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 28, 22 January 2024

Although DCCEEW reports annually on progress towards climate targets, it can't demonstrate the extent to which specific programs will contribute towards overall emissions reductions, according to the Australian National Audit Office.

The ANAO audit report on DCCEEW governance arrangements notes that high-level oversight of work on net-zero sectoral plans is being provided by the Net Zero Senior Officials Committee and the Net Zero Secretaries Committee.

The sector plans, which will feed into a new national 'net zero by 2050' plan and Australia's 2035 target, will then be put to the Net Zero Economy Committee of Cabinet for consideration, the audit report notes.

The federal government will provide a $70 million grant to help develop the Bell Bay hydrogen hub in Northern Tasmania, which will produce 45,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen a year – enough to fuel over 2,200 heavy vehicles annually.

The Tasmanian government is leading a consortium of partners, including TasPorts, TasNetworks, TasWater, TasIrrigation and the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone, to deliver the project.

Bell Bay is well-suited for a hydrogen hub because of its deep-water port and the state's 100% renewables electricity grid.

Hydrogen hub projects in Kwinana, the Hunter, Gladstone, and Port Bonython have previously been awarded federal funding.

The federal and NSW governments will each allocate $87.5 million over four years for energy efficiency upgrades in the state's social housing.

Meanwhile, a $16.6 million partnership between the federal and Tasmanian governments will fund energy upgrades in more than 1,600 social housing properties, equivalent to about 11% of the state's social housing.

The ACT has become the first jurisdiction to adopt all provisions of the latest (2022) version of the National Construction Code, including the requirement that all new houses have a 7-star equivalent energy rating.

The Victorian government has accepted a referral by Esso for a pipeline that would connect to a proposed carbon capture and storage project off the coast of Gippsland.

Esso's South East Australia CCS hub would initially store CO2 in the depleted Bream field off the coast of Victoria's Gippsland coast.

The CO2 pipeline would be 19 kilometres long, and the shore end of it would be located near the Longford gas conditioning plant.

The CO2 stream available for injection - which is currently separated and vented from the Longford plant - is forecast to average about 0.5 million tonnes annually, with a cumulative injection of approximately 3 million tonnes. The referral also encompasses some changes at the Longford plant.

This initial phase would provide a foundation for potential future expansion, to allow for the injection and storage of CO2 from third party sources.

The Bream reservoir ceased production in September 2020, after more than 30 years of production.

The WA EPA has received a referral from Province Energy Ltd for its HyEnergy green hydrogen and ammonia export project near Carnarvon, that would incorporate up to 6.8 GW of wind and up to 5.2 GW of solar.

Issue 27, 15 January 2024

New consultation opportunity and statutory development - mandatory climate risk disclosure. A federal draft Bill on climate-related financial disclosure would phase in requirements for companies, super funds, and NGER reporters to prepare annual climate statements. 

Matters covered in the statements would include any metrics and targets for scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (with scope 3 metrics and targets to be disclosed from the second annual statement onwards). Comments are due by 9 February. 

The NSW government has entered a commitment deed with a consortium comprised of ACCIONA, COBRA and Endeavour Energy as preferred Network Operator for the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone.

The 'ACEREZ' consortium has signed on to seek approval to deliver, operate and maintain the REZ transmission network for the next 35 years. 

The state government has also increased the intended network capacity of the Central-West Orana REZ to 6 GW by 2038. The initial network capacity of the transmission infrastructure is expected to be 4.5 GW.

The next step for the Central-West Orana REZ is to complete regulatory and planning approvals ahead of the final contract with the network operator being awarded and financial close, scheduled for the second half of 2024.

The environmental impact statement for the REZ is currently on public exhibition, allowing stakeholders to have their say on the project. Assuming state and Commonwealth planning approvals are granted in mid-2024, construction will start in early 2025, with initial operation in 2027–28.

Two renewable energy generation projects and three long-duration storage projects were successful in the latest tender round of the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, administered by AEMO Services. 

The successful projects, which will receive Long-Term Energy Service Agreement contracts, represent 750MW of renewable energy generation and 524MW/ 4,192MWh of long-duration storage 

They represent $4.2 billion in private sector investment in the state's renewable energy infrastructure, building upon the $4.3 billion in private sector investment committed in AEMO Services' 2 previous tenders.

AEMO Services will conduct biennial tenders in NSW for at least the next decade. 

The NSW government has granted approval for Virya Energy's Yanco Delta wind farm in the state's South West Renewable Energy Zone.

The 1500MW wind farm, comprising 208 wind turbines and an 800MW storage battery, will be built about 10 kilometres north-west of Jerilderie.

Most Victorians are still willing to support renewable energy infrastructure in their local area, such as solar farms (69% ), wind turbines (62%), new transmission lines (64%), large batteries (64%), according to Sustainability Victoria's latest State of Sustainability Report.

But the level of support is between 10 and 20 percentage points lower than was recorded in 2017, says the report, which is based on a survey of more than 2,500 Victorians.

"Careful and well-planned community engagement processes are vital, as once lost, social licence is extremely difficult to regain," the report says.

When asked about the term 'circular economy', 46% of Victorians said they have never heard of it, and a further 26% have heard of it but don't really understand it, the report says.

The Victorian government's new Offshore Wind Implementation Statement 3 deals with matters including procurement and ports, and provides an update on VicGrid's approach to planning the associated transmission infrastructure.

The new statement was released ahead of the federal government's decision that an EPBC referral to assemble offshore wind turbines at the Port of Hastings was environmentally unacceptable, and it describes Hastings as having major advantages for turbine assembly. 

It also outlines workforce opportunities across all stages of offshore wind farm development.

The state government expects to kick off a reverse auction for the supply of offshore wind capacity through an expression of interest phase that will start towards the end of this year, followed by a request for proposal phase in 2025, and contract negotiations and the awarding of contracts in 2026.

The Victorian government has released the Port Phillip Bay Coastal Hazard Assessment, which examines and maps the likely extent of flooding, erosion, and groundwater change over the coming decades.

Amendment VC250 to the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) is now in force, which bans new gas connections for new homes, apartments and residential subdivisions that require a planning permit.

Construction of the South Australian component of Project EnergyConnect, the new high-voltage transmission line between South Australia and New South Wales, has been completed.

Project EnergyConnect is the largest transmission project ever delivered by transmission business ElectraNet. The transmission line covers 206 kilometres from Robertstown to the SA/NSW state border.

A WA EPA assessment report on BP’s Kwinana Renewable Fuels Project, says it is good practice to repurpose an old oil refinery for biofuel production.

The facility would process up to 1,600 cubic metres of biofuel feedstock per day, the report notes.

The EPA report proposes approval conditions that would allow the state government to advise BP that a greenhouse gas management plan is not required to be implemented, if the Safeguard Mechanism applies to the facility. 

The proposed conditions include an emissions reduction trajectory reaching net-zero by 2050. 

Infrastructure WA's inaugural annual implementation progress report says the challenge for climate change and sustainability is "to convert innovation into business-as-usual practices". 

It also encourages the development of a short to medium-term implementation plan to support the energy transition. 

Issue 26, 8 January 2024

The Clean Energy Regulator has entered into a contract with Trovio Group to develop and deliver a new Unit & Certificate Register for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs).

The new register will consolidate the Clean Energy Regulator's current registers, and will progressively also record holdings of international units, large-scale generation certificates (LGCs), and small-scale technology certificates (STCs).

It will also support new future units and certificates, such as Safeguard Mechanism credit units (SMCs) and Guarantee of Origin (GO) certificates.

In a related move, the Regulator and the ASX are working together to develop a carbon exchange market, initially for ACCUs.

The Regulator currently anticipates the Register will be operating by the second half of 2024, and the Australian Carbon Exchange will be launched between late-2024 to early-2025.

Newly-released submissions to a Senate committee inquiry show that the National Environmental Law Association, the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, and Engineers Australia are among the organisations that support the intent of an intergenerational equity Bill introduced by independent Senator David Pocock.

The Bill would require approval decision-makers for proposed fossil fuel projects to ensure that their scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions don't constitute a material risk to the health and wellbeing of current and future Australian children.

Australia's List of Critical Minerals that are deemed essential to the nation's energy and security requirements has been expanded to include fluorine, molybdenum, arsenic, selenium, and tellurium.

The federal government has also released a new Strategic Materials List of commodities essential for the energy transition, but which are not at risk of supply chain disruptions. The Strategic Materials list includes copper, nickel, aluminium, phosphorous, tin, and zinc.

In addition, the government plans to investigate the creation of Strategic Critical Minerals Hubs around the country. 

Meanwhile, the latest Resources and Energy Quarterly, released by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, has identified a 75% increase in the value of committed critical minerals projects over the past year, from $6.7 billion in 2022 to $11.8 billion in 2023. 

The six projects shortlisted under ARENA's $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart Program are:

  • bp Low Carbon Australia Pty Ltd (H2Kwinana, 105MW electrolyser capacity)
  • HIF Asia Pacific Pty Ltd (HIF Tasmania eFuel Facility, 144MW)
  • KEPCO Australia Pty Ltd (Port of Newcastle Green Hydrogen Project, 750MW)
  • Origin Energy Future Fuels Pty Ltd (Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub, 50MW in phase 1, then up to 200MW)
  • Stanwell Corporation Limited (Central Queensland Hydrogen Project, 720MW)
  • Murchison Hydrogen Renewables Pty Ltd as trustee for Murchison Hydrogen Renewables Project Trust (Murchison Hydrogen Renewables Project, 1,625MW).

The six applicants must now submit full applications for their projects, which are among the largest renewable hydrogen projects in the world and represent a total electrolyser capacity of more than 3.5 GW.

The CEFC is investing $75 million in an equity raise for a new Australia New Zealand Landscapes and Forestry Fund that is targeting $600 million over the next year, and has so far raised $450 million.

The fund will be managed by New Forests, and it aims to deliver one million tonnes of carbon abatement over the next decade.

It will support the development of new plantations, and the conversion of existing hardwood plantations to softwood plantations that have higher carbon abatement potential because of their longer rotation periods.

The plantations will generate ACCUs in recognition of their carbon abatement, and the fund will also invest in agriculture and downstream timber processing opportunities, with the majority of assets located in Australia.

Other participants in the equity raise include German pension fund Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK), and one of northern Europe’s largest pension funds, Andra AP-fonden (AP2).

Minister Chris Bowen has made preliminary decisions on the granting of feasibility licences for offshore wind projects in Commonwealth waters off the Gippsland region in Victoria.

Of the 37 applications received:

  • six are under preliminary consideration for the granting of feasibility licences and have begun the next stage of consultation with First Nation groups.
  • six are under preliminary consideration to progress through the regime's overlapping application process, where applicants will be invited to revise and resubmit their applications to remove overlap with other equally meritorious applicants.
  • a preliminary decision has been made to not to proceed to grant a feasibility licence in relation to the remaining 25 applications, on the basis that they are not as meritorious.

If all six proposed projects under preliminary consideration for a licence were to proceed, they could generate 12GW of electricity and create over 25,000 construction jobs and 1,500 ongoing jobs. These numbers would increase if the other six applications resolve their overlap and proceed to commercialisation.

A final decision on licences will be made early this year.

Revised grant opportunity. Applications are now being accepted for grants under ARENA's $40 million National Industrial Transformation Program which, unlike the $400 million Industrial Transformation Stream, is not restricted to regional NGER reporters.

New consultation opportunity - renewables. Firmed renewables are the cheapest form of energy in Australia, according to the draft 2023-24 GenCost report prepared by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator.

The report shows utility-scale solar and onshore wind costs, including transmission and storage costs, are two to seven times cheaper than new coal and small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).

Updated data on new-build projects found that the cost of onshore wind generation rose by 8%, while large-scale solar PV fell by the same proportion. The cost of gas turbine technologies increased by 14%.  

Comments on the draft GenCost report are due by 9 February.

New consultation opportunity - Safeguard Mechanism. Projects engaged in activities involving on-site electricity production, iron and steel-making, hydrogen production, met coal mining, oil and gas production, lithium ore mining and lithium hydroxide production, or hydrogen production, will be affected by proposed Safeguard Mechanism changes.

The proposed amendments to the Safeguard Rules would finalise remaining production variables, make changes to some existing production variables, and set international best practice benchmarks for priority new activities.

Comments close on 16 January.

The Climate Change Authority in December published its latest appraisal of the ACCU scheme, doing so exactly one year after the Chubb review was released.

The report says the ACCU regime should be amended so it can support engineered forms of greenhouse gas removal, like direct air capture with carbon storage or mineral carbonation, describing engineered removals as "the way of the future for offsets markets", given the need to eventually achieve net negative emissions. 

 The report backs a range of significant changes to the ACCU regime, building on the Chubb recommendations. 

In addition, it notes that the new Australian Carbon Exchange and associated Unit Register (see above) provide opportunities to enhance the transparency of the ACCU scheme, and could pave the way for ratings agencies to enter the market to assess carbon unit quality and provide more information. It points out that these sorts of agencies now operate in the international voluntary carbon market.

A total of 2,400 facilities would have their NGER-reported scope 1 and 2 emissions made publicly available from next year, under a Climate Change Authority recommendation in its appraisal of the NGER scheme.

The requirement would be imposed by requiring facility-level disclosure if facilities emit at least 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse annually, and it would equate to facility-level public disclosure by about 57% of facilities that report through NGER. 

 The 57% of facilities between them would account for 99% of NGER-reported emissions. 

Currently, NGER only requires reporting at the corporate group level. The Authority's NGER review was released simultaneously with its ACCU scheme review. 

The federal government is introducing new vehicle noxious emissions standards from December 2025.

The change will reduce the level of aromatic hydrocarbons to a maximum of 35% in 95 RON petrol. All vehicles will be able to use the new 95 RON petrol. The existing 91 and 98 RON petrol grades and diesel will be unaffected.

Motorists can expect an increase of $8 per year—or 15 cents a week—for an average passenger vehicle running on 95 RON petrol, the government says. Light commercial vehicles can expect a $13 yearly increase.

The government will also delay by 12 months the start date for requirements that petrol sold in Australia contain no more than 10ppm sulphur. The requirement was scheduled to start in 2024, but will now start in December 2025, to align with the new noxious emissions requirement.

The changes will remove almost 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector by 2050 and will allow Australia to adopt the Euro 6d noxious emissions standards.

The Euro 6d standards will apply to new light vehicle models introduced to the Australian market from December 2025, and new vehicles from existing model lines from 2028.

Details of a separate Australian fuel efficiency standard, which will regulate average CO2 emissions from new vehicles, are yet to be announced.

Associate Professor Cris Brack, an Australian National University forestry expert, has completed his inaugural six-monthly review of checking procedures for human-induced regeneration (HIR) projects under the ACCU Scheme.

HIR projects must undergo regular "gateway checks" to demonstrate that ACCUs are only being issued for land that is progressing towards forest cover.

Brack's review of a subset of 25 HIR projects found they are demonstrating regeneration, proponents are implementing the project activities, and the projects are subject to strong assurance.

The projects examined by Brack are managed by a range of entities, and vary in their age and location.

Videos of government presentations at Australia's COP28 pavilion are available here (videos from the US pavilion are here, and from the We Mean Business pavilion are here).

ARENA has awarded a $9.75 million grant to utility services provider Intellihub to launch a $22 million Demand Flexibility Platform project targeting 510MW of aggregated residential load under combined control, to be achieved through the enrolment of over 140,000 residential hot water systems and solar PV systems.

Electricity retailers will be able to sign up households to the Demand Flexibility Platform and use it to manage their customers as part of a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). Intellihub will provide the interface between electricity retailers and the customer-owned devices.

Facility decommissioning and greenhouse gas exploration, injection and storage are among the topics covered in a new 2024 to 2027 research strategy issued by NOPSEMA, the offshore oil and gas regulator.

Grant opportunity. Local governments can now apply for grants to reduce emissions from their facilities through the $50 million first-round of the Community Energy Upgrades Fund, with grants of between $25,000 and $2.5 million available. Applications close on 30 April.

The federal government has awarded $9.8 million to five soil carbon research projects, through round two of the National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge.

New consultation opportunity - climate change impacts. Comments are due by 12 February on proposed updates to the Climate Change Considerations chapter in the Australian Rainfall and Runoff Guide to Flood Estimation. 

Transcript of the first hearing of a Senate committee inquiry into residential electrification is now available.

The Clean Energy Regulator has reminded Safeguard-covered facilities to submit their application for an Emissions Intensity Determination for FY24 by 30 April 2024, to avoid being subject to more onerous best-practice emissions intensity values.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has released a report on the potential benefits and risks associated with the rising take-up of EVs.

Issue 25, 18 December 2023

The federal government has provided $87 million to establish a new Cooperative Research Centre for Zero Net Emissions from Agriculture.

The successful Zero Net Emissions Agricultural Cooperative Research Centre (ZNE-Ag CRC) bid was led by the University of Queensland and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and involves a consortium of 73 partners across industry, education and government.

The federal contribution, in conjunction with finance sourced from elsewhere, means the ZNE-Ag CRC has secured a total of $300 million to be spent over 10 years.  

There is a 43% chance that the transformation of the National Electricity Market will follow a "step change" scenario, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator's draft 2024 Integrated System Plan.

However, there is only a 15% chance that it will follow a "green energy exports" scenario, which would align with government ambitions for Australia to become a green energy superpower.

Under the step change scenario, at least 90% of the NEM’s coal fleet is forecast to retire before 2035, and the entire fleet will be retired by 2038, AEMO now says.

Under the step change scenario, the lowest cost, optimal pathway for ensuring secure and reliable energy would involve:

  • Adding close to 10,000 km of new and upgraded transmission by 2050, with around a quarter underway and half to be delivered in the next decade. (If Australia is to pursue the more transformational Green Energy Exports scenario, then over twice as much transmission would be needed, delivered at a much faster pace.)
  • Tripling grid-scale variable renewable generation by 2030 (57GW) and increasing it seven-fold by 2050 (126GW).
  • Adding almost four times the firming capacity from dispatchable storage, hydro and gas-powered generation by 2050 (74GW).
  • Supporting a four-fold increase in rooftop solar capacity by 2050 (72 GW).

Delivering the transmission projects  identified in the ISP would avoid $17 billion in additional costs to consumers, compared to not delivering them, according to AEMO.

Comments on the draft ISP are due by 16 February.

Consultation opportunity. Comments on a new consultation paper on an orderly exit management framework for coal-fired power stations, which would be given statutory force, are due by 2 February.

Grant opportunity. The Australian and UK governments are inviting applications for grants of up to $2 million for hydrogen research, development and demonstration projects. Applications close on 19 January.

The federal government has awarded carbon farming outreach program grants to five organisations - the Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation ($2 million, the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board ($1.7 million), Dairy Australia ($1.25 million), the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action ($4.3 million, and the Grower Group Alliance ($8 million).

ARENA is providing not-for-profit organisation EnergyLab with a $1.64 million grant to deliver entrepreneurial support services to help develop renewable energy start-ups.

At COP28, Australia became a signatory to a new Joint declaration on ocean and climate action, pledging to consider ocean-based action in its national climate goals, and to develop a Sustainable Ocean Plan.

Other signatories include the US, the UK, France, Indonesia, and Fiji.

Australia also endorsed the Mangrove Breakthrough, which aims to secure the future of more than 15 million hectares of mangroves globally by 2030, underpinned by US$4 billion of sustainable finance.

Statutory development. Queensland's Premier Steven Miles has announced plans to legislate a new 2035 emissions reduction target of 75% below 2005 levels.

A Department of Planning and Environment environmental plantings project has been issued with 24,026 Australian Carbon Credit Units, worth more than $768,800 at the current generic ACCU spot price.

The environmental plantings have been carried out in degraded National Parks reserves that were previously used for forestry, mining or agricultural purposes.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is the first parks agency in Australia to commit to becoming carbon positive by 2028, and the ACCUs will be used to offset any residual NPWS emissions, and generate revenue.

Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and the Clean Energy Investor Group have released a briefing paper recommending measures to speed NSW approval processes for clean energy projects.

The paper recommends that greater use be made of the Critical State Significant Infrastructure approval pathway (through ministerial declaration), which has proved faster than the State Significant Development pathway.

The NSW Independent Planning Commission has approved the $370 million, 215MW Oxley solar farm proposed for the New England Renewable Energy Zone. The project will also have a 50MW/50MWh battery.

The Victorian government has released an update to the state's Gas Substitution Roadmap, which proposes additional measures to support the move away from fossil gas.

The update notes that current analysis suggests biomethane could supply up to half of Victoria’s existing industrial fossil gas use.

It also notes that most of Victoria’s industrial gas users are located within 20 kilometres of a potential biogas source – around 70% are within 20 kilometres of a landfill site and around 80% are within 20 kilometres of a wastewater treatment plant.

Additional measures proposed in the update include:

  • Investigating options to progressively electrify all new and existing residential and most commercial buildings through a regulatory impact statement process. This process will include an examination of the costs and benefits of requiring existing gas appliances that reach end-of-life to be replaced with electric ones.
  • Releasing a policy directions paper in 2024 on scaling up biomethane and renewable hydrogen production.
  • Expanding the Victorian Energy Upgrades scheme to include incentives for upgrades to efficient electric cooktops.
  • Expanding minimum standards for rented homes to cover ceiling insulation, draught-sealing, hot water and cooling.

A new WA Sectoral Emissions Reduction Strategy (SERS) lists decarbonisation actions to be implemented in the electricity, industry, transport, building, waste, and agriculture sectors.

Actions include:

  • Unlocking additional investment in renewable energy in WA's main energy grid;
  • Facilitating decarbonisation in the Pilbara through common-use infrastructure for the resources sector, including the creation of renewable generation hubs in consultation with Traditional Owners and other affected communities;
  • Developing a Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage action plan;
  • Reviewing the state's Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy.

From 2031 onwards, the WA domestic gas market is anticipated to experience a deficit exceeding 100 terajoules per day, which equates to more than 10% of demand each year, according to a new analysis from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Issue 24, 11 December 2023

Existing federal and state waste reduction and resource recovery targets are nearly all unlikely to be met, says a new report by consultancy Blue Environment, newly released by DCCEEW.

Goals that are unlikely to be attained include the existing national target for 2030 of 80% resource recovery, the report notes.

The main purpose of the report was to develop new emissions projections for the waste sector, and it recommends that estimates of future landfill emissions shouldn't be based on the assumption that existing waste targets will be achieved.

A new Green Bond Framework released by the Australian Financial Management Office outlines how green bonds will be used to finance eligible green expenditure.

The Framework is aligned to the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Green Bond Principles. The federal government's first issue of green bonds is expected to occur in mid-2024.

Only 170MW of large-scale renewable energy generation reached Final Investment Decision in the September 2023 quarter, says the latest quarterly carbon market report from the Clean Energy Regulator.

However, the Regulator approved newly-completed large-scale generators with a joint capacity of 608MW to earn large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) in the September quarter, and the annual total capacity approved to earn LGCs in 2023 is likely to be about 2.5GW, it says.

The generic spot price for Australian Carbon Credit Units traded between $30.50 and $32.00 for much of the September quarter, the report says.

A quarterly record of 813MW of rooftop solar was installed in the September quarter.

Australia can use existing technologies to reduce emissions by 52% from 2020 levels by 2030, says a new CSIRO report on on Rapid decarbonisation pathways for Australia.

New consultation opportunity. DCCEEW is seeking survey responses by 22 December on a proposed transport and infrastructure net zero roadmap and action plan.

Statutory development. A new Queensland Rural and Regional Adjustment (Battery Booster Rebate Scheme) Amendment Regulation establishes a Battery Booster Rebate Scheme that will provide a rebate of up to $4,000 to households that purchase an energy storage battery.

The state and federal governments are jointly providing $12 million over two years to fund the scheme, which will be sufficient to assist up to 4,000 households.

Transcript is now available of the first hearing of a new NSW parliamentary inquiry into undergrounding transmission infrastructure.

The WA government and Chevron have jointly established a $40 million Lower Carbon Grants Program, and in tandem will establish a $4 million GreenTech Hub to accelerate green technologies and services.

The Gorgon joint venture is providing the $40 million for the grant scheme, which will fund "large, transformational research and innovation activity".

The state government is currently inviting expressions of interest to administer the GreenTechHub.

The WA government is backing a $1.86 million project to develop climate resilience among Traditional Owners in the West Kimberley. The three year project will be jointly coordinated by the Nulungu Institute Research and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. 

The NT EPA has released its assessment of the Darwin Pipeline Duplication proposed by Santos, which is a component of the company's plans to develop the Barossa gas field.

The EPA concludes the 100 kilometre-long pipeline duplication can be carried out in an acceptable manner, and has submitted a draft approval to the NT Environment Minister.

Issue 23, 4 December 2023

The federal government has released the latest annual climate change statement, along with annual progress advice from the Climate Change Authority, Australia's latest emissions projections, and the latest national greenhouse gas inventory quarterly update.

The documents show emissions are projected to be 42% below 2005 levels by 2030, based on announced policies - just shy of the government's 43% reduction target.

The impact of investments through the National Reconstruction Fund, Hydrogen Headstart, and some streams of the Powering the Regions Fund are not yet included, and could deliver additional emissions reductions. 

The Climate Change Authority advice - which includes more than 40 recommendations - says that every percentage point we fall short of achieving 82% renewables would equate to about two million more tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement that would have to be found elsewhere in the economy, to still achieve the overall 43% reduction target.

Australia's climate has already risen on average by 1.48 degrees since 1900.

Australia’s emissions are now 24.5% below 2005 levels. Minister Chris Bowen's speech to Parliament on the annual statement is here.

The introduction of production incentives to support the transition to net zero emissions "should be an immediate priority", says a new House of Representatives report on advanced manufacturing.

These incentives could be in the form of tax rebates tied to production levels (known as production credits), or other mechanisms, says the report from the House Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources.

The report also recommends that the federal government establish "a series of significant government-owned advanced manufacturing common-user facilities in strategic locations across Australia, to make it simpler for manufacturers to access the advanced technologies and infrastructure they need to excel in national priority areas".

The federal government's new Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy and roadmap provides for a whole-of-government approach to purchasing electricity, and sets out requirements for buildings and transport.

Low-emissions requirements will also be phased in for key procurements, including property, fleet, travel, and ICT.

The strategy aims to make the Australian Public Service (excluding Defence and security agencies) net-zero by 2030.

Government entities will be encouraged to nominate a Chief Sustainability Officer role within their organisations to champion the strategy.

Entities must develop long-term emissions reduction plans by 30 June 2024, and must continue to annually report their emissions.

The federal government has published its Investment Mandate for the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation. The Corporation's seven key priorities for investment include renewable and low emission technologies, transport, and value-add in agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

The federal government has awarded two research grants - $2.05 million to CSIRO and $2.3 million to the University of Newcastle - for trials of new technology to tackle ventilation air methane from coal mines. The grants were awarded through the Methane Abatement Fund.

The Climate Leaders Coalition has released a new guide for CEOs on credible transitions to net zero.

Statutory development. The NSW Parliament has passed the government's Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Bill 2023.

The new law will give statutory force to two pre-existing emissions reduction targets (a 50% reduction from 2000 levels by 2030 and net-zero by 2050). After amendments successfully introduced in the Legislative Council, it will also set a new target of a 70% reduction by 2035.

The Bill also establishes an independent Net Zero Commission to monitor, review, report on and advise on progress towards the targets, and establishes guiding principles to address climate change.

Climate change is the NSW EPA's "single most critical challenge and priority", and the EPA Board expects the agency to use "every available regulatory tool to drive decarbonisation, a circular economy and climate change adaptation", says the Board's latest regulatory assurance statement.

An ACT regulation to prevent new gas network connections to buildings will commence on 8 December.

The ACT government has released its FY23 Annual Report under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010, and the ACT Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report for FY23. 

Statutory development. The Victorian government has introduced the Climate Change and Energy Legislation Amendment (Renewable Energy and Storage Targets) Bill 2023, which brings forward Victoria’s long-term target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions to 2045, increases the renewable energy target for 2030 to 65%, provides a new renewable energy target of 95% for 2035, and introduces energy storage targets and offshore wind energy targets.

The Bill also requires that climate change be considered during the preparation of planning schemes.

Victoria's Essential Services Commission has published new rules that electricity transmission companies must follow when accessing private land in Victoria. The rules are contained in an enforceable Land Access Code of Practice that will take effect on 1 March.

Victoria's overhauled State Electricity Commission's first investment is a $245 million stake in one of the world's biggest battery projects - the $1 billion Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub near the Melbourne suburb of Melton. The state government says the hub will be operational by 2025.

Many of South Australia's climate indicators are in decline, according to a suite of report cards released by the state government. Themes covered by the cards include rainfall, temperature, sea level, and fire danger.

The state government has also released a climate projections viewer for South Australia.

Statutory development. The WA government has introduced the Climate Change Bill 2023, which formalises the government's net-zero by 2050 target, and requires the setting of five-yearly interim targets and budgets.  

The Bill establishes a mitigation hierarchy that entails reducing emissions as the first priority, with offsetting emissions used "only as a last resort".

The Bill will also require the development of an emissions reduction strategy and climate adaptation strategy, the development of sector adaptation plans, and annual progress reporting to Parliament.

Statutory development. The WA government has introduced a Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill that establishes a legislative framework to regulate the storage and transport of greenhouse gas and natural hydrogen.

Hundreds of households in the WA town of Esperance that converted their homes to all-electric will save an average of 38% on their energy bills as a result of the switch, a study has found.

Horizon Power implemented the electrification project after the private gas network supplier ceased operations in March. Horizon Power has published a Knowledge Sharing Report on the project.

The WA government has rebadged its Household Energy Efficiency Scheme as Energy Ahead, and has allocated an extra $10.8 million to it. The program targets low-income households.

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. ‌