Head of Policy and Regulation, Marchment Hill Consulting
Zero Emission Transport Conference
Smart EV incentive policy: lessons from the energy sector
Sarah heads up Policy and Regulation at Marchment Hill Consulting, where she advises established market participants, innovative start-ups, and policy makers on new energy markets emerging around grid edge platform technology. She is also Company Secretary of Moreland Energy Foundation, which focuses on clean energy transition at the community level. Sarah previously worked as a commercial lawyer at Freehills and in commercial and policy roles at Origin Energy. More recently, Sarah completed a stint in London working for the UK government on energy market reform and low carbon technology development.
Australia’s clean energy transition and decentralisation process, particularly the advent of rooftop solar PV and home batteries, has been partially fuelled by distributed energy resource (DER) incentives. Early government programs, such as premium feed-in tariffs, were ‘dumb’ insofar as they drove asset uptake without regard for location or time of use. These dumb incentives have created acute challenges for the energy system.
However, many DER incentive programs now aim to deploy and use assets in a way that supports the system, rather than stressing it. ‘Smart’ incentives make DER access conditional on assets visibility and capability to receive price signals. These smart incentive programs are driving uptake of DERs that are ready to plug into grid edge platforms and stack value streams via participation in centralised energy markets.
With increasing focus on transport electrification, Australia’s grid will not cope well with uncoordinated EV charge/export patterns, which means it can’t afford automotive incentives that promote blind asset uptake irrespective of location and usage. Rather, Australia needs smart deployment of EVs and charging infrastructure by ensuring that incentivised assets can respond to price signals via grid edge platforms. By heeding the lessons of early DER incentives, automotive planners can ensure smoother transport transition that supports the energy system.