The Australian Government is establishing the Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program to increase firm electricity supply and improve wholesale market competition to reduce wholesale electricity prices.
The program will provide financial support to firm generation capacity as part of the Australian Government's commitment to lowering electricity prices and increasing reliability in the system. It will be technology neutral, providing a level playing field to enable the best and lowest cost generation options to be supported. All technologies allowed under Australian law will be eligible under the program, including greenfield and brownfield projects, such as upgrades or life extensions of existing generators.
The additional supply will be required to be firm or firmed. This does not need to be solely provided through a single generation project, but could be firmed through a combination of generation, storage, demand response and financial contracts packaged through a retailer or other brokerage service provider. For example, the output of a variable renewable generator could be firmed through contracts with one (or more) gas generators, or by co-locating a storage device with the generator.
The program’s objectives are to:
- reduce wholesale electricity prices by increasing competition and supply
- assist commercial and industrial customers access affordable energy supply arrangements
- improve reliability by increasing the level of firm and firmed capacity in the system
The multi-phased program will be open over 4 years, until 2022-23. Each phase will be tailored, based on expert advice, so as to be fit for purpose in delivering on the program’s objectives.
The government reserves the right to determine the appropriate support mechanisms and the assessment criteria that will best achieve the program’s outcome and objectives for each phase of the program.
Information about the program, including dates for the commencement and closure of each phase will be published on this website.
The program follows the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry which found competition in the wholesale market is not working as well as it could, detrimentally affecting electricity affordability.
Registrations of interest
During December 2018 and January 2019, the Government called for Registrations of Interest (ROI) for projects under the program. ROIs were due by 23 January 2019.
There was strong interest in the program, with 66 submissions received as part of the ROI process. The Government is now carefully reviewing all submissions received during the ROI process. All submissions, including project proponents and project locations, will be treated as confidential until the Government has had time to consider them.
The design of the program will be refined in the light of information received through the ROI process. Detailed guidance for the next phase of the program, including final assessment criteria, will be published on this website prior to the commencement of the formal request for proposals, which is anticipated in the first half of 2019.
More information on the ROI process is available at the Australian Government website.
The Australian Government consulted on the UNGI program during October and November 2018. Over 70 submissions were received in response to the government’s UNGI consultation paper.
More information on the consultation process is available at Australian Government website.
Registrations of Interest (please note, the submission period has closed) Australian Government
Underwriting New Generation Investments consultation paper (please note, the consultation period has closed) Australian Government