News Service 76 – Skill cluster grant open, record funding VET & apprentice numbers, training college gets record penalty, ASQA-NUEITAB Forum, TAFE NSW boss leaves, training system fails, NCVER Reports, Smart & Skilled, Electrical safety & industry news

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1. MINISTER’S MEDIA RELEASE WITHDRAWN FROM THE NET BUT SKILL CLUSTER GRANT IS OPEN

On Friday the 3 December 2021, The Hon Stuart Robert MP, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business published a Media Release inviting industry to help shape landmark skills reforms, only to have it removed from his Media Centre, over the weekend.  The site stated, “Page not found”.

The withdrawn Media Release was renewed following the issue of the 6 December 2021 NSW UE ITAB News Service highlighting its removal. The updated Media Release (Industry invited to help shape landmark skills reforms) sates, “The Morrison Government is calling on industry and businesses to take a seat at the table as part of its fundamental overhaul of Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system. …

Interested organisations are encouraged to develop their application for the grants now.  The grants will close on 31 March 2022. …

The new Industry Cluster model – as groups of aligned industries – will replace the 67 Industry Reference Committees and six Skills Service Organisation and are expected to be fully operational by 1 January 2023. …”

The Media Release references a URL, https://www.dese.gov.au/skills-reform/skills-reform-overview/industry-engagement-reforms, which provides some explanation of the proposed Industry Engagement Reforms, but the link to the Minister’s Media Release has no information, but the link to the Industry Clusters Grant opportunity is working, stating, “The Industry Clusters Grant opportunity is now live.

For more information and to apply visit: Current Grant Opportunity View – GO5308: GrantConnect (grants.gov.au)

The Grant specification, at GrantConnect provides the following key details:

  • GO ID: GO5308
  • Agency: Department of Education, Skills and Employment
  • Close Date & Time: 31-Mar-2022 11:30 pm (ACT Local Time)
  • Internal Reference ID: ESE21/4950
  • Primary Category: 191008 – Vocational Education
  • Publish Date: 3-Dec-2021
  • Location: ACT, NSW, VIC, SA, WA, QLD, NT, TAS
  • Selection Process: Open Competitive
  • FO Reference: ICIMP S-1 2021-2025

“The entities will be established through a two-stage grant opportunity approach to market. The first stage will involve an open competitive process seeking proposals to establish and subsequently operate an Industry Cluster. The second stage will involve a closed non-competitive process to enable the newly established clusters to put forward detailed proposals to deliver on their full functions.”


2. MORRISON GOVERNMENT DELIVERING RECORD FUNDING FOR VET AND TAFE

A Media Release issued on 2 December 2021 by the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, The Hon Stuart Robert MP states that, “A study by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) of Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) funding through 2020 has found the Morrison Government provided the vast majority of the increase to funding across the skills and training sector, including TAFE.

The NCVER study found the Morrison Government increased funding from $2.65 billion in 2019 to $3.83 billion in 2020 (excluding loans), an increase of $1.18 billion or 44.7 per cent. Over the same period the State and territory governments’ combined contribution increased from $3.72 billion in 2019 to $3.86 billion in 2020, an increase of $142.2 million or 3.8 per cent.

The report found ongoing annual funding through the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD), that supports state and territory governments to deliver VET services and the running of their training systems, increased to $1.55 billion while overall payments to TAFE increased 25.6 per cent from 2019.

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert, said the report confirms the Morrison Government is the best friend the VET and TAFE sectors have ever had.”

READ MORE HERE


3. RECORD NUMBER OF APPRENTICES BEGIN TRAINING – BUT FEWER ARE COMPLETING IT

Ben Clarke is a year away from completing his electrical apprenticeship. CREDIT: NICK MOIR

Anna Patty, Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald covered the ever-interesting dichotomy and complex issue surrounding the push to increase apprentice numbers and whilst achieving fewer completions.  The article of 1 December 2021, in the Sydney Morning Herald states, “State and federal governments are under pressure to boost low apprenticeship completion rates in the face of skills shortages and an expected infrastructure boom.

Data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows just 55.1 per cent of apprentices across a range of trades who started their training in 2016 had completed it by July this year – a decrease of 2.5 percentage points from the 2015 cohort.

New federal government figures show a record 217,400 apprentices commenced their training at the end of July. But peak training organisations are now urging the government to focus on ensuring higher rates of completion.  …

The federal government has topped up its Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program with a further $3.9 billion over four years from 2020-21. It provides a 50 per cent wage subsidy in the first year of an apprenticeship, 10 per cent in the second year and five per cent in the third.  …

Tom Emeleus, general manager of training and apprenticeships at the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), said the pandemic had highlighted Australia’s reliance on skilled migrants.  …

Mr Emeleus said the NECA expected to train 1300 electricians over the next five years to help address a shortage. “But we need to see government funding … prioritise apprenticeship programs that are delivering good outcomes for apprentices,” he said. …

NSW Skills and Tertiary Education Minister Geoff Lee said more than 108,000 people were training for apprenticeships in the state, an increase of almost 30 per cent on last year.”

READ MORE HERE


4. RECORD $153 MILLION IN PENALTIES ORDERED AGAINST TRAINING COLLEGE AIPE

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced in a Media Release of Friday, 3 December 2021 of a major decision handed down by the Federal Court against Australian Institute of Professional Education Pty Ltd (in liquidation) (AIPE).  The Federal Court ordered $153 million in penalties against AIPE.

The Media Release states, “The Court had previously declared that AIPE had engaged in a system of unconscionable conduct, as well misleading or deceptive conduct, when enrolling consumers into online diploma courses between May 2013 and December 2015 under the former VET FEE-HELP loan program.

The penalties imposed by the Court comprise $150 million for AIPE’s systemic unconscionable conduct, and $3 million for contraventions involving 12 individual consumers.

In imposing these penalties, Justice Bromwich said: “Substantial penalties are called for when a commercial enterprise systematically predates on both a government education support scheme designed to help disadvantaged members of the Australian community, and consequently, upon those consumers.”

The ACCC and the Australian Government Department of Education and Training commenced proceedings against AIPE in March 2016 following a joint ACCC and NSW Fair Trading investigation.

READ MORE HERE


5. ASQA AND NSW UE ITAB TO HOLD JOINT STAKEHOLDER FORUM ON RTO AUDITS

he NSW UE ITAB and ASQA recently met to discuss a series of emerging concerns with the efficacy of some poor performing RTOs that have led the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Electrical Regulator to reconsider its practices of dutifully issuing an electrical licence to individuals issued a Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician qualification by an RTO. 

The regulator trusting the ASQA audit processes has previously instinctively honoured recognition of the qualification, only to find after a series of incidents and investigation that some individuals did not demonstrate competence as an electrician. This instructive experience now puts into question the veracity of RTO issued qualifications, as audited by ASQA, who is responsible for assuring the quality of RTO outcomes.

The electrical regulator is now undertaking a full review of its practices and instituted a range of measures to ensure it safeguards its duty of care responsibilities to the public in the issuance of an electrical licence.  Both the ACT regulator and the NSW UE ITAB have raised this matter with ASQA most recently, and other industry stakeholders too, over an extended period of time, to bring attention to similar issues occurring across the country.  This growing concern comes at a time of heightened skill shortages for electricians across the industry that hastens opportunists to navigate processes that may give access to a highly prized qualification and most importantly, electrical licence.  Few understanding that bad electrical practices and limited understanding of how electricity works in an Australian context, can lead to catastrophic consequences for people, livestock or property.

As a result, ASQA wishes to learn more from stakeholders in the industry, about these growing concerns .  It has committed to participate in a joint ASQA-NSW UE ITAB Forum of stakeholders, as a first step course of action in the learning process.

The NSW UE ITAB commends ASQA in this regard and welcomes the opportunity to coordinate the stakeholder forum.  It is intended that the Forum will be held sometime in February or March of 2022.  Key stakeholders, including members of ERAC, Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (E-IRC), employer associations, unions, STAs and RTOs will be invited to attend a face-to-face forum either in Melbourne or Sydney. 

The Forum will present stakeholders to share the experiences and suggestions as to how the ACT Electrical Regulator experience can be mitigated against in the future.  If you have a strong interest in participating in the Forum, please contact Tony Palladino at tony@uensw.com.au and confirm your interest to attend.


6. SKEWED TRAINING SYSTEM FAILS TO PRODUCE THE SKILLS WE NEED

In an opinion piece by Andrew Dettmer and Ian Curry in the Financial Review of 29 November 2021, they assert that the “vocational education and training system is not producing the skills we need for the future we want.”  Andrew Dettmer is national president and Ian Curry is national co-ordinator of skills training and apprenticeships policy at the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

This interesting article revisits some of the early tenants of the national training reform agenda which was about producing skilled and adaptable workers in employment in the economy.  For instance, both reflect on the historical reform agenda that took place in the 1980s, where high quality vocational skills were identified as a precondition for reshaping the economy and industries.

The article states, “Through tripartite collaboration, we established sophisticated skill-related career paths, eliminated impediments to flexibility, and created appropriate pay relativities between different levels of skilled workers based on the increasing complexity of their skills.

This reform was facilitated by the award system, providing strong incentives for workers to participate in skill formation and to build economic capability.

Those reforms built a dynamic, skilled, and adaptable workforce. It was done with clear intent and careful planning. It integrated the industrial and economic needs of industry with a vocational education and training model designed to reflect those needs.

Thus, the last great leap in productivity of the 1990s and 2000s came as a direct result of the award restructuring process that placed skills formation at the centre of industrial relations.

It succeeded because it put the key industry voices into the same room and, through the industrial relations system’s involvement, balanced their competing interests with those of the nation.”

In turn the article, then points out that these visionary reforms for the country, and the underpinning agenda have largely been forgotten.  In their words, “The VET system has slowly and relentlessly been skewed from its primary goal of producing skilled workers and has become a market, where the needs of industry and students are secondary, trumped by the demands of private trainers to deliver a profit.

Skills ministers need to lift their gaze and build a national conversation about the purpose of VET, the role of industry, employers and unions, and the imperative to integrate the industry need for competent workers, with the societal need for those workers to have access to a broad general vocation education.”

For those of us that have been around the VET system for long enough, we would strongly concur with the sentiments outlined by both Andrew and Ian, and sometime ago too, by Jenny Lambert, Director – Economics and Employment & Skills at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).  Their reflections come from grounded experiences and much wisdom and Skills Ministers should heed the call for re-focusing of the VET system from these heavy weights of industry.

READ MORE HERE


7. NSW TAFE BOSS LEAVES JOB LESS THAN HALFWAY THROUGH CONTRACT

In a surprising announcement, the head of TAFE NSW Steffen Faurby has left his $575,000 job nearly two years after signing a five-year contract.   

Anna Patty, Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald leads yet another VET story in this week’s NSW UE ITAB News Service following the publication of the article in the SMH on Saturday, 4 December 2021. The article states, “A senior TAFE NSW staff member who spoke to the Herald on condition of anonymity said that while Mr Faurby enjoyed support within the organisation, his relationship with the NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee was tense.

In an email sent on Friday, Mr Faurby thanked staff and announced it was his last day after a two-year “journey” at TAFE NSW.  …

The minister thanked Mr Faurby for managing TAFE reforms including technology upgrades.

NSW Department of Customer Service chief operating officer Stephen Brady will replace Mr Faurby on December 13. Mr Lee said he has served in several senior executive roles in the public sector including overseeing economic services agencies at NSW Treasury and working with industry as acting Small Business Commissioner.  …

TAFE chief information officer David Backley would act as managing director until Stephen Brady starts the job. …

NSW Teachers’ Federation TAFE spokesman Phil Chadwick said Mr Faurby was leaving the organisation at a time when the future of more than 200 courses was uncertain because of staff shortages.”

READ MORE HERE


8. NCVER REPORTS

NCVER has published two key reports, that provide very important information on the latest VET funding activities and issues in the apprenticeship system that have been discussed in research and literature over time.


8.1. GOVERNMENT-FUNDED STUDENTS AND COURSES – JANUARY TO JUNE 2021

NCVER description of the report states, “This publication provides a summary of data relating to students, programs, subjects and training providers in Australia’s government-funded vocational education and training (VET) system, defined as all Commonwealth and state/territory government-funded training delivered by technical and further education (TAFE) institutes, other government providers (such as universities), community education providers and other registered providers).”

Highlights of the report:

In the first six months to 30 June 2021, 937 000 students were enrolled in government-funded vocational education and training (VET). They included:

  • 914 400 students enrolled in nationally recognised training
  • 48 700 students enrolled in non-nationally recognised training.

Government-funded program enrolments comprised:

  • 89.2% in nationally recognised programs
  • 7.4% in locally developed programs
  • 3.4% in non-nationally recognised programs.

84.4% of program enrolments were in qualifications:

  • 77.1% of program enrolments were in training package qualifications
  • 7.2% were in accredited qualifications
  • 47.8% of these qualifications were at certificate III level
  • 20.0% of these qualifications were at certificate IV level.

READ MORE HERE


8.2. ISSUES IN APPRENTICESHIPS AND TRAINEESHIPS – A RESEARCH SYNTHESIS

Authored by John Stanwick, Maree Ackehurst, and Kelly Frazer this NCVER publication aims to provide a synthesised overview of some aspects of apprenticeships and traineeships in Australia. In particular, the synthesis brings together research and data on what could be considered five enduring issues. These are congestion and harmonisation, completions, incentive payments and other supports to employers and apprentices/trainees, the interface between the apprentice/trainee and training providers, and the relevance of the current model of apprenticeship training.

Discussion in the publication is limited to post-school apprenticeships and traineeships that involve a contract of training.

Highlights:

  • The large number of stakeholders in the system has led to a congested training landscape and associated employer and apprentice confusion. Similarly, the lack of consistency of approaches across states and territories (lack of harmonisation) has made the apprenticeship system difficult to navigate for national employers.
  • Completions and completion rates are still of concern, with data showing that those who complete have, on average, better outcomes than those who don’t.
  • Incentives play an important role in encouraging and supporting apprenticeships and traineeships but need to be carefully calibrated. Previous experience has shown that poorly targeted incentives can lead to increased uptake but can also have unintended consequences and lead to inferior outcomes for apprentices and trainees.
  • The off-the-job training component plays a very important role in the overall apprenticeship or traineeship but there are challenges in coordinating it with the on-the job component, aligning the training and assessment, and ensuring that the off-the-job component accords with what is being learned in the workplace.
  • The relevance of the historical apprenticeship model to changing industry, economic and social conditions has been challenged and there is support for alternative models of delivery.

READ MORE HERE


9. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2021

Smart and Skilled Update (attached) – November 2021, covers the following:

  1. NSW JobTrainer funding extended until 31 December 2022
    1. Eligibility criteria extended
    1. Extensions for existing Skilling for Recovery (SfR) PASs
  2. Summer Skills enrolments extended
  3. Summer Skills in the media
  4. AgSkilled 2.0 Program: New industry representation, updated course and unit of competency listing, and newly endorsed training provider
    1. New industry representation on the AgSkilled 2.0 Steering Committee
    1. Updated Courses and Units of Competency (UoCs) available for delivery and recommendations sought
    1. Recommendations sought for additional courses/UoCs
    1. Training providers endorsed to deliver AgSkilled 2.0 training – EOIs for training delivery sought
    1. Further information
  5. Webinar for Smart and Skilled Providers held Friday 12 November 2021 – Recording now available

For more information visit: https://www.training.nsw.gov.au/smartandskilled/index.html

Or, for technical support in relation to this update, contact Training Market Customer Support at Training.Market@det.nsw.edu.au.


10. AIS GAS INDUSTRY SKILLS WEBINAR – IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

If you missed the opportunity to participate in the Gas Industry Skills Webinar hosted last week (2 December 2021) by Australian Industry Standards (AIS), then you can view the recording at your convenience.

The event was facilitated by Director of IRC Operations, Klausch Schmidt and featuring Chair of the Gas Industry Reference Committee, Michael Broomhead, and AIS Industry Skills Specialist, Shaun Thomas. They discussed how the Gas IRC is revising qualifications and developing new Units of Competency to address the needs of industry and its workforce.

The recording is now live on Vimeo.

VIEW THE GAS INDUSTRY SKILLS WEBINAR RECORDING HERE


11. ELECTRIC SHOCKS DUE TO INCORRECT POLARITY OF CONSUMER MAINS OR SUBMAINS

The importance of testing for correct polarity has again been drawn to industry practitioner attention by the WorkSafe Queensland in its eSAFE Electrical newsletter of Friday, 3 December 2021.  The article states, “Several installations have been identified where either people at the property, or at another property, have received electric shocks due to incorrect polarity of consumer mains or submains.

Incorrect polarity connections on consumer mains or submains supplying an outbuilding with a separate multiple earth neutral (MEN), will result in an energised earthing system.

Testing will ensure any incorrect connection is identified and rectified, to prevent the risk of electric shock.

The protective earth neutral (PEN) is the most important earthing conductor in an electrical installation. The impedance of the PEN must be low enough to pass the current necessary to operate the overcurrent protective device and be consistent with the length, cross sectional area and type of conductor material.”

READ MORE HERE


12. WORKER SUFFERS ELECTRIC SHOCK AND SMALL BURN TO HIS WRIST WHEN RESETTING BREAKER

The NSW Resources Regulator’s Mine Safety News last week (3 Dec 2021) reported on an electric incident (Dangerous incident IncNot0041119 Underground metals) involving underground Jumbo drill rig. 

A summary of the incident states, “A worker conducting pre-start checks on an underground Jumbo drill rig could not restart the power packs. The emergency stops were checked and the power to the machine cycled. The worker went to the control cabinet and found that a miniature circuit breaker had tripped. When he reset the breaker, he suffered an electric shock and small burn to his wrist, which was resting on the door.”

The regulators comments to the industry states, “Mine operators must ensure that fit-for-purpose electrical installations are maintained in a state without risk to workers. The maintenance of ingress protection (IP) ratings and security of enclosures to prevent unauthorised access should be routinely verified to ensure compliance. Mine operators should also ensure workers are aware of procedures and competency requirements for the restoration of electrical protection.”

READ MORE HERE ISR21-47


13. ELECTRICIAN AND COMPANY FINED $32,500 FOR SERIOUS SAFETY BREACH

The Building and Energy regulator in Western Australia, issued an announcement of the prosecution of a company and an electrician for breaching WA’s electrical licensing regulations following a prosecution by Building and Energy.  The Media Release of 18 November 2021 states, “An electrician’s failure to install a key safety component and carry out mandatory tests left a property unprotected against electrical hazards for a week.

At Joondalup Magistrates Court on 5 November 2021, Balcatta company Sampson Electrical Contractors Pty Ltd (EC8976) and electrical worker Milan Jakovljevic (EW178929) were fined a combined $32,500 after pleading guilty to breaching WA’s electrical licensing regulations following a prosecution by Building and Energy. …

The court was told that during on-site tests a week after Mr Jakovljevic’s work, a Western Power inspector discovered the switchboard had no multiple earthed neutral (MEN), a key component of the protection system.

Without an MEN, protective devices such as circuit breakers and fuses may not operate if an electrical fault occurs, which can cause metal objects to become live with dangerous levels of electricity.

… “Magistrate Colin Roberts fined Mr Jakovljevic $7,500 for the non-compliant installation and Sampson Electrical Contractors $25,000 for submitting a notice that incorrectly declared the work was checked, tested and complied with the electrical licensing regulations.”

  • Multiple earthed neutral (MEN) not installed in a switchboard
  • Mandatory testing and verification not carried out, which would have shown defects

READ MORE HERE


14. CHANGES FOR SWITCHBOARDS WITH A CONNECTED LOAD EXCEEDING 125 AMPS OR SUBJECT TO A FAULT LEVEL OF 10KA OR GREATER

The latest WorkSafe Queensland eSAFE Electrical newsletter of Friday, 3 December 2021 reports on the latest change to low voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies.  It states, “The use of either AS/NZS 3439 or AS/NZS 61439 for low voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies has been extended until 25 November 2022.

In Queensland, electrical contractors must ensure installation criteria for switchboards are met before they are installed. Similarly, suppliers of switchboards must ensure sale of equipment criteria for switchboards are met before they are sold.

Both AS/NZS 3439 and AS/NZS 61439 series of standards are referenced in the Wiring Rules, meaning either standard can be used to comply with installation requirements.”

READ MORE HERE


15. COMPARATIVE PERFORMANCE MONITORING REPORT 23RD EDITION RELEASED

Safe Work Australia has published the Comparative performance monitoring report 23rd edition, which provides the latest trend analyses on WHS and workers’ compensation schemes operating in Australia and New Zealand.

The report includes analysis of:

In 2019-20, WHS authorities across Australia:

  • undertook 234,917 workplace interventions
  • issued 55,210 WHS breach notices 
  • finalised 283 legal proceedings, resulting in $23.73 million in fines ordered by the courts. 

The average funding ratio for all Australian schemes continues to be above 100% in 2019-20, indicating that all schemes have sufficient assets to meet predicted future liabilities.

Total expenditure for workers’ compensation schemes across Australia in 2019-20 was $9.884 billion. Over the past 5 years scheme expenditure has increased by 19%.

READ MORE HERE


16. WORKER MIGRATION COULD STRAIN RURAL POWER RELIABILITY AND RESILIENCE

Transmission & Distribution – 2021: Issue 6, produced by APT Publications includes an interesting article written by Jason Lander, Vice President, EMEA & Asia Pacific regarding how the transition of city folk moving to the rural areas may spike demand for more reliable and stable power supplies. 

Jason urges rural utilities or network owners to deploy a suite of advanced protection devices to work together to protect spur lines from end to end.  This will mean, to strengthen the rural grid and keep up with demand, major infrastructure upgrades are needed.

The article states, “Society is shifting to the post-COVID “new normal,” and many businesses will continue to have employees working from home–some indefinitely. This is causing businesses to change how they operate. Some businesses are also rethinking how they hire, and many are pursuing talent from geographic locations that otherwise would not have been considered for the job.

These trends will likely prompt more professionals to move from cities to rural areas, taking with them the expectation of reliable power. This increased level of demand in rural areas will make advanced spur protection strategies more critical to help improve the resiliency of the grid and the reliability of work-from-home communication systems for or these new, rurally based professionals.  … Rural utilities in Australia and New Zealand are often responsible for networks spanning large geographic areas.  …

The global pandemic will continue to result in more employees working from home and migrating to rural areas. As a result of this transition, employees will be more likely to experience outages and notice a drop in the reliability of the work-from-home communication systems required to perform their professional responsibilities.”

How will network owners respond in effecting major infrastructure upgrades that will be needed?  Where will they draw the pool of future workers from?  What technologies can they deploy to improve efficiencies and reliability?

The article whilst focusing on a selected technological solution it nonetheless opens up very interesting questions about how rural networks need to change to meeting changing expectations.

READ MORE HERE


17. INCENTIVES FOR MORE BATTERIES TO ENTER THE MARKET

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) 2 December 2021 newsletter reports, that AEMC has made a final rule, “making it easier and more attractive for additional batteries and hybrid systems to enter the market and ensure the energy sector keeps pace with new technologies and supports innovation.”

The Media Release states, “More batteries in the market will increase competition and drive down costs.

For residential and small business customers with batteries the new rules will create opportunities to earn more revenue for their home battery because they can sign up with innovative new aggregator businesses who will pay them for discharging power from their batteries at certain times.

EMC Chair Anna Collyer said. “Currently, some retailers are doing exactly this, by acting as aggregators in conducting virtual power plant trials and paying individual home battery owners hundreds of dollars to access their battery. …

“For large batteries the rule will cut red tape, reduce costs and logistical hurdles to participate in the market. Batteries will no longer need to register twice, to both draw energy from the grid and send it out, as they currently do,” explained Ms Collyer.”

READ MORE HERE


18. CLEAN THINGS TO DO WITH MOO POO

In last week’s EnergyInsider of 2 December 2021, a newsletter produced jointly by the Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC,) includes an article regarding the release of Australia’s Bioenergy Roadmap by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Dr Dennis Van Puyvelde explores in some detail several key issues facing the biomethane sector.

The article states, “The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) released Australia’s Bioenergy Roadmap last week. This, along with the National Hydrogen Strategy, forms part of the Federal Government’s technology approach to reducing emissions. While bioenergy is already used to supply renewable electricity, there are many opportunities to also create renewable gas and provide that to customers by blending in existing gas networks.  …

Bioenergy can take the form of a solid, liquid or gas and act as a drop-in fuel for many of those incumbent energy sources. A range of technologies exist to produce   biofuels from a variety of feedstocks – at a wide range of efficiencies and cost points.

Biomethane is one of Gas Vision 2050’s transformational technologies, alongside hydrogen, renewable methane and carbon capture and storage (CCS). …”

READ MORE HERE

For more, contact Dr Dennis Van Puyvelde, Energy Networks Australia (ENA).


19. INVITATION TO HYDROGEN REVIEW WORKSHOPS

In another action by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) regarding the hydrogen review, it has recently released a consultation paper for the review into extending the regulatory frameworks to hydrogen and renewable gases. AEMC will host three virtual workshops from 13-15 December to discuss the AEMC’s preliminary work and submissions.

Each workshop will focus on specific reform areas.  Workshops are to be conducted Monday 13 December 12-2pm (AEDT), Tuesday 14 December 12-2pm (AEDT), and Wednesday 15 December 12-2pm, (AEDT).  Areas covered are consumer protections, regulated retail markets, facilitated markets (DWGM and STTM), economic regulation, transparency mechanisms and regulatory sandbox.

Proceed to the link in the Media Release, to register for a relevant workshop of your interest.

READ MORE HERE