AGL fails to report data and meet its emission targets in Victoria
AGL, one of Australia’s largest energy companies, has come under fire from the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC) (the Victorian regulator) after failing to provide its 2017-18 performance report for energy retailing on time and failing to meet its emission offset levels.
AGL stated that it was unable to provide the performance report due to limitations in their current reporting platform and the need to complete a ‘full rebuild’ of their reporting capability. This then pushed the ESC to suggest that there may be inaccuracies in previous performance data and that the ESC would undertake a separate audit on AGL to assess its technical capacity as a licensed energy retail business in Victoria.
Energy companies in Victoria are part of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme which sets state targets for energy savings. The scheme requires retailers to purchase a required number of certificates to offset its emissions liability. AGL failed to surrender enough certificates to offset its emissions from the volume of gas and electricity it sold to its Victorian customers. The ESC has fined AGL Au$2,991,621 as a shortfall penalty.
AEMC appoints two new executive general managers
The Australian Energy Market Commission, the rule maker for the National Energy Market, has appointed two new general managers. Mr David Feeney, who was previously in commercial development for Telstra (Australia’s leading telecom company), takes over the Retail and Wholesale Markets role. Associate Professor Tim Nelson, previously Chief Economist for AGL (one of the ‘Big 3’ energy companies) heads the economic analysis team.
The appointments take executives from companies who have been promoting new business models and investing in renewable energy. Telstra have been investing in solar and wind farms and analysts have suggested that they may be a making a push into the retail market, offering customers a one-stop shop for mobile, broadband, pay TV and energy.
AGL are promoting the use of solar PV and storage with CCGT as a replacement for the aging Liddell coal generation plant after its planned retirement in four years’ time and were offering solar packages to its customers . Although AGL has lost another of its pro-renewable executive team, the new appointments to the AEMC show that the rule maker is acknowledging the role that renewables will play in the future energy market.
Green mortgages scheme aimed at energy efficiency takes off
An EU-backed pilot programme aimed at increasing energy efficiency through raising the visibility of the issue and creating incentives at the point of purchase is beginning to get more take-up by banks and building societies. Deutsche Hypothekenbank in Germany and the Ecology Building Society in the UK are the latest to join 37 financial institutions offering incentives such as reduced rates or additional capital in exchange for energy efficiency improvements, or the acquisition of an already energy efficient property. The programme involves the European Mortgage Federation and the World Green Building Council.
All EU sales of ICE cars, including hybrids, must end by 2028, says Greenpeace Belgium
A new report, based on research commissioned by Greenpeace Belgium from the German Aerospace Centre, says that for Europe to ‘meaningfully contribute’ to limiting warming to 1.5°C, not only will sales of new conventional petrol and diesel cars have to be phased out as early as 2028, but so will sales of hybrids. The study looks solely at electric vehicle take up, rather than synthetic fuels or changes in behaviour and mobility demand, although it acknowledges that these could also play important roles.
The Future of Energy Storage in the EU
The European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) has published a briefing which looks at the opportunities and barriers to energy storage in the EU, and concludes that “without energy storage, the EU cannot achieve its transition to a low carbon economy”. EASE make several recommendations to overcome barriers for the further deployment of storage, including on fiscal barriers, economics and financial barriers and technical barriers.
However, on regulatory barriers they note that the creation of a fair and clear regulatory framework will require: Introducing an open energy storage definition; clarifying the legislative framework on the ownership of storage by regulated entities; and ensuring that network code provisions do not contain unjustified barriers to the deployment of storage technologies and their participation in the energy, balancing and ancillary services markets on a level playing field with competing technologies.
Renewable Energy Continues to Dominate New Capacity in India
During the second quarter (Q2) of 2018 2.2 GW of new solar capacity was installed in India, which was 62 percent of the total additional installed across the power sector. During 2017-18, for the first time, India added more capacity in renewables (11,788 MW) than in the thermal and hydro sectors combined (5,400 MW). The domination of renewable energy is expected to continue as the Minister for Power, R.K.Singh said that the country should significantly increase its renewable target from 175 GW to 227 GW by 2022. The government is continuing and accelerating specific policies to help achieve the renewables target, for example the Ministry of Power has introduced an order that will require energy consumers, through the Renewable Purchase Obligation, to purchase an increasing share of their electricity from renewable sources, up from 17 percent in 2018 to 21 percent in 2021.