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Year in review: Some hits, some misses

Year in review: Some hits, some misses

It was another year of significant developments in the energy sector ranging from carbon emission commitments from both the Federal Government and Opposition, to the start of 5 minute settlements and Victoria's new tougher requirements for retailers.

BY Carl Kitchen Dec 09 2021
Renewables go from strength to strength

Renewables go from strength to strength

The Clean Energy Regulator's latest assessment of the carbon market has underscored the fact that renewables are going from strength to strength.

BY Australian Energy Council Dec 09 2021
Green steel deal

Green steel deal

With the world’s eyes on COP26, Australia may be looking in the wrong direction for the next major step on decarbonisation. Bilateral trade pacts centred around a US-EU alliance could be the way forward and may give Australia pause for thought on its own approach; but the picture may be more complicated.

Are EVs an election battleground?

Are EVs an election battleground?

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced the Federal Government’s ‘Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy’, which commits to spending $250 million on electric vehicle charging infrastructure as part of the push to net zero by 2050.

BY Hamish Fitzsimmons Nov 11 2021
Electricity does heavy lifting on emissions reductions

Electricity does heavy lifting on emissions reductions

The Federal Government has unveiled its net zero emissions by 2050 target and projections for economy-wide emissions. The projections show the heavy lifting that's occurred from the electricity sector and flags the continued leading role the sector will play in reducing the country’s greenhouse gas output. But it also shows more needs to be done by other sectors to reach its 2050 target.

BY Carl Kitchen Oct 28 2021
Critical minerals and renewables: The supply challenges

Critical minerals and renewables: The supply challenges

The IEA's World Energy Outlook 2021 report is a crystal ball look at emerging trends and their potential impact on how energy systems evolve. While most of the focus is on the total share of energy markets by generation and fuel type, the report also carries insights into emerging energy security risks as the world moves to lower emissions grids - which it notes could be on a “bumpy” road.

BY Australian Energy Council Oct 28 2021
Is it time for a full review of WA’s Reserve Capacity Mechanism?

Is it time for a full review of WA’s Reserve Capacity Mechanism?

Reform has been a constant in WA's Wholesale Electricity Market in recent years. The Energy Transformation Strategy was established in 2019 to ensure power system reliability and security. Fast forward, and the same issues that led to that work have amplified, and we now have Stage 2. We look at what it means for the Reserve Capacity Mechanism and generators in the SWIS.

BY Graham Pearson Oct 21 2021
Electrification plan: “Ambitious but realistic”?

Electrification plan: “Ambitious but realistic”?

There’s been plenty of media attention around claims the average Australian household could save $5000 annually on their energy and vehicle costs by 2030 and up to $6000 by 2035 through greater electrification. But what is the basis for this claim? And what would have to happen for this to occur?

BY Carl Kitchen Oct 07 2021
Offshore framework to bring new swell?

Offshore framework to bring new swell?

The Federal Government’s new legislation to clarify offshore energy developments, was greeted with suggestions it would prompt a rush of offshore wind farms around our coastline. Offshore wind farms typically take 6-10 years to develop and build. Currently many of these projects are in pre-feasibility stage.

BY Carl Kitchen Sep 16 2021
Is Orca a new carbon predator?

Is Orca a new carbon predator?

The Federal Government has broadened the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s remit to support technologies to address carbon emissions, including carbon capture and storage. Last week the agency’s new investment plan was released, and at the same time a new facility began operating using novel carbon capture technology.

BY Australian Energy Council Sep 16 2021
Hot topic: Victoria’s big battery

Hot topic: Victoria’s big battery

It has been a remarkable year for the number of significant incidents in NEM supply. Recently a fire at Victoria’s “big battery” began just after 10am on Friday 30 July, and investigations are being undertaken. The results will be closely watched not just locally, but internationally.

BY Carl Kitchen Aug 19 2021
100% renewable grid: A journey through uncharted territory

100% renewable grid: A journey through uncharted territory

AEMO received headlines with its goal of delivering capability for the grid to manage 100 per cent renewables at any moment by 2025. The announcement was generally well-received but, unfortunately, misreported as targeting the running of the NEM entirely on renewables. Industry participants may ask why AEMO would be indicating a 100 per cent renewables capability by 2025, which is not to say that progress towards a lower emissions market isn’t welcome.

BY Hamish Fitzsimmons Jul 22 2021
Solar supply chain costs: A passing cloud?

Solar supply chain costs: A passing cloud?

For the first time in at least a decade the cost of solar PV to end users has been rising. This has been driven by an increase in raw material costs, and polysilicon in particular, which has reversed the trend of continuously falling lower prices for solar that we have come to expect.

BY Australian Energy Council Jul 08 2021
EV policies focus on the destination not the journey

EV policies focus on the destination not the journey

State governments increasingly accept that the uptake of zero emissions vehicles requires their support to create a critical mass, with NSW the latest state to unveil a range of measures to speed up the purchase of ZEVs.

BY Hamish Fitzsimmons Jun 24 2021
Gas and hydro: Back-up in action

Gas and hydro: Back-up in action

The first quarter of 2021 for the NEM's spot market was notable for its lack of notability. But in a measure of the how the NEM can turn, the Q2 Queensland average price to date is $135.83/MWh, versus $42.64/MWh over Q1. We look at how the market almost always successfully responds to the NEM’s variations, and its reliance on hydro and gas-fired generation to keep the lights on.

BY Ben Skinner & Carol Tran Jun 17 2021
Driving towards EVs: How are we travelling?

Driving towards EVs: How are we travelling?

In its Net Zero by 2050 paper the IEA envisions a world where by 2030 electric cars account for over 60 per cent of car sales, and by 2035, nearly all cars sold globally are electric. AEMO electricity consumption forecasts show where it sees electrification of transport occurring and highlights expected growth in EV usage.

BY Hamish Fitzsimmons Jun 10 2021
Getting the mail on solar installations

Getting the mail on solar installations

The Australian Energy Council has analysed the nation's top suburbs for solar installations for the first quarter of 2021. And with 20 years of data collected by the Clean Energy Regulator, we also take a look at how the data compares to historical uptake.

BY AEC May 13 2021
Will network operator batteries hurt competition?

Will network operator batteries hurt competition?

Australia is grappling with the rapid change in how and when electricity is generated and consumed. In Western Australia, recent changes to the Electricity Networks Access Code allow expansion of the role of the network operator. Oakley Greenwood has considered what the amendments mean for competition in the Wholesale Electricity Market.

BY Graham Pearson May 13 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
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
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