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News Service 109 – Jobs & Skills Australia established, TAFE at heart of Budget, Apprentice – numbers up, NSW regional travel cards, foundation skills, and pre-apprenticeships, MAE Career Showcase Days, FREE PLC course, Say Yes To Trades, Release 5.0 Electro TP & CIII Electrician transition extension, Review of SafeWork NSW, HBA Review, Licence checker, SWMS, Builder fined, Electrical shock incidents, Battery safety, Hydrogen trucks, Energy & renewables news

uensw  > Industry News, News headlines >  News Service 109 – Jobs & Skills Australia established, TAFE at heart of Budget, Apprentice – numbers up, NSW regional travel cards, foundation skills, and pre-apprenticeships, MAE Career Showcase Days, FREE PLC course, Say Yes To Trades, Release 5.0 Electro TP & CIII Electrician transition extension, Review of SafeWork NSW, HBA Review, Licence checker, SWMS, Builder fined, Electrical shock incidents, Battery safety, Hydrogen trucks, Energy & renewables news
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Table of Contents

NSW UE ITAB NEWS SERVICE 109

1. JOBS AND SKILLS AUSTRALIA – BUDGET AND FORMATION

The latest National Skills Commission (NSC) news of 26 October 2022, reports on the Government’s recent Federal Budget announcement regarding the establishment of the new Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) entity.

The article states, “The Australian Government has committed an additional $12.9 million in the Budget to Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) to help tackle skill shortages and plan for the workforce of the future.

As announced on 27 July 2022, JSA will build on the work begun by the National Skills Commission with a broader remit on workforce planning and developing closer partnerships with state and territory governments, unions, industry, and education providers.

A new Clean Energy Capacity Study will be a high priority for Jobs and Skills Australia. The study will provide evidence and insights to support workforce planning, inform skills development needs and training for Australia’s Clean Energy sector.

To support action on foundation skills, the Australia Government also announced a National Study on Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy Skills to be led by JSA. This will assess the current skill levels and foundation skills gaps of adults across Australia.”

READ MORE HERE

Or, read the “Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor’s Budget media release … at Training more Australians for more opportunities in more parts of the country | Ministers’ Media Centre (dewr.gov.au)

NOTE: JOBS AND SKILLS AUSTRALIA PASSES PARLIAMENT

The Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor issued a Media Release on 27 October 2022 announcing that the Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) legislation has successfully passed the parliament.

The Media Release states, “The interim JSA body will build on the important work of the National Skills Commission, replacing it a week after royal assent.

JSA’s primary task will be to provide critical advice to governments and industry at a time of significant economic transition.”

READ THE MINISTER’S MEDIA RELEASE HERE

The National Skills Commission (NSC) has issued an announcement that, “You can stay up to date with Jobs and Skills Australia at our interim landing page: jobsandskills.gov.au, or via the NSC’s LinkedIn or Twitter pages, which will transition to JSA as well.”


2. FEDERAL BUDGET PLACES TAFE AT THE HEART OF SKILLS REVITALISATION

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) reports in its 31 October TDA Newsletter on the positive outcomes of the Government’s latest budget for the Australian TAFE network.

The article states, “Last week’s Budget set out key details of the federal government’s plan to reinvigorate the VET system with “TAFE at its heart”.

The key element is a new $1 billion, 12-month skills agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories, starting in January 2023.

The 12-month agreement includes:

  • 180,000 additional fee-free TAFE and vocational education places, with extra support for participation of women and other priority groups.
    • These places will target industries with severe skills shortages, including the care sector, technology and digital, hospitality and tourism, construction, agriculture, and industries important to sovereign capability.
    • Fee-free places will be made available through TAFEs, public dual sector providers and other community providers including First Nations RTOs.
  • $24 million to provide wrap-around support for students with complex needs.
  • $50 million TAFE Technology Fund to improve workshops, laboratories, and telehealth simulators.
  • $7 million for essential VET data infrastructure reform.

READ MORE HERE


3. RISE CONTINUES IN APPRENTICE & TRAINEE COMMENCEMENTS

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) latest report shows that apprentice and trainee commencements increased to 85,470 in the March quarter 2022, the highest number for a quarter since 2012. 

The report shows, “Commencements in non-trade occupations drove most of the increase, up by 41.1% compared to March quarter 2021. Those in trade occupations rose by 7.8%.

The industry sectors with the largest absolute increases in commencements were Accommodation (51.0%), Manufacturing (37.7%), and Administrative and Support Services (21.7%) compared to March quarter 2021.

A total of 387,830 apprentices and trainees were in-training in March quarter 2022, an increase of 17.1% compared to the same time in 2021.

Completions also grew nationally by 11.5% in March quarter 2022 compared with the same quarter in 2021. Trade completions increased by 9.6% while those in non-trade occupations rose by 13.8%”

HIGHLIGHTS

In-training as at 31 March 2022

In Australia, there were 387 830 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 March 2022, an increase of 17.1% from 31 March 2021.

Quarterly training activity

In the March quarter 2022, compared with the March quarter 2021:

  • commencements increased by 23.6%, to 85 470
  • completions increased by 11.5%, to 22 310
  • cancellations and withdrawals increased by 28.2%, to 29 870.

Training activity: 12-month ending series

In the 12 months ending 31 March 2022, compared with the 12 months ending 31 March 2021:

  • commencements increased by 23.7%, to 234 700
  • completions increased by 15.6%, to 85 470
  • cancellations and withdrawals increased by 48.2%, to 110 925.

READ MORE HERE

3.1. NSW APPRENTICESHIP & TRAINEESHIP NUMBERS RISE

The number of apprentices and trainees ‘in-training’ in NSW hit a new time high of 118,379 in October.  The year-on-year change was a positive 9.1%. 

The rise was largely due to a 32.6% increase in traineeship numbers.  Apprenticeship, ‘in-training’ numbers over the same period however, declined 2.2%. 

A positive sign however was apprenticeship ‘approvals’ for the month of September which showed a rise of 10% on 2021 numbers and 37% above those of 2020.

Traditional trade apprenticeships continued to dominate recruitment numbers with carpentry at 10,585 and electrical at 10,466 respectively, near on three times the number of other vocations.  Both these trades are 30% above their respective average.

RTOs services the carpentry and electrical apprenticeships continue to report capacity constraints in delivery, caused by bottlenecks in available teacher/trainer numbers.

School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs) faired well over the period January to September 2022 with 2,235 new approvals and 3,965 ‘in-training’.


4. NSW REGIONAL APPRENTICES AND UNI STUDENTS TO RECEIVE $250 TRAVEL CARD

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) also, reports in its 31 October TDA Newsletter of the NSW Government’s announcement that provides a travel boost for apprentices and uni students. 

The articles states, “Apprentices and university students in regional NSW will be eligible for a new $250 travel card to help with the cost of the commute to work, training or university.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said apprentices and university students in the bush often need to travel long distances for work or between training, classes and practical learning.

The prepaid debit card can be used for taxi trips, fuel, Opal card top ups, public transport, privately-operated coaches, and electric charging stations.”

READ THE NSW GOVERNMENT MEDIA RELEASE HERE


5. FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS IN AUSTRALIAN APPRENTICESHIPS

The Australian Apprenticeships & Traineeships Information Service (AATIS) eNewsletter – Edition #83, looks at the growing importance of language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy (LLND) for those considering an Australian Apprenticeship. 

The article states, “Combined together ‘LLND’ are known as foundational skills.  We cover in-depth LLND challenges facing the sector and discuss some of the necessary steps to help overcome hurdles. We also promote support services including the Reading & Writing Hotline, which help to improve foundational skills and reduce the stigma preventing people from reaching out for help.”

The website article explores in more detail this issue stating, “It is a common misconception that only some vocational pathways require a worker to possess foundational skills. Whilst some pathways have higher level requirements than others, such as an electrical apprentice requiring strong numeracy skills, or an ‘I.T.’ trainee requiring sound digital skills, foundational skills benefit all workers by helping to increase general business understanding, a higher level of competency in training, and improved performance and productivity in their roles.”

“With declining completion rates a concern industry-wide, it’s discouraging to hear that the Reading Writing Hotline often receive distressed calls from apprentices with reading & writing struggles, as well as from their parents, carers and allies. They’re alarmed because in many situations their bosses have told them that they may lose their job if they don’t improve their foundational skills. What this often involves is an apprentice or trainee having already completed months or years of hard work, only to be left wondering whether or not they’ll be able to complete their qualification.

What is being done to address foundational skills issues? 

The National Skills Foundation Framework (currently in draft) sets out a 10-year model for collective action by governments working with stakeholders to improve the foundation skills of Australian adults. Government recognises the role foundational skills play in allowing Australian adults to actively participate in communities and the workforce, and that education and training is the best approach to achieve this outcome.”

READ MORE HERE


6. MAE CAREERS PATHFINDERS SYDNEY AND PARKES SHOWCASE DAYS FOR FEMALES

The Agrifood and Electrotechnology ITAB’s will host FREE showcase days for Manufacturing, Agrifood and Electrotechnology (MAE) industries in partnership with the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre and Essential Energy.

An exclusive event for female participants aged 16-64, careers advisors & influencers.  You’ll see industry at work, gain hands on experience and develop a sense of the many jobs available for consideration.

SYDNEY:Held on location, Building S40, Horticulture Road, Hawkesbury Campus, Western Sydney University, Richmond NSW
PARKES:Held at Essential Energy Parkes Depot – Simulation Centre, 1 Brolgan Road, Parkes, NSW 2870

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • meet and talk with female industry leaders involved in protected cropping, beekeeping, pollination, energy and electrotechnology industries
  • gain hands-on experience
  • access the latest career information & learn more about rewarding occupations
  • ask questions and have them answered by industry experts
  • register and reserve a place for obligation free opportunities to do work experience with local MAE industries
  • free networking lunch

Showcase day participants numbers are limited and registrations are essential.

  • FOR SYDNEY

WHEN: Wednesday, 7 December 2022, 9:30am to 2.00pm

Download a copy of the flyer here: MAE SYDNEY FLYERCLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SYDNEY – FREE AND EXCITING EVENT

Check for bus access and support.

  • FOR PARKES

WHEN: Thursday, 1 December 2022, 9:30am to 2.00pm

Download a copy of the flyer for Parkes: MAE PARKES FLYERCLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SYDNEY – FREE AND EXCITING EVENT

Check for bus access and support.

For more information contact Melissa by email mae@agrifooditab.com.au or call 0421830056; or visit the agrifooditab website


7. STUDENTS TEST DRIVING INDUSTRY THROUGH PRE-APPRENTICESHIP AND PRE-TRAINEESHIP COURSES

The NSW Government Educational Pathways Program newsletter of 28 October 2022 reports on an apprenticeship and traineeship initiative of providing students in the last term of 2022, with a head start to gain essential skills and knowledge required for fulltime employment. 

The article reports that over 700 places have been allocated for Term 4 and more to come in 2023.  Sue Kennedy, who has led the initiative outlines the successes of the program. 

“Gaining first-hand experience in a real work environment is crucial for young people who are considering their future careers. That’s where the apprenticeship and traineeship head start initiative steps in. With the help of Group Training Organisations (GTOs), students can complete pre-apprenticeship and pre-traineeship courses, giving them the chance to try out a vocational pathway before committing to an School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT), apprenticeship or traineeship after school. And with 705 places allocated for courses in Term 4, it is safe to say there is huge interest in this initiative.

Since the expansion of the Educational Pathways Program, initiative lead Sue Kennedy has been busily working in the background with schools and GTOs to ensure a successful launch in Term 4 this year.

“We have on-boarded an additional 7 GTOs since the expansion to deliver the initiative in Term 4 and that number is expected to rise when we commence our Expression of Interest (EOI) phase for courses across 2023,” says Sue.

What is a pre-apprenticeship or pre-traineeship course?

Pre-apprenticeship or pre-traineeship courses can run anywhere from 1 week to 3 months, something that is determined by the GTO, partner training provider and in consultation with the school and Head Teacher Careers.

READ MORE HERE


8. SAY YES TO THE TRADES FORUM

It is on again.  Meet companies that are looking for apprentices and want to help train the next generation of tradies.  Listen to the speakers on getting into a trade apprenticeship.

Getting trade-qualified is the way to a secure future so bring your resume and a ‘can-do’ spirit!  Here’s what you can expect:

  • A trades and employers focused event about industry careers
  • Highlight the pathways into and from trades
  • A focus on Electricians, Air-conditioning and refrigeration, and Metal fabrication.
  • Open dialogue with employers and providers with accurate expectations of a trade careers
  • A real scope for understanding the advantages of apprenticeships

Where: Campbelltown Civic Centre 91 Queen Street Campbelltown, NSW 2560

Date:  Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Time: 5.00pm to 8.00pm (AEDT)

REGISTER NOW FOR THE EVENT


9. FREE INSTRUMENTATION PROGRAMMABLE CONTROL SYSTEMS SKILL SET

TAFE NSW has announced that due to huge demand TAFE NSW’s Ultimo campus, Instrumentation and Process Control section will be offering the Instrumentation Programmable Control Systems Skill Set (UEESS00135) for FREE.

This is the second class which has been scheduled by TAFE NSW, due to additional Expressions of Interest.  The program is as follows:

PROGRAMUEESS00135 (Skill Set)
Instrumentation Programmable Control Systems Skill Set
COURSE DESCRIPTIONThe training will provide participants with the skills and knowledge to develop, install and test programs for programmable logic controllers (PLC). You will explore leading PLC systems with a strong hands on approach in an industry environment.
LOCATIONTAFE NSW Ultimo
Instrumentation section Building P, Level 1 Room 27
Mary Ann Street, NSW 2007
DURATION13 weeks
STUDY TYPEPart-time, evening, 2 nights per week (5pm till 9pm)
Monday and Wednesday
START DATE7 November 2022
STUDY COMMITMENT8 hours per week
PROMOTIONDOWNLOAD COPY OF FLYER HERE

This is a Nationally recognised Skillset which has been endorsed by Industry Body IICA.

If you are interested in taking up the free offering, then contact Irfan Hai, TAFE NSW Team Leader Electronics, Instrumentation, Security Operations & HVAC&R as follows:

E: irfan.hai1@tafensw.edu.au

T: +61437 343 942

A: Bldg N, Mary Ann Street, Ultimo NSW 2007

W: TAFE NSW GET STARTED HERE


10. ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRAINING PACKAGE RELEASE 5.0 APPROVED

Australian Industry Standards (AIS) advises in its 26 October 2022 advisory that the Electrotechnology Training Package Release 4.0 has been endorsed by the Skills Ministers for implementation. 

As well, Release 5.0 was considered by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) following the Case for Endorsement submission and approved for referral to Skills Ministers for endorsement.

The advisory states, “The Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee has led the development of 16 new units of competency and updated three qualifications, 15 units of competency and two skill sets.

The Training Package has been updated through the four projects below to address priority skill needs for the Electrotechnology industry.”

Advanced Diploma of Engineering TechnologyQualification updated and five new Units of Competency added
Assess and Report on Smoke Control FeaturesOne Unit of Competency and one Skill Set have been updated
Electricity MetersOne Unit of Competency and one Skill Set have been updated
Hazardous AreasTwo qualifications and 13 Units of Competency have been updated, and 11 new Units developed to reflect AS/NZS4761.1:2018 Competencies

To support the delivery of the Training Package, a Companion Volume Implementation Guide (CVIG) has been developed to assist assessors, trainers, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and enterprises.

The endorsed Training Package materials are now available on training.gov.au

RELEASE 5.0

Additionally, Release 5.0, which has been referred to Skills Ministers for endorsement covered the following three projects:

Project A: Rail Signalling1 updated qualification15 updated units of competency3 new units of competencyApproved on the condition it be made clearer in the qualification that all relevant jurisdictional licensing requirements must be complied with in the first instance and in determining available entry pathways. In addition, certification must indicate which entry pathway was used.
Project B: Computer Systems Engineering1 updated qualificationApproved on the condition that deleted units of competency not be removed from the elective banks of 12 additional UEE qualifications at this stage.
Project C: Renewables4 updated qualifications25 updated units of competency13 new units of competency

10.1. ASQA EXTENDS TRANSITION PERIOD FOR UEE30811 – CIII ELECTRICIAN TO 31 JAN 2024

The Australian Skills quality Authority (ASQA) has announced that it has approved an extension to the transition period for the UEE30811 – Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician qualification until the 31 January 2024.

The announcement states,

ASQA has approved the extended transition for UEE30811 – Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician qualification for current apprentices only to 31 January 2024.

ASQA consulted Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority (VRQA) and Training Accreditation Council Western Australia (TAC WA) for this extended transition request.

It was demonstrated to ASQA that learners would be genuinely disadvantaged if they were required to transition to the replacement qualification as the significance of change would not provide the expected learning outcome for existing learners.

This extension is granted to all ASQA registered training organisations (RTOs) delivering the UEE30811 – Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician qualification for current apprentices only to 31 January 2024.

The decision extends the transition period for ASQA registered RTOs to continue training assessment and issue Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) certification.

The UEE30811 – Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician qualification will remain on ASQA registered RTOs scope of registration until the end of the extended transition period unless the RTO chooses to withdraw it from scope prior. ASQA will publish this decision on its website.

If you have any questions about this decision, please contact transitionrequest@asqa.gov.au.”

For more information regarding the above projects and Electrotechnology Training Package matters, please contact Paul Humphreys, Industry Skills Specialist on M: 0429 670 588 or E: paul.humphreys@aistnds.org.au


11. RETIRED SUPREME COURT JUDGE TO CARRY OUT REVIEW OF SAFEWORK NSW

SafeWork NSW has issued a Media Release of 25 October 2022 announcing that, “The NSW Government has appointed retired Supreme Court judge The Hon. Robert McDougall KC to carry out a review of SafeWork NSW.”

The media statement confirms that the “Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello said Mr McDougall previously reviewed iCare and SIRA in 2020-21 and would now turn his attention to the operations and culture of SafeWork NSW, the State’s work health and safety regulator.

“NSW Parliament passed legislation in 2015 to abolish WorkCover, and replace it with iCare, SIRA and SafeWork NSW as three separate entities,” Mr Dominello said.

“SafeWork NSW is the only one of those three entities that has not been independently reviewed since the reforms. For that reason, a review of the operations of SafeWork NSW is now appropriate.

“This review will look at issues raised in recent weeks and provide the Government with independent insights that will be both powerful and instructive.”

Department of Customer Service Deputy Secretary and Head of SafeWork NSW Natasha Mann also expressed her support for an independent review to be carried out by Mr McDougall.

“SafeWork NSW plays a vital role in protecting the health and safety of workers in NSW,” Ms Mann said.

“It is important we ensure SafeWork NSW is performing its role as the state’s workplace health and safety regulator as effectively as possible.”

READ MORE HERE


12. STAY SAFE AND COMPLIANT WITH NEW DIGITAL LICENCE CHECKER TOOLS

SafeWork NSW’s monthly newsletter, SafeWork Wrap October of 27 October 2022 alludes a series of new checker tools that are now available and updated for users.

The article states, “Two new digital tools are now available giving you quick access to information on licence holders in a range of occupations.

Licence manager tool

Businesses can now use the Licence Manager tool through their Service NSW Business Profile to check and manage licences to easily stay on top of compliance obligations. The tool uses data from the existing public register of licence holders to notify a business owner when an employee’s licence is cancelled, surrendered, suspended, expiring soon or expired. You can also opt-in for SMS and app notification reminders. The tool will soon include high risk work and automotive licences.

Learn more or create a profile on the Service NSW Business Profile page.

Verify.licence

Verify.licence is a one-stop public register that provides licence verification so you can feel confident that hired tradespeople are appropriately licenced for the job. 

The beta website allows you to easily look up and verify NSW licence and registration information from a range of occupations and sectors.

READ MORE HERE


13. HAVE YOUR SAY ON REFORMING NSW BUILDING ACT

Reminder that the NSW Government’s Department of Customer Service – Fair Trading is conducting a review of the Home Building Act (HBA) and seeking community feedback. 

The Department is seeking help to, “create a stronger building industry that is fairer, safer and better for everyone.”

They state, “We are committed to: 

  • improving safety, accountability and transparency 
  • ensuring high-quality design, construction and maintenance 
  • modernising and simplifying building legislation.  

Have your say on Reforming building laws in NSW by Friday 25 November.

Learn more about the reform by watching the video: Reforming building laws in NSW.

Join in the Online Q and A sessions

Thursday, 3 November 2022
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Register now Submit a question before the session.
Wednesday, 9 November 2022
3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Register now Submit a question before the session.

Written submissions

You can also make a written submission – HERE.  This option allows you to give detailed feedback or respond directly to the questions in the regulatory impact statements.

The consultation is open until Friday 25 November 2022.

READ MORE HERE


14. 12 RISK ASSESSMENT AND SWMS QUESTIONS ANSWERED

The latest Master Electricians Australia (MEA) newsletter of 31 October 2022 includes an important article regarding risk assessment and Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS).

The article provides answers to 12 most common questions about risk assessment and SWMS, stating, “Electrical work is extremely dangerous. Risk assessments and Safe Work Method Statements are not just a way of keeping your workers safe, but a legal requirement.”

MEA’s General Manager Field Services Colin Gibson answers 12 of the most common questions about risk assessments and SWMS.

Several examples of the questions are:

  • How can we make sure employees do not just ‘tick n flick’ risk assessments rather than seriously considering hazards?
  • Can you use the recording only and not any written documents – so at a job we just do a recording only is good enough?
  • Can you combine mandatory SWMS to have one big SWMS for a particular task?
  • If there is no accident, do you need to keep your SWMS?
  • Can you use SWMS as a control measure for risks?
  • When do you determine if a SWMS is necessary – aside from being told by a client?
  • When risks are not identified, but cause an incident, is that considered human error? or what are the implications?

READ A RESPONSE TO THE QUESTIONS HERE


15. ELECTRICAL LICENSING DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office’s eSafe Electrical bulletin reports in its 24 October 2022 edition of the Electrical Licensing Committee taking disciplinary action in August 2022, against three licence holders which involved suspensions, fines and independent audits.

The article reports the following:

  1. Failed to inspect and test:
    An electrical contractor failed to inspect and test an installation to ensure it was electrically safe before submitting an electrical work request for a metering alteration.
  2. Failed to inspect and test – electric shock to several people:
    An electrical contractor failed to ensure adequate inspection and testing procedures, resulting in electric shocks to several people due to a screw used to install a cable ladder cover, penetrating the cable insulation.
  3. Safe system of work failure – electric shock:
    An electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work and ensure that employees received an adequate induction to the business’ procedures and processes.

READ MORE ABOUT EACH HERE


16. BUILDER FINED $100K FOR FALL AND ELECTROCUTION RISKS

Electrical Comms Data reports in its 26 October 2022 Newsletter, that a company that put workers in danger by repeatedly failing to control the risks of a fall from height, as well as of electric shock, has been convicted and fined $100,000.

The article states, “K1 Homes ID Pty Ltd this week pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to two charges under section 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 of failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the workplace was safe and without risks to health and safety.

The offences occurred during the construction of multi-level townhouses on Brunswick Road, Brunswick.

The court heard that on 29 January 2019 the company was issued five improvement notices from WorkSafe Victoria inspectors, including for failing to control the risk of a fall from height. At the time, inspectors noted that unassembled scaffolding was present at the site.

Despite regular follow-up inspections, it was almost five months later before WorkSafe was satisfied that the improvement notices had been complied with.

On 23 September 2019, a WorkSafe inspector again attended the workplace and observed a worker working at height with no fall protection in place and issued a prohibition notice that prevented access to the area until fall protection was installed. On 19 June 2020, a WorkSafe inspector again observed workers at the site working at height without fall protection.”

READ MORE HERE


17. BERLIN ENERGY DISPATCH #3 – COMPARING GRID INNOVATION HAS AUSTRALIA TOP OF CLASS

The 27 October 2022 edition of EneregyInsider, a joint publication of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC) digs below the surface to look at why Australian regulatory and policy settings and innovation in the power system compared to other countries are up near the top of the class. 

The article covers first impressions of the German energy transition which involve jaw dropping numbers and ambitions.  The second covers impressions, which have (Australian) jaws dropping, for a different reason – the lack of regulatory and policy alignment around the integration of distributed or customer energy resources and the grid.

The article is the third in a series of articles borne out of a delegation tour of Germany to exchange ideas and experiences between Australian and German energy nerds.  The article reports, “On the way into Germany, you fly over seemingly endless wind farms. After touching down, you ride into town playing spot-the-EV, and once you are there it seems that every street has public EV charging infrastructure. With this introduction, you might think that Germany and the rest of the EU are well ahead of Australia in the energy transition and integrating new technologies. In terms of scale and ambition, this is probably true (although we are catching up on ambition). However, when it comes to innovation to get the most out of network infrastructure, Australia is up near the top of the class.

First and second impressions

While the scale of change in Germany is impressive – the volume of renewable energy already integrated in the system and the number of EVs on the roads – some of the comments made by German delegates and presenters didn’t seem to agree with this first impression of Germany as being well ahead of Australia in the transition. Comments like “in the future we might be able to turn the theory of ‘virtual power plants’ into reality” or “technically, batteries have all sorts of uses”.

What was going on here? In Australia, virtual power plants (VPPs) have been in operation, in real world trials, for some years now. There are nine VPPs in South Australia alone. Distributed or customer energy resources (DER/CER) can also provide services to the grid. Electricity networks in Australia are:

  • progressing tariffs toward cost reflectivity, incentivising a more efficient use of energy services over time, including for DER
  • developing dynamic operating envelopes to allow more energy from DER to benefit customers over time
  • developing and facilitating community batteries to share the benefits of batteries across customers
  • implementing new non-network alternatives to traditional poles and wires solutions for transmission investment, such as a compressed air storage system to support reliability in Broken Hill
  • testing out the capabilities of batteries to provide system security services so that transmission networks can procure or provide these services in innovative ways to reduce the cost to customers, and
  • implementing innovative service solutions such as testing and now rolling out stand-alone power systems, avoiding the need for tens of thousands of kms of additional power lines.

Australia’s natural drivers of innovation

Clearly, the approach to the integration of DER differs significantly in the two countries. Looking under the surface, the drivers of DER uptake and the need for efficient DER integration are very different in each context. The different drivers point to innovation being more of a necessity in Australia. Two key drivers of innovation for us are geography and cost.

It is therefore not surprising that Germany and most other countries have not yet started to experience many of the critical system issues caused by DER uptake that Australia is already grappling with. …”

READ MORE HERE

For more, contact Dominic Adams, Energy Networks Australia.


18. HDRIVE HYDROGEN-POWERED TRUCKS MOVE INTO PRODUCTION

Manufacturers’ Monthly reports in its latest 26 October 2022 edition that HDrive has announced its entry into the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (HFCV) market. 

After a successful design and engineering period it has a range of trucks now in production.

The article states, “HDrive, a subsidiary of Australian specialist vehicle manufacturer BLK Auto, has already taken several orders for its HFCV trucks, including for a dual control side lifter waste truck and a 6×4 prime mover recently purchased by fuel provider Pure Hydrogen for use by their clients.

HDrive’s HFCV trucks have been designed and engineered in Australia, using high-quality components sourced from its trusted network of suppliers to develop the company’s fuel cell and other market-leading technology.

In a joint venture, HDrive trucks will initially be built at Wisdom (Fujian) Motor Company premises using the proven Ballard Fuel Cells. Wisdom majority shareholders are Ballard and Hong Kong-based investment company Templewater.

The range of trucks will sit alongside BLK Auto’s existing hydrogen coach and electric truck, and bus options.

READ MORE HERE


19. HANDLE WITH CARE – LITHIUM-ION BATTERY RISKS AND SAFETY TIPS

Editor Sean Carroll reports in the 28 October 2022 edition of Electrical Connection of potential risks and safety tips to consider when handling or charging lithium-ion batteries.

The article states, “The use of lithium-ion batteries has increased significantly over the last decade with these batteries now commonly used in all types of household and commercial devices and appliances, including vehicles and e-scooters.

While the popularity of lithium-ion batteries has soared due to their quick and convenient re-charging capabilities, there is a growing concern about potential fire risks.

Lithium-ion batteries cause approximately 15 to 20 fires a year, according to Ben Muller, an area officer for West Kimberly at fire and emergency services. In February 2022, a fire caused by a lithium-ion battery in northern Adelaide caused over $200,000 in damage, reigniting safety concerns surrounding the handling, storage, and disposal of these batteries.

Fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries are almost impossible to extinguish with no specific solution on the market. Currently, the best cause of action is to drown the fire with massive volumes of water; however, some fires can burn for hours, even days, and have even been known to burn underwater.

“The dangers of lithium-ion batteries shouldn’t be underestimated as they are extremely sensitive to high temperatures and inherently combustible,” Wormald technical director Justin Morris says.

“A lithium-ion battery-induced fire is self-sustaining and can’t be easily extinguished with traditional fire extinguishing systems and methods. Understanding lithium-ion batteries and handling them with the utmost care is the best way to mitigate the risk of fire, which can cause widespread damage.”

There are five simple steps that people can take to prevent an incident involving lithium-ion batteries.”

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20. SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES MAKING RENEWABLES CHALLENGING

Jan Arreza, reports in the 26 October 2022 edition of Climate Control News (CCN) that global supply issues are impacting on Australis capability to meet renewable energy targets.

The article states, “Global supply chain issues have made Australia’s renewable energy targets “extremely challenging”, according to solar energy equipment supplier SMA Australia.

Global chip and raw materials constraints have already seen many suppliers to the PV and storage industry delay or cancel contracts, and it is no longer possible to rely on costs continually decreasing, and assume that supply capacity will meet demand, warned SMA.

SMA believes strong relationships with credible and stable suppliers will become critical to reaching global targets.

“Over the last few months, there have been countless announcements from the federal and state governments, and from the private sector relating to de-carbonisation through renewable energy deployment,” explained Joshua Birmingham, director of large scale and project solutions at SMA.

“This is undeniably fantastic news for Australia and for the planet, however, this growth will present challenges for the industry, where demand may outstrip supply in many key areas of the renewable energy value chain.”

As stated in the Rystad Energy report, “high prices and long lead times threaten solar PV capacity build-out”, and the forecasts of 225 government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs) of PV to start construction in 2023 could potentially be downgraded.

The report also highlighted how lead times for new inverters are currently being quoted anywhere between six to 15 months, highlighting the severity of the current blockages in the supply chain.

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21. PROBLEM WITH CHARGING CARS AT HOME AT NIGHT

In another interesting article covered in the Electrical Comms Data newsletter of 26 October 2022, was a report discussing how shifting current EV charging from home to work and night to daytime could cut costs and help the grid, according to a new Stanford study.

The report states, “If the common charging of electric vehicles at home in the evening or overnight shifts to daytime at work as more cars go electric, then that would restrain extra costs for electricity systems, according to a new Stanford University study.

In March, the research team published a paper on a model they created for charging demand that can be applied to an array of populations and other factors. In the new study, published 22 September in Nature Energy, they applied their model to the whole of the Western United States and examined the stress the region’s electric grid will come under by 2035 from growing EV ownership. In a little over a decade, they found, rapid EV growth alone could increase peak electricity demand by up to 25%, assuming a continued dominance of residential, night-time charging.

To limit the high costs of all that new capacity for generating and storing electricity, the researchers say, drivers should move to daytime charging at work or public charging stations, which would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This finding has policy and investment implications for the region and its utilities, especially since California moved in late August to ban sales of gasoline-powered cars and light trucks starting in 2035.

“We encourage policymakers to consider utility rates that encourage day charging and incentivise investment in charging infrastructure to shift drivers from home to work for charging,” said the study’s co-senior author, Ram Rajagopal, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford.

In February, cumulative sales of EVs in California reached one million, accounting for about 6% of cars and light trucks. The state has targeted five million EVs on the road by 2030. When the penetration hits 30 to 40% of cars on the road, the grid will experience significant stress without major investments and changes in charging habits, Rajagopal said. Building that infrastructure requires significant lead time and cannot be done overnight.”

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22. SEPTEMBER LARGE-SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET MARKET DATA NOW AVAILABLE

The Clean Energy Regulator has released the September 2022 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data.

Highlights were:

391 MW was approved for LGC creation in September, with accreditation start dates between October 2021 and August 2022. This included:

  • Woolooga Solar Farm in Queensland with a capacity of 214MW
  • Mortlake South Wind Farm in Victoria with a capacity of 158MW
  • Murray Bridge Solar Farm with a capacity of 13MW

READ MORE HERE