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Monday, 11 August 2003
Page: 13272


Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, upon notice, on 23 June 2003:

(1) What analyses has the Government conducted in the past 5 years to determine the amount of energy lost in the transmission and distribution of electricity in Australia?

(2) (a) What is the amount of energy lost in transmission; (b) What is the amount of energy lost in distribution; and (c) What is the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions?

(3) How is the creation of a national electricity market affecting the amount of energy lost in transmission and distribution?

(4) What measures is the Government taking to reduce transmission and distribution losses?


Senator Minchin (Minister for Finance and Administration) —The Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Government has not conducted specific analyses to determine the amount of energy lost in electricity transmission and distribution. Estimates of these losses have been provided to the Australian Greenhouse Office in recent reports titled Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory `End Use Allocation Analysis ', and the Full Fuel Cycle emissions factors for the Greenhouse Challenge. Industry data is mostly sourced through the Electricity Supply Association of Australia.

(2) The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory does not distinguish between transmission and distribution losses. In 1999 these energy losses were approximately 15,365,000 megawatt hours (MWh) or 8.2 percent of electricity generated. In 1999, the average greenhouse gas emission intensity level for Australian electricity generation was 1.074 grams of CO2-e per MWh (on a full fuel cycle basis). On this basis, transmission and distribution energy losses would be equivalent to about 16.5 Mt/CO2-e.

(3) The National Electricity Market (NEM) has provided a more comprehensive market structure for the provision of energy to participating regions. A fundamental element of the NEM has been the dispatch process that allows different forms of energy generation to cater for market needs at different levels of demand. As a result, increased participation from natural gas and renewable forms of energy can be achieved during market conditions when such energy forms are more viable. Particularly in the case of renewable energy, it is likely that many of the current projects, both operational and under development, would not have been realised in the absence of the NEM structure.

(4) The Government is committed to developing an integrated national energy market, in contrast to the loosely connected regional state markets we currently have. An open, efficient and competitive energy market, with robust governance and a consistent regulatory framework, is critical to the continued sustainable development of Australia's natural resources, and is consistent with improving market efficiency and reducing transmission and distribution losses. Currently, the Commonwealth Government is working with State and Territory Governments through the Ministerial Council on Energy to agree on a reform agenda with the aim of developing such a market in Australia.