Regulatory Sandboxing – Energy Innovation Toolkit

 The Energy Innovation Toolkit (EIT) supports energy innovators and start-ups navigate complex regulatory frameworks, and trial new products and services that will deliver greater choice and cheaper energy options for consumers.

The AER is delivering the EIT alongside the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO),Victoria’s Essential Services Commission (ESCV) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

There are three components to the EIT regulatory sandbox:

  1. An Innovation Enquiry Service providing innovators with guidance on how their new technologies or business models can be delivered under the current regulatory framework.
  2. Coming soon: A trial waiver allowing the AER to grant a time-limited trial waiver for eligible trial projects, exempting an innovator from having to comply with specified rules for a period of time to allow a trial to proceed. Innovators will be required to submit a form via the sandboxing website explaining the details of their project and how it meets the necessary criteria. Trial waivers will be subject to a number of conditions, including consumer protection measures, reporting requirements and other obligations that may be specific to the trial.
  3. Coming soon: A trial rule change process allowing the AEMC to temporarily change existing rules or introduce a new rule to allow a trial to proceed. Trial rule change requests may be submitted via the sandboxing website and will be forwarded to the AEMC to be assessed.

These functions are supported by a website – energyinnovationtoolkit.gov.au – where innovators can discover helpful guidance about the energy market, including:

  • An interactive regulation navigator which provides on-the-spot guidance on key regulatory obligations which may apply to certain scenarios inputted by users
  • Detailed step-by-step case studies based on likely scenarios to assist innovators in planning similar projects, and
  • Other simple, clear information about the Australian energy environment, including infographics, helpful links to relevant agencies, definitions of key terms and much more.

All applications for the Innovation Enquiry Service must be made through the EIT website Services page, which links to the secure AER web portal.

Applications are now open for the Innovation Enquiry Service. The Trial Waiver and Trial Rule Change powers are anticipated shortly when legislation enabling these powers passes through South Australian Parliament.

On 5 April 2022 we released our draft Trial Projects Guideline and explanatory statement seeking feedback on our proposed approach to delivering trial waivers. Submissions closed on 3 June 2022 and are available to view