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Energy

Our experienced Energy legal team regularly publishes articles and updates - the full list of publications appears below. If you'd like to be notified when we add new energy publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Allens has been involved with some of the leading players that have helped reform Australia's energy industry. Read about some of these landmark projects and the developments that are shaping the industry's future.

Finket Review

Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel's report provides a possible blueprint for Australia's energy markets. The Finkel Review may prove to be a catalyst for energy and emissions policy positions that provide investment certainty, regulatory direction and political peace for generations.

Our experts provide industry-specific analysis on Finkel's recommendations and we will continue to update you on developments.

Take a browse through our extensive experience in the area.

Energy Publications

  • Report: National Electricity & Gas Rules Update 2018: September 2018

    5 October 2018

    In this update we summarise the progress of rule changes across the month of September and take a closer look at the release of and response to AEMO's first Integrated System Plan for the NEM.

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  • Client Update: The ESC's draft decision on first round of amendments to the Energy Retail Code

    18 September 2018

    While the Federal Government gives further consideration to implementation of the ACCC's recommendations relating to retail tariffs and retailer behaviour, the Victorian Essential Services Commission has been progressing reforms proposed by the Independent Review into the Electricity and Gas Retail Markets in Victoria. The reforms are directed towards rebuilding consumer trust and confidence in the market, and they introduce three new customer entitlements into the Energy Retail Code. Submissions on the draft amendments are due 5 October 2018. We look at the key reforms and analyse the implications for retailers servicing households and small businesses. We can also expect further amendments to the Code in due course, subject to further analysis and consultation by government - and we will keep you informed on that.

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  • Report: National Electricity & Gas Rules Update 2018: August 2018

    1 September 2018

    In this update we track the progress of rule changes during August and also examine the upcoming reforms that will introduce a consumer data right to the energy sector.

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  • Client Update: Competition in electricity and financial services markets - common issues, common solutions?

    30 August 2018

    The level of competition in both the electricity and financial services sectors has been closely scrutinised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Productivity Commission. While there are fundamental differences in market structures in both sectors, the respective commissions have identified common concerns and made common proposals to address those concerns.

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  • Client Update: Solar farm wins court approval despite conflicts with planning schemes

    27 August 2018

    The Queensland Planning and Environment Court has approved a solar farm located on good quality agricultural land despite high level conflicts between the proposed development and the provisions of the relevant planning schemes. Partner Bill McCredie and Special Counsel Rosanne Meurling review the decision.

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee on hold in favour of interventionist powers

    21 August 2018

    In a sharp turnaround over the weekend, the Government announced yesterday it would not introduce the emissions component of the National Energy Guarantee into Parliament, but instead would focus on delivering greater powers to intervene in electricity markets to protect customers from the effects of anti-competitive conduct. Partners Anna Collyer, Rob Walker and Rosannah Healy provide an update of the latest currents in energy policy.

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee moves to the next stage

    15 August 2018

    The COAG Energy Council has voted to progress the development of the National Energy Guarantee by approving the release of the draft National Electricity Law amendments. Partners Anna Collyer and Kate Axup and Managing Associate Karla Drinkwater discuss what has been approved, the details still to be clarified and the next steps towards implementation of the National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Report: Summary of the ACCC's Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry Final Report

    7 August 2018

    In this publication We unpack some of the key issues raised by the ACCC in its recent Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry Final Report. We look at the ACCC's findings across the electricity supply chain relating to input gas prices, wholesale markets, network costs, retail prices and consumers switching behaviours.

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  • Report: National Electricity & Gas Rules Update: July 2018

    6 August 2018

    Tis update examines the Rule changes during July and, in particular, the final AEMC report on the Reliability Frameworks Review.

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  • Client Update: A new framework for transmission network connections

    30 July 2018

    Connecting to the network is a fundamental part of getting any new renewable energy development off the ground. The rules governing arrangements for connection to the transmission network changed on 1 July 2018, and are designed to increase transparency and contestability in the connection process and decrease the costs of connection. Partner Kate Axup, Senior Associate Angela Lu and Law Graduate Katy Milne consider some of the key ways in which the new rules will affect developers of new renewable energy facilities.

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  • Report: National Electricity & Gas Rules Update 2018

    13 July 2018

    In this final wrap-up for FY17/18 we take a look at the new rule change requests, draft and final determinations made in the period April – June 2018 as well as track the progress of other National Electricity, Gas and Energy Retail Rule changes currently underway.

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  • Client Update: ACCC makes 56 recommendations for sweeping energy sector reform

    11 July 2018

    The ACCC today released its final report on the Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry. The report finds the national electricity market is not functioning effectively and that extensive reform is required to bring down prices and restore consumer confidence. It makes 56 significant recommendations aimed at boosting competition in generation and retail markets, lowering supply chain costs and improving consumer and business experiences and outcomes.

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee - the emissions requirement in Australia's carbon policy landscape

    23 May 2018

    Following the recent release of the National Energy Guarantee High Level Design Document, Partner Jillian Button xand Lawyer Dale Straughen consider how the proposed emissions reduction requirement of the Guarantee will interact with Australia's existing emissions reduction policies. This article is part of a series in which Allens examines aspects of the proposed National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee - development of Emissions Requirement

    3 May 2018

    Following the recent release of the National Energy Guarantee High Level Design Document, Partner Anna Collyer and Senior Associate Karla Drinkwater report on the proposed Emissions Requirement of the National Energy Guarantee, which seeks to lower emissions in keeping with international commitments. This article considers developments in the Emissions Requirement's design since the initial Consultation Paper was released in February 2018, and is part of a series in which Allens examines aspects of the proposed National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: Preparing for the NEG's Reliability Guarantee - be alert, not alarmed

    27 April 2018

    Following the recent release of the National Energy Guarantee High Level Design Document by the Energy Security Board, Partner Anna Collyer and Associate Mark Leersnyder report on the proposed Reliability Guarantee component of the National Energy Guarantee, which seeks to improve the supply and demand signals being sent to retailers, large energy users, and investors in generation and demand response. This article looks at what retailers, large customers and energy project investors could be doing to prepare for the Reliability Guarantee — if they decide to do anything — and is part of a series in which Allens examines aspects of the proposed National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: The National Energy Guarantee's Reliability Guarantee and what it means for you

    26 March 2018

    Following the release of the National Energy Guarantee draft design consultation paper by the Energy Security Board, Partner Anna Collyer and Associate Mark Leersnyder report on the NEG's proposed Reliability Guarantee component (which gives a greater role to regulatory institutions to plan and manage electricity supply and demand), and consider some of the risks and opportunities for industry participants, administrators and regulators that may arise from the proposed approach. This is the third of a series of articles in which Allens will examine aspects of the proposed high-level design options for the National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: The National Energy Guarantee and contracting to achieve compliance

    5 March 2018

    Following the release of the National Energy Guarantee draft design consultation paper by the Energy Security Board, Partners Anna Collyer and Kate Axup and Senior Associate Karla Drinkwater report on the compliance requirements proposed by the Energy Security Board and how contracts already in existence will be treated under the National Energy Guarantee. This is the second of a series of articles in which Allens will examine aspects of the proposed high-level design options for the National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee - Emissions Requirement

    20 February 2018

    Following the recent release of the National Energy Guarantee draft design consultation paper by the Energy Security Board, Partner Kate Axup and Senior Associate Karla Drinkwater report on key aspects of the Emissions Requirement and its interaction with the existing Renewable Energy Target scheme. This is the first of a series of articles in which Allens will examine aspects of the proposed high-level design options for the National Energy Guarantee.

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  • Client Update: Infrastructure investment in Australia - the road ahead for institutional investors

    11 December 2017

    With large-scale privatisations slowing and intense competition for assets that do come to market, institutional investors are looking to non-traditional assets to provide similar long-term, stable and predictable returns.

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  • Client Update: National Energy Guarantee

    28 November 2017

    The Energy Security Board recently released a report summarising the results of its modelling of the Federal Government's new energy policy, the National Energy Guarantee. The Energy Security Board's report was considered by the COAG Energy Council at its meeting on 24 November, 2017 and gives an insight into how the National Energy Guarantee will be formulated. Partner Kate Axup and Senior Associate Karla Drinkwater look at COAG's decision making in relation to the National Energy Guarantee, the governance framework proposed for the Guarantee, and how certain states may need to counter possible competition issues.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - System security: its impact on energy investment

    21 July 2017

    While much of the commentary on the Finkel Review has been around a clean energy target, a number of very important, but very technical, issues relating to system security were also canvassed. The Review recognised that system security characteristics should be valued, and regulated, in addition to the amount of energy actually produced. Changes in this area are likely to have the most impact on network operators and solar and wind farm generators seeking to connect to the network in locations where there is limited synchronous generation and low system strength.  

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Electricity: Design for a market in transition

    18 July 2017

    In the fifth of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at signals for new investment in the National Electricity Market. The Review's responses to this issue reject sweeping changes to the wholesale market structure, but call for more immediate and targeted measures to support the transition of the energy market. Partner Anna Collyer and Law Graduate Maddy Foote assess solutions and opportunities for investment signals in the wholesale market, and the requirement for them to promote reliable, secure and affordable electricity.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Data: Critical data needs in the national electricity market

    5 July 2017

    In the fourth of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at Dr Finkel's assessment of the critical data needs in the National Electricity Market (NEM), including a key recommendation that by the end of 2018, the proposed Energy Security Board, in collaboration with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), should develop a data strategy for the NEM. As new technology continues to develop and consumers are placed at the centre of the NEM, it is not surprising that considerable focus has been given to the collection and increased transparency of data. Partner Michael Park and Associate Jessica McCarthy report.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Renewables: The importance of regulatory certainty for renewables

    30 June 2017

    In the third of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at implications for the renewable energy sector. Two recommendations in particular – the Clean Energy Target (CET) and the Generator Reliability Obligation - raise a number of opportunities and issues for investment in the renewable energy sector. Partner Kate Axup and Associate Danielle Jones report.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Distributed Energy Resources: Unlocking potential and future partnerships

    23 June 2017

    In the second of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at Dr Finkel's assessment on the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) in the Australian energy landscape and his suggestions for future incentivisation and 'orchestration'. These suggestions have raised a number of considerations and opportunities, particularly in relation to the pioneering of business and government programs and partnerships to incentivise DER. Partner Andrew Mansour, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Law Graduate Sarah Dobbie report.

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  • Client Update: Finkel Review - Gas: A revolving door or real change?

    20 June 2017

    In the first of our series analysing the Finkel Review, we look at Dr Finkel's assessment on the place of gas in the Australian energy landscape and his suggestions for the creation of 'more efficient gas markets'. These suggestions include both the familiar and the novel, but it is yet to be seen if Dr Finkel's vision of the future will be realised. Partner Igor Bogdanich (view CV) and Lawyer Darcy McLennan report.

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  • Client Update: Finkel: the solution for our energy future?

    13 June 2017

    As the saying goes, 'never let a good crisis' go to waste. The Finkel Review, commissioned after blackouts in South Australia and delivered by Australia's Chief Scientist last week, may prove to be the right report at the right time to garner support for energy and emissions policy positions that could provide investment certainty, regulatory direction and political peace for generations. Our energy experts consider the report's broader implications for Australian business: what questions should business leaders be asking of their teams in a post-Finkel world?

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  • Client Update: Victorian Government proposes reforms to reserve domestic gas production

    7 June 2017

    The Victorian Government has today proposed significant gas market reforms, primarily involving the introduction of a cap on the export of gas from Victoria, in order to facilitate the reservation of domestic gas production for domestic supply. The proposed reforms are aimed at reducing domestic gas prices, preserving jobs in the industry and ensuring the security of supply for Victorian homes and businesses. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Lawyer Darcy McLennan report.

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  • Client Update: ACCC calls for comment on electricity retail supply and pricing

    7 June 2017

    The ACCC has taken the first major step in its inquiry into electricity retail supply and pricing in the National Electricity Market by releasing an issues paper and calling for submissions by 30 June 2017. The issues paper focuses on three broad areas: the pricing, costs and profits of electricity retailers, market structure and retail competition, and retail customers' interaction with the market. Partner Jacqueline Downes and Associate David Mierendorff report.

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  • Report: Australia's foreign investment regime - budget changes relating to solar and wind farms

    24 May 2017

    In the 2017 Budget, the Australian Government flagged a number of changes to Australia’s foreign investment regime, including clarifying the treatment of solar and wind farms under the regime.

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  • Focus: Parliament passes diverted profits tax legislation

    31 March 2017

    Legislation to implement a diverted profits tax has passed the Federal Parliament. From 1 July 2017, the tax may potentially apply to the diversion of profits offshore through arrangements between related parties. Targeted at large multinational groups, the diverted profits tax is a fusion of anti-avoidance and transfer pricing rules. Partner Toby Knight and Senior Associate Scott Lang discuss the final form of the legislation and the steps multinational groups should take to prepare for its implementation.

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  • Client Update: Misinterpretation of REC liability exemption leaves islanded generator high and dry

    14 March 2017

    A decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal affirming an assessment by the Clean Energy Regulator as to the liability of an off-grid generator under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (Cth) highlights the need for liable entities to carefully consider their reliance on the 'small systems exemption'. Partner John Greig and Senior Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the decision which demonstrates the continued complexity facing those operating in the electricity sector.

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  • Client Update: Victoria to ban fracking

    8 March 2017

    Victoria has become the first state to permanently ban all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, passing new anti-fracking legislation this week. The new law also extends the moratorium on all onshore petroleum exploration and production in Victoria until 30 June 2020. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Lawyer Darcy McLennan report.

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  • Client Update: Implications of the Critical Infrastructure Centre for foreign investment in Australia

    24 February 2017

    The Australian Government's Critical Infrastructure Centre, launched earlier this year, is part of the government's plans to manage national security concerns arising from foreign investment in Australian critical infrastructure. The Centre has released a discussion paper calling for input into how it can best work with governments, industry and investors to manage these risks. This paper provides greater insight into the Centre's role but there remain areas to be clarified. Partners Wendy Rae and Jeremy Low, Mergers & Acquisitions Counsel Andrew Wong and Associate Nicholas Kefalianos examine this issue from the perspective of Australia's foreign investment framework.

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  • Client Update: Federal Government addresses uncertainty around Indigenous Land Use Agreements

    17 February 2017

    The Federal Government has moved to provide certainty for those who rely on registered Indigenous Land Use Agreements, following the Full Federal Court's decision that called the legal status of these agreements into question, by introducing amending legislation. Partner Ben Zillmann and Senior Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the key elements.

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  • Client Update: Registering Indigenous Land Use Agreements - it's all or nothing

    6 February 2017

    In McGlade v Native Title Registrar, the Full Federal Court has found that the Native Title Registrar does not have the jurisdiction to register an agreement on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements unless the agreement is signed by all registered native title claimants. This is a significant change from the current legal position and has potentially far reaching consequences not just for future agreements, but will also call into question the validity of many existing agreements. Partner Ben Zillmann and Senior Associate Andrea Moffatt consider the implications of the decision.

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  • Focus: Room to move in joint operating agreements

    5 December 2016

    The Western Australian Supreme Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in Apache v Santos, allowing the appeal by Apache and overturning the first instance decision. The Appeal Court's decision has important implications for the interpretation of joint operating agreements and the ability of parties to undertake development activities outside the operation of such agreements at their own expense. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Law Clerk Erin Molony report.

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  • Client Update: Move to national regulation delayed

    14 November 2016

    As part of the Western Australian Government's electricity market review, legislation was introduced recently into Parliament for Western Australia to participate for the first time in the National Electricity Law from 1 July 2018. However, the Public Utilities Office has confirmed speculation that time has run out for those reforms to be enacted ahead of the election in March 2017. Partner Jodi Reinmuth and Lawyer Alex Ninkov give an overview of the proposed reforms and next steps.

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  • Client Update: Reforming the NWIS

    21 October 2016

    Recently, the Western Australian Government released a report on the Pilbara's electricity infrastructure. The report considers the future regulatory landscape and best practice development of the North West Interconnected System and proposes new rules governing access to the system to promote availability, security and cost of supply. Partner Jodi Reinmuth and Lawyer Alexander Ninkov look at what the report recommends.

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  • Client Update: Paris Agreement on climate change to enter into force before COP22

    6 October 2016

    Overnight, the Paris Agreement met its second and final threshold for entry into force, when the EU lodged its instruments of ratification with the UN. Partner Andrew Mansour, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Associate Ellie Mulholland take a brief look at the events this week that triggered the early entry into force of this landmark climate change agreement.

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  • Client Update: LNG destination clauses under scrutiny by Japanese competition regulator

    7 September 2016

    Part of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's strategy for LNG market development, which aims to achieve stability in LNG supply and lower prices, is to 'abolish or relax' destination clauses with the view that this would lead to lower prices through increased reselling and arbitrage selling. Japan's Fair Trade Commission has since launched an investigation into whether destination clauses impede fair competition and contravene Japanese competition law. Certain types of destination restrictions have long been held to infringe EU competition law. Partner Ted Hill, Managing Associate Robert Walker and Associate Sophie Matthiesson consider the implications of this investigation in light of the approach taken in the EU.

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  • Client Update: Climate change challenge against Adani's Carmichael Coal Mine dismissed

    30 August 2016

    Yesterday, the Federal Court of Australia dismissed a green group's challenge on climate change grounds against the Federal Environment Minister's approval of Adani's Carmichael Coal Mine project in the Galilee Basin. Partner Bill McCredie, Senior Associate and Co-head of Allens' Climate Change Group Emily Gerrard and Associate David Thorpe consider the decision of the Federal Court and its significance on the approval processes of proposed large-scale resources projects.

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  • Client Update: Court determines Native Title compensation for the first time

    25 August 2016

    Yesterday afternoon, the Federal Court handed down a decision which, for the first time, provided judicial consideration of how to calculate native title compensation. A decision on this issue has been long awaited, ever since the Native Title Act commenced in 1994. Partner Ben Zillmann, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Senior Associate Giselle Kilvert summarise the key aspects of the decision and its significance.

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  • Client Update: New Draft Wind Energy Planning Framework

    8 August 2016

    The New South Wales Government has released its new Wind Energy Planning Framework, with the aim of establishing a more efficient and consistent assessment and approval regime for wind energy projects and also addressing the concerns raised by stakeholders to the 2011 draft Guidelines. The 'buffer zone' focus under the 2011 draft Guidelines has been set aside in favour of a merits-based analysis, which focuses on key issues of noise and visual impact. Partner Paul Lalich, Planning Special Counsel Marcia Doheny and Lawyer Claire Macdonald consider the new Framework and its implications.

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  • Client Update: New wind farm planning code and guideline for Queensland

    19 July 2016

    The Queensland Government has announced a new wind farm planning code that shifts the responsibility for assessing wind farm developments from local governments to the State Government, and provides a consistent approach to assessing wind farms across the State. Partner Bill McCredie, Associate David Thorpe and Lawyer Kate Ah Shay look at the Queensland Government's new role and consider the planning code and supporting guideline.

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  • Allens insights: Green Renaissance in Australia

    8 June 2016

    After more than three years of inertia, the Australian renewable energy industry is finally showing signs of a resurgence. A series of reviews of the Renewable Energy Target since 2012, and the abolition of the carbon tax in 2014, created a climate of uncertainty that meant investment in new large-scale renewable generation slowed dramatically.

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  • Client Update: ACCC inquiry into the east coast gas market - key findings and recommendations

    22 April 2016

    The final report of the ACCC inquiry into the east coast gas market was released today. The ACCC has made recommendations about removing government moratoria on gas developments, revising the test to determine when a pipeline should be regulated and increasing consistency and transparency in information provided to the market. Partner Ted Hill and Law Graduate Darcy McLennan report.

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  • Client Update: SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission's tentative findings

    16 February 2016

    The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has released its tentative findings. The Royal Commission will now embark on a series of meetings, at various locations around South Australia, to discuss these findings with interested stakeholders. Partner Richard Malcolmson and Senior Associate Emily Gerard comment on the findings and the next steps to be taken by the Royal Commission.

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  • Focus: Mongolia's Law on Petroleum revised

    24 December 2015

    Mongolia has revised its Law on Petroleum which will operated in tandem with its 2005 Law on Petroleum Products. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Consultant Manduul Altangerel look at the new law and what it will mean for companies prospecting and extracting petroleum products in Mongolia.

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  • Client Update: Across Australia and to Paris - Recent developments in the nuclear fuel cycle

    23 December 2015

    Partner Richard Malcolmson, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Associate Emily Johnstone report on recent developments in the Australian nuclear fuel cycle debate, including: the recent shortlisting of potential sites by the Australian Government for a radioactive waste management facility; the conclusion of the uranium export deal between Australia and India; and potential implications for nuclear energy following the 'COP21' climate change negotiations in Paris.

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