Monday, September 15, 2014

Australian Government Energy Green Paper

Greetings from the Australian National University ANU Energy Green Paper Forum. An Energy White Paper was released in December 2013 and the Green paper is due out "soon". The emphasis in the white paper was reliability, energy security and cost and this is expected to be reflected in the green paper. The current Australian Government is not as committed to renewable energy or carbon emission reduction as was the previous Labour government. The government is sensitive to energy price rises and adverse public reaction. One current issue is that with liquefied gas export facilities being developed on Australia’s eastern coast, the domestic gas price will increase to international levels. Curiously while there is an oversupply of electricity generation in Australia and the wholesale cost has dropped, retail process have increase. Also curiously the Australian Government and the electricity industry seemed surprised that electricity use is reducing, even though the government funded numerous schemes designed to reduce energy use.

One speaker at the conference referred to "grid defection",  where householders use solar power for their own supply, rather than use it to supply the grid. Investment in battery research is now going into longer battery life, rather than just capacity. Households can also use the grid to supplement their own solar power, which has implications for how the grid is funded.

One of the interesting scenarios later in the day was that Australia’s new LHD warships  will be dependent on imported specialised aviation fuel for its operations. So the warship will not be able to leave port until a commercial tanker from Singapore arrives with fuel. At the same time the Chinese Navy may exercise its right to escort Chinese bulk fuel ships from just outside Australian territorial waters to China. This could be justified if Australia is unable to secure its own trade routes.

12.00   Lunch
12.30   Energy Generation
Speakers: Ken Baldwin (ANU ECI) and Clare Savage (Energy Australia)
13.30   National Energy Markets (electricity and gas)
Speakers: Tony Wood (Grattan Institute) and Iain McGill (UNSW)
14.30   Afternoon Tea
15.00   Energy Productivity
Speakers: Jonathan Jutsen (Energetics) and Michael Smith (ANU ECI)
16.00   Transport Energy
Speakers: John Blackburn (NRMA) and Neil Greet (Engineers Australia)
17.00   Wrap-up discussion
17.30   Close

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