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Energy and Resources Forum Roundup

Submitted on Thursday, 6th July 2017

On 4 July 2017, Victorian business leaders came together with energy experts to explore what Victoria needs to do to provide reliable, affordable and sustainable energy supplies for business.

In the first of four targeted forums being held in the lead up to the Victoria Summit 2017, we convened an expert panel to address more than 90 Victorian business leaders on the challenges facing our energy and resources future and potential solutions. The panel comprised:

  • Chloe Munro, Panel Member, Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market
  • Jim Cox, Board Member, Australian Energy Regulator
  • Tony Wood, Energy Program Director, Grattan Institute

While the panel shared their wealth of commercial, regulatory and policy experience in energy, the audience was asked to comment on the impacts of rising energy costs on their businesses and on whether governments are doing enough to help.

Chloe Munro provided the group with a clear overview of the findings relevant to business of the recent Finkel Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market. Tony Wood put the current high prices being faced by energy users into a historical perspective and explained some of the reforms and market developments that that have led us to where we are now. Jim Cox shed light on Australia’s seemingly complex system of energy regulation and explained how Australia’s three energy regulators work together to protect the interests of energy users.

The audience also heard about some of the factors driving current high energy prices, with gas exports from Queensland coupled with high network charges contributing to the fourfold increase in gas prices being experienced by some businesses.

We also heard about how high gas prices are contributing to rapidly rising electricity prices as gas powered generation is being used to make up much of the shortfall left by the closure in March of Hazelwood power station, which provided nearly a quarter of Victoria's electricity.

An animated and engaging conversation ensued. One business asked about the future trajectory of gas prices to inform a decision on whether to keep their manufacturing operations in in Victoria or to relocate overseas. Others asked about how business users, large and small, can lead the charge in securing energy supplies that are both affordable and low-carbon. The conversation also touched on the need for trusted intermediaries to assist businesses to navigate the energy landscape by helping them to secure affordable supplies and to make informed decisions about investments in local generation and storage and energy efficiency.

The purpose of the Victoria Summit 2017 is to develop an agenda and accompanying recommendations that will spur economic growth and lift business investment and job creation. It has a clear focus on identifying and prioritising the business agenda for the 2018 State election, and communicating the business community’s needs to our decision makers.

The main Summit event, featuring over 100 of Victoria’s business leaders, will be held at Parliament House, Melbourne, on Thursday 23 November 2017. Further information on how to get involved in upcoming Victoria Summit workshops and forums is available here

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