AEMC discussion paper outlines priority actions

In a discussion paper published this week, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has outlined priority actions for governments and energy market bodies to support the delivery of secure, reliable and affordable electricity and gas to households and businesses.

The paper is the next step in developing strategic priorities to address challenges in the energy sector, and also to harness opportunities from the advancements in energy technologies, as requested by the COAG Energy Council in December 2016.

These priorities will contribute to the COAG Energy Council’s strategic energy plan as recommended by the Finkel panel review.

“The electricity system is transforming from centralised synchronous generation to more non-synchronous variable wind and solar and more local, distributed generation,” the AEMC said in a statement.

“Retail electricity prices have increased by around 20 per cent in many regions, driven by generator retirements, higher gas prices and a lack of clarity about future emissions reduction polices.

“Gas markets are also experiencing upheaval, with sharp price rises in recent years driven by the growth of the LNG export industry and restrictions on gas supply.

“This has raised concerns about whether gas can play the role of a ‘transitional fuel’ as the electricity market evolves to more renewable generation.

“At the same time, new technologies are changing the way households and businesses use energy, and opening up more opportunities to sell power back to the grid.”

The discussion paper proposes a set of goals for Australia’s energy sector, key work to deliver the goals, and measures to track progress.

Energy Consumers Australia CEO Rosemary Sinclair said the Strategic Priorities Discussion Paper provided a solid foundation for engagement across the sector about transformation and providing better value to consumers.

“A laser-like focus on energy affordability is needed to successfully transform the sector.” Ms Sinclair said.

Ms Sinclair said in a market characterised by unprecedented change, an agreed strategy was needed to help ensure that all the levers available to policy makers and regulators were being pulled in the same direction.

”We need to reconcile, sequence and prioritise the recommendations of the Finkel, the ACCC and state government reviews to re-build trust and confidence with consumers that the market can deliver better value outcomes,” she said.

Stakeholders are encouraged to provide their feedback on the proposed strategic priorities and work program. Submissions are due by October 10.