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News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

During the campaign and through the early days of the Trump administration, policymakers and pundits have zeroed in on the U.S. economic relationship with China, in particular whether Beijing artificially manipulates its currency and whether the terms of America’s economic engagement are “fair.” While important, this focus misses Beijing’s foray into other, powerful forms of economic statecraft. China has begun increasingly relying on economic coercion — much in the same way the United States has in the last two decades — to pressure its neighbors and threaten U.S. interests in the Pacific. For example, in response to the prospective deployment of the United States’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea — designed to protect a U.S. ally from North Korea — China has limited commercial flights to and from South Korea as a way to increase economic pressure on Seoul and signal its displeasure with the planned deployment. This move parallels increased Chinese economic pressure on South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group, a holding company that agreed to allow the United States to use some of its property in South Korea to base the THAAD system. Subsequently, Chinese regulators launched coordinated investigations into the company’s operations in China, a move which analysts believe was designed to increase economic pressure on a major South Korean business and to cause it to rethink its decision to provide property for the missile defense system. If this story seems familiar, it should. In recent years, China has gone to school on the impressive record of U.S. economic statecraft and sanctions and has followed suit. Yet as Peter Feaver and I noted in a report for the Center for a New American Security in fall 2015, China’s sanctions strategy is often more subtle; instead of applying blanket sanctions against target states to coerce changes in their behavior, China creates coercive leverage with regulations, purchasing decisions, the refusal to allow the import of certain goods into Chinese markets, and limiting exports of strategic materials to the markets of its adversaries. Notable examples of Beijing’s willingness to use its economic clout for political ends include the Chinese restriction of exports to Japan of rare earth minerals in 2010 following the arrest of a Chinese ship captain after he rammed a Japanese Coast Guard vessel in the disputed maritime region; as well as a 2012 dispute with the Philippines over Chinese fishermen operating in the Scarborough Shoal, where authorities in Beijing imposed tighter measures on agricultural imports from the Philippines, and in particular on bananas. Given the importance of bananas and other agricultural exports for the Philippine economy, China’s economic pressure convinced Manila to settle the dispute quickly. But China’s use of economic coercion — and the threats it may pose to U.S. interests — is not limited to sanctions-like measures that prevent access to Chinese markets. In recent years, Chinese direct investment into the United States has increased significantly, and while the vast majority of this investment is innocuous and ultimately a boon to the U.S. economy, there are reasons to be concerned. For one, China has tried to engage in notable purchases of property on or near U.S. military installations, such as when the Chinese-owned Ralls Corporation attempted to acquire a facility located next to a U.S. naval weapons systems training facility in Oregon. Second, Chinese state-owned companies have attempted to purchase elements of our allies’ critical infrastructure, raising concerns about leverage that Beijing could exert on our partners during crises and conflict. In one recent example, Australia blocked a Chinese state-owned enterprise’s attempt to purchase a majority share in Ausgrid, the Australian state-owned power grid. The Australian government, when reviewing the sale, concluded that in the event of a conflict, Chinese ownership of critical infrastructure could seriously undermine Australia’s national security. In recent weeks, legislators on Capitol Hill and administration officials have begun seriously thinking through how to blunt threatening Chinese strategic investment into the United States. While the United States should broadly encourage foreign investment, it can also take additional measures to limit threatening efforts. As suggested my recent report for the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the United States could adjust the scope of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) — the interagency body tasked with reviewing the acquisition of U.S. companies for national security concerns — to impose a mandatory submission requirement for transactions involving Chinese state-owned enterprises and U.S. technology firms. (Under current U.S. law, filing information about proposed transactions to CFIUS is optional.) Likewise, Congress could create a CFIUS subcommittee focusing specifically on Chinese foreign investment into startups and high-tech that could pose national security risks in the medium to long-term. Such a subcommittee would help blunt China’s ability to invest in U.S. companies before they either obtain the developed technology or shutter U.S. companies that may be developing defense-related technologies important for the United States. The Trump administration should also work with like-minded countries — for example Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom — to share information about China’s strategic investments, strategies, and actions, as a way to ensure that our allies and partners are not subject to future coercion. This information sharing should not be limited to Beijing’s strategic investments, however. Congress and the administration should also pay close attention to China’s continued use of economic sanctions-like measures that are aimed at pressuring South Korea, Japan, and other countries in the region. In particular, the administration could establish a formal feedback mechanism through the State Department for countries to report formal and informal Chinese attempts to exert economic pressure. In such cases, the United States should be prepared to assist its allies if they are threatened with measures. For example, if Beijing attempts to use economic coercion against Japan or the Philippines in the East and South China Seas, then Washington should provide these countries with or facilitate access to key materials that China has cut off, such as rare earth minerals. The United States could also incentivize the diversification of export/import markets to decrease dependence on Chinese materials. Specific policies to accomplish this might include tax breaks to export key materials to Japan, or deregulation on some export materials. Likewise, if China bans imports of some agricultural products from neighboring countries, the United States can pledge to buy previously banned imports or provide tax incentives for U.S. companies to import from these countries. In addition, Washington should consider limited economic sanctions against China for its actions. After years of the United States developing its own tools of economic coercion, it’s time to pay more attention to defense.


News Article | March 22, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

Wind turbines can be seen behind electricity wires at the Infigen Energy wind farm located on the hills surrounding Lake George, near the Australian capital city of Canberra, Australia, in this May 13, 2013 file photo. Sheep graze in front of wind turbines that are part of the Infigen Energy's Capital Windfarm located on the hills surrounding Lake George, near the Australian capital city of Canberra, Australia, in this July 17, 2015 file photo. With six to eight state-owned enterprises already involved in or looking closely at Australian energy assets, Melbourne-based financial advisors SILC Group said more deals were on the cards, with so-called green power coming under particular focus. They would follow State Power Investment Corp's (SPIC) [CNPOW.UL] A$300 million ($230 million) buyout of a wind farm in New South Wales last week, as well as its $2.5 billion purchase in December of Pacific Hydro, a company which has wind farms in Australia, Brazil and Chile. "There was always interest, but now there's increased interest from the Chinese," said Peter Munns, an executive director at SILC, which works with China state-backed firms. "Chinese companies always like our rule of law, our currency risk and stable economy. They like renewables, they also like poles and wires because the revenue is underpinned by regulation." After coming to power last year, the government led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in December reversed a decision by the previous administration banning the country's clean energy fund from investing in wind power projects, opening the door to more deals in the sector. Former prime minister Tony Abbott had described wind farms as "ugly" and "noisy". Munns told Reuters in an interview last week that Chinese firms were looking for projects with long term offtake agreements that would get them a foot in the door in Australian markets, as well as local expertise that would help them grow. "They don't just want to have one wind farm here, they want to have a portfolio," said Munns. "Most want to do solar as well. But they probably think that's a couple of years down the track before it's as economic and as viable as wind is." A unit of China Shenhua is already part operator of several wind farms in Tasmania, while Beijing Jingneng Power has a stake in the Gullen Range wind farm in New South Wales. Other Chinese state-owned companies that have said they are looking at Australian energy assets include Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd and Cecep Wind-power Corp. Wind farms are Australia's No. 2 renewable energy source, behind hydropower but ahead of solar, providing around 4 percent of its total energy demand. Meanwhile, a tender for New South Wales poles and wire firm Ausgrid, to be decided by mid-2016, has attracted the attention of China State Grid [STGRD.UL] and Southern Power [CNPOW.UL]. State Grid already has a 41 percent stake in South Australia's electricity grid.


News Article | March 22, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Sheep graze in front of wind turbines that are part of the Infigen Energy's Capital Windfarm located on the hills surrounding Lake George, near the Australian capital city of Canberra, Australia, in this July 17, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/David Gray/Files More MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Chinese state-owned companies are expected to boost their investment in Australia's expanding renewable energy sector, attracted by a national leadership that is more favorable to the industry than its forerunner. With six to eight state-owned enterprises already involved in or looking closely at Australian energy assets, Melbourne-based financial advisors SILC Group said more deals were on the cards, with so-called green power coming under particular focus. They would follow State Power Investment Corp's (SPIC) [CNPOW.UL] A$300 million ($230 million) buyout of a wind farm in New South Wales last week, as well as its $2.5 billion purchase in December of Pacific Hydro, a company which has wind farms in Australia, Brazil and Chile. "There was always interest, but now there's increased interest from the Chinese," said Peter Munns, an executive director at SILC, which works with China state-backed firms. "Chinese companies always like our rule of law, our currency risk and stable economy. They like renewables, they also like poles and wires because the revenue is underpinned by regulation." After coming to power last year, the government led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in December reversed a decision by the previous administration banning the country's clean energy fund from investing in wind power projects, opening the door to more deals in the sector. Former prime minister Tony Abbott had described wind farms as "ugly" and "noisy". Munns told Reuters in an interview last week that Chinese firms were looking for projects with long term offtake agreements that would get them a foot in the door in Australian markets, as well as local expertise that would help them grow. "They don't just want to have one wind farm here, they want to have a portfolio," said Munns. "Most want to do solar as well. But they probably think that's a couple of years down the track before it's as economic and as viable as wind is." A unit of China Shenhua is already part operator of several wind farms in Tasmania, while Beijing Jingneng Power has a stake in the Gullen Range wind farm in New South Wales. Other Chinese state-owned companies that have said they are looking at Australian energy assets include Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd and Cecep Wind-power Corp. Wind farms are Australia's No. 2 renewable energy source, behind hydropower but ahead of solar, providing around 4 percent of its total energy demand. Meanwhile, a tender for New South Wales poles and wire firm Ausgrid, to be decided by mid-2016, has attracted the attention of China State Grid [STGRD.UL] and Southern Power [CNPOW.UL]. State Grid already has a 41 percent stake in South Australia's electricity grid.


Czibula O.G.,Ausgrid | Czibula O.G.,University of Technology, Sydney | Gu H.,University of Technology, Sydney | Zinder Y.,University of Technology, Sydney
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2016

The paper is concerned with the planning of training sessions in large organisations requiring periodic retraining of their staff. The allocation of students must take into account student preferences as well as the desired composition of study groups. The paper presents a bicriteria Quadratic Multiple Knapsack formulation of the considered practical problem, and a novel solution procedure based on Lagrangian relaxation. The paper presents the results of computational experiments aimed at testing the optimisation procedure on real world data originating from Australia’s largest electricity distributor. Results are compared and validated against a Genetic Algorithm based matheuristic. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


Agelidis V.G.,University of New South Wales | Pavlovski C.,IBM | Ciobotaru M.,University of New South Wales | Tschirschwitz T.,IBM | And 3 more authors.
2011 IEEE PES Innovative Smart Grid Technologies, ISGT Asia 2011 Conference: Smarter Grid for Sustainable and Affordable Energy Future | Year: 2011

Implementation of smart grid strategies by power utilities will necessitate a new set of skills, experiences and knowledge. Understanding the smart grid requires knowledge of numerous key engineering topics that intersect information technologies, sciences, market, business, policy, regulation, standards and social sciences. Professionals and engineers will seek to upgrade and expand their practical skills to meet unprecedented market demand. A five-day professional course designed to address smart grid skill gaps in Australia developed in collaboration between industry and academia is discussed in this paper. The design, development and pilot-phase implementation processes are presented in full detail. Mapping of the course using Bloom's taxonomy levels is documented. Formal evaluation and feedback scores are reported. © 2011 IEEE.


Stanbury M.,Ausgrid | Djekic Z.,Ausgrid
IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery | Year: 2015

Current-transformer (CT) saturation has a major impact on the operation of differential protection schemes. Transformer differential protection must maintain security during CT saturation for external faults while preserving high sensitivity and speed of operation for lower magnitude internal faults. Relay manufacturers provide very little information or direction for protection engineers to set relays adequately to achieve these goals. If an engineer lacks a deep understanding of relay behavior during CT saturation, he or she could make setting implementation mistakes that may lead to spurious trips or failures to trip with catastrophic consequences. This work investigated the impact of CT saturation on transformer differential relays in order to provide guidance on scheme behavior. It was discovered that harmonic blocking is triggered by CT saturation - a significant effect which is not described in the literature or relay manuals. This effect was modeled and the model's accuracy was verified with CT simulations, relay secondary injections, and high current primary injections. It is demonstrated that harmonic blocking provides effective security against nuisance trips caused by CT saturation. It is also shown that the traditional use of a high slope 2 is mostly redundant wherever harmonic blocking is enabled. © 1986-2012 IEEE.


Smith R.,Ausgrid | Meng K.,University of Newcastle | Dong Z.,University of Newcastle | Simpson R.,Ausgrid
Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy | Year: 2013

Rapid growth in electricity network peak demand is increasing pressure for new investment which may be used for only a few hours a year. Residential air-conditioning is widely believed to be the prime cause of the rise in peak demand but, in the absence of detailed residential demand research, there is no bottom-up empirical evidence to support this supposition or to estimate its impact. This paper first examines the developments in network peak demand, at a national, network distribution, and local distribution feeder level to show recent trends in peak demand. Secondly, this paper applies analytics to the half-hourly consumption data of a sample of Ausgrid’s interval metered customers, combined with local weather data, to develop an algorithm which can recognize air-conditioner use and can identify consumption patterns and peak load. This estimate is then compared to system peaks to determine residential air-conditioning’s impact on overall demand. Finally, this paper considers the future impacts of air-conditioning load on peak demand as penetration rates reaches saturation levels and new minimum energy performance standards take effect reducing new units peak impacts. © 2013, The Author(s).

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