Market Recap | March 2024

In case you missed it, here’s a recap on what’s been happening in the energy market over the last month.

VEU Public Information Session on Proposed Door-Knocking and Telemarketing Ban

The proposed door-knocking and telemarketing ban under the VEU has triggered a regulatory impact statement (RIS) consultation inviting commentary on the departments preferred ban options and why this position is held. The outcome of the consultation, regardless of the options, is scheduled to commence 1 May 2024. The suggestion from the RIS is the adoption of a phased ban:

All cold call telemarketing to prospective customers and additional telemarketing bans from 1 May 2024; and
a full ban on door-knocking from 1 August 2024.
This suggestion comes from the RIS amidst reports from the VEU that the number of complaints from telemarketing and doorknocking has significantly increased in the past 3 years with 1143 telemarketing complaints and 265 door-knocking complaints between 2020 and September 2023. The VEU code of conduct has has not decreased as much expected and feedback suggests that telemarketing and door-knocking pressure tactics and abuse are worsening and is a persistent nuisance.

Victorian Offshore Wind Industry begins to gain momentum

Some of the world’s largest renewable energy players have been reported to have been selected for a preliminary licence to develop an offshore wind project in Victoria. The news comes as an exciting development for both Victoria and the group known as Star of the South. Amongst others, the group includes Australian firm AGL Energy, Japanese-owned Parkwind and Norwegian firm Orsted. Whilst the announcement has become public within the industry, things could still change as an official decision remains to be published. Offshore wind has been placed at the heart of Victoria’s energy transition plans.

February marks the Ninth consecutive month of record global temperatures

Last month Europe’s climate monitor released the rather concerning news that February 2024 was the warmest February on record globally, making it the ninth straight month of historic high temperatures across the planet. A clear indicator that climate change is continuing to push the world into a new and volatile period of storms, droughts and extreme weather events for many nations. Further supporting this was the Copernicus Climate Change Services statement last month that the period from February 2023 to January 2024 was the first time Earth had endured 12 consecutive months of temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter than the pre-industrial era. February only furthered this theme as it sat 1.77C warmer than the monthly estimate for pre-industrial temperatures.

EU nations commit to exiting fossil fuel generation

A group of Ten countries from the European Union have committed to exit fossil fuel generation by 2035 or sooner. The collective group of nations represent approximately two-thirds of the EU’s electricity generation capacity. Civil society campaign Beyond Fossil Fuels released a report today finding that the ten EU countries – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands – have all committed to moving their grids away from fossil fuel generation by 2035. 2035 was the date determined by the International Energy Agency needed for European nations to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target. Four of the ten – Austria, Denmark, Lithuania, and Luxembourg – have explicitly pledged to replace fossil fuel generation with renewables. Beyond the ten nations, another three EU nations have also made similar commitments but have chosen not to explicitly commit to exit fossil generation by the 2035 line in the sand.

2022 Energy Savings Scheme Annual Report Published

The 2022 Annual Report was published for the NSW Energy Savings Scheme last month. This is the standard timeframe, where IPART finalises and publishes data 12-15 months following the completion of the compliance year. The primary takeaways are below:

  1. 6.64 million ESCs were registered against a target of 4.9 million
  2. The ESCs were created over 325,412 installs, for an average of 20 ESCs per install
  3. 10.1 million PRCs were registered against a target of 3.9 million
  4. Over 3 million ESCs were registered through lighting methods each year over 2020, 2021, and 2022
  5. Approximately 2 million ESCs were created via refrigeration in 2022
  6. Approximately 0.5 million ESCs were created via water heating in 2022
  7. ESCs created from ‘other’ sources to the above decreased each year from 2020 to 2022, at approximately 1.8, 1.3, and 0.8 million respectively
  8. A majority of ESCs continue to be created for Electricity Savings, with Gas Savings maintaining a small percentage each year

VEU Webinar Invitation: Proposed Telemarketing & Doorknocking Bans

On Tuesday, the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) Program issued invitations for attendance to their industry webinar on the proposed ban on telemarketing and doorknocking under the program.

The webinar, to be held on Wednesday 17 April, will provide an overview of the ban’s scope, how Accredited Persons and Scheme Participants should prepare and how compliance will be monitored and enforced.

While three options have been presented, the government’s preferred option proposes a phased telemarketing and door knocking ban, with telemarketing to be banned from 1 May and door knocking to be banned from 1 August.

NABERS Funding for Data Centres Remains Open

As mentioned in previous editions of our Market Update, the federal government has released a limited round of funding for NABERS ratings at data centres across the country.

Eligible sites can gain access to funding of up to $8,000.00 + GST per premises.

The first rating must be completed in 2024 and, while the it doesn’t have to be consecutive, the second rating must be stated in an action plan.

Funding will close in April 2024 or until exhausted so reach out to a member of our Energy & Carbon Services team to secure your spot now.

Multi-Agency Heat Pump Hot Water System Compliance Project (VIC)

A joint taskforce comprised of Victorian regulators and agencies will seek to improve the compliance standards heat pump hot water installations under the VEU to better align with industry and safety standards.

The collaborative approach will join the Essential Services Commission, Solar Victoria, the Victorian Building Authority, Energy Safe Victoria and WorkSafe Victoria to focus on ensuring the safety, quality, and compliance in hot water system installations.

Along with technical education and guidance, the taskforce will intensify inspections and audits to improve installer competency and take enforcement action when the program rules are not followed.

Key Insights from the Victorian Energy Market Report (VEMR)

The Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC) has just released its anticipated quarterly Victorian Energy Market Report (VEMR), covering the period from October to December 2023.

A standout from the latest VEMR is that customers receiving payment difficulty support from their energy retailer often face higher energy bills, despite being charged lower prices. Largely attributed to general higher energy use, the report acknowledges that a better understanding of how energy is being used in this segment whilst levering the benefits of the Victorian Energy Upgrades program will help close the divide between energy efficiency and pricing structures.

Read the report here.

At Ecovantage, we consistently analyse market activity, policy changes, consultation releases, and creation rates in conjunction with wider landscape activity. This allows us to keep our clients at the forefront of all relevant changes, and to leverage the advantage that this presents. Thank you for your continued support, and please reach out if you have any general or project-specific questions.

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