In January this year, as the Australian policy debate was starting to heat up, two senior members of Gilbert + Tobin’s energy regulation team, Simon Muys and Geoff Petersen, headed to colder climes for a two-week study tour. The purpose of this tour was to seek global insights and perspectives on the challenges facing our energy markets, regulation and policy. During the tour, Simon and Geoff met with and discussed current trends in energy market regulation and transformation with a range of leading new energy businesses, utilities, policy advocates, regulators and academics.

This paper includes a selection of our key insights, drawing on what Simon and Geoff saw and heard during their tour. More detailed discussion of these insights can be found in our recent white paper: Wrestling with the electricity market transformation.

This paper, and the more detailed White Paper, seek to contribute to the energy policy conversation at a critical time. In doing so, we are realistic in our objectives. We do not assume that policy measures from other jurisdictions are necessarily superior or appropriate for an Australian context. We also acknowledge that politics is the “art of the possible” and energy policy has become highly politicised in recent times, so solutions need to be able to be shaped to the current climate.

Our objective is simply to contribute ideas and insights drawn from our conversations with leading thinkers from around the world, in the hope that this will lead to a richer and more productive energy policy debate.