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The Australian government has thrown the door open to suppliers with a huge range of skills and services to future-proof Australia’s energy markets.

Australia’s energy markets are going through massive changes with the mass influx of renewables and growing urban populations ramping up energy demand. That’s just to start with. Now the global pandemic that has dramatically altered the way Australians are using energy.

For example, a recent study by Natural Solar found that the average household energy use has exploded by 105 per cent as people stay home through the COVID-19-induced lockdowns.

Due to these new pressures, the federal government has issued a call to businesses able to help the government respond to “the impact of COVID-19/pandemics on the energy sector and consumers in Australia.”

This will come in the form of advice, research and modelling to understand the ripple effect this disruption of Australia’s energy markets will have on the economy.

Crystal ball powers will be valued, as will suppliers able to advise the government on “mitigation and adaptation strategies” to shore up resilience of energy markets.

But pandemic response is not the only service the government needs. The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has approached the market for companies able to provide everything from NatHERS expertise to strategic advice on underwater transmission cables – any company that can help ensure Australia’s energy supply is “reliable, affordable, sustainable and secure”.

A pandemic response is, in fact, only one category of nine energy service streams the department requires.

Building energy services are needed, including experience in modelling building performance using the NatHERS software tools or other energy rating tools, such as BASIX, DesignBuilder and EnergyPro.

Technical expertise in assessing building energy use and indoor environment will be valued, as will compliance and auditing processes to ensure energy efficiency standards are being met.

There’s also work for companies involved in appliance and equipment energy efficiency and rating, and those involved in responding to emergencies in the energy and/or resources sectors.

Among the assistance sought is a broad range of policy, technical and strategic advice, including on all things storage (hydrogen, pumped hydro, battery storage, compressed air storage and advanced concentrating solar technologies), smart grid technologies (data acquisition, device orchestration, demand management and data analysis), transmission technology, electric vehicles (including vehicle to grid deployment) and keeping the grid secure given growing renewable penetration.

Research and analysis services will be needed, including on “the energy ministers’ national policy areas”, which shares some resemblance with Energy Minster Angus Taylor’s controversial Technology investment roadmap discussion paper.

This long list includes gas market development and carbon capture and storage, which is flagged alongside renewables as “low emissions technologies”.

Taylor’s list of priority policy areas also includes demand side participation, including demand response mechanism and smart meters.

Energy suppliers, your time is now

Think your business can play a role in securing Australia’s energy future? Suppliers that fit the above description can apply for a spot on the new “energy business and technical services” panel, which is a procurement vehicle that allows the government to pre-select companies it wants to do repeat business with.

Successful tenderers will end up on the panel for an initial term of three years, with options to extend for periods up to two years.

Lodge an application before 20 July 2020.

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