Confused about energy? How business can take the power back

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New report aims to cut through noise on Australia’s energy market transformation and give business leaders up-to-date, accessible information.

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Today the Energy Efficiency Council and Trans-Tasman Business Council launched a new flagship document in Melbourne: Navigating a dynamic energy landscape: A briefing for Australian businesses.

Given the raft of energy reports released in July from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Ai Group and the Grattan Institute, it would be understandable if your excitement at this news was somewhat muted!

However this document is doing something very different.

In yet another week dominated by the firehose of energy news and debate over the National Energy Guarantee, it’s worth taking a step back and reflecting on why this practical, up to date briefing for Australia’s business community on our energy transformation is so important.

Image: Shutterstock

2017 was an extraordinary year in energy. Long run trends that had been playing out in our energy system over many years came to a head in both electricity and gas markets. Concerns around cost and reliability reached fever pitch and the political debate hit boiling point, kickstarting a wave of reviews and reforms.

That story is familiar; it played out in the papers. The tumultuous public conversation was mirrored by concerned discussion in boardrooms around the country.

Many businesses had been recalibrating their energy strategy over a number of years, quietly ramping up interest and investment in energy efficiency, renewables and demand management. Many more started that process in earnest in 2017, as costs surged and businesses moved to take control of their energy position.

It was mid 2017 when the Energy Efficiency Council was approached about the ways we could support businesses to navigate this more dynamic energy landscape.

While approaches came from different quarters – EEC members, businesses, their industry associations and governments – there was a consistent story.

Senior executives and directors without a background in energy were finding a big gap, between the news articles they read each morning with their coffee, and the hundreds of pages of analysis generated by bodies like AEMO.

It became clear that there was a need for something in between – a practical, approachable briefing on the drivers for the transformation playing out in Australia’s energy markets, how those drivers play out in business energy bills, and the options that businesses have to take control of their energy position.

Which brings me to the briefing we released today.

Navigating a dynamic energy landscape: A briefing for Australian businesses aims to cuts through the noise and provide business leaders with an up-to-date, accessible discussion of these topics. At its heart, it makes two crucial points:

  • The trends and technology driving the transformation – the move to low carbon, distributed, responsive energy system – are the same ones businesses can leverage to take control of their energy position.
  • There are businesses that are on the front foot, leading on energy strategy and demonstrating the big benefits of a proactive approach to energy management, investment and procurement.

At the Energy Efficiency Council we have a deep interest in how the demand side can solve problems for businesses. However, the briefing is not just focused on energy efficiency and demand response.

At a strategic level, businesses don’t think in terms of supply and demand, or renewables and energy efficiency. They think in terms of energy solutions, and how they are aligned with their broader strategic goals.

To that end, the briefing covers the crucial role of energy information and analytics, and how robust data and monitoring can underpin strategic engagement and investment across:

  • energy efficiency;
  • renewable energy (onsite and offsite);
  • demand management, including demand response; and
  • smart energy contracting.

Our launch partner for this first edition of the document is the Trans-Tasman Business Circle.

The Circle is a strategic growth partner for the region’s leading organisations in the private and public sectors, and they are working with us to ensure the briefing is shared widely through their extensive network.

While we launched the briefing today, we won’t stop there. The landscape is dynamic, so this document needs to be as well.

We will listen carefully to feedback and update this document every six months – and more often if necessary – to ensure that our analysis and advice is current, relevant and meets the needs of Australian businesses as they navigate a more dynamic energy landscape.

Please share this link with your colleagues, clients and professional network – we want to get it into as many hands as possible. And let us know your thoughts on edition one, because we want edition two to be even better. The journey is just getting started.

Luke Menzel is CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council, Australia’s peak body for energy efficiency, energy management and demand response.

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