Discussion over the use, reliability and cost of electricity in Australia has been hotly debated for many years by both consumers, businesses and government. However, to address many of the issues the need for a national strategic approach has been required and recommendations from an independent review have now been released.
The Finkel Review
In June, Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel released the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market stoking new discussion about how to best optimise our existing system to meet the needs of today’s market whilst addressing the challenges of the future to ensure a secure, reliable and affordable system.
“Our electricity system is entering an era where it must deal with changing priorities and evolving technologies. If the world around us is changing, we have to change with it. More of the same is not an option, we need to aim higher,” Dr Finkel said.
“If we adopt a strategic approach, we will have fewer local and regional problems, and can ensure that consumers pay the lowest possible prices over the long term.”
The Review’s blueprint for change will deliver four key outcomes for the electricity system: future reliability, increased security, rewarding consumers and lower emissions. To achieve these outcomes, the plan is underpinned by three main pillars:
- orderly transition measures,
- system planning, and
- stronger governance.
“The blueprint presents the essential elements for a strategic plan for our electricity future. It is up to Federal, State and Territory Governments to take these recommendations, make decisions, add detail and drive it forward.”
Opportunities for business
It is proposed that all consumers – including small and large businesses – be financially rewarded if they agree to manage their demand and share their resources, such as solar panels and battery storage.
Greater security and affordability will be strengthened through smarter grids, meter data information and clear data ownership rules to promote new ways of trading. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) price inquiry is also examining the electricity retail market which aims to improve the transparency and clarity of electricity retail prices.
These initiatives provide an opportunity for businesses to take the lead in adopting environmentally-friendly infrastructure and to better understand internal requirements for demand planning and usage.