sentiment

New survey shows shifts in consumer sentiment

The latest in a series of surveys on the experience of consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic has provided a snapshot of the performance of retailers, as well as the level of concern among consumers about managing their power bills.

BY Carl Kitchen Apr 15 2021
Coal vs 100% renewables: The wrong debate?

Coal vs 100% renewables: The wrong debate?

A new report released this week tackles the question of “what next?” following the retirement of the National Electricity Market’s existing coal-fired power stations. And it has a simple message: those arguing for a continuation of coal-fired generation are wrong and those mounting the case for 100 per cent renewables are also wrong.

BY AEC Apr 15 2021
The retail regulatory framework: Still fit for purpose?

The retail regulatory framework: Still fit for purpose?

During the height of COVID-19, Australian retailers were concerned that the impacts of government interventions might unintentionally impact the ability of retailers to meet their upstream obligations. The impacts on retailers of providing additional protections – on top of the already notable consumer protections in place - and the longer-term debt implications for customers remained a concern.

BY Ben Barnes Apr 08 2021
A changing of the guard: Gas generation projections

A changing of the guard: Gas generation projections

The focus around AEMO’s latest assessment of gas supplies for eastern Australia was on its improved outlook. One change in its expectations for gas demand flows from the potential of gas-fired generation in the National Electricity Market. AEMO expects gas-fired generation demand to become more “peaky” and to switch to peaking in winter instead of summer.

BY Carl Kitchen Apr 01 2021
Every step counts: China’s marathon journey to become net-zero

Every step counts: China’s marathon journey to become net-zero

In 1971, when asked to assess the influence of the French Revolution, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai famously remarked that it is ‘too early to say’. So it is not surprising that after President Xi announced China’s aim to be net-zero by 2060, some commentators framed it as ‘the start of a marathon, not a sprint’. But is this assessment fair?

BY Rhys Thomas Apr 01 2021
New US modelling points to solar

New US modelling points to solar

New modelling is behind an assessment that finds renewable generation is likely to account for as much as 60 per cent of new capacity in the US grid in coming decades.

BY AEC Mar 25 2021
Customer benefits don’t necessarily benefit the customer

Customer benefits don’t necessarily benefit the customer

A perennial discussion in energy market policy is the contest between what we are ultimately trying to achieve: “customer benefits” or “market benefits”. When making market rules, or building monopoly assets, rules require that we assess “net market” benefits. A number of recent government policies have been justified on customer benefit assessments alone.

BY Ben Skinner Mar 18 2021
How do we deal with emerging excess supply?

How do we deal with emerging excess supply?

The economics of traditional plants are well understood, but since their construction, the way they need to operate has changed substantially. This has been driven by a combination of the age of the plants as well as the large influx of renewables, which is changing the supply and demand patterns of the grid.

BY Carl Kitchen Mar 18 2021
End of era with Yallourn closure

End of era with Yallourn closure

Yallourn has been home to a coal-fired power station for 100 years, but it was recently announced that this would come to an end in 2028 with the closure of the current four unit Yallourn W power station. In providing seven years notice of closure, EnergyAustralia has given the market, policy makers and government time to adjust and avoid shocks. We take a look at the announcement and some history of the power station.

BY AEC Mar 11 2021
Capacity markets: The answer to extreme weather?

Capacity markets: The answer to extreme weather?

The fallout from the Texas blackouts has continued with the question of system reliability front and centre and, along with it, whether a mechanism like a capacity market could have led to a different outcome. We take a look at the US experience along with some of the issues it raises.

BY AEC Mar 04 2021
FMG chases green dream

FMG chases green dream

Disruption is one of the cornerstones of the success of Fortescue Metals Group. FMG’s ability to get things done in the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers can be illustrated no more vividly than when BHP and Rio Tinto sought to prevent the then start up iron ore miner from accessing its rail lines in the Pilbara. FMG built its own and outdid its rivals by extending those lines to Perth. Now FMG wants to apply the same zeal to energy and green steel.

BY Hamish Fitzsimmons Mar 04 2021
The best little blackout in Texas

The best little blackout in Texas

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. The major power outages from which it is just emerging, were triggered by a polar vortex and impacted around 4.5 million customers. There's been plenty of finger pointing with intermittent renewables being blamed, questions raised about Texas’s go-it-alone attitude and claims of poor preparations stemming from a deregulated energy market.

BY Carl Kitchen Feb 25 2021
Dropping demand and plunging prices: Can you have too much of a good thing?

Dropping demand and plunging prices: Can you have too much of a good thing?

The fourth quarter of 2020 saw the NEM reach lowest average demand since Q4 2001 – with SA and Victoria’s spot prices hitting record lows. Are customers benefiting from the price suppression effects of renewable energy generation? Or is the market telling us a different story?

BY Ben Skinner Feb 18 2021
New Energy Jobs Plan: Bold or brash?

New Energy Jobs Plan: Bold or brash?

The political landscape in WA offers different visions for the best way to obtain a reliable, secure and cost-effective energy system. The WA Liberal’s recently unveiled “New Energy Jobs plan” is head turning for the numbers included and the aggressive move towards renewables. We look at the policy and what it might mean for key stakeholders.

BY Graham Pearson Feb 18 2021
Big battery bonanza?

Big battery bonanza?

The way 2021 has started, you could be forgiven for thinking it is the year of the big battery. Plans for the “world’s largest battery” were unveiled for the Hunter Valley, while Meridian Energy announced a battery energy storage system to be co-located with the Hume Hydro Power Station. These are just the latest in a series of big battery project announcements.

BY Carl Kitchen Feb 11 2021
Engagement and governance key to success

Engagement and governance key to success

The Australian Energy Market Operator is undertaking reviews of its stakeholder engagement and governance processes. To help inform these inquiries, the AEC and ENA commissioned a report that has provided a range of recommendations.

BY AEC & ENA Feb 04 2021
Concerns remain post-Liddell

Concerns remain post-Liddell

On Friday 20 November the modelling undertaken for the Liddell Taskforce was finally released, following the September release of the Taskforce report.

BY Carl Kitchen Dec 10 2020
A fresh challenge: How to account for zero or negative demand?

A fresh challenge: How to account for zero or negative demand?

The continued fall in minimum demand levels to new record lows in South Australia is raising a new challenge for the market.

BY Carl Kitchen Dec 03 2020
Re-regulation: What do latest retail reports reveal?

Re-regulation: What do latest retail reports reveal?

At the end of November each year, the AER and ESC publish their assessments of the performance of the retail market for the previous financial year.

BY Ben Barnes Dec 03 2020
Victoria’s big battery: What exactly is it for?

Victoria’s big battery: What exactly is it for?

Announced with great fanfare on 5 November, the Victorian Big Battery may not win any prizes for imaginative naming, but it’s an intriguing project for a host of reasons.

BY Allan O'Neil for AEC Nov 26 2020
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