SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Below are all Australian news items from all ESG Snapshot issues that are relevant to SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), listed with most recent items appearing first.


Issue 32, 19 February 2024

A DCCEEW-led Renewable Superpower Taskforce, which also has representatives from Treasury and the Department of Industry, is examining the intensifying global competition for clean energy industries, DCCEEW officials told a Senate Estimates hearing.

The Taskforce findings are feeding into FY25 Budget deliberations about possible additional actions.

The federal government has awarded a $14 million grant to Powering Australia Ltd to establish the Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre, which will help Australian businesses commercialise and manufacture clean energy technologies locally.

Powering Australia Ltd played a key role in establishing the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre.

Statutory development - clean energy. Queensland Premier Steve Miles has introduced the Clean Economy Jobs Bill, which will mandate an emissions reduction target of 75% on 2005 levels by 2035, and net-zero by 2050.

"The '75 by 35' emissions reduction target positions Queensland as a world leader on the pathway to net zero," Miles told Parliament.

The Bill requires the development of sector plans, and by the end of this year the government must publish details of which sectors will be covered, and when the plans will be prepared.

The Bill also imposes a requirement to publish an annual statement on progress towards the emissions reduction targets, and provides for the establishment of an advisory Clean Economy Expert Panel.

Subsidy opportunity - solar for apartments. Applications close 15 April under round one of Solar Victoria's new Solar for Apartments program, which is partly funded by the federal government.

About 12% of Victoria's 2.5 million households live in apartments, with around 63% of these occupied by renters.

Successful applicants will receive rebates of up to $2,800 per apartment, or up to $140,000 per building. 

Owners corporations will have the choice to install either multiple individual solar PV systems, a single large solar PV system coupled with solar sharing technology, or a combination of both.

The Western Australian government will offer royalty relief to WA's nickel industry in the form of a 50 per cent royalty rebate.

It will be available for an 18-month period through a new Nickel Financial Assistance Program, and will apply if the average price of nickel in concentrate is below US$20,000 per tonne for a given quarter.

The Northern Territory government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to further strengthen cooperation on financing energy and infrastructure projects.

The MoU enables the Territory to hold regular dialogue with JBIC officials, on projects such as oil and gas, carbon capture, critical minerals infrastructure, hydrogen, ammonia, renewable energy, and sustainable aviation fuels.

Issue 31, 12 February 2024

Australia's energy rating and labelling scheme (GEMS) saved Australian businesses and households between $12 billion and $18 billion in energy costs, between FY12 and FY22, according to a new report by the GEMS Regulator.

The report also found that GEMS saved between 45 to 67 terawatt-hours of energy, which is about the same amount of electricity that was used by all Tasmanian, Northern Territory and South Australian homes during the same period.

Australia's households and businesses are continuing to install PV at rates unparalleled across the globe, and the uptake of EVs is exceeding forecasts, says a new report from the Energy Security Board on Consumer Energy Resources and the Transformation of the NEM.

The report recommends the establishment of a new consumer energy resources taskforce, and sets out six priorities for the taskforce over the next 12 months.

The net benefit of effective integration and coordination of consumer energy resources has been estimated to be between $1 billion and $6.3 billion by 2030-2040, the report notes. 

Grant opportunity - energy efficiency. Small and medium businesses can start preparing applications now for energy efficiency grants valued at between $10,000 and $25,000.

Japanese energy company ENEOS has made an EPBC referral for a project on Queensland's Bulwer Island that would further develop and test a process using electrolysis to convert toluene, water, and electricity into methylcyclohexane (MCH).

"The production of MCH allows a transportable form of 'green hydrogen' that can be used to decarbonise fuel supply chains," the referral documentation says.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is providing $99 million in finance for renewables company Neoen to develop the second part of its Goyder South Stage 1 wind farm, which will provide firmed clean energy to BHP's Olympic Dam operation.

The investment will support the construction of 203MW of wind capacity and 238.5MW/477MWh of battery storage.

The latest investment means the CEFC has now helped Neoen secure finance for four large battery projects.

In a statement from their Annual Leaders' Dialogue, Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and PNG Prime Minister James Marape welcomed the inclusion of climate change as an area of security cooperation under their Bilateral Security Agreement.

They also noted that Australia has recently completed solar farms in West Sepik and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, and has a pipeline of solar farms and household solar projects that will be deployed this year.

Transcript is now available from public hearings convened by the Queensland Parliamentary committee that is inquiring into the state government's Renewable Transformation and Jobs Bill.

The Australian Energy Regulator is prosecuting the energy entity that trades the output of the Callide C coal-fired power station over a 2021 explosion at Callide C4, which has left the unit still offline.

The AER alleges Callide Power Trading Pty Ltd failed to comply with required performance standards.

Callide Power Trading trades the output on behalf of a joint venture between state government-owned CS energy and Intergen.

The NSW Independent Planning Commission has approved Ark Energy's $569 million Bowmans Creek wind farm, which will be located near Muswellbrook, in the Hunter-Central Coast REZ.

A NSW parliamentary inquiry into undergrounding transmission infrastructure will hold its next hearing on 16 February.

It will hear from representatives of entities including the Australian Energy Regulator, Transgrid, Ausgrid, Energy Networks Australia, EnergyCo, and Iberdrola.

The state government has released the referral for the Victorian component of the Victoria to NSW interconnector, known as VNI West, which will run from Kerang (the NSW connection point) to Bulgana.

The project will require the construction of about 240 kilometres of overhead transmission lines.

Referral documentation says the project will connect power from the wind and solar-rich Murray River REZ and Western Victorian REZ.

It will also provide Victoria with access to renewable energy stored in the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme, and will improve the security and reliability of the electricity network as coal-fired power stations retire, the referral says.

TransAlta has made a referral to construct, operate and maintain up to 150MW of gas reciprocating engines at BHP Nickel West's Mt Keith operations, to meet Nickel West's expanded processing capacity and future growth.

The proposal aims to reduce reliance on TransAlta's existing legacy gas and diesel generation, which would reduce total emissions, and facilitate a greater penetration of renewable energy generation in the future.

In 2020, the existing gas and diesel system produced 352,657 tonnes of emissions. The proposed changes would result in total emissions falling to 271,130 tonnes by 2030.

The referral adds that emissions from the existing system would increase significantly, if it was the sole source of electricity for an expanded Mt Keith operation.

Issue 30, 5 February 2024

The Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner has recommended that an independent body be established to administer an opt-in rating scheme for renewable energy infrastructure developers, which would focus strongly on their community engagement practices.

The report also recommends minimising the need for elongated community
engagement "by re-engineering planning and environmental assessment
and approval processes".

In addition, the report recommends:

  • ensuring jurisdictions have the power to select which developers can prospect and develop projects in renewable energy zones, based on merit criteria.
  • eliminating unnecessary community engagement by selecting the best project sites, and avoiding inappropriate sites.
  • improving community understanding of the need for the transition, including what is to be deployed in their region as well as where, when and why.
  • improving acceptance of transition changes and impacts by
    engaging the community to identify opportunities and enable sustainable
    benefit sharing.
  • establishing an ombudsman in each state and territory to deal with complaints about renewable energy infrastructure projects.
  • running a communications program that gives information to local communities on the reasons for the energy transition.

The federal government has accepted all the recommendations in principle. The National Farmers Federation said the report "lacks teeth" and doesn't go far enough.

A new ARENA-backed 'silicon to solar' roadmap sets out a framework for Australia to become a manufacturer of solar cells and modules.

It recommends that the government declare the development of a solar PV manufacturing industry as a strategic priority, and that it streamline permitting and approval processes, as well as visa pathways for those with solar expertise.

It also recommends that the government provide concessional finance and introduce a payment-for-results production credits regime to bridge the cost gap compared to PV manufacturing in China.

The report was developed by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) working with Deloitte and a group of key industry stakeholders including the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP), AGL, Aspiradac, Energus, Siemens, SunDrive, Tindo Solar and 5B.

The Clean Energy Regulator has released its latest Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data, which shows a total of 2.2GW of new capacity was approved to earn Large-scale Generation Certificates in 2023.

The Australian Energy Regulator's latest Wholesale Markets Quarterly Report shows that average annual wholesale electricity prices in the National Electricity Market (NEM) fell by between 44% and 64% in 2023, and average annual east coast gas market spot prices fell by 43%. 

Prices fell due to milder weather conditions, lower fuel costs, fewer coal supply issues, and an increase in cheap wind and solar supply. 

Energy Economics has published a paper titled 'Waiting to generate: An analysis of onshore wind and solar PV project development lead-times in Australia', by Thomas Clapin and Thomas Longden.

"There is an enduring knowledge gap about the capacity of regional Australia to meet the growing demand for clean energy workers," says a joint submission by the Clean Energy Council and the Australian Hydrogen Council to Jobs and Skills Australia on its FY25 work plan.

The Independent Planning Commission has approved Elgin Energy's $152 million Glanmire 60MW solar farm, which will be located approximately 7 kilometres east of Bathurst. The project includes a 60MW/120 MW-hour battery.

The Northern Territory government has started consultations on its Remote Power System Strategy (RPSS), which aims to ensure that by 2030, a total of 70% of the electricity consumed in the 72 communities serviced by Indigenous Essential Services comes from renewables.

The initial consultations will involve organisations including Land Councils, regional councils, and Local Aboriginal Corporations. 

Issue 29, 29 January 2024

Record generation from grid-scale renewables and rooftop solar is triggering a fall in wholesale energy prices and greenhouse gas emissions, according to AEMO's latest  Quarterly Energy Dynamics report.

The increase in renewable energy generation meant that the National Electricity Market also recorded it's lowest carbon intensity on record at 0.59tCO2/MWh.

AEMO chief executive Daniel Westerman noted that rooftop solar met 101% of South Australia's total electricity demand early in the afternoon of 31 December last year.

"On the afternoon of 24 October rooftop solar and grid-scale renewables provided 72% of all electricity across the east coast," Westerman added. 

A Queensland Parliamentary inquiry into the government's Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill is currently holding public hearings.

The Tasmanian government will streamline the approvals process for new renewable energy projects, through a new Renewable Energy Approvals Pathway (REAP).

Components of the REAP will include establishing a Major Renewable Energy Project case management team within government.

In addition, Tasmania will establish assessment protocols in conjunction with the federal government, to prevent delays and the provision of inconsistent advice.

It will also establish a guideline on community benefit schemes specific to Tasmania.

Issue 28, 22 January 2024

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 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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

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

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.

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 20, 13 November 2023

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.

The Clean Energy Council's new submission on the federal 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.

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.

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.

The Clean Energy Council's new submission on the federal 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.

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.

Issue 19, 6 November 2023

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.

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 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. 

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.

Issue 18, 30 October 2023

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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 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.

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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.

Issue 9, 21 August 2023

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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 Western Australian 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.

Issue 6, 31 July 2023

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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 NSW government has approved two new energy storage batteries - one in the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), and the other in the Hunter Central Coast REZ).

Issue 4, 17 July 2023

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.

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 Tasmanian 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.

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.

Consultation opportunity. The federal government is seeking views by 18 August on a proposed revamp of the national hydrogen strategy.

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.

Issue 2, 3 July 2023

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 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.

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.

Consultation opportunity. The federal environment department 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.

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.

‌ Test issue, 20 June 2023

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced that Greg Combet will chair the new Net Zero Economy Agency, with members of the advisory board to include Ross Garnaut, Paul Simshauser (Powerlink), Anthea Harris (Australian Energy Regulator), Kellie Parker (Rio Tinto), Anna Skarbek (ClimateWorks), and Tony Maher (Mining and Energy Union).

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.

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
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.

Consultation opportunity

Victoria's Essential Services Commission is seeking submissions by 27 July on a proposed enforceable code of practice for electricity transmission companies using their legal powers to access private land.

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