Not the size of the energy build, but how we use it

Using the millions of untapped energy resources in people's homes and garages, fairly and without exposing private data, is one of the biggest challenges of the energy transition.

"I'd love us to double down on how we can actually become much more efficient with the energy we use," Horizon Power chief executive Stephanie Unwin told an industry conference in Melbourne on Wednesday.

"It doesn't all have to be about the same supply or supply times seven to make this electrified world,'' she said.

"It could be about using what we have incredibly better than we currently do."

A residential power bill.
Many households believe their electricity service represents poor value for money, a survey found.

Ms Unwin said a lot of the heavy lifting could be done "behind the meter" in homes, including how we use cars and batteries, or "just in front of the meter" on smarter generation, transmission and distribution.

Anna Collyer, chair of Australian Energy Market Commission, conceded fast-tracking smart meters that can see into homes and monitor aircon and heating, dishwashers, pool pumps and rooftop solar may still alarm some people.

But consumers are also worried about being dudded by unexpected changes in tariffs and she said additional consumer protections were needed for the rollout to be a success.

"We expect we may need to push back the final determination to give us time to do this," she said.

Australia's energy tsars sounded a warning for staying the course on network decarbonisation, with sustained utility-scale investment needed nationwide.

"Doing nothing is not an option," Australian Energy Market Operator chief executive Daniel Westerman said.

Most of the decline in the nation's greenhouse gas emissions is projected to come from the electricity sector under the 82 per cent national renewable electricity target.

But the coalition has vowed to tear up interim targets, prolong the use of fossil fuel-fired energy generation and repeal a longstanding nuclear ban to add reactors to the power mix to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Mr Westerman, responsible for the operations and planning of Australia's energy systems and markets, said the "least-cost objective" was an important one and the latest Integrated System Plan (ISP), due for release within weeks, should provide confidence.

"As coal-fired power stations retire, renewables - connected with transition and distribution, supported by hydro, batteries and gas-fired power generation - is the lowest cost way to supply electricity to homes and businesses," he said.

AEMO chief executive Daniel Westerman
"Doing nothing is not an option," Daniel Westerman says.

But he acknowledged the need to build trust in the community so that the plans for rebuilding the power system don't land with a shock.

AGL chief executive Damien Nicks called for "stability in policies so that we can all get behind making billions of dollars of investment in this market."

"This is an enormous transition ... we all need to coordinate to ensure we do this as efficiently as possible," he told Australian Energy Week 2024.

But households view gas and electricity providers as offering worse value for money and being less trustworthy than supermarkets, according to the latest Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey.

The survey by Energy Consumers Australia canvassed the views of more than 2100 households and 500 small business owners nationwide.

Consumer advocate Brendan French said there were substantial savings on bills to be had for consumers who can afford to upgrade their homes, but more and more Australians were under financial pressure.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store