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Power Play: Rewiring Regulations for a Brighter Tomorrow

The countdown has begun for Energy Networks Australia’s 2024 Regulation Seminar – Beyond the Wires: Regulation Delivering for Customers. With the rapid transformations occurring in the energy sector, there is a pressing need to explore regulatory frameworks that prioritise consumer interests, including ensuring the resilience and sustainability of our energy systems.

As key speakers of the Regulation Seminar, Daniel Duma and Dr Guy Debelle are poised to provide thought-provoking perspectives that are crucial to understanding the current energy regulatory landscape. Daniel Duma will explore the concepts of dynamic, adaptive and responsive regulation that will resonate with the challenges facing Australia’s energy policymakers and regulators. Dr Guy Debelle will discuss the inflationary impacts of getting the energy transition right and ensuring we get the right investments for the transition.

This event offers network businesses, partners across the energy chain, consumers and other interested stakeholders the chance to explore solutions to and different perspectives on the current regulatory challenges confronting the energy sector.

Daniel Duma: Moving Towards Dynamic Network Regulation

The international keynote for the Regulation Seminar is Daniel Duma, a Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute where he leads the Finance for Sustainable Development Programme. He is also a Research Fellow at the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) where he focuses mainly on the economic regulation of energy networks under the challenges of net zero.

Daniel is one the project leads and authors of the CERRE report Towards a more dynamic regulation for energy networks published in March 2024. Drawing on a review of international energy network regulation, the report explores potential areas where regulation and practice could be changed to better adapt to the uncertainty around net-zero energy policies.

Themes in the report include the potential need for regulation to move beyond a static approach based on cost minimisation to efficiency to focus on dynamic innovation-led efficiency, and the need for a more responsive and adaptive approach. The study also focuses on the roles of planning, appropriate uncertainty mechanisms, longer-term incentives, sufficient financing, effective stakeholder engagement, innovation funding mechanisms and promoting whole of system thinking.

A key component of the report is a multi-country survey of regulatory practitioners, and a survey of lessons that can be learnt from other sectors about regulation in a period of transition.

Dr Guy Debelle: Taking a Longer View on Inflation and Energy Transition

A pressing current concern around the energy transition is the issue of inflation and the relationship with current and future energy prices in a cost-of-living context.

Dr Guy Debelle will be presenting as a co-author of Capital for kilowatts The (non)-inflationary impacts of the green transition, a recent paper analysing whether the high levels of investment required for the energy transition will be inflationary.

Guy was the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia from 2016 until 2022 and prior to this was Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) from 2007-2016. After leaving the RBA, Guy worked at Fortescue Future Industries as CFO and non-executive director.

Guy is an adviser to the Investment Committee of Australian Retirement Trust and a non-executive director at Tivan. He is also co-chair of the ASFI Taxonomy Technical Experts Group developing the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy for the Australian economy.

The report highlights that a significant portion of energy infrastructure in Australia is set to reach the end of its asset life within the current decade providing a natural impetus to decarbonise the energy system. The best estimates available suggest that while delivering on an outcome customers and communities seek, a coordinated green energy transition will have also significant costs.

Drawing on his insights, Guy’s presentation will touch on the impacts of evolving cost trends for new energy technologies, including the role of deployment at scale in reducing costs. The work also poses the counterfactual: what would be the inflationary consequences of constrained energy supply?

Taking a global perspective, the study also examines the role of increasing renewable energy in the Australian economy’s exposure to fossil fuel price volatility. As global markets move away from fossil fuels, the supply of coal and natural gas may become even more volatile. Greater levels of renewable energy potentially provide a source of stability in the economy.

Around the globe, consumer representatives, investors, energy businesses and regulators all have the same question: will our current regulatory system deliver the outcomes the communities and consumers need through the energy transition?

The 2024 Regulation Seminar will provide key insights in how this pressing question is being answered, and will play out, in the years ahead.

To learn more about the topics discussed register today to join us in Brisbane on Wednesday 31st July at ENA’s Regulation Seminar – Beyond the Wires: Regulation Delivering for Customers. For more information and to see the full event program, please see the event site.