The latest energy market insights from across the country curated by our team of experts.
In the news this month:
- Victorian Default Offer January Increase
- New South Wales grid owner works to restore electricity in bushfire affected areas
- Queensland's first community-scale battery storage facility due to go live
- The approval of the SA-NSW interconnector and its impact on residents
- Retailer Reliability Obligation due to launch
- A possible new energy future for Tasmania
- Small-scale solar breaks records with a 35% YOY increase on installations
Victorian Default Offer January Increase
As you may recall, last July, Victoria introduced the The Victorian Default Offer (VDO), a simple, trusted and reasonably priced electricity option that safeguards consumers unable or unwilling to engage in the electricity market and shop around.
This baseline offer was introduced to empower every Victorian household and small business (with the exception of embedded network customers) to ask for a default offer, or use it to compare against offers to ensure they’re getting value for money on electricity.
After launching the program in July 2019, the Essential Services Commission has announced the VDO rate for January 2020, will increase by a rate of 7.8% for residents.
This announcement comes even as the Australian Energy Market Commission has predicted a decrease of 20% in energy costs nationwide between 2018 and 2022.
As a result of the hike in the VDO, retailers are expected to increase their prices accordingly, though not to the same extent. Retailer AGL, for example, has announced that the average increase in discounted energy plans will be only 5%, smaller than the VDO increase.
As an advocate for transparency across the industry, we are a supporter of measures that empower residents and businesses.
NEW SOUTH WALES & ACT
Grid owner working to restore power in bushfire affected areas
Essential Energy is a state-owned electricity infrastructure company which owns, maintains and operates the electrical distribution networks for much of New South Wales, covering 95 per cent of the state geography.
Since 1 January, it has been working to restore power to more than 3,000 customers left without power following bushfires that affected both the South Coast, Riverina and Snowy Valley regions of NSW.
With a highly coordinated and focused response, just over 90 per cent of customers affected by power outages have had power restored.
Despite working in fire grounds affected by smoke, contending with difficult terrain and dealing with hazardous trees, an additional 1,300 customers had their power restored on 10 January.
As of 28 January, 771 customers Essential Energy customers remain without power.
If you have been impacted by this year's bushfires and we can help, please get in touch with our team.
Queensland's first community-scale battery storage facility
Queenslanders have led the way with renewable energy schemes with one in three households having installed solar.
Now comes Queensland’s first community-scale battery storage facility at Bohle Plains due to power up in February.
Acting Energy Minister, Mark Ryan, said battery storage technology was the next wave of Queensland’s renewable energy revolution.
The 4MW Tesla battery will be charged by excess solar power during the day and used to help evening peak demand and temporary disruptions, including summer storms.
According to Ryan, batteries are being installed at a rate of 300 per month.
Source: Utility Magazine
AER approves SA-NSW interconnector
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) last week approved the SA-NSW interconnector which is expected to deliver cheaper and more reliable electricity for South Australians.
Currently, South Australia accesses the National Energy Market in through an interconnector with Victoria, but by adding this new interconnector with NSW, the state is less exposed to power outages as a result of extreme weather conditions.
According to Energy Networks Australia, New South Wales residents will benefit too - benefiting from cheaper renewable electricity from South Australia when there's an excess.
Retailer Reliability Obligation due to launch
The Retailer Reliability Obligation (RRO), put forward by South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, will come into effect in South Australia for the first quarters of 2022 and 2023.
The RRO is designed to support reliability in the National Electricity Market (NEM).
In particular, it encourages retailers, and some large energy users, to establish contacts for their share of demand for a prescribed period.
Source: Utility Magazine
Report finds Battery of the Nation to improve economic and social outcomes for Tasmania
A report released last year by the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry found that despite the state lagging behind the rest of the country in economic and social outcomes, a proposed energy idea could provide a possible solution towards closing the gap.
Pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Tasmania David Adams has proposed one way to bring better economic and social outcomes to northern Tasmania and regional areas was by basing the state's future power project in Launceston.
The Future power project envisions Tasmania making a greener contribution to the National Energy Market (NEM) through wind, hydropower and more interconnections with the mainland.
According to Adams, the initial hydro energy scheme reshaped the state and this next energy project could do the same.
By basing it in Launceston, less pressure would be put on Hobart's housing and transport and there is the potential to set up research and building facilities in the north, creating a true innovation hub.
Source: The Advocate
2019 was the biggest year for small-scale solar in Australia
Records were broken last year, with a 35% increase in small-scale solar system installations across Australia compared to the previous year.
This is the biggest YOY growth we've seen to date and the Australian Energy Market Operator and Clean Energy Regular predict the boom won't stop anytime soon.
Queensland leads the way with over 600,000 solar systems installed to date, followed by New South Wales with just over 530,000 and then Victoria with more than 438,000 systems.
Due to the uptake of many small to medium size businesses leveraging solar to reduce their energy bills, the average size of rooftop solar has grown to 8kW.
As of January 1, the federal rebates for solar systems were reduced by just under 10%, however, with power prices increasing in many states, the return on investment for homes and business is still very strong.
Source: Renew Economy