Embracing Change: Late 2023’s Energy News for Australian Small Businesses

As 2024 unfolds, it’s important to look back at the significant changes in energy policies and climate goals that emerged in Australia at the end of 2023. These developments are crucial for small business owners, highlighting the importance of staying adaptable and informed in a rapidly evolving industry.

NSW’s Strategic Energy Shift
In late 2023, NSW’s Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Penny Sharpe, introduced the ‘Orderly Exit Mechanism.’ This significant policy change, backed the powers to 2021, allowing for more direct governmental control over energy generation facilities like Eraring Power Station. Small business owners in NSW should be aware of these regulatory shifts, as they could have an impact on the state’s energy supply and market prices going forward.

Queensland’s Climate Commitment
Toward the end of 2023, Queensland set an ambitious climate target of 75% below 2005 levels by 2035. This bold move suggests a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and could lead to new regulations and opportunities for small businesses. Embracing renewable energy and sustainable practices may become increasingly important.

The December Energy Surge
On December 29th, the energy market saw a significant spike, with demand exceeding 9,750MW and prices soaring. This highlights the importance of energy efficiency for small businesses. Exploring renewable energy and investing in energy-saving technologies can help mitigate the impact of such market fluctuations.

Coal Seam Gas Regulation
The Department of Resources released a draft framework for Coal Seam Gas regulation, indicating a move towards stricter environmental oversight. Small businesses in related fields should prepare for potential changes in operations and compliance requirements.

Queensland’s Environmental Stance
With the resurgence of the “polluter pays” principle in environmental law, the Queensland government is taking steps to reinforce the Environmental Protection Act of 1994. This initiative is highlighted by the recent release of a consultation paper titled “Improving the Powers and Penalties Provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.” This renewed focus on environmental accountability suggests a shift towards stricter regulations. For small businesses, it means an increased need to be more proactive in managing their environmental impact, thereby ensuring alignment with evolving standards and sustainability practices.

ARENA’s Emission Reduction Initiative
ARENA’s late 2023 launch of a $40 million fund to reduce industrial emissions reflects a broader governmental effort toward sustainability. While targeted at larger facilities, this initiative might open future opportunities for small businesses to participate in emission reduction.

The final months of 2023 marked a turning point for energy and environmental policies in Australia. For small businesses in the energy sector, understanding and adapting to these changes will be key to navigating this new era of sustainability and responsibility.

This is a summary article from Edge2020 – read the original article.

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NSW progress in a bid to replace their last 5 coal-fired generators

NSW Waratah

AEMO Services recently conducted its first round of tenders for Long-Term Energy Service Agreements and Renewable Energy Zone Access Rights to support the transition to renewables in NSW. 16 projects were shortlisted, totaling 4.3 GW of generation and storage in its first auction.

To enable the transition from coal to renewables, investment in NSW is likely to be over $32B to allow renewables to fill the gap as the last 5 coal fired generators in the state retire over the next 10 years. AEMO Services will be running two auctions per year until 2030 to source a total of 14 GW. The next auction is likely in July 2023.

Replacing the last five coal generators with renewables and storage should lead to lower energy prices in the long run because:

  1. Renewable energy sources are plentiful in Australia, which should eventually lead to price stability and security of supply.
  2. The use of renewable energy reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, which are subject to price fluctuations and geopolitical tensions.
  3. The deployment of energy storage technologies such as batteries can help aggregate renewable energy sources better, making it easier to mix them to meet NSW’s energy needs.

The 16 selected projects will have to submit their financial bids to AEMO Services by 10th February, with unsuccessful projects able to resubmit in future rounds.

We are looking forward to seeing more projects reach financial close to bring more renewable energy to the grid as this will enable our Edge Utilities Power Portfolio to access renewables at more competitive prices for our customers.

If you would like a strategy to ensure your company procures energy to support sustainability and growth in renewables, please reach out to discuss your options.  To save on electricity spend, you can also join our Edge Utilities Power Portfolio, read more: https://edgeutilities.com.au/edge-utilities-power-portfolio/ or call us on: 1800 334 336 to discuss.