Options paper April 2021

A shortlist of reform options has been developed through consultation and detailed design work since January 2021.

The 30 April 2021 options paper formed the basis of a final round of consultation with the post 2025 project advisory groups, jurisdictions and other stakeholders to inform the detailed market design and evaluation of these options ahead of recommendations to ministers in mid-2021.

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The options paper sought comment from stakeholders on a suite of potential reform pathways to address the implications of Australia’s energy transition and promote a secure, reliable and efficient energy system while maintaining affordability for customers.

The proposed pathways and reform options were subjected to detailed design work following the directions paper published in January 2021. They continued to address the four key areas of need identified in the directions paper:

  • Resource adequacy through the transition – ensuring the best mix of resources is available to the system to deliver lowest cost, reliable supply to customers.
  • Essential system services and scheduling and ahead mechanisms – maintaining system security by making sure technical services like frequency control, operating reserves, inertia and system strength are available.
  • Integration of distributed energy resources and flexible demand – delivering benefits to households and businesses through the most efficient integration of rooftop solar, battery storage, smart appliances and other resources.
  • Transmission and access – to reconfigure the transmission system so new renewable generation and large-scale storage can connect and be dispatched to meet customers’ demand. This will provide networks to meet future needs, and include arrangements for early implementation of renewable energy zones, as well as longer term arrangements to ensure efficient use of the national transmission network.

The reform pathways reflect the urgency of the situation and fall into three categories: immediate reforms to be done now, initial reforms to be developed and implemented in the near term, and next reforms which are longer term and depend on developments in the industry including technical changes.

Together, these pathways deliver reforms over time. With ongoing oversight, these pathways can be adjusted to address emerging needs and uncertainties during the transition.

Ahead of final recommendations mid-year, options within key pathways will be resolved. The pathways put forward will present a package of interrelated reforms that best achieve a fit for purpose market design for the NEM for 2025 and beyond.

The ESB invited comments on this consultation paper by 9 June 2021. Submissions can be found here.

A series of stakeholder briefings were held during May 2021 to enable further engagement on these issues. A summary of key themes addressed at those briefings can be read here.