Australia’s clean energy sector calls on government to remove energy market barriers

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Solar homeowners not exporting energy to the grid should be treated the same as other energy customers. Flickr: Coop biodiversity and Landscape

The Clean Energy Council (CEC), a body representing the renewables industry in Australia, has written to federal and state government ministers citing various barriers to the progress of clean energy in the country.

The letter said: “Not only has progress on energy market reform lagged behind the rapid advancement in new technologies, but some of the reforms that have been prioritised have been at odds with ensuring a level playing field within the energy market.”

CEC said the rapidly growing commercial solar PV sector and declining energy storage costs mean that government should focus on maximising the efficiency of renewable energy investments.

It recommended a range of actions to overcome institutional barriers and market distortions that are disproportionately benefitting incumbent technologies.

This included establishing grid connection processes that embrace the technical capabilities of combining renewables and energy storage. Standards for this kind of grid connection must also be developed along with frequent reporting of the performance of these technologies.

It is also important to ensure that customers who install non-exporting renewable energy and energy storage systems are not treated any differently to other customers.

For example, Western Australia state utility Synergy recently proposed extra billing for the state’s 191,000 rooftop solar owners, claiming there is a flaw in the fixed charges element of electricity tariffs, which results in many standard electricity consumers paying far more for their power than they should be.

However, solar homeowners labelled the proposals as an unfair “sun tax”.

CEC also cited the proposed Optional Firm Access (OFA) reforms as a major barrier. OFA would change the way that electricity generators access the transmission grid and cause new large-scale generators to pay for a specified level of ‘firm access rights’. However, firm access rights would be largely grandfathered to existing generators, so the existing fossil fuel fleet would receive a sanctioned competitive advantage when compared with new renewables, which would face increased costs and risks.

CEC said: “If implemented, OFA would unfairly discriminate against large-scale renewable energy generators at a time when barriers to the market’s transition to cleaner energy sources need to be removed, not created.”

Ultimately, among a range of recommendations, CEC said that Australia needs to reprioritise energy market reform to address the host of barriers to clean energy as soon as possible.

Read Next

July 26, 2021
A solar-wind-energy storage hybrid project is to power a Madagascan mine after Rio Tinto signed a power purchase agreement with independent power producer CrossBoundary Energy.
PV Tech Premium
July 23, 2021
A reduction in deployment costs combined with technology gains mean solar-plus-storage is an increasingly attractive option for off-grid mining operations looking to cut emissions. Jules Scully looks at successful case studies and the opportunity ahead.
July 16, 2021
The new chief of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has said he wants the country’s grids to be capable of handling 100% renewables by 2025.
July 13, 2021
Solar PV capacity in Asia Pacific could triple to 1,500GW by 2030, with China driving deployment and Indonesia set to be the region’s fastest-growing market, according to Wood Mackenzie.
July 13, 2021
A renewable energy hub consisting of up to 50GW of solar and wind generation for the production of green hydrogen is being planned for Western Australia.
July 12, 2021
Investor confidence in the Australian clean energy market has been dented by “unhelpful and unpredictable” government interventions.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK