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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:28:31
                    [post_content] => 

New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most.

Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment.

Battery storage under investigation

Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower.

The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”.

Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”.

Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business.

“Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.”

Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.”

According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”.

In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers.

Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said.

In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22.

“In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said.

With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here.
                    [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably
                    [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage.
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                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 03:21:00
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28053" align="alignnone" width="300"] Cameron Offices on the corner of College Street and Chandler Way, Belconnen, ACT. Source: Wikipedia user Adz.[/caption]

With the aim of driving greater efficiency in the management of the Commonwealth’s property portfolio, three property service providers have been appointed.

The providers are Broadspectrum Property Pty Ltd (Broadspectrum), Evolve FM Pty Ltd (Evolve FM), and Jones Lang LaSalle (ACT) Pty Ltd (JLL). They will provide leasing and facilities management services to over 90 Commonwealth entities.

These appointments are part of the Government’s plan to realise further savings in excess of $100 million in property-related expenditure over the four years of the contracts, including through consolidating the Commonwealth’s buying power.

The new property service provider arrangements complement other efficiency measures already in place, including Operation Tetris (see below), which had a goal of realising savings of $300 million over 10 years through reductions in surplus leased property holdings.

The appointment of the providers followed an open tender process and represents strong outcomes for Indigenous business and small to medium enterprises (SME). Each Property Service Provider has committed to exceed the Indigenous Procurement Policy targets of 3 per cent for levels of Indigenous employment and/or engagement of downstream contractors. The Property Service Providers are also required to meet or exceed the Government’s SME targets of 10 per cent of downstream contract value.

Broadspectrum and JLL are large, established global providers. Evolve FM is an Australian-based, Indigenous-owned company.

The appointments are for an initial term until 30 June 2021, with possible extensions of up to a further four years.

Operation Tetris squeezes more in

The Department of Finance’s property efficiency program consists of:
  • Absorbing entities’ lease requirements, where feasible, into existing vacant office accommodation (Operation Tetris) undertaken in the ACT in 2015-16 and rolled out nationally from 2016-17.
  • Ensuring that leases and other property services are delivered through coordinated procurements that will maximise the Commonwealth’s substantial purchasing power.
In support of Operation Tetris, the government established a ‘Whole-of-Australian-Government’ coordinated procurement system for property-related services. This arrangement covers leasing services and property and facilities management for domestic office accommodation and shopfronts. The coordinated approach for property-related services is designed to improve the efficiency of property services across the Commonwealth and maximise the value for money that can be achieved by consolidating the Commonwealth’s purchasing power. All non-corporate commonwealth entities (NCCE) will be required to commence using the arrangements for their outsourced property needs once their existing contracts expire. NCCE will, however, be able to enter into new contracts, including any extensions or expansions to existing property-related arrangements (excluding leases), as long as those contracts expire before 30 June 2018. Lease arrangements will remain subject to Resource Management Guide 504 (RMG 504) in respect of endorsement by the Minister for Finance. Since the national roll-out, the government claims Operation Tetris has successfully filled over 60,000 square metres of vacant and surplus office space in the ACT and a further 7,000 square metres in other capital cities, including:
  • A reduction in the median work point vacancy rate from 20.9 per cent (2015) to 13.8 per cent (2016).
  • A reduction in net lettable area leased by the Commonwealth from 3.13 million square metres in 2015 to 2.89 million square metres in 2016.
  [post_title] => Govt outsources office management [post_excerpt] => The Commonwealth has appointed three service providers to manage its property portfolio. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => commonwealth-outsources-office-management [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-18 13:30:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 03:30:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28052 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28045 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-15 12:29:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-15 02:29:39 [post_content] => Representatives from the rail industry came together to meet with Commonwealth ministers to discuss the need for a National Rail Industry Plan for the Benefit of Australia. “Today is a significant day for the rail industry as we build momentum for a National Rail Industry Plan and meeting with Commonwealth ministers is our first step,” said Danny Broad, chief executive officer of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). “The rail industry makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy. Investment in rail by Australian governments will be in the order of $100 billion through to 2030. We are meeting with Commonwealth ministers today to say: we need a plan to coordinate this effort and we need your support. “Through better coordination and long-term certainty, we can ensure the industry is well positioned to take advantage of all the lessons from the past and position ourselves for the future. “The Commonwealth Government will be investing $89 billion in naval shipbuilding through to 2055. This investment will be supported by a Naval Shipbuilding Plan. Rail’s contribution to Australia is no less than shipbuilding. “Next we will be meeting with state and territory governments, as well as opposition representatives to discuss our plan, seeking their support. “To get this right we really need a combined effort by Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as industry support.” The emphasis of any National Rail Industry Plan will need to include five key areas of focus, Mr Broad said:
  1. Recognising the importance of rail for Australia’s infrastructure development, urban planning and freight movements
  2. Harmonising standards, minimising regulations and maximising economies of scale
  3. Growing the capabilities of individuals and companies
  4. Maximising opportunities for rail companies
  5. Fostering innovation, research and development.”
Federal Government happy to help Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, together with the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Arthur Sinodinos and the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, met with key rail stakeholders in Canberra to canvas ideas for growing Australia's rail industry. Mr Chester said engagement with stakeholders, including business and industry groups, was essential for securing a strong national transport system that meets the needs of our freight and passenger rail task in the future. “Rail plays a significant role in the productivity of our nation, and I am always keen to hear the views of industry on how we can ensure rail continues to meet the needs of both commuters and industry,” Mr Chester said. Mr Chester said rail was a core component of the Australian Government $75 billion infrastructure investment program, including a $20 million commitment to examine faster rail. “Through the 2017-18 Budget, the Australian Government committed $20 billion toward the delivery of rail projects, including the $10 billion National Rail Program, and the $8.4 billion Inland Rail,” he said. “This significant investment will not only support freight operators and commuters, but also directly invest in the rail industry by providing high-quality — and road-competitive — rail links. “Industry engagement will continue to play an important role in ensuring we get the policy and investment settings right.” Mr Chester said supporting the rail industry—including investing in major projects—had the potential to boost national prosperity. “The Inland Rail will deliver 16,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction,” he said. “It will stimulate complementary private sector investments, such as fleet upgrades, new metropolitan and regional terminals and integrated freight precincts. “I am looking forward to seeing the roll-out of the National Rail Program and projects like Inland Rail, Perth Metronet and the Victorian Regional Rail Package.”   [post_title] => Rail: $20 billion spending, 16,000+ jobs [post_excerpt] => The rail industry met with Commonwealth ministers to discuss a National Rail Industry Plan. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rail-20-billion-spending-16000-jobs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 12:30:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 02:30:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28045 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28007 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-12 10:13:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-12 00:13:13 [post_content] => Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) and Veolia Australia and New Zealand have opened the Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility at Woodlawn Eco-precinct in the town of Tarago, located 240 kilometres from Sydney, NSW. Previously, the town of Tarago was home to the adjoining Woodlawn Mine site drilling for zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver. For SSROC and its member councils this has been an almost 10-year journey from the initial concept to the delivery of a $100 million state-of-the-art MBT facility that in this financial year alone will save the six councils more than $9.5 million collectively. President of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) Inc., Cr Sally Betts said: “For SSROC and our councils, reducing the impact of our household waste is a priority, with Sydney-siders responsible for generating around 2,000 kg of waste per person. The new MBT facility is a cost effective and sustainable way of reducing the quantity of waste that ends up in landfill.” The Woodlawn MBT facility will use cutting-edge resource recovery technology to produce compost to rehabilitate an on-site mine. Household municipal waste will be rotated in large drums along with air and water to separate compostable material from inorganic, recovering recyclables such as metals along the way. This process will divert 55% of household waste from landfill, transforming residual waste into clean heat for the on-site barramundi farm and green energy for the grid. General manager of SSROC Namoi Dougall recognised the dedication of SSROC member councils to delivering value for money and sustainable solutions to their residents: “In NSW, our councils are paying a levy of $138 per tonne of municipal waste, so by diverting more than half of our waste from landfill we are estimating that the six participating councils will be saving ratepayers $9.5 million in the first year alone. It is a sign of the dedication and foresight of our councils, that we have worked to establish this project for nearly 10 years. This is a positive step in the way we process waste, and I look forward to the MBTs evolution over the coming years.” The SSROC region is host to a newly established Veolia waste transfer terminal at Banksmeadow, which will transport containerised waste by rail to the new Woodlawn MBT facility. The use of rail, including the existing Clyde site, to transfer the waste will result in a reduction by around 30,000 heavy truck movements on Sydney’s already congested roads. Veolia’s executive general manager - Eastern Region Danny Conlon said: “The facility will process 144,000T of waste per annum and will divert more than half of participating councils’ general waste tonnes away from landfill. Ten years of collaboration amongst a number of stakeholders, inclusive of SSROC, NSROC, state government and community members have led us to this end-result, and this partnership will enable Veolia to make a positive impact on the NSW Government’s diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021. This project will also save millions of dollars in waste levy charges for Sydney’s ratepayers and will additionally produce an organic compost to be used to rehabilitate Australian mining land, ultimately allowing us to give back to the nation’s people and communities.” The collaboration with Veolia has generated over 50 jobs have between the Banksmeadow and Woodlawn facilities. [post_title] => Sydney councils adopt new waste management technology [post_excerpt] => SSROC and Veolia ANZ have opened an advanced Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sydney-councils-adopt-new-waste-management-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:35:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:35:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28007 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28003 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:47:14 [post_content] =>   Australia should start work immediately on a new way to ensure reliable electricity supplies, according to a new Grattan Institute report. Next Generation: the long-term future of the National Electricity Market calls for preparatory work on a ‘capacity mechanism’ to encourage investment in new electricity generation and reduce the threat of shortages and blackouts. The report warns, however, that the costs of such peace of mind would ultimately fall on consumers through higher electricity prices. So a capacity mechanism should be introduced only if all other market reforms have been exhausted and supply is still under threat. Through a capacity mechanism, generators would be paid not only for the electricity they produce to meet current demand, but for committing to provide power for years into the future. The market operator or retailers could contract for sufficient electricity to meet future demand, to ensure new generation and storage is built in time. “Australians have endured a decade of toxic political debates about climate change policy, South Australians suffered a state-wide blackout last year, consumers across the country are screaming about skyrocketing electricity bills, and energy companies are shutting down big coal-fired power stations,” said Grattan Institute Energy program director Tony Wood. “It is understandable that governments feel the need to ‘do something’. But the danger is they will rush in and make things worse. What Australia needs now is perspective, not panic.” The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) last week called for a ‘longer-term approach’ to ensure electricity supplies. The Grattan report identifies a capacity obligation on retailers as the most effective and lowest-cost approach. The report calls for a three-step policy. First, the Federal Government should implement all recommendations of the June 2017 Finkel Review, including a Clean Energy Target or a similar mechanism to price greenhouse gas emissions. Second, alongside the Australian Energy Market Commission’s work on the market’s reliability framework, AEMO’s annual assessment of future supply and demand should be extended to include a more comprehensive assessment of the future adequacy of generation supply. And third, if the newly created Energy Security Board concludes that projected shortfalls are unlikely to be met under the current market design, AEMO should introduce a capacity mechanism. “This pragmatic, planned approach offers the best prospect of affordable, reliable, secure and sustainable power for Australians,” Mr Wood said. [post_title] => Grattan report calls for a capacity mechanism in electricity [post_excerpt] => How to make sure Australia has enough electricity in the future: Grattan Institute report. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => grattan-report-calls-capacity-mechanism-electricity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:47:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28003 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27975 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 10:00:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:00:57 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27976" align="alignnone" width="300"] The NorthConnex in Sydney is one of IA's projects.[/caption] In time for Julieanne Alroe commencing her role as the new chairwoman of Infrastructure Australia (IA), the organisation has begun the process of updating its Infrastructure Priority List (IPL), with the next full edition to be published in February 2018. Welcome Julianne Roe – and four more Chief executive of Infrastructure Australia Philip Davies welcomed Ms Alroe to her new position, who has been a member of the board since 2015. In turn, Ms Alroe welcomed three new board appointments — Deena Shiff, a former senior Telstra executive, Andrew Ethell, a former senior Toll executive, and Dr Peter Wood, a former Evans & Peck executive. They will be joined in January 2018 by Reece Waldock, the former Director-General of the Western Australian Department of Transport. Updating the IPL As part of this update, Infrastructure Australia is calling on Australian governments and non-government bodies to identify infrastructure problems and opportunities of national significance. The 2018 IPL will build on the current list, with new initiatives to reflect emerging infrastructure priorities across Australia, as well as update existing initiatives. Infrastructure Australia says it is open to submissions for all types of infrastructure, including programs of related works and programs for network optimisation. The submission period will close on 27 October 2017. Mind the framework Proponents should align their submissions with IA’s recently updated Assessment Framework. The Infrastructure Australia Act requires that the Assessment Framework be reviewed at least every two years. This ensures that it remains current, and consistent with similar frameworks used elsewhere in Australia and overseas. The Assessment Framework sets out the process Infrastructure Australia uses to consider initiatives and projects for inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List. The Assessment Framework provides information about what Infrastructure Australia does and how initiatives and projects are assessed, to enable proponents to develop their submissions. The Assessment Framework was most recently updated in June 2017 with a focus on improving usability and readability. This included:
  • Merging the Assessment Framework overview and the detailed technical guidance into a single document.
  • Updating the existing templates, and developing new checklists, to simplify the submission process for proponents.
  • Providing better clarity on the role of Infrastructure Australia and the proponent at each step of the five-stage assessment process.
Proponents can make a submission via the Infrastructure Priority List—Call for submissions page.   [post_title] => Infrastructure Australia is open to new ideas [post_excerpt] => Infrastructure Australia has begun updating its Infrastructure Priority List. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => infrastructure-australia-open-new-ideas [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:22:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:22:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27975 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27968 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 09:21:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-07 23:21:52 [post_content] => Helen Masters Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones have been a source of concern for local governments and regulatory authorities. While there are restrictions on the use of drones in public spaces for recreation, councils have a strong business case on the benefits of using drones to maintain and manage public amenities and physical assets. Drone technologies work with Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software to deliver insights that go beyond basic maintenance and security activities. As local councils face tighter budgets, the biggest challenge is to have a hold of how facilities and assets that are spread over land, sea or in distant or awkward locations are performing. The synergy between drones and EAM helps improve the inspection process and allows councils to document asset conditions from public spaces such as parklands to building, facilities and infrastructure in an automated and more strategic manner. Brisbane City Council has demonstrated how drone images have been used to conduct inspections on council buildings, monitor wildlife populations in parks and to evaluate the potential for turf and event management. The use of drones will allow councils to assess if their public spaces will need pest or weed control in addition to regular maintenance work. Councils operating in regional or remote locations are often challenged with managing assets in places that may be difficult or dangerous to reach. At other times, these areas could be difficult to access such as the rooftop of building structures where machinery is situated. Instead of scaffolding and manually inspecting equipment on tall buildings, images from drones can provide technicians with valuable viewpoints and details about critical assets without having to physically attend to a site. Expanding the lifecycle of facilities and infrastructure requires monitoring performance and conducting preventative maintenance of each council asset. This is particularly important for critical infrastructure that cannot fall over such as security systems, drainage systems or public roads. With drones, the ability to deliver high-resolution imagery helps maintenance crews determine where to focus their attention and resources. Going beyond photographic images, drone technology can even supply infrared and x-ray images to detect structural issues or dangerous leaks in an environment that may be potentially unsafe for humans. These advancements ensure drones have an embedded role in facility management, fleet management and asset management by expanding the capabilities of field crews. Over time, physical inspections can be replaced with drones capturing historical images for real-time assessments. With the widespread adoption of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in local council buildings, a drone with infrared thermal-imaging features can survey solar panels to identify damaged panels for maintenance. The use of drones alone only solves one part of the challenge faced by today’s asset managers. To achieve the most of this technology, data and imagery must be paired with a sophisticated asset management system that incorporates historical records, maintenance standards and other sensor information to assess conditions and determine maintenance requirements. This includes the identification of corrosion, detecting hairline cracks, spillages or leaks, to perform dilapidation assessments or land surveys. Data collected from each of these areas must be assessed and captured in real-time by a receiving asset management program. Asset managers would be able to cross-reference the condition of assets today in real time against the condition of assets from previous images or sensor readings. Through this process, they can determine the next course of action in the asset management lifecycle by comparing this data against manufacturing or industry standards. A comprehensive asset management strategy that includes drones for inspections provides a meaningful alternative strategy to traditional asset management. Such solutions have the ability to shift operations and maintenance processes from a reactive to proactive mode. Bringing drones, sensors and comprehensive asset management solutions together can help councils extend the useful life of their critical assets. As budgets and resources become increasingly scarce in local governments, drones could be the solution for councils looking to proactively manage their critical and valuable assets. Helen Masters is the vice president and managing director of Infor South Asia-Pacific and ASEAN. Footnote: US futurist Thomas Frey, speaking on the future of drones at the World of Drones Congress in Brisbane predicts there will be one billion drones worldwide by 2030 (in this he includes land- and water-based UAV as well).   [post_title] => Local councils and drones [post_excerpt] => Councils have a strong business case for using drones to maintain and manage public amenities and assets. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => getting-local-councils-board-drones [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:22:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:22:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27968 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27947 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 21:05:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 11:05:12 [post_content] => Flat electricity demand puts price rises squarely on network charges: The Audit. The Australia Institute has released the Electricity Update of the National Energy Emissions Audit (The Audit) for August 2017. The report, by energy analyst Dr Hugh Saddler, shows flat demand across the National Energy Market (NEM). “Total annual demand for electricity in the NEM is dead flat. With both national economic activity and population continuing to grow, electricity consumers are continuing to respond to ever rising prices by using electricity more efficiently, as they have been doing for most of the past seven years,” Dr Saddler said. “This year consumers have seen a very sharp rise in electricity price due to generation costs.  However, for the last six years price rises seen by consumers were almost entirely caused by network ‘gold-plating’. “This report shows that electricity consumers are continuing to pay for the policy failures of the last decade in the regulation of monopoly network businesses. “The reduction in brown coal production in the NEM is being met by increased black coal as well as increased renewable production – notably wind power, which bounced back to another all-time production record in July.”  “The retirement of decrepit brown coal plants in Victoria had the potential to limit supply and cause price rises, but South Australian wind has come to the rescue keeping the lights on and putting downward pressure on wholesale prices,” Dr Saddler said. The Audit In June 2017, The Australia Institute launched the National Energy Emissions Audit (The Audit), written by energy analyst and ANU Honorary Associate Professor Dr Hugh Saddler, which tracks Australia's emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels. The National Energy Emissions Audit will be published on a quarterly basis, in September, December, March and June each year. In each intermediate month the NEEA Electricity Update will report on changes to emissions from electricity generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM).     [post_title] => Electricity update [post_excerpt] => Flat electricity demand puts price rises squarely on network charges. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => electricity-update [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 21:05:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 11:05:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27947 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27939 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 15:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 05:12:30 [post_content] => Shannon Gillespie Today, everyone knows that an idea isn’t a good one until it ‘trends’. Last year, the City of Sydney’s Zero Waste marketing campaign featured the creation of an outdoor vinyl sticker campaign that made use of clever situational placement and optical illusions to highlight the problem of dumping household waste throughout the city. Designed for city dwellers to interact with, each piece was customised to its environment to amuse and educate people about the city’s free pickup service. One of the installations was a giant stack of household waste on the side of a building that increased in size every week for three weeks. As a by-product, the hashtag #freepickup and bookafreepickup.com site shot to stardom as people snapped and shared photos of themselves with old fridges, washing machines and the like in odd, but memorable, locations such as the middle of a cycle path. The result, the City claims, was “a virtual doubling of the number of calls to the free pickup service within a week of installation”. Imagine if we took the principles of this social marketing campaign and applied it to our engineering problems. How often do we spend megabucks on infrastructure projects, but do relatively little, if anything, to educate people about the right way to operate infrastructure or to change their behaviours when using it? The 2000 Sydney Olympics was hailed as “the best organised Olympic Games ever” and was the epitome of how an effective marketing and communications plan can solve complex problems. With a population of four million people and an expected influx of half a million visitors to Sydney for the Olympic Games, drastic measures were required to cope with the pressure on infrastructure. But instead of focusing on developing new transport infrastructure, a major public communications plan was executed to modify the travel behaviour of visitors and spectators. The message was simple – Olympic transport will be different but will work well. And it did! The Sydney Olympic Games achieved the first-ever 100 per cent spectator accessibility by public transport. As engineers, our natural response is to design highly sophisticated and intelligent infrastructure that automatically adapts itself to meet the demand. We design complex and expensive control systems to control infrastructures performance and operation. The infrastructure is designed to modulate in response to the variables which, in most cases, are people. But are we looking at society’s complex challenges through the wrong lens? The recent heatwave in South Australia put pressure on the state’s electricity network due to people turning on their air conditioning. As a consequence, 90 000 properties suffered a blackout during load shedding at the end of a 42 degrees Celsius day. While the problem appears to have been a technical one, could we not have modified the behaviour of the people? Experts say that in order to conserve energy in a heatwave, people should not lower their air conditioning below 26 degrees Celsius – this has nothing to do with the comfort of individuals but everything to do with avoiding a catastrophic power outage. Whilst it may not be a long-term solution, an effective marketing campaign would help solve the problem in the interim. We are living in a world where more than ever before, we need our facilities to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible  ̶  not only from an environmental perspective but also from optimising the use of capital. According to the World Economic Forum, global spending on basic infrastructure – transport, water and communications – currently totals USD 2.7 trillion a year, USD 1 trillion short of what is needed. The difference is nearly as large as South Korea’s GDP. As pressure on our natural and economic resources increases, so too does our ability to design effective infrastructure projects. If engineers treated marketing as another tool in their toolkit, how many of our complex infrastructure problems could be solved? How many millions of dollars could be saved on new infrastructure projects simply through marketing campaigns targeted at changing user behaviour? More and more, engineers should be telling their clients that a well-designed behavioural campaign should go hand in hand with a well-designed infrastructure project. In future, we might see Marketing Fundamentals become a standard feature of the Bachelor of Engineering curriculum. Shannon Gillespie is with Aurecon. [post_title] => Facebook and infrastructure [post_excerpt] => What does Facebook have to do with infrastructure? Everything, it would seem! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => facebook-and-infrastructure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 20:02:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 10:02:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27921 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-28 16:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:12:30 [post_content] => The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), the Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and the Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) have announced they will collaborate to build the street of the future in Sydney’s CBD. The installation - The Future Street - is to be part of AILA’s national Festival of Landscape Architecture, a four-day event on conceiving, reimagining and transforming the outside world from streetscapes to parks and playgrounds, transport solutions to tourism strategies, to new suburbs and even cities. AILA CEO Shahana McKenzie said: “The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology, that have resulted in a unique collaboration to help imagine the important role our streets can play in the future.” SCCANZ executive director Adam Beck described the event as a project that “provides us with the opportunity to show government, industry and the community the exciting outcomes from weaving the digital, natural and built environments together in this important public space: the street.” The idea behind The Future Street originated from an event run by AILA and SCCANZ in late 2016, where a number of planning and design professionals gathered to reimagine the role of streets under a range of disruptions, such as climate change, autonomous vehicles, and rapid technological change. The third partner of The Future Street, IOTAA, has joined AILA and SCCANZ to help deliver a showcase of the Internet of Things (IoT). IOTAA CEO Frank Zeichner said of the installation: “This project provides the opportunity to showcase the benefit of IoT to our cities, economy, and the community. IOT provides the opportunity to grow Australia’s competitiveness, innovation landscape and liveability, by connecting data, devices, people, processes and things to the internet. It helps people make better and more informed decisions to get the best possible outcomes.” The Future Street will be open for public viewing during the Festival of Landscape Architecture, from 12-15 October 2017, and showcase a range of landscape, IoT, utilities, transport and urban design and place-making features. The installation will be supported by a program of topical discussions and case studies. It is also planned that the installation will gather and report on real-time data, highlighting the capabilities of technology and the effectiveness of various deployed strategies. If you are interested in being part of the installation contact Shelley Kemp at shelley.kemp@aila.org.au.   [post_title] => Industry and government collaborate on streets of the future [post_excerpt] => The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => industry-government-collaborate-design-streets-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-28 16:14:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:14:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27921 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27904 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 21:20:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:20:52 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27905" align="alignnone" width="300"] Artist's impression of Sydney Metro Waterloo station.[/caption]   Alok Patel Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality. Local government is the level of administration closest to the people, and councils are best placed to know what technologies are going to improve the lives of their constituents. In addition, local government areas can be mobilised far more quickly than they can be through the federal or state government to facilitate change. Now, here’s the rub. Councils are also among the worst to pitch to. They are mired in complex bureaucracy and often have outdated procurement processes that are no longer fit for purpose. We recently held a series of roundtables to examine the challenges and opportunities that smart cities present. Participants included experts in start-ups, communications, business, construction and local government. These experts, who were able to offer different perspectives on dealing with all levels of government, named local councils as the great hope of smart cities innovation. But they also pointed to reforms that are needed to realise them. To begin with procurement, current processes favour project delivery by big corporates (purely due to their financial ability to weather the cost of onerous government compliance and processes), typically resulting in a less innovative approach. Visionary start-ups may not even reach tender stage after being dissuaded by the abovementioned onerous procurement compliance burden. Dump the thin, bureaucratic straw In addition to this bottleneck, cutting-edge technology is not being deployed because there is still a central planning mentality rather than an iterative start-up mentality that could more effectively deliver solutions. Local council hierarchy and procurement processes can slow or even stymie progress. As one participant said, “the current council structure is one CEO, five departments and 2,000 staff, using procurement processes that go back 40 to 50 years”. While there is investment being made by the private sector in speculative technology,  there is little hope of any of this cash making it through what ends up being a very thin bureaucratic straw. The way forward is for councils to partner with private enterprise to develop cheap, small, proof-of-concept innovations that can be quickly altered or dumped with little cost in much the same way that John Maxwell recommends that you “fail fast, but forward” – or learn from your mistakes and use what you’ve learned in your next cunning plan. In this way the private sector can take the risk – meaning the lion’s share of the expense – while councils reap the benefits and no small kudos for improving the lives of their residents; and, importantly, saving them time and money. Councils already showing the way One way government could move more quickly would be to embrace the iterative approach discussed above, where technology is proven on a small scale, then picked up in other areas. This type of approach in turn lends itself to creative financing options: investments are no longer so massive that only large corporations can propose a solution. Instead, smaller players can bid for projects using models that break investments into funding parcels over a 12 to 24-month period, with returns coming within five years. Already, there are self-contained precincts already being built in New York City, The Hudson Yards, and Yeerongpilly Green in Brisbane, and on a smaller scale, the green space of the Finery in Waterloo, Sydney. None of these projects would have been possible without the blessing of far-sighted local council pioneers. All are built on top of or near railway stations - the new Waterloo Metro station for Sydney’s Finery and New York City Hall extending the 7-line train in Manhattan to service The Yards. These are just some examples of how the private sector is teaming up with local governments to create a prototype smart precinct for citizens – or in the case of The Yards, a city within a city with its own microgrid – with green spaces, pools or water features, and high levels of walkability. While the private sector is coming to the party and acknowledging the way forward to smart cities, it is up to government give a ‘big-picture’ commitment to ensuring quality of life and happiness of its citizens. Roundtable participants were also excited by the opportunity for smart cities to go beyond social cohesion and improve citizens’ connectedness to the government. Improving people’s lives today This call for a vision for the smart city and a commitment to the happiness of the people is a crucial element to come from our roundtables. This is achievable now. While we should not be daunted by undertaking tasks that will take years to complete, what matters is wellbeing, now. And the financing options outlined above show the way forward. With the technology we have available, Australia has the ability and the opportunity to build smart cities and improve people’s lives today. Our goal must be an improved urban space where people can be their best as they live, work, trade and play in comfort and safety. The avantgarde councils that will pave the way will reap rewards beyond savings, awards, recognition, swank and the glory of seeing scaled-up versions of their advances implemented around the world. They will improve the lives of their citizens. Alok Patel is the CEO of Azcende, a venture capital firm in the smart cities space. He is also the author of Habitats for Humans, a white paper that came out of a recent series of roundtables held in Sydney and Melbourne, which is available to download here.   [post_title] => Local councils can be the vanguards of smart city reform [post_excerpt] => Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-councils-can-vanguards-smart-city-reform [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:27:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:27:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27904 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27899 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 17:44:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 07:44:41 [post_content] => The Cross River Rail business case released by the Queensland Government “demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and be the catalyst for a world-class turn up and go public transport system”. Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure Jackie Trad said the Cross River Rail Business Case 2017 details the challenges and opportunities facing South East Queensland’s (SEQ) rail network. “[We] have fully funded Cross River Rail and we are getting on with the job of building it,” Ms Trad said. “The business case demonstrates what we have already known for a decade – we need another rail crossing to increase rail services in the South East and the solution is Cross River Rail. “Our rail network has a key choke point at its core preventing extra train services being brought into regions like the Gold Coast, Logan, Caboolture and the Redlands. “Nearly 2 million people will move into SEQ over the next two decades and with some lines, like the Gold Coast, already operating at 100 per cent capacity during peak periods, we need to build Cross River Rail before we reach a crisis point. “It will unlock smarter integration of rail and bus networks, providing quick turn up and go services and positioning SEQ for a more sustainable and competitive future “The business case specifically states the full benefits of both Cross River Rail and the Brisbane Metro can only be completely realised once both projects are constructed and are operational. Ms Trad said the business case incorporated the latest information on the impact of policy and demographic changes over the last 12 months. “The BCR for the project is now 1.41, up from 1.21 in the 2016 Business Case. This means that for every $1 invested in the Cross River Rail project, $1.41 is returned to the people of Queensland,” Ms Trad said. CRR business case key findings include:
  • For every $1 invested in the project, it returns $1.41 to the people of Queensland.
  • The project will generate an average of 1,500 jobs each year over the construction period, with a peak of 3,000 in the most intensive year.
  • CRR will provide capacity for ‘turn-up-and-go’ services.
  • CRR will help reduce pressure on the region’s roads, freeing them up for commercial vehicles and commuter buses.
  • It will enable greater integration of bus and rail services, which will help to maximise the state government’s rail network investments and Brisbane City Council’s investment in Brisbane Metro and improved bus services.
  • Total daily public transport trips (bus & rail) will climb from around 510,000 to more than 880,000 in 2026 and to more than 1.1 million by 2036.
Now get on and build it The detailed business case for the Cross River Rail is a welcome step towards the government improving transparency about infrastructure decisions, said the Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ). Bolstered by expert peer reviews, the latest business case addresses some of the key concerns raised by Infrastructure Australia in their recent project evaluation, including rail patronage forecasts and road user benefits. “Brisbane has a looming capacity problem and Cross River Rail is the smart solution,” said IAQ CEO Steve Abson. To satisfy demands from the Turnbull Government, the business case also reveals possible approaches towards sharing value created by the project. “Because the project includes significant urban renewal and opportunity for major development at station precincts, value capture might create up to 10% of the funds needed for it.” “Most Queenslanders know that some developers and business often receive windfall gains and privately benefit from government infrastructure investment and planning decisions. Capturing and sharing these gains is not easy, but as long as the beneficiaries are fairly identified it can be a pretty reasonable approach,” said Mr Abson. Set to be commissioned in 2023, Cross River Rail is a long-running project that will run across at least two state elections. The IAQ warns of dire consequence should any new government decide to hold off investment. “Both Queenslanders and industry are pretty sick and tired of seeing critical infrastructure used as a political football. Not once in the last eight years have we seen all sides lining up behind our greatest infrastructure project and it’s been through at least three different incarnations to get to an optimum solution,” said Mr Abson. “With funding secured and early works now set to commence before Christmas, the last thing we need is risk of taxpayer-funded cheques written to rip up contracts already placed with local businesses,” he added. The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority will conduct an industry briefing next Wednesday 30/07 where it will outline the procurement approach, details of major work packages, delivery strategy, commercial considerations and governance. It will be held at the Pullman Hotel, King George Square, Brisbane from 2:00pm, Wednesday 30 August 2017. Click here to register. [post_title] => Cross-River Rail: just build it [post_excerpt] => The CRR business case demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and must be built, said the IAQ. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cross-river-rail-just-build [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:54:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:54:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27899 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27890 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 16:05:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 06:05:29 [post_content] =>
Last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull summoned the major electricity retailers to Canberra, to eyeball them and to tell them that everyone needs to do better. Putting aside the awkward staring contest, the parties did manage to agree on some small but important measures. Under the deal, the information available to consumers should improve, enabling them to more easily compare electricity offers and switch to a better offer. But does this deal really go far enough for consumers?
Power prices jumped on July 1 after three major retailers announced increases of up to 20 per cent. Picture: Anthony Hevron/Flickr.
A review of energy retail markets in Victoria, released on Sunday, goes a whole lot further. Led by former deputy premier of Victoria, John Thwaites, it calls for a new ‘Basic Service Offer’ – a regulated price for electricity. Until now, Victoria has led the way in opening up the retail electricity sector to competition; re-regulation would represent a major U-turn. During the 1990s, Australian governments began to break up the government-owned businesses responsible for electricity supply in each state, and introduced competition to the retail and wholesale links in the supply chain. The idea was that competition would deliver lower prices and encourage retailers to offer better and more innovative products and services. Anyone who pays an electricity bill knows that the reality hasn’t matched the promise. Now, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reviewing the competitiveness of the retail electricity sector and prices nationally. A preliminary report is due by the end of September, but we may not know until the final report next June whether the ACCC recommends more transparency, re-regulation, or something in between. For retailers in Victoria, the Thwaites review is the second reproach after we at the Grattan Institute raised concerns in a report called Price Shock in March. The two independent analyses suggest that the retail component of electricity bills is way too high. However, Victoria would be wise to await the findings of the ACCC because it will be able to review retailers’ actual data. In Price Shock, we recommended market reforms to improve transparency, and protections for vulnerable customers, with a regulated price being a last resort if the benefits of competition failed to emerge after initial reforms were implemented. The Thwaites review jumps straight to a regulated price.

What re-regulation would mean

If Victoria heads down this path, all retailers would have to offer customers a basic electricity service, at or below a price set by the regulator. But whether this reduces electricity bills, especially for those struggling to pay, will depend on the extent to which consumers take up the offer. There is a real risk that vulnerable but disengaged consumers will not make the switch and so will not get the benefits. Shopping around is not easy, so many consumers don’t know when or where better offers are available.
Market reforms would improve transparency, and protections for vulnerable customers. Picture: Pixabay
Alternatively, if all consumers switch to the basic offer, electricity prices would actually increase for some consumers. This is because current offers vary widely; some consumers are on very good deals while others are paying far too much. A new regulated price is unlikely to be as cheap as the best offers currently available. The best approach would be for the regulated basic price to be available on an ‘opt-out’ basis for vulnerable customers, while everyone else would have the option to ‘opt-in’. About a third of Victoria’s residential consumers are concession customers. They should all automatically be placed on the retailer’s cheapest offer – with the option to switch to a more expensive premium product if they choose. Other consumers could choose to switch to the cheapest offer, but they would have to take the initiative to make the switch. This would ensure that vulnerable consumers are protected, while helping to keep the price of the basic offer as low as possible.

Re-regulation is no panacea

Setting a regulated price isn’t easy. Too low, and retailers will topple over. Too high, and consumers will pay more. Another risk with re-regulation is that it will quash innovation. Product innovation is particularly important now because the electricity system is changing and consumer choice can help to drive that change. The basic offer need not be the only product that retailers make available to their customers. Some consumers would be willing to pay a premium for add-ons or alternative products - such as ‘green choice’ deals that support renewable energy, packages for solar households, and fixed cost ‘all you can eat’ electricity plans. Products that help consumers manage their electricity use could help to reduce system costs for everyone. For example, retailers could offer risk and reward options that consumers sign-up for, that reward consumers for reducing their electricity use during peak times and for making valuable contributions to the grid via solar panels and battery storage. Retailers will produce such innovative products if enough consumers show that they want more than a basic electricity service. Ultimately, reducing electricity prices will require a range of reforms that extend beyond the retail market to electricity generation and networks. In the meantime though, the onus is on retailers to prove the benefits of competition through lower prices and innovative offers.
Any reform of the electricity prices will need to beyond the retail market to electricity generation and networks. Picture: Wikimedia
Retailers will report back to the Prime Minister and the ACCC on Friday with their plans to improve affordability for their customers. The test will be: are these plans good enough to dissuade the Government from stepping in and re-regulating electricity prices? This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the original article.   [post_title] => Is re-regulation the solution to Australia’s electricity price shock? [post_excerpt] => The ACCC is reviewing the competitiveness of the retail electricity sector and prices nationally. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => re-regulation-solution-australias-electricity-price-shock [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 16:25:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 06:25:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27890 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27880 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-22 09:42:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 23:42:45 [post_content] => Commercial fitness operators will have to register with the City of Bendigo before operating in public parks. Following a six-month trial, the Greater Bendigo City Council has adopted a new Fitness Operators Policy for businesses that conduct commercial operations in local parks, gardens and sporting reserves. The new policy means commercial fitness operators will now need to obtain a permit to conduct their operations at local parks, gardens and reserves. City of Greater Bendigo active and healthy lifestyles manager Lincoln Fitzgerald said an increase in the number of commercial fitness operators in recent years had prompted the City to develop the policy. “The six-month trial conducted by the City relied on operators to voluntarily register their commercial activity, and for the industry to self-regulate compliance with limited support from City staff.  This was done to allow the trial to take place with no fees and to limit the costs associated with its enforcement,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “During the trial period, 13 businesses registered as regular providers and three as casual providers. However, the City understands there is a number of other fitness businesses operating on public land without permission and any regulation of their activities. “During and after the trial, the City consulted with those impacted by the policy including commercial fitness operators, class participants, park users and City staff responsible for maintaining the public space and enforcing the policy. “Overall, consultation supported a more regulated approach to ensure an equitable, protected, respected and consistent industry. “The City recognises that commercial fitness operators do provide a range of alternative physical recreation activities for residents that would otherwise not be available. However, the policy places conditions on the types of equipment and activities that can take place. “The aim of the new policy is to manage these activities in a manner that balances industry needs, provides protection of public built and natural assets and maintains community access and amenity to these facilities.” The new policy will be integrated within the review of the City’s Local Law Number 5 Municipal Places which is set to be reviewed late 2017.   [post_title] => The park is for the public [post_excerpt] => Commercial fitness operators will have to register with the City of Bendigo before operating in public parks. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-park-is-for-the-public [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-22 10:21:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-22 00:21:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27880 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28071 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:28:31 [post_content] => New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most. Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment. Battery storage under investigation Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower. The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”. Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”. Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business. “Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.” Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.” According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”. In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers. Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said. In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22. “In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said. With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here. [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage. 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