Australian governments are busy designing the nation’s transition to a clean energy future. Unfortunately, in a misguided effort to ensure electricity supplies remain affordable and reliable, governments are considering a move that would effectively pay Australia’s old, polluting coal-fired power stations to stay open longer.
The shift from 30-minute settlement to 5-minute settlement (5MS) is fast approaching – 162 days away but who’s counting.
Solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history, according to a 2020 report by the International Energy Agency. But there’s something holding this clean energy powerhouse back: space.
Annual battery storage installations will exceed 10 GW/28 GWh in 2021, following a particularly strong year in 2020, despite the challenges created by the global pandemic, writes IHS Markit analyst Mike Longson. Combined solar and storage will be a core focus for new deployment in 2021, as the front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter energy storage markets are both expected to grow significantly in the months ahead.
It’s come to this. The Australian Energy Markets Commission has produced a draft decision that will make households and small business with solar panels pay to inject their surplus production into the grid.
The $2 trillion package includes a proposed 10-year extension of the ITC and PTC and calls for further incentives to add transmission capacity. Most solar advocates liked it, but one nonprofit panned it as being too industry-friendly.
Queensland’s government will install five community batteries at regional substations across the state in a bid to time-shift its abundant solar resources.
Canadian Solar is pivoting towards energy storage and is preparing to IPO its manufacturing and Chinese solar project activity in China, under the CSI Solar operation, by July.
“Unprecedented” was a term widely used in 2020, as the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic. The same word can be similarly applied to the plans and investments in production capacity announced by Chinese PV manufacturers right across the supply chain. But what shape are these expansions taking and what is driving this renewed confidence? Vincent Shaw reports from Shanghai.
BHP has started the year by signing a PPA that will halve emissions at its Nickel West Kwinana refinery and double its green cred as a supplier to environmentally conscious lithium-ion battery manufacturers.
The regions where the desert meets the sea have long been thought the most desolate and unproductive areas of the world, fruitful solely for those clever cultures who call them home. However, in the 21st century, that fiscal notion is turning on its head, and turning as rapidly as a wind turbine in a tornado, making harsh regions like Western Australia a verified paradise.
Queensland is likely to join Victoria in dissension on the Australian Energy Market Commission’s draft determination which is being called a tax on solar. The Queensland Energy Minister, Mick de Brenni, has criticised the plan. Could this be the domino which brings the other states and territories falling into place against a rule change?
The Australian Energy Council’s quarterly Solar Report points to something getting bigger in the solar industry that isn’t just the larger format modules. What’s getting bigger is the average size of solar systems Australians are installing on their homes and small businesses.
Taiwanese module maker URE Corp is planning to link a 150 MW solar plant to a 15 MW/15 MWh storage facility.
IHS Markit has released its latest Global Renewables Markets Attractiveness Rankings, based on measures related to investment confidence and ease of development, with Australia ranking in the top ten.
The Opposition has blasted the Federal Government after it was revealed a cabinet minister had used extraordinary powers to veto public funding approved for the $380 million Kaban green energy hub in North Queensland, declaring it was inconsistent with the government’s goals and policies.
A Victorian solar PV company which swindled thousands of customers out of millions of dollars has been fined a massive $3 million while its sole director has been slapped with a $450,000 penalty and disqualified from being a director of any company for five years.
While Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is putting the finishing touches on the Federal Budget, the Northern Territory Government has already rolled out its 2021-22 Budget and solar PV and battery storage are among its spending priorities with an extra $4.8 million invested in existing renewable energy schemes.
Solar infrastructure business New Energy Solar remains committed to offloading its Australian assets, confirming the sale of its 87 MW Beryl and 47 MW Manildra solar farms in central west New South Wales is “progressing well”.
The federal government will provide $131 million of soft loans for a $177 million, 100 MW solar park near the Jamuna river in Bangladesh’s Jamalpur district, where a second park of a similar size is being planned by Dhaka and a Chinese partner.
It has been said that it is no use crying over spilt milk, and similarly there is no use crying over emissions already spilt by the dairy industry, there is only to curb those emissions and Deakin University’s Hycel Technology Hub is looking to do that for the dairy industries in both Australia and Uruguay.
Scientists in China took a closer look at the role of defects in limiting the performance of perovskite solar cells, demonstrating a screening effect that could be tuned to make material defects “invisible” to charge carriers, greatly improving cell performance. Using this approach they demonstrate a 22% efficient inverted perovskite solar cell, and theorise several new pathways to even higher performance.
Scientists investigating the aging mechanisms affecting today’s lithium-ion batteries observed that the loss of lithium over time is one of the main causes of performance loss. With this in mind, they developed and tested a “relithiation” process that promises to eliminate much of the cost and complexity from recycling battery components and materials.
In its first briefing following the publication of its Post 2025 Market Design Options Paper, the Energy Security Board’s Independent Chair, Dr Kerry Schott, spoke candidly about what will inevitably be a “messy” transition to renewables.
Silicon Valley-based start-up Gridtential has secured US$12 million (AU$15.5m) in funds to develop what it calls the world’s first factory-ready, single-block, 24V, deep-cycle lead battery. The product is claimed to be ideal for personal mobility vehicles and renewable energy storage in homes and offices.
The 1 GWh first phase of a planned 8 GWh lithium battery factory in Thailand is likely to be up and running during 2023.
New cell and module technologies are boosting power outputs, but they often have implications for quality. A focus purely on cell cracking illustrates just this point, with some approaches proving beneficial, and others potentially problematic – cue Tristan Erion-Lorico from PV Evolution Labs (PVEL).
The solar industry in Europe and the United States is continuing to ramp up the pressure on the use of polysilicon produced in Xinjiang, China – in response to allegations that forced labour is being used in its production. By contrast, the Australian industry’s response has been markedly muted. Although it is true that most global solar industries are heavily reliant on Chinese manufacturing, Australia is overwhelmingly so.
The Chinese manufacturer will begin selling its new products in Australia and Europe. The hybrid inverter has an efficiency of up to 98.4% and the lithium iron phosphate battery features a storage capacity between 9.6 kWh and 102.4 kWh, depending on the number of modules.
Researchers in Germany claim to have overcome the primary hurdle in the development of large-area perovskite PV modules – scaling up from the cell to the module level. They achieved an efficiency of up to 16.6% on a module surface of more than 50 centimetres squared, and 18% on a module with an area of 4 centimetres squared.
Australia’s national science agency has identified a potential $3.1 billion industry that is there for the taking with the increasing penetration of renewables in grids nationwide sparking substantial growth in the battery energy storage sector.
A clean energy investment firm based in Canada but already with a growing portfolio in Australia has set out an expansion plan in excess of $2 billion and 1.3 GW for the creation of a Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia, including at least three massive solar projects, two of which would supply South Australia’s green hydrogen ambitions.
Recommendations by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal will see payback times for solar systems extended, but also favour battery uptake.
An Australian innovation, the unassuming-looking CQSola power controller has under-the-hood smarts that could significantly cut the cost of hydrogen produced using solar energy.
Owners and operators of energy storage systems, as well as investors, need transparent ways to evaluate battery performance. They need certainty that the selected batteries for their ESS projects will perform reliably, have predictable life expectancies, and meet projected revenue and contractual obligations over their lifetimes. The economic viability of entire projects depend on this confidence, writes Michael Kleinberg of DNV.
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