Archive: March 2015

1
The Australian Energy Market Commission releases a draft report recommending against the implementation of optional firm access
2
Amendments to the Australian Corporations Regulations: carbon abatement contracts not financial products
3
Solar Sukuk Lights the Way to Alternative Funding Sources: Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia Working Together
4
Oregon Considers Energy Storage Legislation
5
Energy Storage Council Conference
6
A Bright Outlook for Solar Energy in South Carolina
7
Regulatory implications of new products and services in the Australian electricity market

The Australian Energy Market Commission releases a draft report recommending against the implementation of optional firm access

On 12 March 2015 the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released its draft report about a model for optional firm access to electricity transmission networks.

The report follows the development, testing and assessment of the optional firm access model by the AEMC at the request of the Council of Australian Governments’ Energy Council.

Read More

Amendments to the Australian Corporations Regulations: carbon abatement contracts not financial products

The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) forms a key part of the Australian Federal Government’s Direct Action Plan to address climate change. Under the model, successful bidders in an ERF auction enter into “carbon abatement contracts” with the Clean Energy Regulator. These contracts require the bidder to provide carbon abatement to the Regulator according to an agreed schedule.

Previously, carbon abatement contracts may have been considered “derivatives” and “financial products” for the purposes of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act) and Corporations Regulations 2001 (Cth) (Regulations). This characterisation would have subjected ERF participants to onerous regulatory burdens under the Act and Regulations (such as the requirement to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence).

To ensure that persons are not burdened by these regulatory obligations simply because they regularly enter into contracts with the Clean Energy Regulator, the Corporations Amendment (Emissions Reduction Fund Participants) Regulation 2015 (the Amendments) exempt carbon abatement contracts from the definitions of “derivative” and “financial product”.

The Amendments will commence the day after they are registered on the Australian Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

Solar Sukuk Lights the Way to Alternative Funding Sources: Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia Working Together

SGI-Mitabu, a joint venture of two Australian solar companies, The Solar Guys International and Mitabu Australia, has revived its plans to fund its Indonesian 250 megawatt solar project with Islamic compliant funding. The solar project will require up to A$550 million of financing. Commencing in July 2015, the first phase of the project will be funded through an offer of A$150 million of sukuk (a type of Islamic investment instrument, similar to a bond).

Read more here.

Oregon Considers Energy Storage Legislation

The Oregon legislature is considering a bill that would require the state’s large electric utilities to procure one or more “qualifying energy storage systems” by January 1, 2020. H.B. 2193 would apply to any entity that is engaged in the business of distributing electricity to retail electricity consumers in Oregon (not including a consumer-owned utility) if the entity makes sales of electricity to retail customers in an amount that equals 3 percent or more of all electricity sold to retail electricity customers in Oregon. An energy storage system is deemed to be “qualifying” if it is “cost-effective,” and the legislation contemplates that each electric company would procure one or more such systems having the capacity to store not less than 5 megawatts of electricity but not more than an amount of electricity that is equal to one percent of the company’s peak load for 2014. H.B. 2193 would allow an electric company to recover in its rates all costs prudently incurred in procuring one or more cost-effective energy storage systems, “including any above-market costs associated with procurement.”

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Energy Storage Council Conference

K&L Gates is pleased to announce that partner Jenny Mee will be a presenter at the inaugural Energy Storage Council Conference, on May 13-14, in Melbourne, Australia. This informative and comprehensive two day conference will explore important issues relating to the advancement of energy storage solutions in Australia and globally, including market developments and trends, technology integration, policy and industry case studies.

Click here for full event details.

A Bright Outlook for Solar Energy in South Carolina

South Carolina’s major utilities recently submitted their proposed distributed energy resource programs to the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) for approval. The proposals come in the wake of the South Carolina Distributed Energy Resource Act of 2014 (commonly referred to as Act 236), which went into effect on June 2, 2014. Applauded as landmark legislation resulting from collaboration among utilities, electric cooperatives, environmental advocates, and solar businesses, Act 236 paves the way for the development of solar power and other renewable energy sources in South Carolina. Read more here.

Regulatory implications of new products and services in the Australian electricity market

The Energy Market Reform Working Group in Australia released a consultation paper at the end of 2014 regarding the regulatory implications of new products and services in the national electricity market.

New products and services include energy supply from generation facilities installed at the customer’s premises (which may be combined with energy storage), products and services relating to demand management and energy information and advice.

The paper outlines some of the potential regulatory implications of these new products and services. It seeks feedback from stakeholders as to the types of new products and services which may be offered to small customers and whether regulatory reforms may be necessary – from either a consumer protection or a power system operations perspective.

Stakeholders are invited to make submissions on the issues raised by the consultation paper by close of business on 20 March 2015. Written submissions can be sent by email to energycouncil@industry.gov.au. Alternatively, please contact us and we would be happy to assist you in preparing a submission.

To read more about this consultation paper and the key findings and issues identified, please click here.

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