Distribution industry to unite at Energy Networks 2014

2014 has witnessed a renewed focus on the pressures on domestic gas markets, with considerable uncertainty about the outlook for wholesale prices in the medium term. With gas distribution businesses serving more than four million households and businesses across Australia, the impact of wholesale gas price volatility on domestic gas markets and on customers is significant.

Given the significance of the gas industry to Australia’s communities and economy, the Energy Networks Association is delighted that the Federal Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane will be opening the Energy Networks 2014 Conference and Exhibition, which will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 29 April-1 May 2014. Mr Macfarlane brings more than a decade of experience in the energy portfolio, and brings a pragmatic approach to energy policy and reform.

Energy Networks 2014 will also feature an international keynote address by the recently appointed Chair of the UK Office of Gas and Electricity Markets David Gray, who is responsible for the regulation of gas and electricity industries in Great Britain. This keynote address will provide delegates with key insights into one of the world’s most influential regulatory agencies.

Another highlight will be the Australian keynote address by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett, who will provide a unique perspective on government leadership in difficult energy reforms at a time of dynamic change in the Australian energy industry.

Energy Networks 2014 will also include panel debates featuring leading Australian and international energy industry CEOs and executives, energy policy makers, regulators and advocates.

The effect of Australian domestic gas prices on national competitiveness and the comparative advantage that has historically been enjoyed by Australian consumers will be tested throughout the dedicated Gas stream.

This stream will examine how the gas industry can position itself as a sustainable and efficient fuel of choice in the long term, as well as looking at key perspectives on the future of Australia’s domestic gas industry from the Australian Energy Market Operator, ACIL Allen Executive Director Paul Balfe, gas network providers Envestra, Jemena, United Energy Multinet Gas, ATCO Gas, and Australian manufacturers.

These gas industry leaders and independent analysts will critically examine how the sector is responding to upstream and regulatory trends, and the implications for gas network managers, and pipeline and asset management service providers.

In addition to these speakers, and Australian Energy Market Commission Chairman John Pierce, Energy Networks 2014 will shine a light on:

  • The outlook for energy policy and market outcomes for gas customers;
  • The role of gas in meeting the big environmental challenges;
  • The lessons learned from major gas network infrastructure projects; and,
  • Technical challenges facing the industry in a skills-constrained workforce environment.

With unrivalled access to the leaders and experts in the sector, the conference and exhibition will be the premier event for the energy networks sector to be held in Australia in 2014.

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