SDG 13 - Climate Action

SDG 13 - Climate Action

Below are all Australian news items from all ESG Snapshot issues that are relevant to SDG 13 (climate action), listed with most recent items appearing first.

Issue 22, 27 November 2023

The federal government has announced a major expansion of its Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS), with the aim of delivering 9GW of dispatchable capacity, and 23GW of variable capacity nationally.

The scheme uses a reverse auction process to award contracts for the supply of renewable energy and storage. The contracts will specify agreed revenue floors and ceilings.

A pilot CIS auction round in NSW has resulted in six contracts being awarded for projects worth $1.8 billion that will deliver 1,075MW of firmed renewable energy by the end of 2025.

The successful projects are AGL Energy's proposed 500MW/1,oooMWh battery at Liddell, Iberdrola's 65MW/130MWh battery in Smithfield (Sydney), Akaysha Energy's Orana Renewable Energy Zone 415MW/1,660MWh battery, and three Enel X virtual power plants.

Pollination Law, a part of global advisory and investment firm Pollination, has supported independent Senator David Pocock's climate change intergenerational equity Bill, in a Senate inquiry submission.

The bill would establish a duty to consider the health and wellbeing of children in Australia when making decisions likely to result in greenhouse gas emissions greater than 100,000 tonnes.

It would also establish a duty not to make certain significant decisions that pose a material risk of harm to the health and wellbeing of children in Australia.

Pollination's submission says the scope of the Bill should be expanded to include significant nature impacts.

Pollination's submission is one of a number newly released by the Senate committee inquiring into the Bill.

ARENA has awarded AGL $864,000 to support testing of a seven-day-ahead energy price forecasting tool that will help commercial and industrial companies to better match their energy demand to available supply.

Melbourne Airport, a logistics company, a major supermarket chain and a water utility are involved in the two-year pricing trial.

Chemicals company WesCEF and gas pipeline business APA Group have received $1.3 million from ARENA to examine the feasibility of producing green hydrogen and transporting it for use at the WesCEF Kwinana ammonia plant.

CSIRO and Swinburne University of Technology’s Victorian Hydrogen Hub (VH2) have launched a $2.5 million clean hydrogen refuelling station in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton, purpose-built for hydrogen research.  

Taking decisive action to become a nature-positive economy could boost Australia’s national income by AU$47 billion by 2050, according to a new paper from consultancy EY.

The report says current "carbon-focused" policies can drive large-scale land sector sequestration, but will deliver almost no habitat restoration, because environmental plantings are more expensive than other types of landscape-based carbon credit projects.

"We contrast this with a more balanced approach to carbon and biodiversity goals. This delivers more than seven times more native habitat at an opportunity cost of 20% less carbon in 2050, relative to the carbon-focused approach," it says.

The proposed "balanced approach" would uses a levy on all carbon sequestration to fund a top-up payment that incentivises restoration of habitat with high conservation values.

Australia has signed an MoU with Indonesia to collaborate on developing electric vehicle supply chains.

Statutory development. The NSW government has introduced the Energy Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, which makes changes designed to smooth the delivery of the energy transition.

The bill amends the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act 2020, and the Energy and Utilities Administration Act 1987, but does not make major policy changes.

The ACT government is now accepting registrations from owners corporations to participate in the Solar for Apartments program, which is co-funded by the federal and Territory governments. The program provides owners corporations with grants of up to $100,000 and access to zero-interest loans.

Landfill gas capture at the ACT's Mugga Lane landfill will be expanded, involving two additional 1MW generators, and an additional 12MW of battery storage.

Issue 20, 12 November 2023

Consultation opportunity. The federal government is inviting comments by 13 December on its consultation paper on a proposed agriculture and land net-zero plan.

The governments of Australia and Tuvalu have signed the Falepili Union treaty, which provides the people of Tuvalu with a "special human mobility pathway" to Australia, and greater assistance and support for climate change adaptation.

The new visa category will allow for up to 280 Tuvalu citizens to come to Australia each year, with special rights to work, study and access services.

Australia will also contribute to the new Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF), a Pacific-built trust fund that will be established to invest in small-scale climate and disaster resilient projects.

ARENA has provided a $5.43 million grant to aerospace start-up AMSL Aero to help develop an aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system.

The $10.86 million project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of renewable hydrogen as a fuel for a five-passenger aircraft with a range of up to 1,000km.

ARENA has shortlisted 31 applications (seeking a total of $231 million) to submit full applications for funding under round one of its Community Batteries Funding program, with a total of $120 million on offer under round one.

More than 250 submissions about setting and achieving Australia's emissions reduction targets are now available on the Climate Change Authority website.

The website of the National Reconstruction Fund, which aims to increase the flow of finance into sectors including renewables and low emissions technologies, is now live.

A Senate committee inquiring into climate change-related marine invasive species has unanimously recommended that the federal government develop a fishery for native sea urchins, known as Centro, which are becoming invasive in some areas due to climate change.

In additional comments, the Coalition said that "Australia’s fishing and broader marine industries have been exposed to a perfect storm of pressures", by the government.

"These have included the spread of marine seismic surveys, carbon storage, bans on different kinds of fishing and netting, and offshore wind farms," the Coalition said.

The Clean Energy Council's new submission on the government's Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) scheme cautions on the need to closely examine the likely interplay between REGO and the RET in the latter part of the decade.

NSW has taken an innovative approach to decarbonisation, but the competitiveness challenge should not be under-estimated, because many other jurisdictions are also racing towards net-zero, says a new report from the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer.

The decarbonisation innovation study says it is critical that Circular Economy principles and practices are an integral element of the development of NSW's Net Zero economy industries in NSW.

It also notes that Australia’s per capita energy consumption is going in the direction.

Between 2002-03 and 2018-19, Australia’s energy consumption per person increased by 0.2% per year. By comparison, the UK, United States, European Union, Canada and Japan all cut consumption, some by more than 20%.

The federal government has released EnergyAustralia's EPBC referral for a 500MW/2000MWh battery storage system to be located near its Mt Piper power station.

SunCable has announced Tasmania's Bell Bay as the preferred location for the manufacture of its high-voltage sub-sea cables. Currently, all advanced HVDC sub-sea cable manufacturing facilities are located in the Northern Hemisphere.

Bell Bay is the favoured site due to its proximity to one of the country’s few natural deep-water ports, rail infrastructure, and renewable energy infrastructure, according to the state government.

In a new report to the Western Australian government, Chevron says it's Gorgon CCS project has so far injected more than 8.5 million tonnes of CO2.

The company has so far surrendered more than 7.5 million carbon credits to make up for the shortfall between the required injection rate and the actual rate.

Chevron says it has "invested more than AU$3.2 billion in the Carbon Dioxide Injection System with further investment planned in the coming years to improve system performance and increase injection rates".

Consultation opportunity. Comments are due by December 4 on a proposed refresh of Western Australia's critical minerals strategy, with a discussion paper canvassing views on which value chain segments should be prioritised.

Lithium has become Western Australia's second most valuable mineral, after iron ore, new data on mineral and petroleum sales shows.

Lithium (spodumene concentrate) achieved all-time high sales of $21 billion on the back of record prices and expanding production, making it WA's second most valuable mineral. 

Iron ore sales totalled $125 billion, and the value of LNG sales surged to a record $56 billion, almost $18 billion more than in FY22.

A proposal by Woodside Energy to revegetate up to 5,700 hectares of state-managed degraded land in Perth's north and Midwest has been invited to Stage 3 assessment under the Western Australian government's Carbon for Conservation Market-led Proposal process.

The proposal would involve planting native species that benefit Carnaby's Black Cockatoo over multiple years, while potentially providing increased employment opportunities for Aboriginal people and the local community.

Unsuccessful project proponents, that did not progress past stage two, include GreenCollar, CO2 Australia, and Corporate Carbon.

Issue 19, 6 November 2023

Measures to help mobilise the private investment required to achieve a net-zero economy are outlined in a new draft sustainable finance strategy, released by Treasury.

The strategy comprises three pillars, each underpinned by a range of priorities:
* Pillar 1: ensuring that markets have access to high-quality and comparable information to assess the financial risks that climate change and other sustainability issues present to firms, and the impact of firms on the climate and environment.
* Pillar 2: ensuring that financial regulators are well supported in their efforts to address the impacts of climate change on businesses and the financial system.
* Pillar 3: ensuring government takes a leading role in supporting the development of sustainable finance markets and shaping international developments in sustainable finance markets, including through sovereign green bonds.

Comments are due by 1 December.

Five climate-tech start-ups have received a total of $580,000 and business development support through a Climate 10x Accelerator program backed by the federal government, industry, UNSW and the University of Newcastle.

They include SoNiA Green Tech, which has discovered a novel way to manufacture polymer-modified bitumen to significantly reduce energy usage and incorporate waste plastic.

A total of 399MW of large-scale generation was approved to earn large-scale generation certificates in September, bringing the total approved in 2023 to 1,559MW, according to new data from the Clean Energy Regulator.

Australia has supported a proposal put forward by the US and the EU for the World Bank to operate the proposed new international Loss and Damage Fund that would assist vulnerable countries to respond to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Giving the World Bank a key role in administering the fund would "allow it to start providing funding to where it's needed quickly," Australia's ambassador for climate change Kristin Tilley told Senate Estimates.

Solar technology company SunDrive Solar will use a new $11 million ARENA grant to expand its novel solar cell metallisation technology from prototype-scale (1.5 MW/yr) to commercial capacity (>100 MW/yr).

SunDrive has developed a solar cell metallisation technology that uses copper, a metal that is approximately 100x cheaper and 1000x more abundant than commonly used silver.

The Investor Group on Climate Change has released a discussion paper on making sector transition plans investable.

The Queensland government has announced a $1.3 billion package to progress work on CopperString, which will be Australia’s largest transmission project.

The project will help develop the North West Minerals Province, and the renewable energy potential of North Queensland - ready for construction to start in mid-2024.

The funding package will enable state government-owned Powerlink, alongside construction partners UGL and CPB, to undertake detailed design and engineering and environmental assessments. 

The NSW EPA is developing a Protection of the Environment Policy for Sustainable Construction to help reduce embodied emissions in public infrastructure, and to promote the use of recycled materials in infrastructure projects.

The proposed policy is revealed in a progress report on implementing the EPA's climate change action plan.

The progress report also says the EPA is currently establishing climate change industry advisory groups for the mining and agriculture sectors.

The agency is also developing climate change assessment requirements and guidance to ensure project proponents adequately consider climate change in environmental impact assessment processes. It has already started applying interim climate change assessment requirements to large emitting projects.

In addition, it is trialling new methane measurement and monitoring techniques with the University of New South Wales.

AEMO Services has opened registrations for the fourth tender of the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, seeking generation projects located anywhere in NSW that can demonstrate benefits to host communities and financial value to NSW electricity consumers.

Successful participants will be awarded Long-Term Energy Service Agreements (LTESAs), which provide the necessary insurance against future price risk to help fast-track project development.

The 2023 annual update on Victoria's transmission infrastructure, prepared by the Australian Energy Market Operator, notes that the state government will introduce a Bill in early 2024 to establish the Victorian Transmission Investment Framework (VTIF).

The VTIF will guide the planning and development of major electricity transmission infrastructure and Renewable Energy Zones.

Statutory development. Debate has started in the Tasmanian Parliament on the Water Miscellaneous Amendments (Delegation and Industrial Water Supply) Bill 2023.

The Bill will enable Tasmanian Irrigation to supply bulk raw water for hydrogen production.

Statutory development. The South Australian Legislative Assembly has passed the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy (Energy Resources) Amendment Bill, and it will now go to the Legislative Council.

It is based very closely on a Bill introduced by the former state government. However, a significant difference is that this version would introduce a rental payments regime for use of the voids in which CO2 is stored in the state, unless the CO2 comes from sources within Australia.

The rental regime would also apply to the storage of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by Direct Air Capture in Australia, under contract to an international company that is looking for sequestration options that match its overseas emissions.

Issue 18, 30 October 2023

Consultation opportunity. The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has released draft Australian sustainability standards focused on the disclosure of climate-related financial information.

The AASB is the federal government's accounting standards body.

The draft Australian standards, which are based on disclosure standards published by the international IFRS Foundation, are open for comment until 1 March.

EY has released a briefing that examines differences between the proposed Australian standards, and the IFRS standards.

The CEFC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to cooperate across the hydrogen, renewable energy and electricity infrastructure sectors as both nations strive to decarbonise their economies. 

Under the MoU, the CEFC and JBIC will consider co-investment opportunities in Australia, and will share investment knowledge and experience to support and fast track investment in the clean energy transition in Australia and Japan. 

In the latest investment under the federal hydrogen hubs program, the federal government will invest $69.2 million to develop the Central Queensland hydrogen hub in Queensland.

The hub could produce up to 292,000 tonnes of hydrogen by 2031, for use domestically and for export. Stanwell Corporation is leading the consortium developing the project, with industry matching the federal contribution. Construction will start next year.

Law firm Gilbert + Tobin has issued a review of a "busy month in Australian climate litigation", which discusses the implications of three significant court cases.

Consultation opportunity. The Australian Energy Regulator has released a draft directions paper on social licence issues for electricity transmission infrastructure, with comments due by 1 December.

The federal government has announced a $2 billion expansion of the Critical Minerals Facility, which previously had a $4 billion allocation, while an Australia-US Taskforce on Critical Minerals held its first meeting last week.

Statutory development. The Queensland government has introduced an Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill, which will give legislative force to the state targets of 50% renewable energy by 2030, 70% renewables by 2032, and 80% by 2035, and create a reporting and review mechanism.

The Bill also requires the government to prepare a strategy that will deliver 100% public ownership of transmission and distribution assets, 100% public ownership of deep storage assets, and at least 54% public ownership of generation assets.

In addition, the Bill enacts a Priority Transmission Investment framework to facilitate the identification, assessment, and construction of high-voltage backbone transmission infrastructure, as well as a framework for declaring and managing Renewable Energy Zones.

It also requires the development and regular updating of a Queensland SuperGrid Infrastructure Blueprint, and provides for a Priority Transmission Investment framework to facilitate the rapid deployment of renewables.

It also enshrines in law the state's Job Security Guarantee, to ensure workers in coal-fired power stations have a secure future, and clear employment pathways.

The Bill will also establish three new advisory bodies – the Queensland Energy System Advisory Board, a tripartite Energy Industry Council, and a Queensland Renewable Energy Jobs Advocate to advise on work opportunities.

The Queensland government has released a Clean Energy Workforce Roadmap.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council has received approval from the Clean Energy Regulator to earn carbon credits by diverting kerbside-collected food and garden organics from landfill.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has placed on exhibition GMR Energy's proposed $209 million, 150MW/300MWh Armidale Battery Energy Storage System, with comments due by 23 November.

Grant opportunity. Applications from Victorian manufacturers must be submitted by 13 December for grants of between $100,000 and $750,000 to support projects that contribute to the state's transition to net-zero. The grants are being offered through the Made in Victoria - Energy Technologies Manufacturing Program.

Victoria's fledgling State Electricity Commission has released its 2023-2025 Strategic Plan. The plan says the SEC will invest an initial $1 billion to help support 4.5GW of new renewable energy generation and storage.

The Tasmanian government has launched an $8 million Green Hydrogen Price Reduction scheme, to encourage businesses to produce, sell and use green hydrogen in the state.

Applicants will be asked to nominate their proposed sale price of green hydrogen and their cost of production. Payments to successful recipients will cover the difference between the cost of production and a competitive sale price for their green hydrogen.

The scheme aims to support green hydrogen projects ranging in size from 5MW to 10MW.

Consultation opportunity. The Tasmanian government has released a draft emissions reduction and resilience plan for the transport sector, which is accompanied by a "state of play" report on the sector. Comments are due by 29 November.

The federal government is consulting on a proposed offshore wind zone in Bass Strait, off the Tasmanian coast, with comments due by 31 January.

The South Australian government has announced that a consortium comprising ATCO Australia and BOC is its preferred partner to design a hydrogen production and generation project at Whyalla that will incorporate 250MW of electrolysers. EPIC Energy will provide a dual-purpose storage and transmission pipeline for the facility.

More than 2,600 Synergy customers with solar power have signed up to the Western Australian government's Solar Rewards scheme, which gives them a $100 electricity bill credit if they agree to allow Synergy to briefly turn off their solar when electricity demand is low and solar generation is high. The scheme went live on 1 October.

Issue 17, 23 October 2023

Consultation opportunity. A discussion paper on the future of the Climate Active program proposes raising the bar for certification, by requiring certified entities to prepare strategies to reduce scopes 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions.

Tighter constraints would also apply to the use of international offsets, and certified organisations would have to source at least a certain amount of their electricity from renewables.

Comments are due by 15 December.

The Clean Energy Regulator's latest quarterly carbon market report says the ACCU price trended down over the second quarter of 2023, while only a modest 526MW of new large-scale new renewables generation reached a final investment decision.

The Climate Change Authority has released a CSIRO report on reducing the costs of CO2 sequestration.

Large battery storage projects in Victoria and South Australia, as well as other projects in the two states capable of providing dispatchable energy to the grid, can now take the first step towards applying for support through federally-administered Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) agreements.

The agreements provide project developers with greater investment certainty, by specifying an agreed revenue floor and ceiling.

The SA-Vic CIS process will target 600 MW of dispatchable renewable capacity with 4-hour-equivalent duration across the two states.

The Clean Energy Regulator has released guidance for facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism on applying for an Emissions-Intensity Determination (EID). An EID will be crucial in calculating a facility's Safeguard liability.

Grant opportunity. ARENA has invited expressions of interest from proponents of large-scale renewable hydrogen production projects for funding through the $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart Program. Expressions of interest must be lodged by 10 November.

A joint parliamentary committee on trade and investment has released a report on transitioning Australia to a green energy superpower, which recommends the development of a cross-portfolio national green energy superpower strategy.

"Supporting the net zero transformation" is one of the national priorities listed in the new five-year National Skills Agreement struck between the federal, state and territory governments.

Climateworks has released a report on Delivering Freight Decarbonisation.

There are currently 18 CCS projects at various stages of progress in Australia, aiming to jointly sequester 20 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2035, according to Resources Minister Madeleine King. 

Submissions to a Senate inquiry on residential electrification are now available.

The FY23 annual report of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is now available.

The Clean Energy Council has released a package of 45 recommended measures to ensure Australia reaches 82% renewable energy by 2030.

Statutory development. Queensland's Parliament has passed the Gas Supply and Other Legislation (Hydrogen Industry Development) Amendment Bill, which expands the scope of legislation regulating the transport of petroleum and fossil gas to encompass hydrogen and other renewable gases.

Emerging carbon and nature markets will be pivotal in encouraging landholders to go beyond mere compliance with native vegetation protection laws, according to a Queensland government response to an independent review of land clearing in the state.

The report of the panel, led by Professor Hugh Possingham and with members including Professor Andrew Macintosh, as well as the government's response, are now available.

The panel proposes an 'engage, inform, incentivise and reward' approach. It says changing legislation can cause panic clearing, and there are now greater opportunities for landowners to benefit by protecting biodiversity and storing carbon.

"Queensland has an opportunity to become a world leader in carbon- and biodiversity-friendly farming and to realise a significant market advantage as a result," the panel says.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni have officially opened the 180MW Octopus/RES Dulacca wind farm.

State-owned CleanCo has a power purchase agreement to take 70% of Dulacca's output.

The state government has announced a range of new measures to encourage high quality engagement and local participation in preparations for regional energy projects.

The state government will also examine whether the role of the state's GasFields Commission - which aims to ease tensions between gas projects and farmers - should be expanded to include promoting coexistence among renewable energy developments, resource projects, agriculture, and other industries.

Logan City Council has received a $291,785 ARENA grant to investigate producing bio methane, biochar and fertiliser from kerbside-collected food and garden waste. The waste would be processed at the Loganholme wastewater treatment plant.

The state government is seeking responses by 30 October to a survey on zero-emission vehicles.

Statutory development. The NSW government has introduced its Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Bill, to enshrine the state's emissions reduction targets in law and establish an independent, advisory Net Zero Commission that will also play a role in promoting climate action in the state.

The Bill will give legislative force to the state's existing targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030, and reaching net zero by 2050.

Consultation opportunity. The NSW government is seeking feedback by 15 November on proposed changes to its Peak Demand Reduction Scheme.

New amendments to Victoria's 2020 rehabilitation strategy for the Latrobe Valley's three brown coal mines focus to a large extent on the crucial issue of their access to water, to enable their conversion to pit lakes.

The amended strategy says potential access to surface water for mine rehabilitation should be restricted to the wettest times of the year, and mine licensees will not be allowed to take more surface water than they have historically used. The amendments leave open the option of using desalinated or recycled water.

Depending on when each mine closes, and if each void needs water, up to 2,800GL could be required, equivalent to six times Melbourne's annual water use.

A new FY23 progress report on Victoria's VRET scheme says that renewable energy sources accounted for 37.8% of Victoria’s electricity generation in FY23, up from 34.1% in FY22.

As at 30 June 2023, there were 17 renewable energy generation projects under construction or undergoing commissioning in Victoria, with a combined capacity of 1,734MW. A total of 551MW of rooftop solar was also installed.

The state government has relaxed rules for access to its Solar Homes rebate and interest-free loans, and will now allow homeowners to access the program again if they move to a new property. It will also allow homeowners to access it to replace PV systems that are more than 10 years old.

The Tasmanian government has released the implementation plan for its Climate Change Action Plan, which describes the lead agency, approach and timeframe for completing each action.

Statutory development. Western Australia's Legislative Assembly has passed the Electricity Industry Amendment (Distributed Energy Resources) Bill, and it is now before the Legislative Council. The Opposition has indicated its support for the government Bill.

The Bill introduces an overarching state electricity objective that includes an environmental consideration, streamlines regulatory arrangements for the state's major grid, and includes measures to support the uptake of distributed energy resources.

South Korean steel company POSCO and French energy company ENGIE will jointly study the feasibility of using renewable hydrogen to power POSCO's proposed Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) plant in Port Hedland, the state government has announced.

Issue 16, 9 October 2023

The federal government has gazetted National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Safeguard Mechanism) Amendment (Production Variables Update) Rules that update production variables and industry average emission intensities.

The variables and intensity values are used to calculate emission limits (known as baselines) that apply to facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism.

Consultation opportunity. A new federal consultation paper canvasses views on a proposed Future Gas Strategy that will provide a medium (to 2035) and long-term (to 2050) plan for domestic gas production and consumption. Comments are due by 13 November.

The paper discusses Australia's LNG exports, and the use of fossil gas for industrial heat and as a feedstock.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors has released a director's guide to mandatory climate reporting.

"Successful businesses will approach climate reporting as a strategic opportunity to demonstrate the value and the resilience of their organisation, rather than a compliance 'tick box' exercise," it says.

The federal government has released a report prepared by Jobs and Skills Australia on the workforce needed for a net-zero economy.

Based on preliminary modelling, it concludes Australia will need close to two million workers in building and engineering trades by 2050, an increase of around 40% on current numbers.

Depending on different policy approaches to reaching renewable energy goals, the preliminary modelling shows Australia will need approximately 26,000 to 42,000 more electricians in the next seven years.

The Australian Energy Regulator's latest annual State of the Energy Market report, which examines electricity and gas markets, concludes that the greatest challenge for the energy transition is delivering major transmission projects in a timely, least-cost manner.

Videos of keynote addresses from the Investor Group on Climate Change summit in Sydney are now available. Speakers include Professor Mark Howden, Frank Jotzo, Assistant Climate Change Minister Jenny McAllister, and farmer and scientist Dr Anika Molesworth.

Edify Energy's 600MW Smoky Creek solar farm, to be located south of Rockhampton, has received EPBC approval.

The NSW government has released a new net-zero emissions policy for heavy road and rail freight.

The strategy covers regulatory matters, such as removing regulatory incentives for high-emitting vehicles, advocating for the adoption of Euro VI and Euro VII emissions standards, and working with other jurisdictions on appropriate road user charging for low- and zero-emissions vehicles.

The WA government is seeking expressions of interest from large businesses that intend seeking significantly more low-emissions electricity from the South-West grid before 2030, or that plan to connect large-scale generation projects to the South-West grid in the same timeframe.

The EoI process aims to clarify the customer base that will shape future major transmission projects (including potential renewable energy generation hubs), and to prioritise areas for grid investment.

Registrations of interest must be submitted by 1 November.

Issue 14, 25 September 2023

Consultation opportunity. DCCEEW has released for comment a detailed design for Australia's proposed Guarantee of Origin (GO) scheme, which would certify and track the emissions from hydrogen-related projects, and which will also encompass renewable electricity. Comments on the 'REGO' renewable electricity design are due by 17 October, and on other GO aspects are due by 14 November.

Grant opportunity. The federal government is offering grants of up to $15 million for carbon capture or use projects. Expressions of interest must be lodged by 31 October.

New data shows the Clean Energy Regulator paid a total of $36.48 million for 2.58 million ACCUs that were surrendered to it in FY23 under fixed delivery contracts.

This is less than a third of the $107.34 million that it spent buying 8.56 million ACCUs in FY22, with the drop attributable to a market change allowing ACCU holders to exit their delivery contracts with the Regulator, and instead sell them elsewhere.

The Climate Change Authority will host a 17 October webinar on its latest review of the ACCU scheme.

The federal government has cancelled more than 700 million stockpiled Kyoto Protocol-era "carryover" carbon credits, meaning they can't be used to help meet the nation's Paris Agreement emissions reduction commitment.

Tender opportunity. Queensland government-owned CleanCo is inviting expressions of interest from proponents of generation and storage projects that are interested in participating in its Swanbank Clean Energy Hub. Tenders close 20 October.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has placed on exhibition a proposal by Oxley Solar Development Pty Ltd for a 215MW solar farm and a 50 MW/50 MW-hour battery,to be located near Armidale in the New England Renewable Energy Zone.

Also on exhibition are OMPS's Oven Mountain 900MW pumped hydro energy storage project, also proposed for the New England REZ, and the Silver City compressed air 200MW/1600MWh energy storage project proposed by A-CAES NSW Pty Ltd for Broken Hill.

Consultation opportunity. The Victorian government has released a discussion paper on the use of renewable gas by industry. Submissions are due by 6 October.

The Victorian Essential Services Commission has released the 2022 performance report for the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, showing that about 7.8 million certificates were registered in that year. There is also growing business interest in earning certificates from complex "project-based activities".

Issue 13, 18 September 2023

Statutory development. Parliament has passed the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Amendment (Administrative Changes) Bill, which aims to streamline the GEMS energy rating and labelling scheme.

Parliament has instructed the Climate Change Authority to provide advice on potential technology transition and emissions pathways that best support transition to net zero by six sectors.

The Authority must provide its advice by 1 August 2024. Work is already underway in the Authority to develop advice on Australia’s 2035 emissions reduction targets, with its advice on targets due by 1 October 2024.

Consultation opportunity. A new federal government green paper on aviation out to 2050 floats the possibility of measures such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel targets, or a low carbon fuel standard. It also discusses electrification and hydrogen. Comments are due by 30 November.

DCCEEW has released an interim guideline for organisations seeking to draft new methods for creating ACCUs, for consideration by the new Carbon Abatement Integrity Committee.

The Chubb review of the ACCU scheme recommended that proponents be allowed to develop and propose new methods for the creation of ACCUs.

An alliance of clean energy and environmental organisations, and the ACTU, has urged the federal government to commit to a ten-year $100 billion Australian Renewables Industry Package, partly in response to the US Inflation Reduction Act.

The federal government has cancelled about 700 million Kyoto "carryover credits", which means that it can't use abatement nominally achieved more than a decade ago to help meet its 2030 international emissions reduction pledge.

COP28 president, Sultan Al Jaber, has appointed Australia's assistant climate change minister Jenny McAllister, and Chile's Environment Minister, Maisa Rojas, to guide discussions at the COP on climate change adaptation.

Consultation opportunity. A Senate committee inquiry into the Northern Territory's Middle Arm precinct is accepting submissions until 31 October.

The Victorian government has accepted an environmental referral for Neoen's proposed 600MW Navarre wind farm and battery energy storage system, which would be located about 190 kilometres north-west of Melbourne.

The Tasmanian government has signed a Joint Declaration of Intent with the German city of Bremen to collaborate on green hydrogen development.

The South Australian government has introduced the Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Bill, which is intended to provide a coordinated approach to administering the state's hydrogen and renewable energy industries.

The Bill introduces a new system for conferring access and licences for projects on pastoral land and state waters.

It also creates five licence types relating to the key stages of renewable energy projects - renewable energy feasibility licences and permits; infrastructure licences; research licences; hydrogen generation licences; and associated infrastructure licences.

Comments are due by 19 September on BP's EPA referral for a renewable diesel and avgas project at Kwinana in Western Australia that would use vegetable oils, animal fats and other biowaste as feedstock.

The WA EPA has recommended that Woodside's proposed solar farm near Karratha be approved. The solar farm would initially have a capacity of 100MW, but would be capable of expansion to 500MW.

Issue 12, 11 September 2023

Consultation opportunity. Andrew Dyer, the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner, has released a discussion on paper for his review of community engagement practices for electricity infrastructure. Responses are due by 1 October.

The Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, and the UN PRI have jointly urged the federal government to ensure its proposed mandatory climate-related financial disclosures regime establish a framework for developing and disclosing 1.5 degree-aligned transition plans.

Consultation opportunity. The Department of Industry, Science, and Resources has released draft national science and research priorities, with priority one being 'Ensuring a net zero future and protecting Australia’s biodiversity'. Comments are due by 29 September.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has committed up to $75 million to a new investment mandate targeting upgrades that reduce the operational emissions of commercial offices, hotels and shopping centres by at least 30%. The CEFC's investment will be managed by commercial real estate investment manager, MaxCap Group.

A Senate committee inquiring into climate-related marine invasive species is due to release its report tomorrow.

A Senate select committee inquiring into Australia's disaster resilience will this month hold hearings in Townsville, Darwin and Brisbane.

ANU Professor Frank Jotzo has been appointed to advise DCCEEW as it investigates the merits of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism or other measures to ensure large-emitting, trade-exposed businesses in Australia remain competitive as they decarbonise.

The federal government has appointed Professor Karen Hussey as full-time Chair of the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC), the statutory body responsible for ensuring the integrity of Australia’s carbon crediting scheme.

A new Greens-instigated Senate inquiry into the Middle Arm industrial precinct in the Northern Territory will examine its role, any climate, environmental, health or cultural heritage impacts that might result from the project, and the conduct of the proposed strategic environmental assessment.

At the ASEAN leaders summit in Jakarta, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced $50 million in funding to help Indonesia de-risk private infrastructure projects to support its net-zero ambitions, and $100 million to support its sustainable finance and Just Energy Transition agenda.

The federal government has released a new South East Asia economic strategy that includes a section on the green energy transition.

The Queensland government has launched a Climate Smart Energy Savers program that provides rebates of up to $1,000 to households purchasing energy efficient appliances, heat pumps or solar hot water systems.

Consultation opportunity. The NSW government has started consultations on a proposed critical minerals and high-tech metals strategy, with comments due by 17 November.

The NSW government will increase coal royalty rates by 2.6 percentage points from 1 July 2024, which will improve NSW's Budget position by more than $2.7 billion over four years.

The NSW government has released its response to the independent Electricity Supply and Reliability Check-up.

Victoria's Minister for Industry and Innovation, Ben Carroll, has announced recipients of the latest round of the Low Carbon Manufacturing Grants Program, to help small and medium-sized manufacturers capitalise on renewable energy opportunities.

Issue 11, 4 September 2023

Grant opportunity. The Powering the Regions Fund will shortly accept applications for grants of between $1 million and $100 million to help cement, lime, alumina and aluminium facilities decarbonise. Applications must be submitted by 2 November.

Reserve Bank deputy governor Michele Bullock, who shortly be the bank's governor, has delivered a speech on the RBA's approach to climate change risk.

Urgent and ongoing investment is needed to maintain energy reliability in the National Electricity Market, according to the latest Electricity Statement of Opportunities report from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Townsville City Council will earn carbon credits from the introduction of a FOGO kerbside collection, following its registration of a new ERF project, and a Perth-based electric vehicle leasing and rental company, CarBon Leasing and Rentals, has registered a new ERF project under the transport method.

APRA's corporate plan for FY24 says it will conduct a climate vulnerability assessment to assess the implications of climate risk for general insurance access and affordability.

The Clean Energy Regulator has released its corporate plan for FY24 to FY27. and the Climate Change Authority has released its FY24 corporate plan.

Facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism have until 15 November to apply to the Clean Energy Regulator for a multi-year emissions limit to help manage their FY23 excess emissions.

The latest progress report for Snowy 2.0 shows total project costs are now expected to be $12 billion, with full power not delivered until December 2028.

A new report from the Australian Energy Market Commission recommends that Australia aim to ensure all energy consumers have smart meters by the start of the next decade.

The Australian Energy Market Operator will conduct a two-stage tender process for 600MW of dispatchable renewable energy generation and storage in Victoria and South Australia, which is expected to add 6GW to support grid reliability and storage. Further tenders will occur in the two states in 2024.

The federal government is inviting applications for greenhouse gas storage exploration in 10 areas.

Queensland government-owned energy company Stanwell has signed an MoU with global renewables company RWE, with a key focus being the development of two new wind farms by 2029 - the 1,100MW Theodore wind farm in central Queensland, and a 720MW project in southern Queensland.

Ten coastal councils in Queensland will share $3.3 million in state government funding for projects to protect their communities from erosion, storm tides, and the threat of rising sea levels.

The NSW EPA has issued a draft guideline on carbon offsetting for electricity firming infrastructure, which specifies that offsets must be ACCUs from projects in NSW.

The NSW government has placed on exhibition Vena Energy's proposal for a 408MW battery storage system at Bellambi Heights.

The NSW government has placed on exhibition Transgrid's application for environmental approval for HumeLink, transmission infrastructure that will run 360 kilometres from Wagga to Maragle and Bannaby.

A NSW parliamentary committee has issued a report in which government members concluded that HumeLink needed to be an overhead transmission line.

The report also recommended that the state government undertake cumulative impact studies before declaring future renewable energy zones, and that it consider appointing an independent ombudsman on renewable energy projects and transmission infrastructure.

The federal and Victorian governments are providing a total of $92 million to help electrify public housing, and will contribute a total of another $16 million to support solar installations in apartments.

The apartments solar program will provide grants of up to $2,800 per apartment – or up to $140,000 total for each apartment building – for rooftop systems.

ARENA will provide a $10 million grant to Victorian-based RayGen to help develop its combined solar and thermal storage technology.

The Victorian government has joined the Global Offshore Wind Alliance - a grouping of governments that aims to achieve a total global offshore wind capacity of at least 380GW by 2030.

Statutory development. South Australia's Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis has introduced the Petroleum and Geeothermal Energy (Energy Resources) Amendment Bill, which will require a rental fee regime for storing regulated substances in natural reservoirs.

However, rental fees will not apply to CO2 produced in Australia and stored in the state, so as not to disincentivise CCS projects like the Santos Moomba project. The exemption will not apply to CO2 imported into Australia for storage.

The federal and Western Australian governments have signed a Rewiring the Nation agreement that will encompass support of up to $3 billion from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for new and upgraded transmission in WA's two main grids.

Statutory development. The state government has introduced the Electricity Industry Amendment (Distributed Energy Resources) Bill, which is designed to support the uptake of technologies such as solar PV and batteries.

Issue 10, 28 August 2023

Seven private peak bodies and three federal agencies have jointly launched the Infrastructure Net Zero initiative.

The ten founders are the Australian Constructors Association, the Australasian Railways Association, Consult Australia, the Green Building Council of Australia, Infrastructure Australia, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, the Infrastructure Sustainability Council, Roads Australia, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

Consultation opportunity. DCCEEW has released a discussion paper on implementing recommendations of the Chubb review, which includes sections raising the possibility of adjusting auction procedures and fixed contract exit arrangements. Comments are due by 3 October. Workshops are also planned.

The federal government has released the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the March 2023 quarter, which includes a special section on emissions from harvested native forests.

The federal government has released submissions received during its fuel efficiency standard consultation.

The CEFC invested $1.9 billion in 2022-23 , including a record $1.2 billion in renewable energy and grid-related projects, according to its latest investment update.

CSIRO and corporate advisor RFC Ambrian have formed a new company, Hadean Energy, to commercialise a highly efficient solid oxide electrolysis technology for producing green hydrogen, which will be trialled by BlueScope.

Grant opportunity. ARENA is inviting applications by 19 December under the Regional Microgrids Program, with $75 million to be allocated to First Nations communities, and $50 million to regional microgrid pilot projects.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen last week attended the UNFCCC Pacific Regional High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change in Suva, and convened a Pacific Climate Change Ministers Roundtable.

Consultation opportunity. DFAT is seeking submissions by 30 September on the implementation of the Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement (GEA).

DFAT's Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) is calling for applications from potential business partners to trial new ideas or implement established, high-quality solutions for delivering renewable energy to remote and rural communities in the Pacific and Timor-Leste. Concept notes must be submitted by 23 October.

The Investor Group on Climate Change has released a Road to Resilience Strategy to stimulate investment in climate resilience, and has also announced this year's winners of the IGCC climate awards.

Industry and research bodies in Australia and Japan have agreed to conduct research, development and demonstration work to examine the technical feasibility of transporting CO2 by ship from Asia to Australia for storage.

Statutory development. The Queensland government has gazetted the Mineral Resources Amendment Regulation 2023, which reduces the rent for existing and new exploration permits for a mineral other than coal. The rent will be reduced to zero dollars for five years, to encourage exploration for critical minerals.

Grant opportunity. A total of $53.5 million is available under the latest round of funding offered through the Queensland government's Industry Partnership Program. The funding round aims to develop industries that will be in demand as the world decarbonises.

The NSW Anti-Slavery Commissioner and the Clean Energy Council will work together to develop a Code of Practice on managing modern slavery risks in renewable energy value-chains.

A NSW parliamentary committee inquiry into the feasibility of undergrounding renewable energy transmission infrastructure has released transcript of its latest hearing.

The Victorian government has released a referral for a renewable energy terminal within the Port of Hastings that would serve as a base of operations for the assembly of offshore wind farms along the Victorian coast.

The Victorian government and AGL have struck an agreement on the future of the Loy Yang A coal-fired power station, with the details of the agreement kept secret.

Under the terms of the agreement, AGL has confirmed the power station will close in 2035.

Grant opportunity. The Victorian government has launched a $3 million pilot grant program, providing assistance to landowners in the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) region interested in 'environmental plantings' carbon farming projects.

The Victorian government has raised the income threshold for eligibility for its Solar Homes grant program from $180,000 a year to $210,000 a year.

The Victorian government is now also offering home owners discounted home energy rating assessments, through the Victorian Energy Upgrades scheme.

The Tasmanian government has convened a workshop with the waste industry, to help develop an emissions reduction plan for the sector. The government is developing seven sectoral emissions reduction plans, and has previously held a workshop with the transport industry.

Grant opportunity. Round 2 of the Western Australian government's Carbon for Farmers Voucher Program, which provides up to $15,000 for farmers to access professional advice on carbon farming, is open for applications until 29 September.

Issue 9, 21 August 2023

The Climate Change Authority is conducting a survey in the lead-up to its review of the NGER Act, canvassing views on issues including fugitive methane measurement, transparency, and confidentiality. Responses are due by 31 August.

Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen has announced a review to investigate the feasibility of a carbon border tariff, along the lines of the EU CBAM, especially for steel and cement.

The review will be in the context of a broader examination of carbon leakage risks and risk management options, and will take place in conjunction with the development of sectoral decarbonisation strategies. It will be completed in the third quarter of 2024.

The Clean Energy Regulator has scheduled two audit and assurance workshops, one in Sydney on 16 November, and another in Melbourne on 14 December.

ARENA will provide $20.9 million to Wollongong-based startup Hysata to demonstrate its hydrogen electrolyser technology at commercial scale.

Hysata will develop and test a 5MW unit at its manufacturing facility in Port Kembla, which will ultimately be installed next to Stanwell power station in Queensland.

Queensland government-owned Stanwell Corporation will contribute $3 million to the project.

Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen has gazetted a new General Funding Strategy for ARENA.

Australia and California have signed a new climate change Memorandum of Understanding, which deals with matters including clean transport, nature-based solutions, adaptation, clean energy and clean technologies, the circular economy, and research and development.

Consultation opportunity. The federal government is seeking comments by 16 October on a proposed offshore renewable energy area in the Illawarra region, marking the fourth offshore zone to be proposed by the government. Two of the four have so far been officially declared.

The NSW government has placed on exhibition Origin Energy's proposed Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub, with comments due by 19 September. The hub would produce green hydrogen through the electrolysis of recycled water in a 60MW electrolyser. The hydrogen would be used by Orica at its Kooragang Island facility.

The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer has just released the findings of an independent review of the climate risk method for the NSW regional water strategies program, which it completed in 2020.

Two more solar farms, the 152MW Marulan solar farm and the 350MW Blind Creek solar farm, have received NSW planning approval. The latest approvals mean a total of 19 solar farms have been approved in NSW since the start of 2020, with another 13 in the planning pipeline.

The Victorian government has gazetted changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions that make the Planning Minister the responsible authority for large-scale hydrogen gas production projects.

The SA government has declared copper to be a critical mineral, and will include it in its forthcoming Critical Minerals Strategy. It will also advocate for the inclusion of copper on the national Critical Minerals list.

The SA government has urged all South Australians to participate in a Community Climate Conversations program, discussing how the state can achieve net zero by 2050. The program, which will continue to the end of November, is being run by the Conservation Council of SA and South Australians for Climate Action.

The SA government has released a new Hydrogen Industry Supplier Directory, and a Statement of Capacity: Hydrogen Supply Chain Mapping for SA.

WA Environment and Climate Action Minister Reece Whitby has changed greenhouse gas implementation conditions for Woodside's Pluto project, after obtaining advice from the EPA.

The Australian Energy Market Operator's 2023 Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) report highlights the need for significant and sustained investment in generation, storage and transmission to meet reliability standards in WA's main grid, known as the SWIS.

Looking at the upcoming decade, the report forecasts an increase in electricity use and peak demand levels, and expects 1,366MW of coal-fired generation capacity will be retired within the next decade.

Considering existing and committed capacity supply, AEMO forecasts the need for additional capacity throughout the outlook period, including a shortfall of 945MW in 2025-26 and around 4,000MW by 2032-33.

Issue 8, 14 August 2023

Australia's Trade Minister Don Farrell and his NZ counterpart Damien O'Connor have signed a sustainable and inclusive trade declaration, which aims to support the transition to net zero.

The Senate has passed a Bill that makes a range of administrative changes to the GEMS energy rating and labelling scheme, and the Bill now goes to the House of Representatives. The Bill implements some of the recommendations of a 2019 review of the Act.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has launched the government's new International Development Policy, which highlights the need for action on climate change and reaffirms Australia's commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

A new Senate committee inquiry into Senator David Pocock's Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Climate Equity) Bill is seeking submissions by 20 October, and will report by 1 March 2024.

The Queensland government has gazetted a Regulation to establish a new $16 million Business Energy Saving and Transformation Rebate Scheme that will provide eligible businesses with a 50% rebate for eligible energy efficiency equipment, up to a maximum of $12,500 per applicant.

More than 25% of Queensland's energy is now generated by renewables, and the state is on track to beat its renewable energy target of 50% renewables by 2030, according to Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Minister Mick de Brenni.

The Queensland government has gazetted a regulation to facilitate preliminary works on the Borumba pumped hydro project, which will be built by government-owned Queensland Hydro Pty Ltd.

Consultation opportunity. The Queensland government is seeking views on proposed updates of the Queensland Wind Farm Code and associated planning guidelines. Submissions close on 4 September.

The NSW EPA is conducting a mandatory survey of licensees to clarify what action they are already taking on climate change, and to help the agency determine how best to implement its climate change action plan. Survey responses are due by 1 September.

NSW Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos, NSW Energy Minister Penny Sharpe and Cessnock Mayor Jay Suvaal have hosted a stakeholder roundtable on proposed new Future Jobs & Investment Authorities that will be established in the coal-producing regions of the Hunter, Illawarra, and the Central West.

Consultation opportunity. The NSW government has placed on exhibition Squadron Energy's proposed Dubbo dual fuel gas/hydrogen 64MW firming power station, with submissions due by 5 September.

Statutory development. Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio has introduced the Energy Legislation Amendment Bill, which will make changes to electricity and gas legislation.

The Victorian government has released a consultation paper on its commitment to ensure all public transport buses purchased from 2025 are zero emissions.

Victoria's Latrobe Valley Authority has released the final version of the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland Transition Plan, and a supporting five-year implementation plan.

Amendments to Western Australia's Land Administration Act 1997 and Public Works Act 1902 are now in force, which allow for large areas of Crown land to be used for diverse purposes, including renewable energy generation.

The Northern Territory's Jacana Energy is seeking Expressions of Interest for the supply of up to 100MW of renewable energy for the Darwin-Katherine region.

Issue 7, 7 August 2023

The federal government has released Key Factors Guidance for the offshore renewable energy industry.

EVs will need to reach 100% of new car sales by about 2040, in order for emissions from light vehicles to be largely eliminated by 2050, consistent with Australia’s net-zero target, says a Climate Change Authority submission on fuel efficiency standards.

Five projects will share $12.4 million in International Clean Innovation Researcher Network grants awarded by the federal government.

The Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies To Fight Climate Change) Bill has passed the House of Representatives, with Opposition support, and will now go to the Senate.

Senator David Pocock has introduced his Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Climate Equity) Bill, which would require decision-makers under legislation including the EPBC Act and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act to consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the health and wellbeing of current and future Australian children.

A new EY briefing says the Safeguard Mechanism will drive significant new emissions abatement, and the price of Australian Carbon Credit Units could rise to about $80 before 2035.

Two renewable energy projects - Squadron Energy's proposed 700MW Spicers Creek wind farm near Dubbo and Athena Energy's proposed 280MW Bendemeer solar farm near Tamworth - are currently on exhibition in NSW.

Consultation opportunity. The ACT government has released a draft integrated energy plan, with a webinar scheduled for 10 August and submissions due by 12 September.

Grant opportunity. The ACT government is offering grants to hospitality businesses to cover up to 50% of the cost of buying electric equipment to replace gas.

The Victorian government has granted approval for Wind Prospect's 350MW Willatook wind farm near Port Fairy, with the Clean Energy Council criticising conditions that require construction to be suspended during the breeding season of the Brolga, which is a listed threatened species, and for larger buffers to protect the Brolga and the Southern Bent-wing Bat.

The WA government is negotiating with a major South Korean renewable energy consortium on the establishment of a green ammonia production facility near Geraldton that would produce up to one million tonnes of ammonia annually. The first exports are expected in 2027.

WA's Horizon Power has purchased a vanadium redox flow battery, for pilot testing in Kununurra.

The state government has awarded $100,000 to Murdoch University to test the suitability of a low-carbon concrete in roadworks. The concrete contains Collie flyash, and the grant was awarded under the Collie Futures Small Grants program.

The Northern Territory government has signed an MoU with Korea Midland Power (KOMIPO) and NT-based Larrakia Energy for a proposed 300MW solar farm that would be located near the Middle Arm Precinct. It would be the NT's largest solar farm, and Australia's largest Aboriginal-owned solar farm.

Issue 6, 31 July 2023

Government and Opposition members of a Senate inquiry into the government's Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies to Fight Climate Change) Bill have recommended that it be passed, with Greens members of the Senate committee dissenting.

Consultation opportunity. The federal government is consulting on a proposed update of Australia's Critical Minerals List, with submissions due by 17 August.

A joint statement from a meeting between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NZ Prime Minister Chris Hipkins includes a section on climate that proposes cooperation on several fronts.

State governments must urgently overhaul their approach to land use planning to ensure no more homes are built without regard to flood plain risk, organisations representing planners, builders and insurers said today in a joint statement.

The Green Building Council of Australia and the Property Council have released a report on carbon offsets that advocates a "last but not later" approach.

Nexa Advisory has released a report by Endgame Economics on the the likely impacts of delaying closure of NSW's ageing coal-fired Eraring and Vales Point power stations.

From 1 January 2024, planning permits for new homes and residential subdivisions won't allow for gas connections, the Victorian government has announced.

Federal climate change minister Chris Bowen has issued an Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Declaration for an area in Bass Strait off Gippsland.

The WA government has released Western Australia's first climate adaptation strategy.

The WA government has awarded carbon farming grants totalling $2.15 million to eight farming businesses.

Issue 5, 23 July 2023

The federal government will develop sectoral decarbonisation plans for electricity and energy, industry, the built environment, agriculture and land, transport, and resources, Minister Chris Bowen said in a speech to the Clean Energy Council. The waste sector will be included in the industry plan, and the circular economy will be a cross-cutting issue for all sectors.

Minister Bowen has written to the Climate Change Authority for advice on sector pathways. He has also asked the Authority to provide its advice on a 2035 national target, which he expects to receive in late 2024.

Consultation opportunity. DCCEEW is inviting submissions by 11 August on proposed international best practice benchmarks and guidelines for use under the Safeguard Mechanism.

Minister Chris Bowen has gazetted a new Investment Mandate for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which differs in significant respects from the 2020 version.

ARENA has released a white paper on the potential of Ultra Low-Cost Solar (ULCS) for Australia and the world. ARENA's "30-30-30 vision" is 30% solar module efficiency, and an installed cost of solar of 30 cents per watt by 2030.

In addition, ARENA will provide a $3.7 million grant to Enel X for a pilot virtual power plant (VPP) project involving 440 supermarkets and 13 refrigerated warehouses, which will aggregate 20.9MW of flexible demand across the National Electricity Market.

ARENA will also provide a $541,000 grant to the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI), for its $1.12 million Silicon to Solar study, which is examining ways to reduce dependence on imported solar panels.

The federal government has also made a new appointment to the ARENA Board. New Board member Marianna O'Gorman is currently on the Board of Stanwell Corporation and has previously worked at the World Bank.

Tender opportunity. The Clean Energy Regulator has invited audit companies with suitably qualified auditors to tender to be part of its Greenhouse and Energy Audit Services panel. Tenders must be submitted by 15 August.

Grant opportunity. The federal government has invited applications by 16 August for a share of $8.5 million in grants for research into reducing methane emissions in the resources sector. Grants of between $1 million and $5 million are available.

Australia has signed a statement on Accelerating Methane Mitigation from the LNG Value Chain, on the sidelines of an LNG conference in Tokyo. Other signatories are the US, Japan, Korea and the EU.

The federal government will provide $50 million to support the development of secure and diversified clean energy supply chains in the Indo-Pacific - a project taking place under the auspices of the Quad Clean Energy Supply Chain Diversification Program.

Frucor Suntory, the company behind brands including Pepsi, Gatorade, and V Energy, has signed an agreement with Queensland government-owned CleanCo for hte supply of electricity and large-scale generation certificates matching 100% of the power needs of its new $400 million factory at Swanbank, which will open in 2024.

The South Australian government, Hallett Group and Korean companies Elecseed and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power have signed a statement of cooperation for a Hallett Group plan to produce green cement using fly ash from the former Playford B and Northern Power Stations in Port Augusta, and slag from Nyrstar’s Port Pirie operation.

Korean-Australian green hydrogen specialist Elecseed and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, one of Korea’s biggest energy companies, will build a 6 MW hydrogen electrolyser at the site of the former power stations, to use in processing the cement. Hallett Group expects to start construction early in the second half of 2024.

Issue 4, 17 July 2023

The Climate Change Authority has released its latest Corporate Emissions Reduction Transparency (CERT) report, with 25 companies and organisations this year opting-in to the disclosure scheme. Participants include AGL, Aldi, Aurizon, ANZ, Baybrick, Coles, the Commonwealth Bank, Dexus, Downer, Fletcher Building, Fortescue, Lendlease, Mirvac, Orica, Pioneer Sail Holdings, Transurban, Westpac, Woodside and Woolworths.

The federal government has appointed climate change and disaster management expert Dr Robert Glasser will lead an independent review of National Natural Disaster Governance Arrangements, which will make recommendations to better prepare governments for the demands of increasing future natural disasters.

Federal, state and territory agriculture ministers have released the first National Statement on Climate Change and Agriculture.

Minister Chris Bowen has declared an area offshore from the NSW Hunter Region to be suitable for offshore electricity infrastructure.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has issued an engineering roadmap to 100% renewables, which lists FY24 priority actions.

ARENA has awarded a $32.1 million grant to Rio Tinto to support a $111.1 million trial of hydrogen calcination technology at its Yarwun alumina facility in Gladstone.

Eligible primary producers can now treat certain income they receive on or after 1 July 2022 from eligible ACCUs and carbon abatement activities as primary production income for the purposes of the Farm Management Deposit Scheme and Tax Averaging rules.

Grant opportunity. Farmers and other landholders in Queensland can now apply for the next round of funding under the state's Carbon Farming Advice Scheme, which provides grants of up to $10,000 to obtain carbon farming advice from a Land Restoration Fund approved advisor.

The Queensland government has awarded Alpha HPA a $21 million Industry Partnership Program grant to develop stage two of its $300 million facility in Gladstone, so the company can move to full-scale production of high purity alumina.

The ACT government has appointed seven experts to its new Renewable Energy Innovation Fund Industry Advisory Board. The Board will be chaired by professor Ken Baldwin, director of the ANU's Energy Change Institute.

Statutory development and consultation opportunity. A draft Water Miscellaneous Amendments (Delegation and Industrial Water Supply) Bill aims partly to enable Tasmanian Irrigation to enter into contracts for the supply of water for hydrogen production at sites such as the Bell Bay Green Hydrogen Hub. Submissions are due by 8 August.

The WA government is establishing a Green Energy Major Projects Group within the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation to help steer hydrogen and other green energy projects through approvals processes. It will also establish a Green Energy Expert Panel to provide the EPA with relevant information.

The WA government has welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Western Green Energy Hub - which aims to produce 3.5 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually from its project in WA's Goldfields-Esperance region - and Korea Electric Power Corp.

Issue 3, 10 July 2023

The Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner will lead a review into community engagement practices relating to the deployment of renewable energy infrastructure, which will report to Minister Chris Bowen by the end of the year.

Consultation opportunity. The government is seeking views until 18 July on exposure draft legislation to introduce the Small Business Energy Incentive to help small and medium businesses electrify and save on their energy bills. Businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million will have access to a bonus 20% tax deduction in FY24 for the cost of eligible depreciating assets.

Grant opportunity. ARENA has invited expressions by 1 November for grants under a $30 million funding initiative to reduce emissions in the aviation sector, following the government's launch last month of a long-anticipated Australian Jet-Zero Council.

The Queensland and German governments have launched a $3 million net-zero economy collaborative research program that will focus on matters including biofuels.

The Victorian government has gazetted version nine of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target guidelines.

The Victorian government has gazetted an amendment to the Victoria Planning Provisions that aims to clarify noise requirements for wind farms.

As part of work to develop a Renewable Energy Zone in North-West Tasmania, Renewables Climate Future Industries Tasmania has this month launched a REZ Mapping Important Places initiative.

Statutory Development. South Australia's Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, Susan Close, has introduced the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation (Use of Pastoral Land) Amendment Bill, wwhich ensures that pastoral leases can be used for carbon farming and conservation.

Issue 2, 3 July 2023

Consultation opportunity. Treasury is seeking submissions by 21 July on the design of a proposed mandatory climate-related financial risk disclosure regime.

Consultation opportunity. The federal government is seeking comments by 31 August on a proposed area for offshore energy infrastructure that would extend from Warrnambool (Victoria) to Port MacDonnell (SA).

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will earmark $500 million to develop critical minerals projects, building on previous loans totalling $655 million to four critical minerals projects, following the passage of a NAIF Amendment Bill.

The CEFC is providing up to $100 million in finance to underpin the construction of the 850 MW/1680 MWh Waratah Super Battery on the site of former Munmorah coal power plant in NSW.

The CEFC is also providing a $75 million cornerstone investment in Mirvac's build-to-rent sustainable housing venture, and a $35 million investment in the new Adamantem Capital Environmental Opportunities Fund (which targets mid-market companies).

The Clean Energy Regulator has issued a total of 151,312 ACCUs to two soil carbon projects, marking the first significant issuances of soil carbon ACCUs.

Amendments have been gazetted to the NGER Regulations and Determination.

Statutory development. A new Queensland amendment regulation increases the rebate for low to moderate income earners who buy a zero-emissions vehicle, and widens the pool of eligible zero-emissions vehicles.

Grant opportunity. The Queensland government has released a new critical minerals strategy, and has invited applications for grants under the Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund.

The federal government will underwrite investment for up to an additional 550MW of firmed capacity in the NSW Energy Roadmap's firming tender.

The ACT and federal governments have announced a $3.6 million scheme to incentivise rooftop solar installations on apartment blocks in the ACT. Owners corporation committees will be able to access up to $100,000 for rooftop solar, consisting of a grant and interest-free loan.

The Tasmanian government has released the findings of the Tasmania-Port of Rotterdam Hydrogen Supply Chain joint feasibility study, which concludes shipping distance is not a limiting factor, and Tasmanian hydrogen could compete on the proposed Rotterdam HyXchange trading platform.

Consultation opportunity. The South Australian government has released a green paper on the energy transition, with comments due by 13 August.

Issue 1, 26 June 2023

The federal government has allocated another $20 billion to the CEFC, comprising $19 billion earmarked for the Rewiring the Nation program, $1 billion to create a Household Energy Upgrades Fund, and $500 million for a new Powering Australia Technology Fund.

Statutory development and consultation opportunity. Minister Tanya Plibersek has introduced the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies to Fight Climate Change) Bill. The Bill would enable a permit to be granted for the export of CO2 streams from CO2 capture processes for the purpose of sequestration, or for the placement of wastes for a marine geoengineering activity. The Senate environment committee will inquire into the Bill and report by July 27.

Consultation opportunity. The federal environment department is consulting on bringing energy efficiency requirements for televisions and computer monitors into line with EU requirements, and introducing mandatory energy efficiency labelling and standby and network power requirements for digital signs. Comments are due by July 4.

Statutory development and consultation opportunity. The Senate environment committee has called for submissions by 6 July to its inquiry into the government's Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Amendment (Administrative Changes) Bill. The committee will report by July 27.

The Albanese government has thrown its support behind a new agriculture investment vehicle, Wilga Farming, that will promote the use of low-emissions technologies and carbon sequestration across Australian farmland. The CEFC will invest $50 million, in Wilga Farming, which owns a 1200-hectare property in NSW, to support a range of initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and improve productivity. Wilga Farming will be managed by Gunn Agri Partners.

The Australian Local Government Association has welcomed a federal commitment to establish a new $100 million Community Energy Upgrades Fund that will co-fund energy upgrades at community facilities with councils.

Grant opportunity. Applications are open until 24 July for grants to land managers under the $17.5 million federal Carbon Farming Outreach program.

Sustainability Victoria has announced 24 businesses and organisations that will share $8 million in bioenergy grants, with the two largest grants of $1 million going to Yarra Valley Water, and Saputo Dairy.

The Victorian government has flagged that it will ban the telemarketing of products and services under its Victorian Energy Upgrades scheme, with a consultation paper due out soon.

The federal government (through $36.1 million from ARENA plus CEFC support) and the Victorian government ($12.3 million) will provide a total of $51 million to establish a 10MW electrolyser (the largest in Australia) near Wodonga, that will use water from a wastewater treatment plant operated by North East Water. The hydrogen will initially be blended into the gas network.

Tasmanians can now obtain loans for insulation products through the state's Energy Saver Loan scheme.

Consultation opportunity. The EPA is inviting comments by 20 July on whether a research pilot project in the Gulf of Carpentaria, proposed by Blue Carbon S2C Pty Ltd, should undergo environmental assessment.

‌Test issue, 20 June 2023

The Senate Economics References Committee has launched a new inquiry into Australia's residential electrification efforts, which will report by the last sitting day of 2024.

The Clean Energy Regulator has published Carbon Estimation Area data, which provides new insight into the performance of landscape-based carbon projects.

CSIRO, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will appear before a 23 June hearing of a joint parliamentary inquiry into Australia's transition to a green energy superpower.‌

Sun Cable, SunDrive Solar and the Australian Steel Institute are among those scheduled to give evidence at a July 5 hearing in Sydney of the House of Representatives inquiry into developing advanced manufacturing in Australia.

The Australian Local Government Association has welcomed a federal commitment to establish a new $100 million Community Energy Upgrades Fund that will co-fund energy upgrades at community facilities with councils. ‌

Consultation opportunity. ‌‌Comments are due by 30 June on the Climate Change Authority's inquiry into "setting, tracking and achieving Australia's emissions reduction targets".

Consultation opportunity. ‌‌Consultation closes on 30 June on the 2023 offshore greenhouse gas storage acreage release.

Consultation opportunity. ‌‌The Queensland government has released a draft Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill that would enshrine its renewable energy targets in law, establish a Job Security Fund, facilitate construction of the Queensland "SuperGrid", and establish a Renewable Energy Jobs Advocate. Comment closes on 23 June.

The Queensland Budget includes $7 million to help establish the Barcaldine renewable energy zone, which is being developed by Ross Garnaut's Sunshot Industries.

Have your say!‌‌ Comments are due to the NSW government by 28 June on Firm Power's proposal for a 170MW/340MWh battery energy storage facility at Beresfield, near Newcastle.

Tender opportunity. Agriculture Victoria is inviting applications from technical consultants to support farmers in improving their farm business and in managing drought and climate change.

The Victorian government has launched its Clean Economy Workforce Development Strategy 2023-2033.

Statutory development. South Australia's Legislative Assembly has passed the Environment Protection (Objects of Act and Board Attributes) Amendment Bill, which inserts references to climate change into the objects of the state's main environment law, paving the way for the development of an environment protection policy on climate change.

Test issue, 14 June 2023

The federal government has released its Implementation Plan in response to the recommendations of the Chubb Review of the ACCU scheme.

Grant opportunity: ‌‌Applications are open until 24 July for grants to land managers under the $17.5 million federal Carbon Farming Outreach program.

The Clean Energy Regulator has released its latest Quarterly Carbon Market Reportand its April Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data.

Have your say! ‌‌Comments are due by 30 June on the Climate Change Authority's inquiry into "setting, tracking and achieving Australia's emissions reduction targets".

Australia and New Zealand's treasurers and climate change ministers have signed a Joint Statement to foster cooperation on issues including climate-related disclosures, EV uptake, sustainable finance, and Guarantee of Origin schemes for hydrogen.

The CEFC will provide an $80 million loan to Mulpha Australia to help fund its Norwest Quarter net-zero apartment complex in Sydney's Hills district.

‌ The reporting deadline for two inquiries by the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee have been extended from 30 June to 6 December – the inquiry into the Greens' Climate Trigger Bill and the inquiry into the Greens' Save the Koala Bill. ‌