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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
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
Green energy superpower

Green energy superpower

As Australia undergoes its energy transition, there has been discussion around the country’s potential to establish itself as a ‘green energy superpower’ within a future global green economy. Illustrating this discussion is a recently released report by the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth.

BY Braeden Keen Oct 19 2023
NEM generation profile 2022-23

NEM generation profile 2022-23

The AER’s 2023 State of the Energy Market highlights the generation mix across the NEM as well as emerging trends. We take a look at what key developments occurred in the generation mix and how they impacted price trends throughout the 2022-23 financial year.

BY Australian Energy Council Oct 12 2023
Cost storm hits UK offshore wind

Cost storm hits UK offshore wind

As Australia prepares for its first offshore wind projects, the leading international market for offshore wind, the UK, has hit some rough seas due to a combination of low strike contract prices being offered under its contract for difference scheme and major increases in overall project costs. Its latest contracts for difference auction price cap was set at GBP44/MWh but resulted in no offshore project proposals. We take a look and consider what is proposed in response to support the UK’s ambitious offshore wind target of 50GW by 2030.

BY Carl Kitchen Oct 05 2023
Decarbonising aviation – in it for the long haul

Decarbonising aviation – in it for the long haul

Until recently, the aviation sector has avoided policymaker attention – at least as far as carbon reduction policy goes. However, this has started to change with the Federal Government’s recent publication of an Aviation Green Paper, which attempts to navigate the foggy skies of how to align aviation with a net-zero by 2050 future. So what are some of the options, and challenges, for aviation decarbonisation? Here we take a look.

BY Rhys Thomas Sep 28 2023
Storage across the NEM

Storage across the NEM

In a speech in March this year, AEMC Commissioner Tim Jordan stated “…By AEMO’s current calculations, outlined in the ISP, 61 GW of storage capacity is needed by 2050 under the Step Change scenario. That’s 17 times current levels.” Federal and state governments have announced various policies to stimulate battery investment, but challenges to their development are starting to emerge. Here we take a look at current proposals for storage across the NEM and their implications.

BY Australian Energy Council Sep 28 2023
The 82 per cent national renewable energy target – where did it come from and how can we get there?

The 82 per cent national renewable energy target – where did it come from and how can we get there?

In recent weeks there has been a wave of headlines about Australia’s energy transition – while some preached opportunity, others raised caution. Of particular interest to those inside the energy beltway was whether Australia can reach 82 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2030. In this article, we do a deep dive into how this figure and what obstacles must be overcome for Australia to achieve it.

BY Rhys Thomas Aug 17 2023
Productivity Commission offers alternative view of the IRA

Productivity Commission offers alternative view of the IRA

Almost 12 months since it was passed by the US Congress, the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has sent shockwaves globally and in turn prompted debate on how Australia should respond. Of note in public commentary was the latest Trade and Assistance Review, released last month by the Productivity Commission which argues that an attempt by Australia to adopt countervailing policy responses would be a step in the wrong direction. We take a closer look at the Productivity Commission's views on how Australia should be responding to the IRA.

BY Braeden Keen Aug 17 2023
Market assessment highlights evolving market

Market assessment highlights evolving market

In late July, the Australian Energy Market Operator published their analysis of the wholesale market for the second quarter of this year. While the media headlines trumpeted price rises of 31 per cent, the report itself paints a much more restrained picture of the state of the market. As the AEC pointed out at the time, the report illustrates a stabilisation when compared with this time last year, with the industry in a much better position heading into winter than it was in 2022.

BY Australian Energy Council Aug 10 2023
GenCost verdict: Onshore wind and solar remain lowest cost generation

GenCost verdict: Onshore wind and solar remain lowest cost generation

The latest GenCost report has again highlighted that solar and onshore wind remain the lowest cost new build generation available. This remains the case even when integration costs are factored in. The report also quantifies the cost of global supply chain constraints which have impacted the raw material costs for manufacturing, as well as the transport costs involved in getting new generation installed. Those constraints have led to an estimated average 20 per cent increase in technology costs compared to a year ago. Read more to see the forecast costs of different generation technologies.

BY Carl Kitchen Jul 27 2023
Reports highlight ongoing challenge of transition

Reports highlight ongoing challenge of transition

Amidst all the discussion of the energy transition two new reports looking at energy use and options for the energy transition have highlighted the continued major challenge to reduce overall carbon emissions. We take a look at the '2023 statistical review of world energy' and the ‘How to make net zero happen’ reports side by side to provide a picture of where energy consumption has been, and where it may be going in the future and the implications for the energy sector.

BY Australian Energy Council Jul 20 2023
Rebirthing coal power stations into synchronous condensers

Rebirthing coal power stations into synchronous condensers

As the power system transitions, the Essential System Services previously supplied by fossil fuelled generators must be replaced. This requires a widespread rollout of Synchronous Condensers (SCs). ARENA has supported and published a report into an unconventional but promising solution, the conversion of fossil fuelled generators into SCs, either whilst the generator is still operational or upon its closure. The report is very timely because the queue for new SCs requires us to commit to either them, or plant conversions, long before these power stations close. We explain what SCs are, what they do, and the options discussed in the report.

BY Ben Skinner Jul 20 2023
Renewable Energy Supply Chains & the new Critical Minerals Strategy

Renewable Energy Supply Chains & the new Critical Minerals Strategy

The recent Critical Minerals Strategy announced by the Albanese Government showed a clear link between the success of the sector locally and the country’s ability to reach its 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction targets, partly through the construction and commissioning of renewable technology. The two industries are uniquely similar. Both are looking to rapidly increase their volume of activity, both are central to Australia’s ability to remain competitive globally, and both must succeed to ensure Australia’s economy continues to prosper in decades to come. We take a look at the Government’s priorities for the sector.

BY Australian Energy Council Jul 13 2023
Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan – the update

Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan – the update

Last September the Queensland Government announced the “Energy and Jobs Plan”, a remarkably comprehensive central plan to revolutionise the Queensland electricity sector, phasing out the currently dominant coal sector over a decade and replacing it with renewables and storage. The plan also called for a transmission “supergrid”, three Renewable Energy Zones (REZs), and two enormous pumped hydro schemes. The government has progressed the plan by announcing new renewable energy targets and publishing draft legislation to enact these and the plan.

BY Ben Skinner Jun 22 2023
Energy storage assessment: Where are we now?

Energy storage assessment: Where are we now?

A new report from the CSIRO has highlighted the major challenge ahead in having sufficient energy storage available in coming decades to support the National Electricity Market (NEM) as dispatchable plant leaves the grid. The roadmap also provides a useful insight into the current maturity level of energy storage technologies, using the commercial readiness index (CRI), as well as a technical readiness level (TRL) framework. We take a look at what they found.

BY Carl Kitchen Jun 08 2023
Gas: Living in interesting times

Gas: Living in interesting times

It’s an interesting period for the gas market. Upstream, price caps remain, and have been extended for another 12 months. At the retail end of the market, there are changes afoot. The AER has made a draft decision seeking to solve issues arising from customers wanting to fully exit the gas market. Meanwhile Energy ministers have announced their intention to amend the National Gas Objective by adding an emissions objective. One thing’s for sure: gas will continue to find itself being pulled in many different directions. We take a look at recent developments.

BY Ben Barnes Jun 08 2023
Critical minerals, clean energy and a US compact

Critical minerals, clean energy and a US compact

Last weekend the US and Australia entered a Climate, Critical Minerals and Clean Energy Transformation Compact. Prior to that the Federal Government announced funding to help progress development of local processing capabilities for critical minerals and more is expected to emerge when the Federal Government’s critical minerals strategy is released in coming weeks. It all highlights the growing importance of critical minerals in the clean energy transition and how best to develop Australia’s reserves. We consider the key drivers and recent developments.

BY Carl Kitchen May 25 2023
Why it’s important to have good standards

Why it’s important to have good standards

There is so much going on in the Consumer Energy Resources (CER) space it’s difficult to keep track. There’s record uptake of rooftop solar, VPP trials, advanced trials for a CER marketplace. Market bodies and regulators are making efforts to enable consumer uptake of CER with reforms and technical standards. Those standards will strongly influence how CER operate, interact with the grid and what benefit owners ultimately derive. Here we take a closer look at how they work and consider why it’s important for stakeholders to get involved.

BY David Markham May 25 2023
Energy transition: Can WA unlock enough investment?

Energy transition: Can WA unlock enough investment?

It’s been a packed few weeks for WA’s energy sector with the release of the reserve capacity mechanism review and an assessment of future demand. Both provide useful insights into the scale of the state’s energy transition and how the State Government plans to tackle the challenges. While there are some big numbers and major commitments, there are also a lot of gaps in the detail. We take a look at what it means for the energy sector and highlight some outstanding issues.

BY Graham Pearson May 18 2023
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