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Australian government releases Energy Green Paper

Published by , Editor - Hydrocarbon Engineering
World Cement,

The Australian government released the Energy Green Paper on 23 September 2014. The Green Paper includes policy approaches to ensure reliable and affordable energy that, when used productively, supports business competitiveness, lowers the cost of living and grows exports, and is central to the Australian Government’s economic reform agenda for a strong and prosperous national economy.

There is no ‘silver bullet’ to achieve the change needed in the energy sector. Coherent and constructive market reform and properly integrated polices will give industry and consumers confidence in energy policy. Reforms are needed to create competition, and drive innovation and productivity.

Energy policy goals

Energy resources investment

  • Streamline environmental and other approvals to create more certain, timely and accessible approvals. Better regulation will lower costs to business, boost productivity and enhance Australia’s international competitiveness.
  • Drive better skills and workforce productivity, including access to skilled migration so industry has access to the skills it needs for timely and cost-effective projects, which will encourage future investment.
  • Create supply chain opportunities for local small-to-medium enterprises, and create more indigenous employment opportunities in the energy resources sector.
  • Enhance pre-competitive geoscience and improve access to environmental data to lower costs and exploration risk, reduce duplication and regulatory burden, improve community engagement and better-inform decision-making and environmental management.
  • Identify and address infrastructure bottlenecks so industry has access certainty, reducing infrastructure duplication and cost.
  • Promote Australia’s energy products, technology and services exports to increase the export earnings of Australia’s energy resources, products and skills.

Electricity prices

  • Pursue tariff reform and improved consumer access to energy use data, including electricity network tariff reform to limit cross-subsidies. This will help consumers be better informed, and provide tariff choice and options to manage energy use and cost. Energy users will pay their fair share of the costs of the poles and wires that supply electricity.
  • Ensure reliability standards do not encourage unnecessary investment in electricity networks so consumers do not receive higher reliability standards than they would be willing to pay for if they understood the impact on electricity prices.
  • Improve the efficiency of electricity use to drive electricity cost savings for consumers.
  • Rationalise emissions reductions actions to reduce unnecessary costs so consumers do not pay more due to market distortion.
  • Remove unnecessary regulatory barriers and market interventions, and encourage further privatisation to create better prices and services for consumers through more competition, efficiency and innovation.

Building gas supply and improving market operation

  • Bring on new gas supply as quickly as possible to avoid potential supply shortages so that domestic gas users do not pay higher prices than necessary.
  • Improve the availability and quality of market information to improve market transparency and competition so gas sellers and buyers have more certainty about the availability of supply and pricing.
  • Reform gas markets to create more flexible and transparent market arrangements.

Security, innovation and energy productivity

  • Maintain secure, competitively-priced and reliable energy supplies so consumers have access to adequate and reliable energy.
  • Improve energy productivity to increase domestic security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity.
  • Develop a better ‘outlook’ capacity so Government is better prepared to respond to supply issues, to global market opportunities, and to invest strategically in research. Industry will have access to better information, giving more certainty and encouraging investment.
  • Keep the range of energy options technology neutral by tackling regulatory barriers and making best use of research investments so Australia is able to choose from the broadest possible range of energy options. This will strengthen Australia’s energy security.
  • Look for relevant international technology engagement to benefit Australian industries from international experience.

Access the Energy Green Paper here.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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