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Decarbonisation pathways: Policy and regulation 


Bruce Mountain


Victorian Energy Policy Centre

Presentation title: The National Electricity Market 25 years on: outcomes and prospects


Abstract: Twenty-five years have passed since the creation of the National Electricity Market. Has it delivered on the claims of its founders? Network prices (and costs) are much higher now than before the NEM was created, and wholesale prices have not declined over time. In wholesale markets, many complex endogenous and exogenous factors might explain outcomes. We avoid causal judgement in favour of describing and interpreting the actions of policy makers, to understand their judgement of the NEM. On this there is less scope for debate: the three large States have (again) become explicitly involved in directing the development of their electricity sector.


This means various combinations of Government procurement of generation and storage, or government power provision. In transmission we find that tensions between central and regional transmission planning that pre-date the NEM remain unresolved. In authorising the creation of the NEM, the ACCC expressed concern about conflicts of interest where governments also owned regulated networks, but said that statutorily independent regulation would resolve this. The evidence in electricity distribution suggests that the ACCC’s concern was well founded but that its solution - statutory independence - was not. Independent regulation of government-owned monopolies has proved to be an oxymoron.


In summary, what is now called the NEM seems to bear little resemblance to the designs of its founding fathers. State governments’ resumption of control over the development of the electricity sector within their boundaries, has been likened by some to winding the clock back. But in important respects things are quite different to when the NEM began: consumers can now choose their suppliers and there are many private developers offering a variety of generation and storage technologies for connection to the grid, or directly to customers’ premises. It is in this context that State governments’ new roles are to be contemplated. Much is be discovered and rediscovered.


Lyndal Bubke

Acting Director, Energy Innovation Toolkit

Australian Energy Regulator

Presentation title: The Australian Energy Regulator’s new Energy Innovation Toolkit and how the regulatory environment can support the energy transition

Abstract: The Energy Innovation Toolkit (EIT) has been created to better respond to the energy sectors’ evolving needs, to encourage competition resulting in better outcomes for energy consumers, and to allow Australia’s energy frameworks to better adapt to rapid technological change.
The EIT is a collaboration between the Australian Energy Regulatory (AER), Australian Energy Market Commission, Australian Energy Market Operator, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and the Essential Services Commission. In partnership, these organisations support the needs to the industry by providing:
• Innovation Enquiry Service – a free service which allows the agencies to provide informal guidance on how the federal regulatory framework may apply to different energy projects and ideas
• Trial waivers – where the AER can waive certain regulations and rules to enable a proof-of-concept trial to proceed.
• Trial rule change – where the AEMC can grant trial rule changes to allow trials to proceed.
Since its launch in August 2022, the EIT has worked with a number of different stakeholders on their questions, business ideas and innovations. Our users have included DNSPs and Retailers all the way through to individuals with a good idea. Not only is the EIT a relatively new service; it represents a new way of engaging and working with the energy sector to foster innovation and competition in the market and creating better outcomes for consumers.
This presentation gives the EIT the unique opportunity to share some of our learnings since launch, lessons around engagement, what we have heard from the sector and what the future holds for the EIT.

Dunstan Chris.jpeg

Chris Dunstan

Adjunct Associate Professor

Institute for Sustainable Futures,UTS

Presentation title: Least Cost Strategies for a customer-focussed clean energy transition


Abstract: The Reliable Affordable Clean Energy Cooperative Research Centre (RACE for 2030 CRC) was established in July 2020. Its goal was to undertake high-impact research to facilitate a customer-centred clean energy transition. Now two years old, what has RACE for 2030 achieved so far?
This presentation will provide an overview of the 68 research projects initiated to date, their estimated impact in reducing reducing customer energy bills and carbon emissions, the opportunities and challenges in front of us, and our plans for the future.

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