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The Energy Security Board (ESB) has released its final report, Consumer energy resources and the transformation of the national energy market (NEM), which sets out priorities for consumer energy resources (CER) integration for governments, industry and market bodies for the next 12 months.

The report called on the government to establish a CER taskforce, mandated with clear terms of reference to drive outcomes, and laid out key priorities.

The ESB said that significant new investment in grid-scale generation and firming resources, as well as transmission infrastructure, is necessary for Australia to meet net zero goals.

The report also found that small-scale resources will play a critical role supporting an economically efficient pathway to decarbonising Australia’s energy sector, with consumer adoption of small-scale distributed photovoltaic (DPV) systems growing at an average rate of 25 per cent year on year over the past five years.

Read the full report here.

Industry comments

Rewiring Australia said that a comprehensive overhaul of the NEM is needed to bring down energy bills and meet Australia’s 2030 emissions and renewable energy targets.

Rewiring Australia said that while the report calls for energy distribution companies to integrate household solar into the grid, it falls short of recommending the governance and competition reset that is required.

Rewiring Australia Executive Director, Dan Cass, said, “The electricity market was set up before low-cost solar was available and is no longer fit for purpose. It needs policy redesign by governments not tweaking by regulators. Requiring distributors to integrate solar is a no-brainer – but we must go further to reduce bills and emissions. 

“Australian households and big energy users are being gouged by the incumbents and only a serious overhaul will unleash the competitive potential of rooftop solar, which is the world’s cheapest energy source.

“We welcome the handover recommendations, but the ESB did not go far enough. Energy ministers should review governance of the NEM,” Mr Cass said.

Rewiring Australia Chief Scientist, Saul Griffith, said, “Nothing can compete with cheap rooftop solar at 5c/Kwh so it is no surprise the big energy companies are trying to thwart this competition from their own consumers.

“If households with solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles can trade electricity with each other, that will level the playing field between consumers and the big energy companies. The Federal Government should help Australian households invest in this national energy infrastructure – their homes –  and remove barriers preventing households from installing solar panels, batteries and electric appliances, particularly in apartments.

“This is the cheapest and fastest way to bring down energy bills for everyone and eliminate expensive and polluting fossil fuels,” Mr Griffith said.

Rewiring Australia’s plan to deliver bill relief and reform the National Electricity Market involves:

  • A HECS for Households finance package from the federal government to help households electrify 
  • A governance and competition review of the National Electricity Market
  • Energy ministers delivering ‘household-centred rules’ of the market to improve take-up 
  • Zero Emission Communities ‘lighthouse’ projects in select shires and suburbs
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