May 2010

12 May 2010

Yahoo! India News


Ajay Mathur, director general of India's Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), is one of the energy efficiency 'visionaries' from Africa, Asia, Europe and South America to be honoured by the Alliance to Save Energy. Mathur received the award during the Alliance's EE Global conference in Washington D.C.

Mathur is also a member of the Indian Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change and has been involved in driving India's market transformation towards energy efficiency.

His work includes India's standards and labelling programme for equipment and appliances, its energy conservation building code and programs for industrial energy efficiency and demand-side management in the buildings, lighting, and municipal sectors.

Prior to joining BEE, Dr Mathur, who was educated as a chemical engineer, has headed the World Bank's Climate Change Team in Washington and the Energy Engineering Division of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi.

He is the co-author of three books and lead author of several reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"This award for me is recognition of India's efforts to manage its energy intensity at a stage when energy use is likely to grow many times over," said Mathur.

"We continue to analyse energy consumption trends and to deploy lessons from best practices to develop a public policy framework that ensures energy efficiency."

"Through consultations and collaboration with all stakeholders, we aim to rationalise energy consumption at every stage of the growth curve," he said.

12 May 2010

Herald Sun

Households will be encouraged to become more energy efficient under the largest renewable energy program ever seen.

The $652 million Renewable Energy Future Fund will support research and development into new low-emission technologies.

But the program only came about through funding freed up by the shelving of the Emissions Trading Scheme - and specific details of the commitments are yet to be announced.

The Government says climate change remains a major challenge and the new program will help with the transition to a ETS.

The recycled money is part of an expanded $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative.

With the ETS on the backburner, the Government has turned its attention to educating the public.

About $30 million will be spent over the next two years in a series of print, television and radio announcements to educate Australians about the science of climate change.

The Government did not announce any plan to replace the ETS with a new scheme.

Funding intended for the defunct home insulation program and the solar hot water rebate will be redirected to renewable energy.

But the cash was not enough to save a number of other environment projects.

There will be a $200 million cut over three years to the Green Car Innovation Fund, which was aimed at encouraging Australian companies to produce technology to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.

Funding was also shaved from a scheme to promote rebates for rainwater tanks and grey water systems.

The Government said the cuts were due to "lower than expected demand".

6 May 2010

Australian Energy Regulator

The Australian Energy Regulator today issued its final decision for South Australia's electricity distribution network service provider, ETSA Utilities, for the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2015.

The AER's role is to assess expenditure proposed by ETSA Utilities over this period. These expenditures contribute to the allowed revenues and, ultimately, prices. This is the first time the AER has made a determination for ETSA Utilities. Previous determinations were made by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia.

ETSA Utilities' distribution network provides electricity to over 800,000 customers across the vast majority of the state.

The AER approved a capital expenditure program of $1768 million over five years (in nominal terms) nearly one-third less than what ETSA Utilities originally asked for. However, this amount is still more than double that spent by ETSA Utilities over the 2005-10 regulatory control period.

"More than half of this expanded program is required to ensure the capacity of the network meets future demand from both new and existing customers, including meeting the continuing growth in peak demand. The load is growing as customers continue to install air conditioners and other appliances. In addition, there is a need to address risks associated with ageing assets to maintain reliability for customers. The cost of materials and labour and financing costs are also increasing," AER chairman Steve Edwell said today.

The AER has also approved operating expenditure of $1115 million, which is 60 per cent more than in the previous five years in nominal terms.

Mr Edwell noted that: "ETSA Utilities' operating costs largely relate to network maintenance associated with increased inspections and higher emergency response expenditure forecast due to increasing asset age and growth in the network."

ETSA Utilities' revenues will increase by 12.1 per cent in real terms in the first year, followed by 5.8 per cent in the subsequent years of the regulatory period.  A factor underlying the revenue increase is the higher cost of capital of 9.76 per cent, which is 80 basis points higher than the current regulatory period, reflecting current and prospective financial conditions.

The substantial increase in allowed expenditure means network charges for retail customers will increase on average by 15 per cent in nominal terms in the first year, followed by 8.4 per cent in the subsequent years of the regulatory period.

The precise effect on retail charges will not be clear until ETSA Utilities submits its pricing proposal following the AER's decision.  The increases in 2010-11 will need to be adjusted as ETSA Utilities has over recovered revenue in the last year of the current regulatory control period and have to return the money to customers through lower tariffs.

Without this adjustment a typical household with annual electricity charges of $1,400 in 2009-10 could expect to pay 6 per cent or around $84 more in charges in 2010-11. With the adjustment the increase will be less. Beyond 2010–11, further price rises for residential customers will be around 3.4 per cent or $52 each year (see note below).

In making its final decision, the AER took into account ETSA Utilities' revised proposal, submissions from interested parties and advice from independent experts. These documents are available on the AER's website, www.aer.gov.au. Utilities is required to submit a pricing proposal to the AER by 27 May 2010, indicating how the required revenue allowances contained in the final decision will be recovered from customers in accordance with the rules.

Note: Distribution charges on average represent 40 per cent of the cost of supplying electricity to residential customers, although this may differ between states. Typically these customers do not see distribution charges in their electricity bills. Instead, the charges are included in retail tariffs charged by electricity retailers, such as AGL and Origin. The change in distribution charges proposed in this decision will be incorporated into retail tariffs from 1 July 2010 onwards. To calculate nominal figures an expected inflation rate of 2.52 per cent per annum was used over the next regulatory control period.

 

6 May 2010

Australian Energy Regulator

The Australian Energy Regulator today issued its final decision for Queensland's electricity distribution network service providers, Energex and Ergon Energy, for the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2015.

The AER's role is to assess expenditure proposed by the Queensland distributors over this period. These expenditures contribute to the revenues allowed to the providers, and ultimately to the prices they charge consumers.

This is the first time the AER has made determinations for the Queensland distributors. Previous determinations were made by the Queensland Competition Authority.

Energex provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers in the south east Queensland, while Ergon Energy delivers electricity to over 630,000 customers across the remainder of the state.

For Energex, the AER has approved capital expenditure of $6378 million (58 per cent more than in the previous five years in nominal terms) and operating expenditures of $1768 million (41 per cent more than in the previous five year period in nominal terms) for the next five year period.

AER chairman Steve Edwell said that in reviewing Energex's regulatory proposals for the next five years the AER had found Energex's approach to network planning and management to be sound.

For Ergon Energy, the AER has approved capital expenditure of $5560 million (42 per cent more than in the previous five years in nominal terms) and operating expenditure of $1942 million (34 per cent more than in the previous period in nominal terms) for the five year period.

"The AER has substantially reduced the expenditure proposed by Ergon Energy to ensure that only prudent and efficient costs would be recovered from customers," Mr Edwell said.

In line with its draft decision issued in November 2009, the AER has approved substantial increases in the revenue allowances for both Energex and Ergon Energy. The higher approved revenues result from the continuing need to augment Queensland's electricity distribution networks following strong growth earlier in the decade and the continued growth in population and energy use per customer, higher reliability standards and real increases in the cost of labour and materials.

Energex's revenues will increase by 18.2 per cent in real terms in the first year, followed by 7.9 per cent each year for the following four years. Ergon Energy's revenues will increase by 29.6 per cent in real terms in the first year, followed by 5.1 per cent in the subsequent years of the regulatory period. These increased revenues are largely driven by the higher expenditure requirements as outlined above and also by the cost of capital of 9.72 per cent, which is 126 basis points higher than the current regulatory period, reflecting current and prospective financial conditions.

Based on this determination, network charges for Energex's customers would increase in nominal terms on average by 17 per cent in the first year of the regulatory period, followed by 6.8 per cent in the subsequent years of the period. For Ergon Energy's customers, network charges would increase by 29 per cent in the first year followed by 4.6 per cent in the subsequent years of the period.

"There has been strong growth in the number of connections over the past few years and this is forecast to continue. In addition, the load at each connection is growing as customers continue to install air conditioners and other appliances. In addition, customers expect better service through improving standards of reliability. Cost of materials and labour and financing costs are increasing in the strong economic conditions Australia is experiencing. This decision allows increased charges so the companies can meet these higher demands, and the AER will be carefully monitoring their performance to be sure they deliver," Mr Edwell said.

In terms of a typical residential customer in Queensland with annual electricity charges of $1,400 in 2009-10, the increase in network charges (which make up about 40 per cent of the annual bill) will result in an increase in the annual electricity charge by $129 (around 9.2 per cent) in 2010-11 and by around $35 (around 2.3 per cent) each year thereafter in nominal terms (see note below).

Energex and Ergon Energy are required to submit pricing proposals to the AER by 27 May 2010, indicating how the required revenue allowances contained in the final decision will be recovered from customers in accordance with the rules.

In making its final decision, the AER took into account advice from independent experts. These documents will be available on the AER's website, www.aer.gov.au. For more information refer to the relevant chapters of the AER's Final Decision for more detail.

Note: To convert revenues to prices/charges, the AER used forecast demand growth for Energex and Ergon Energy of 3.6 per cent and 3.0 per cent per annum respectively. Distribution charges represent on average around 40 per cent of the cost of supplying electricity to residential customers, although this may differ between states. Typically these customers do not see distribution charges in their electricity bills. Instead, the charges are included in retails tariffs charged by electricity retailers, such as AGL and Origin. The change in distribution charges described in this Decision will be incorporated into retail tariffs from 1 July 2010 onwards. Inflation of 2.52 per cent per annum was assumed for figures presented in nominal terms.

7 May 2010

People's Daily Online

Starting on 1 June, 2010, (Chinese Government) subsidies for promoting energy efficient air-conditionings will be extended for another year, according to an official notice from the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released on 30 April. This means the central government will continue to provide subsidies for products with a level 2 energy efficiency or above until 1 May 2011 under the new standards.

Rated cooling capacity of 7500-watt models will be subsidized. Moreover, subsidy standards will be adjusted to 150 RMB to 250 RMB between level 1, level 2 and level 3 energy-efficient air conditioning systems due to their production cost variances. Meanwhile, conversion air conditioners will be promoted in due time.

Energy-efficient air-conditioning witnessed a rapid growth in market share since 1 June 2009 when the NDRC first introduced subsidies to promote them. The overall level of energy efficiency has been significantly improved since then, which played an important role in energy savings and lowered emissions. This in turn stimulated domestic consumption and promoted industrial upgrades.

What is more, with the rising market share of energy-efficient air-conditioning, those inefficient products will be substituted within five years. This means 45 billion kilowatts of electric power will be saved each year and 450 million tons of CO2 will be cut.