You may not be inclined to keep up with what’s happening in the energy sector. Life’s hectic enough. All you want to do is flick a switch or turn a knob and get electricity or gas. We get it.
It’s our job to make sure that electricity and gas are there when you need them … and, as we try to make sure we’re doing everything as well as we possibly can, we keep across what’s happening in our sector.
We’ve picked up some interesting and potentially significant stuff over the past month or so, and thought we’d share a summary for those who do like to keep well informed.
Changes to South Australian air conditioners
The South Australian government has mandated new regulations for air conditioners to take effect on 1 July 2023.
Installers will have a legal obligation to ensure that certain air conditioners comply with demand-response requirements.
These changes legally require certain air conditioners to have demand-response capabilities, although consumers don’t have to participate in demand-response programs.
A Demand Response Enabling Device (DRED) allows an electricity provider to control the unit at various pre-programmed levels to manage demand on the power grid during peak periods.
Eight new large-scale batteries are coming
The Federal Government has announced $176 million in conditional funding to support private investment in the creation of eight large-scale batteries across Australia. The value of the projects that have been selected totals $2.7 billion.
The batteries will boost storage capacity of energy from renewable sources by 2 gigawatts, going some way to replacing the 4 gigawatts of dispatchable power that’s been lost from the grid over the past decade.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has selected three projects in Victoria (new batteries at Mortlake and Gnarwarre and the retrofitting of the Victorian Big Battery at Moorabool), two each in South Australia (Blyth and Bungama) and Queensland (Hopeland and Mount Fox), and one at Liddell, in NSW. This should help make energy cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
Gippsland confirmed as Australia’s first offshore wind zone
A new area, spanning from southeast of Wilson’s Promontory to Orbost, has been confirmed as the location for Australia’s first offshore wind zone.
In response to community concerns, the zone excludes South Gippsland, which had been part of the initial proposal – although Energy Minister Chris Bowen did not rule out changes in the future.
Turbines can only be placed a minimum of 10 kilometres from the shore between Port Albert and Orbost, instead of the 5 kilometres that was previously declared.
The target is to deliver 2 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2032, increasing to 4 gigawatts by 2035 and 9 gigawatts by 2040. Cheap energy that is environmentally friendly in Australia is more tangible as a result.
Japan reverses its policy to phase out nuclear energy
After the 2011 Fukushima disaster, with ant-nuclear sentiment in Japan rising, the government started to plan to phase out nuclear energy by 2030.
But the landscape has changed over recent years and now Japan has adopted a new policy promoting greater use of nuclear energy to ensure a stable power supply amid global fuel shortages and to reduce carbon emissions.
The new policy says Japan must maximise the use of existing nuclear reactors by restarting as many of them as possible and prolonging the operating life of old reactors beyond their 60-year limit, while also developing next-generation reactors to replace them.
Of the 27 reactors that utility companies have applied to restart over the past decade, only 10 have resumed operation – although another seven have also passed safety checks.
South Australia passes new renewable energy milestone
In what is understood to be a world first, South Australia went an entire week in December effectively powered by green energy.
From December 12 to 19, National Energy Market data showed wind and solar contributed on average 103.5 per cent towards the state’s energy demand.
No coal was used during the period, but gas accounted for 5.9 per cent of electricity when renewable sources were not enough to power the state at points at night. The state’s connection to the national electricity grid also saw it import three per cent of its net energy demand. This is proof that low-cost energy that is renewable can be done on a huge scale.
One expert has predicted that this scenario might be able to be extended to a month by early next year.
That’s just a small sample …
Not everything that’s happening in the energy sector is of great interest to the public, however, we find all of it fascinating! We love to see downward pressure on the price of energy, especially when it’s from a renewable source.
The landscape is always changing – sometimes quite quickly, sometimes gradually – and particularly when government policy changes.
The GloBird Energy approach is to remain as nimble as possible so that if we need to make any adjustments, we can move within days or weeks, rather than taking months.
We also like to be transparent about what we’re thinking and doing, so sharing news we think you might find interesting is part of that ethos.