It’s that time of year for resolutions and predictions, so I thought I would, bravely, publish some expectations for the Australian energy markets for the year ahead. We can revisit this list in a year and see how right (or wrong) my crystal ball is.

In no particular order:

  • Grid-scale storage solutions like the Neoen/Tesla battery in SA will be limited to a few Government or network operator sponsored installations. The system-wide benefits of these installations will justify this sponsorship, but market participants will be unable to capture enough of these benefits for stand-alone commercial installation.
  • Distributed storage solutions will remain a niche sector offering payback periods in excess of seven years. Electricity retailers will begin to shrink the peak/off-peak and export/import price differentials as a competitive response.
  • Rooftop solar will continue to be installed at record-setting pace, with 2018 expected to outstrip 2017 as solar installations of commercial rooftops takes off. My prediction is for 1.5GW of rooftop solar across Australia in 2018.
  • This will be a watershed year for large-scale wind and solar, with more than 2GW being commissioned.
  • Wholesale electricity prices will be significantly lower in 2018 than 2017, primarily as a result of increased gas availability, but also reflecting the growing market share of low marginal cost generation like wind and solar.
  • Reliability and security-of-supply concerns will primarily reward gas-fired power stations. This will further erode the business case for coal-fired generation.
  • Rule makers and regulators will struggle to keep up with the pace of change. Gas pipeline access and transparency will be in focus, as will rules that favor the incumbent businesses. However, nothing significant will change.
  • The media and politicians will continue to present from entrenched positions. As a wildcard prediction – one politician will radically change their view and back away from their support for a new coal fired power station. Maybe this is just wishful thinking!

Would anyone like to add to this list?! Feel free to Contact Us or share your thoughts in the comments section below.