Infrastructure Victoria’s (IV) update to Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure strategy presents an important opportunity to recalibrate Victoria’s infrastructure priorities in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the suite of evolving mega-trends impacting Victoria’s economy, including:
- Climate change and the effects of extreme bushfires;
- Technological disruption, particularly in the context of Australia’s energy market transition and the emergence of electric vehicles (EVs); and
- Demographic shifts, that present in customers’ increasing desire towards more active participation and the delivery of more sustainable solutions.
AGL is generally supportive of the recommendations made in the IV Strategy.
However, cross-government collaboration will be required to deliver a harmonised policy and regulatory framework. Where possible the Victorian Government should lean into the Energy and Infrastructure and Transport National Cabinet Reform Committees and national market reform processes to develop a nationally harmonised approach. Complementary measures should also be deployed through Victoria’s state-based policy and regulatory levers.
With respect to energy related infrastructure needs, we offer the following insights to strength the success of the final Strategy:
- Supporting the transition towards EVs in accordance with Victoria’s legislated net zero emissions target;
- Spearheading electricity distribution network reform to facilitate DER grid integration and orchestration to provide greater investment certainty for DER customers;
- Driving greater action on energy efficiency and complementary measures such as behavioural demand response; and
- Addressing the broader trend towards digitisation and the need for fit-for purpose regulation to support a seamless digital experience for consumers.
Given the long-term time horizon for Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure strategy, it will also be important for IV’s recommendations to contemplate appropriate sequencing in terms of immediate, medium, and long-term actions. While we appreciate IV’s identification of high priority action to assist recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we consider that the time horizon for some of the recommendations could be revised to appropriately align with Victoria’s legislated net zero emissions target and the need for a nationally harmonised approach. This is particularly so in relation to the recommendations that address transport pricing reform and the treatment of Australia’s emerging EV market.
We elaborate our views in our formal submission, a copy of which is available here.