Alfred Deakin Research Institute


ADRI-TERI Symposium

Markets, Regulations and Renewables

Hugh Saddler outlines the current Australian National Electricity Market (NEM).

Download his presentation.

Australian energy supply: primary fuel mix 2011

  • Black and brown coal predominate, followed by natural gas, crude oil, petroleum products, biofuels and renewables

Trends in Australian greenhouse gas emissions, excluding Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry, 1990-2010

  • Electricity production has increased more dramatically than transport, and all other energy uses.
    Official projections of Australia's emissions with carbon price

Emissions will increase from forestry and land use, agriculture, industrial processes, transport and fugitives, while emissions from electricity generation and other stationary energy will remain static or gradually decreased.

  • Simplified schematic of energy and financial flows in the NEM (see map p.5)

The bidding economics in the NEM: a market working well (see maps p.6 - 7)

Consumer demand for electrical energy from June 2006 - June 2012?

  • Electricity generation has increased most from natural gas and renewables, remained steady from brown coal, and decreased from black coal

Consumer demand for electrical energy?

  • Non-residential and Residential energy increased steadily since 1998.
    • Total energy consumption peaked in 2008
    • Energy per capita peaked in 2007 and declined through to 2011
    • Resdential consumption peaked in 2005 and again in 2010
    • Non-residential consumption peaked in 2008 and tapered off by 2011
    • Emissions from electricity generation in the NEM?
    • Emissions have fallen by 19 Mt CO2-e or 10.7% since December 2008

Predictions on consumer demand for electrical energy in the NEM?

  • Steady increase at different rates will occur across fast, medium and slow growth scenarios
    What is currently happening?
  • Effects on NEM generator mix
    • Large Renewable Energy Target
    • Increased fuel costs at black coal power stations
    • Increased rainfall in south-east Australia
  • Distributed (embedded) generation
    • Residential rooftop solar PV (AEMO forecasts 7.6 TWh - 3.4% of annual energy by 2022)
    • Gas fuelled co/tri-generation
    • Other (landfill, gas etc.)
  • Decreased electricity demand
    • Lighting (incandescent bulb phase-out)
    • Increased efficiency in residential water heating (solar, heat pumps, instantaneous gas)
    • Minimum Energy Performance Standards in appliances, equipment, new residential and commercial buildings
    • Industrial energy efficiency programs (Energy Efficiency Opportunities etc.)
    • Economic shifts due to reduced energy use in tandem with reduced gross domestic product (GDP) over the short term.
    • Manufacturing consumption reduced by high Australian dollar, and increase in import of foreign products.
    • Consumer response (commercial, residential) to rise in electricity costs and energy efficiency measures.
    • Increased awareness and understanding of behavioural options to reduce energy consumption

Are higher prices driving reductions in electricity demand?

  • Residential energy consumption trends per capita has declined since 2005 peak, while total energy has plateaued and real energy price has increased
  • Residential energy consumption trends in Western Australia have increased per capita and per customer since 1998. Real price increased from a steady decline in 2009.

Will an exaggerated response to an increase in peak demand and decrease in energy demand lead to collapse in the electricity network sector?

  • Annual energy and peak loads in all states have peaked by 2007 - 2008 followed with a subsequent tapering off


LM: Should recent power-cuts in India (2012) be seen as 'growing pains' or structural problems? Did some businesses leave India because of the risk?
AK: Government and Corporate stakeholders are aware that power consumption will increase. Black-outs were not caused by power lack but by the inability of power-trading markets to find ways to distribute power while maintaining economic viability in the purchase and supply system. There has not been the political will to address this problem.
LH: I suggest focusing on corporate responsibility by limiting inefficient electricity consumption through engaging businesses in use continuity and going behind the grid.
AK: The Indian Government encourages businesses to switch to solar PV while negotiating space considerations, and seeks to reduce electricity demand.
NS: There is an expectation that Government can and should do something about it. But private sector innovation is important. What can TERI do to suggest incentives for private corporations in India?
AM: The Indian Government seeks to reduce energy consumption by 20-25% through efficiency increases. While this has had success in the formal sector, innovation is needed for the informal sector. TERI can influence the corporate sector through brand-building and cultivating peer pressure via the national business council.
MF: The lack of fuel distribution systems and waste is high.
NH: This presents an important opportunity for an Australian-run skills development conference.
PH: How does Australian energy supply to India compare to the large Chinese market?
MF: India is working hard to get as much coal from Australia. However, Indian private enterprise is also turning to alternative suppliers of coking coal such as Mozambique and Indonesia. Northern India has its own coal, while requirements in the south can be met with LNG. Although the market is not huge, Australia is nearing the selling of uranium to India, which will be crucial for future relations between the two countries.
AM: Myanmar and Vietnam are also initiating ties with India for LNG.
MP: Burma has more capacity to provide power to those other countries [Bangladesh, Bengal], and Brunei could finance supply. But Burma and Brunei would not negotiate due to tensions with China. But it is inexorable that the private sector can and will circumvent nation-nation relations to share power and bring nations together.
PH: What of interdependence between ASEAN nations and Australia?
MF: From experience with Shell, coal export must be expedited quickly for the following reasons:

  1. Environmental approval and taxed fugitive gas emissions through coal seams are economically onerous,
  2. CO2 emissions limits have created a 20-30 shelf-life for coal-fired power.

RD: What about responsibility for climate change?
AM: Unlike in China with its physical infrastructure, nuclear power in India has little future. With the weakening of the national centre and strengthening of federal units, nuclear power cannot be run commercially. And although it relates to civil society development, nuclear power has never entered civil society discourse. Although Hydro power is unlikely at the national level, it could be viable at the regional level (Nepal, Bhutan, India).
LH: Responsibility for the commodity is shouldered by the consumer and not the large corporations (BHP/Shell/BP/Rio Tinto). So a number of questions become apparent:

  • How can pricing signals dictate the market?
  • How do you have business as usual without the emissions?
  • Can Australia utilise its coal by creating profit from value adding by taking moisture out of coal and transforming it into soil fertilizer, for example?

RD: We should prioritise a longer horizon (not short term profit).
RB: Bilateral safeguards have attenuated in Australia, and this is further aggravated by selling uranium to a (Non Proliferation Treaty) non-signatory state (India).
AK: Less energy consumption and greater use of renewables is our goal.
HS: We need to adjust our thinking from yesterday's to tomorrow's problems. 35% of energy will be produced by renewables by 2020 in Australia. Brown and black coal is very low quality coal, so coal power stations are now facing higher fuel costs. The emissions debate is symbolic. PV solar development is being wound back, while the lower costs of 10-20 kW from solar PV is attracting small-medium businesses. The challenge is the business network between generators and consumers.

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

18th December 2012