Big battery in western Sydney to charge up NSW energy grid

Source: Australian Renewable Energy Agency

The Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced that it will jointly fund a new large-scale, grid-connected battery located in western Sydney.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA will provide up to $11.5 million in funding to TransGrid to build a 50 MW / 75 MWh large-scale, grid-connected lithium ion battery at its Wallgrove substation in western Sydney.

The NSW Government will also provide $10 million in funding for the battery, as part of their $75 million Emerging Energy Program.

Once built, the $61.9 million Wallgrove Grid Battery, owned and operated by TransGrid, will provide fast frequency response and inertia services to the NSW transmission network.

The Wallgrove Grid Battery will be designed and constructed by Tesla using their Megapacks to demonstrate its innovative synthetic inertia product known as “Virtual Machine Mode”.

The battery will be dispatched by Infigen Energy who will trade the battery in the wholesale market and frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) markets.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said TransGrid’s Wallgrove Grid Battery aims to prove large scale battery storage is the most effective solution for managing system inertia as Australia transitions to renewable energy.

“Energy storage is one of the priority technologies under the Australian Government’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement released last month, and ARENA has already played a key role in supporting the commercialisation of battery storage.

“Large scale batteries have a big role to play in firming and balancing our electricity system as we move towards a future energy mix with higher penetration of renewable energy,” he said.

ARENA has previously supported five grid scale batteries including the Hornsdale Power Reserve expansion, the ESCRI and Lake Bonney batteries in South Australia and two in Victoria at Ballarat and Gannawarra.

“The Wallgrove Grid Battery will demonstrate the technical capability of batteries with advanced inverter capabilities to substitute traditional inertia. In doing so, TransGrid will demonstrate that batteries can provide the most cost-effective solution for NSW’s projected upcoming inertia shortfall,” he said.

TransGrid’s Executive Manager of Strategy, Innovation and Technology Eva Hanly, said: “TransGrid is committed to finding low cost innovative solutions to the emerging challenges of the energy transformation. This will be the first battery in NSW to pilot grid scale synthetic inertia as a network service.”

“It’s a step forward for the NSW grid and the National Electricity Market. This innovation will help accelerate the industry’s transformation to a low-carbon energy system, at a lower cost to customers,” said Ms Hanly.

Infigen’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Ross Rolfe, AO, said: “Our innovative agreement with TransGrid shows that Infigen continues to be at the forefront of the clean energy transition in Australia. Our arrangement allows Infigen to sell more clean energy to customers and allows TransGrid to improve the strength of the network in Australia. It is also pleasing to see Infigen continuing to grow rapidly, supported by the resources and expertise of our new controlling security holder, Iberdrola.”

In January 2020, the Australian and NSW Governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly fund initiatives that lower prices for consumers, reduce emissions and strengthen grid reliability.

ARENA media contact:

0410 724 227 | media@arena.gov.au

Download this media release (PDF 72KB)

Fatal collision in Elwood

Source: State of Victoria Police

Thursday, 22 October 2020 17:26

Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding a fatal collision in Elwood last night.

Emergency services were called after a Holden utility collided with a Nissan sedan on Ormond Esplanade, near the intersection of Pine Avenue, about 10.45pm.

The driver of the Nissan, who is yet to be formally identified, sadly died at the scene.

The 23-year-old driver of the Holden and his 24-year-old male passenger, both from Brighton, were arrested at the scene and taken to hospital under police guard.

Investigators believe the Holden utility may have been travelling on Ormond Esplanade for some distance prior to the collision and are appealing for any homeowners that may have CCTV footage to come forward.

Anyone who witnessed the collision or with dash cam footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or file a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

For the current lives lost tally see https://www.police.vic.gov.au/news

Nikki Ladgrove

Media Advisor

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Witness appeal following Geelong assault

Source: State of Victoria Police

Thursday, 22 October 2020 15:37

Police are appealing for public assistance after a man was assaulted in Geelong last month.

The incident occurred when the victim was assaulted by another man as he was waiting outside a La Trobe Terrace cafe just before midnight on 11 September.

Investigators believe the attacker had a hammer concealed in the sleeve of his hoody when he walked past the victim, a 20-year-old Norlane man.

After walking past the victim, the offender turned and struck the victim to the back of the head with the hammer.

The victim sustained a head injury and required hospitalisation.

Following the attack, the offender turned again to verbally confront the victim before walking south along La Trobe Terrace towards a nearby hotel.

Investigators have released an image of a man who they believe may be able to assist with their enquiries.

The offender is perceived to be Caucasian in appearance, with a medium build, red hair and had a triangle tattoo on his right hand.

At the time of the attack he was wearing cargo pants, a black hoody and black runners.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or file a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

Creina O’Grady

Media Officer

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Police investigate telephone scam

Source: State of Victoria Police

Thursday, 22 October 2020 15:03

Police are hoping to identify a man after a 41-year-old woman lost over $8000 in a phone scam.

The Tarneit woman received a phone call from a person purporting to be from the Australian Taxation Office on 12 June.

She was threatened with legal action for an outstanding tax debt and told to withdraw cash from her account and deposit $8000 to another account.

The victim was also instructed to buy over $1000 in iTunes cards and to supply the card details to a WhatsApp number.

The victim complied with all of the instructions.

Investigators believe a man entered a bank in Springvale about 4.25pm on 12 June and withdrew all the cash from the nominated account.

Further enquires by police have established that the account had been set up fraudulently.

Police have released images of a man that they believe may be able to assist with their enquires.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Senior Constable Adam West

Media Officer

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Missing teen Jordan Watts

Source: State of Victoria Police

Thursday, 22 October 2020 10:33

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate missing Reservoir teen Jordan Watts.

The 16-year-old was last seen at an address in High Street on 16 October.

Police have concerns for her welfare due to her age and the length of time she has been missing.

Jordan is about 165cm tall with a thin build with light brown hair.

It is believed she frequents Reservoir and Preston.

Police have released an image of Jordan in the hope someone recognises her and can provide information regarding her current whereabouts.

Anyone with information about Jordan is urged to contact Reservoir Police Station on 9460 6744.

Senior Constable Adam West

Media Officer

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Drugs and firearms located during warrant

Source: State of Victoria Police

Thursday, 22 October 2020 10:25

Dandenong Crime Investigation Unit detectives have arrested two people after executing a warrant in Noble Park this afternoon.

Officers attended an address on Corrigan Road about 3.15pm to execute a drugs warrant.

Once inside the premises it is alleged police located three firearms, drugs, cash and ammunition.

A 37-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man were arrested and interviewed by police.

The 37-year-old was charged with possess traffickable quantity of firearms, prohibited person possess firearm, possess ammunition, traffick drug of dependence, cultivate and possess proceeds of crime.

The 28-year-old was charged with possess drug of dependence and possess ammunition.

Both are expected to appear before court this evening.

Senior Constable Adam West

Media Officer

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The Global Foreign Exchange Committee and the FX Global Code

Source: Reserve Bank of Australia

Thank you to FX Week for organising this event. Today, I will provide you with an update on the recent issues that the Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) has been considering as well as the state of play in the review of the FX Global Code.

Conditions in Foreign Exchange markets

The GFXC has met three times this year and each meeting we draw on the insights of FX market functioning from the 20 member Foreign Exchange Committees. This encompasses advanced and emerging economy FX markets and views from all parts of the market: sell-side, buy-side, non-banks and platforms.

In FX markets, the experience following the outbreak of Covid-19 earlier this year was similar to what has occurred in previous market crises: spreads widened, volatility increased sharply, liquidity deteriorated for both spot and swap markets and funding costs surged in many currencies. These abrupt changes in market conditions can prompt rapid shifts in the structure of the market, such as the methods by which market participants execute their trades. For example, there was a reduction in the share of trade internalisation used by sell-side market participants and a greater share of activity migrated to the primary venues.

However, one notable feature of this latest crisis was both how sharply market conditions deteriorated and how quickly they recovered. The actions by central banks and governments around the globe doubtless contributed to this rebound.

By and large, conditions have continued to improve in recent months. Many indicators of liquidity are now approaching more normal levels, although the depth of market does remain noticeably below pre-pandemic levels. Conditions are more diverse in emerging market currencies, where more idiosyncratic factors tend to be in play, but overall, conditions have also generally improved in these markets but to a lesser extent.

In periods of volatility, it is inevitable that there will be a greater focus on benchmark fixes. Large changes in asset prices and currencies generally mean that investors have greater-than-normal rebalancing flows when managing their portfolios. This was certainly the case at the height of market volatility in March. Ordinarily, a lot of these rebalancing flows will go through the market at times that match benchmark fixings. The GFXC drew attention to the possible consequences of these flows ahead of March quarter-end, cautioning market participants to always be mindful of the impact of their transactions and to clearly understand how their orders are being handled.

Subsequent liaison suggested that market participants were attentive to the potential impacts. In some markets, participants looked to bring the timing of their flows forward of month-end. But while the fixings have generally proceeded smoothly, there have been occasions this year where the London 4pm fix has been associated with heightened volatility. This has prompted discussions – including amongst the GFXC and its member committees – about the fixing process. The GFXC is regularly engaging with the administrator of the WM/R fixes to relay any feedback from the committee and its members. I am encouraged by the increased engagement by them with market participants on the issues.

At the same time, it remains as important as ever for users of the 4pm fix and other benchmarks to regularly assess whether executing at those times suits their requirements.

Operation of FX markets

More broadly, the Covid lockdowns presented major operational challenges to FX market participants. These challenges were exacerbated by the market volatility, but even as market conditions stabilised, many of the operational challenges remained.

However, the FX industry generally has been able to meet these challenges. A recent report issued by the GFXC summarised the experiences of both buy-side and sell-side market participants throughout this time. Broadly speaking, electronic trading proved effective and reliable. It is likely that the Covid period will have only furthered the industry’s shift toward electronic trading. This includes the greater use of execution algorithms in many markets.

From the GFXC’s perspective, the recent period has highlighted the importance of having common standards of industry practice. The abrupt change in market conditions that we witnessed this year also underscored the importance of transparency. As spreads widened, trade sizes were reduced and ‘last look’ rejection rates rose, clients needed to understand the implications of this for their activities.

Review of the FX Global Code

While the Code has certainly proven its value since it was introduced, the FX market is constantly evolving. When the Code was launched in 2017, the GFXC committed to undertaking a review of the Code every three years to ensure that its guidance remains appropriate and is contributing to an effectively functioning market.

Wide-ranging feedback obtained from market participants last year confirmed that the Code does remain fit for purpose. Nevertheless, there were a few key areas where closer review was warranted. I would like to provide an update on some of those focus areas today. Originally, we had intended to conclude the review of the Code by this December, but following the outbreak of Covid, we needed to pause our work for several months. That work has now been resumed and is on track for completion by mid 2021.

The first focus area for the GFXC is getting greater adherence and commitment to the Code from the buy-side. Certainly, a lot of progress has been made over the past three years. For example, of the top 30 asset managers globally, more than half have now signed Statements of Commitment to the Code, including Blackrock, Fidelity, SSGA. There is, however, scope for further progress.

In our liaison with the industry, several possible reasons have been suggested for the slower rate of take up from buy-side. Firstly, the Code has 55 principles and there is a perception that many of them are only relevant to the sell-side. Secondly, the buy-side hasn’t had the same incentive to sign up to the Code as the sell-side. The sell-side has faced pressure from their regulators and their customers to demonstrate their commitment. Peer pressure has also played a role there as well. Finally, with constrained resources, many buy-side have other priorities to focus on.

To overcome some of these issues, one question that has been asked is whether a buy-side and simpler version of the Code could be developed. However, in considering this issue at its recent meeting, the GFXC’s firm conclusion was that a single Code remains the best way of ensuring there is a common market standard that constitutes good practice.

The diversity and increasing complexity of the FX market means that it is not always possible to assign clear roles to market participants, such as liquidity providers and consumers. Relatedly, some buy-side firms will have a larger and more complex involvement with the FX market than many sell-side banks.

From the outset, the GFXC has emphasised that the Code should be applied by each market participant in a manner that is proportionate to the nature of their engagement in the market. It was envisaged that the larger, more complex and sophisticated an institution’s FX activities are, that institution should have undertaken a more comprehensive and detailed internal exercise to ensure its adherence to the Code’s principles.

The GFXC will develop additional guidance to assist firms in identifying those principles of the Code that are the most appropriate for them to evaluate when aligning their practices with the Code. This will complement the existing material that is already available on the GFXC’s website, including case studies of a variety of buy-side firms that have aligned their practices to the Code.

Another priority for the Code review is to provide further guidance around certain trading practices, in particular last look and pre-hedging. It is not necessarily the case that the GFXC will amend the existing principles of the Code dealing with these practices. This may happen, but we are certainly aiming to provide guidance material that provides greater clarity about how these practices are used and what the relevant considerations are for market participants. There will always be some controversy attached to these practices, so it is important that they are transparent and well understood.

One important means for providing transparency in the FX market is the disclosures made by sell-side participants. In the GFXC’s surveys of the industry, many market participants – especially from the buy-side – still consider the disclosures around certain trading practices to be poor. And it is the areas of pre-hedging and last look that are generally of most concern.

More broadly, the aim of the GFXC has been to ensure that market participants have easily accessible and understandable information on how their trades are handled, allowing them to make informed decisions. While there has been progress in this area, the Committee’s view is that the availability and adequacy of some elements of disclosures remains an issue. The disclosures have to be readable and have meaningful content.

In part, it can be the greater volume of disclosure information that is being made available is itself proving challenging for market participants to comprehend and evaluate. Several different sets of disclosures can be produced by the one entity, with some publically available and others provided bilaterally, depending on the intended purpose of the material. Across counterparties, disclosure information is often provided in an inconsistent manner with varied levels of detail. Disclosure documents are also reviewed and updated at different times by different counterparties, and there is no central repository of multiple firms’ disclosures.

The GFXC is aiming to develop solutions that will address issues in comparing information across different disclosure documents and facilitate access to disclosure information.

The GFXC is also considering reviewing the Code’s principles in light of the ongoing adoption of algorithmic execution (‘algos’) in the FX market. It is estimated that between 10 and 20 per cent of FX spot trading globally is accounted for by execution algos. Usage of these algos can improve market functioning but they also introduce risks. So as elsewhere, the issue is how well understood these things are by market participants and whether the disclosures made by providers are adequate. Disclosures surrounding algos are often high-level. While there may be legitimate reasons why providers don’t disclose certain things (such as intellectual property), it’s nevertheless important that users have sufficient information to facilitate comparability amongst these instruments.

Another area where the FX market has continued to evolve is the increased usage of anonymous trading. As part of its Code review, the GFXC has a workstream looking at this aspect of the market, the roles played by venue providers and prime brokers, and whether the issues that can arise with this form of trading are adequately addressed in the Code’s principles.

FX Settlement risk

One aspect of the market that the GFXC has been focussing on its recent meetings is settlement risk. When conducting their triennial survey of the global FX market last year, the Bank for International Settlements expanded the scope of their survey to include data on settlement methods. The BIS data suggested that the amount of trades being settled without payment-versus-payment (PvP) protection remains very significant and has increased.

There could be several reasons for this trend and further work is being done within the industry to understand the drivers. Part of the explanation is that the overall share of activity has increased in currencies that are not settled through CLS – the main means for obtaining PvP protection. In CLS currencies, it is possible that greater rates of internalisation by market-makers means that settlement risk is being mitigated without needing to use PvP services such as CLS.

Many central banks conduct regular six-monthly surveys of activity in their markets – a slimmed-down version of the BIS triennial – and these central banks are enhancing their regular surveys to also capture data on settlement methods, so that we can better monitor what is going on.

The importance of this issue – and the potential size of the risks involved – mean that settlement risk needs to remain a focus for the industry. Consistent with that, the GFXC concluded that it was appropriate to strengthen the Code’s guidance in this area. As part of the current review of the Code, we will be looking to further emphasise the need for market participants to sufficiently monitor and manage their settlement risks.

This not only includes the credit risks associated with non-PvP settlement, but other elements of the settlement process as well. At its last meeting, the GFXC discussed the potential for ‘strategic fails’ in FX settlements, the incentives that can give rise to such fails and the adverse consequences for the broader market. Recent issues in the Turkish lira highlighted the importance of market participants making the maximum effort to complete their settlements to avoid exacerbating liquidity strains or otherwise disrupting the market. The guidance in the Code will also be strengthened to address this issue.

Conclusion

To conclude, the GFXC is aiming to complete the review of the FX Global Code by mid next year. Reflecting the feedback from market participants that it broadly remains fit for purpose, the changes to the Code will not be significant. Where appropriate they reflect the ongoing evolution of the FX market. Besides that, the GFXC continues to discuss the functioning of the FX market, including around benchmarks, with a particular focus on FX settlement risk.

Witnesses sought for Yarraville Armed Robbery

Source: State of Victoria Police

Thursday, 22 October 2020 07:19

Police are seeking assistance from the public to help identify suspects for an armed robbery in Yarraville in June.

Investigators were told a group of youths followed four 13-year-old boys along Somerville Road and on to Bayview Road on Monday 29 June about 2pm.

It is believed the youths surrounded the victims while one youth produced a knife while demanding the victims’ hand over their wallets.

The victims complied before the youths fled on foot north along Bayview Road.

The victims were not physically injured during the incident.

Police would like to speak to the four youths depicted who they believe may be able to assist them with their investigation.

Anyone who recognises the youths pictured or who witnessed the incident or with further information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Sergeant Megan Stefanec

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Op-ed: Defence partnerships for our future

Source: Australian Government – Minister of Defence

As Defence Minister, it is my job to see and respond to the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.

I see an increasing imperative for Australia to actively and assertively advocate for stability, security and sovereignty in our region.

Since my appointment, one of my highest priorities has been engaging with our regional neighbours and global partners.

Shell third quarter 2020 update note

Source: Shell Global

Cautionary note

The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate legal entities. In this announcement “Shell”, “Shell Group” and “Royal Dutch Shell” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These terms are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular entity or entities. ‘‘Subsidiaries’’, “Shell subsidiaries” and “Shell companies” as used in this announcement refer to entities over which Royal Dutch Shell plc either directly or indirectly has control. Entities and unincorporated arrangements over which Shell has joint control are generally referred to as “joint ventures” and “joint operations”, respectively. Entities over which Shell has significant influence but neither control nor joint control are referred to as “associates”. The term “Shell interest” is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect ownership interest held by Shell in an entity or unincorporated joint arrangement, after exclusion of all third-party interest.

This announcement contains forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Royal Dutch Shell. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Royal Dutch Shell to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “aim”, “ambition”, ‘‘anticipate’’, ‘‘believe’’, ‘‘could’’, ‘‘estimate’’, ‘‘expect’’, ‘‘goals’’, ‘‘intend’’, ‘‘may’’, ‘‘objectives’’, ‘‘outlook’’, ‘‘plan’’, ‘‘probably’’, ‘‘project’’, ‘‘risks’’, “schedule”, ‘‘seek’’, ‘‘should’’, ‘‘target’’, ‘‘will’’ and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Royal Dutch Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this announcement, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell’s products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including regulatory measures addressing climate change; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; (m) risks associated with the impact of pandemics, such as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak; and (n) changes in trading conditions. No assurance is provided that future dividend payments will match or exceed previous dividend payments. All forward-looking statements contained in this announcement are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Additional risk factors that may affect future results are contained in Royal Dutch Shell’s Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2019 (available at www.shell.com/investor and www.sec.gov). These risk factors also expressly qualify all forward-looking statements contained in this announcement and should be considered by the reader. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this announcement, September 30, 2020. Neither Royal Dutch Shell plc nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this announcement.

We may have used certain terms, such as resources, in this announcement that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) strictly prohibits us from including in our filings with the SEC. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website www.sec.gov.

Scenarios don’t describe what will happen, or what should happen, rather they explore what could happen. We base them on plausible assumptions and quantification, and they are designed to stretch management’s thinking and even to consider events that may only be remotely possible. Scenarios, therefore, are not intended to be predictions of likely future events or outcomes or a strategy. Investors should not rely on them when making an investment decision with regard to Royal Dutch Shell plc securities.

LEI number of Royal Dutch Shell plc: 21380068P1DRHMJ8KU70