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Ergon says strategy aligns with interim report

Published: 4 Dec 2015 2:23pm

AN interim report of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap project aligns well with Ergon’s long-held strategic objective of empowered customers, says Ergon Energy Chief Executive Ian McLeod.

Mr McLeod welcomed the key findings of the interim report, released on Thursday 3 December, saying they were not only in alignment with the company’s focus on customers, but also the adoption of new technologies such as larger scale renewables on the grid.

“Queensland is certainly a leader in the transformation with the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world and significant enquiry for connection of new large scale solar and wind projects to the Ergon grid. We are and will continue to be a key enabler of a cleaner energy future.”

At the launch in Canberra this week project partners CSIRO and the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said Australia’s energy system would see a historic transfer of power from energy utilities to customers.

The release of the interim report is a milestone for the CSIRO and ENA which are partnering to develop a ten-year transition plan for an electricity sector focused on customers.

ENA CEO John Bradley said the big shift in Australia’s energy future was the transfer of decision-making and control from a handful of energy utilities to millions of Australian customers.

“CSIRO’s latest analysis shows more than $224 billion – or more than a quarter - of all electricity system expenditure to 2050 is likely to be made by consumers,” Mr Bradley said.

“The Grid can enable that transformation while maintaining a highly reliable, quality service to meet the needs of customers.  The Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap will assist Australia’s electricity system to support customer choice and control, reduce costs, ensure fairness and deliver the clean energy transition.

“CSIRO analysis indicates a modernised electricity grid remains important to even the most decentralised scenarios - but this relies on the value it can provide to customers,” he added. 

Mr Bradley said that the business model of the network could evolve fundamentally to a ‘platform provider’, enabling new energy services and uses, as opposed to the conventional ‘poles and wires’ service.

“Australia has a clear window of opportunity to reshape our electricity system to enable the customer-driven take up of new services, like renewable and low-emission generation, home automation, battery storage, and electric vehicles,” Mr Bradley said.

The Network Transformation Roadmap, to be released in late 2016, will identify specific actions for businesses, policy and regulation as part of an integrated pathway for Australia’s energy transition over the next decade.

Mr McLeod said Ergon Energy fully supported the findings and was committed to responsibly and prudently providing a platform which provided market-driven opportunities for all customers.

“As active participants in the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap project, we're certainly looking forward to future findings and recommendations arising from this great initiative,” he said.

Key findings in the Interim Report include:

  • In the next ten years, storage costs could fall by approximately two-thirds and the cost of solar panels will fall by a third.
  • The outlook for long-term electricity customer bills has improved since 2013 modelling and sees a slightly lower share of income spent on electricity than previously expected - due partly to the benefits of battery storage to the system.
  • There will be stronger incentives to take up solar panels but also the potential for increased cross subsidies among customers if cost-reflective pricing is not addressed.
  • The electricity sector could play a significant role in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with up to 51% abatement in the sector by 2030.
  • The electricity grid has a key enabling role in all scenarios although it may be used very differently – as a ‘platform’ for new energy services.

Read more at Ergon Energy Talking Energy section.

Download the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap Overview and the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap - Interim Program Report for December 2015.

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