As 2018 draws to a close, it is worth reflecting on another extraordinary year for the Australian renewable energy industry.
We owe a lot to John Howard. He may not have realised it in May 2007, but when he doubled the Photovoltaic Rebate Program value to $8000, our second longest serving prime minister set in motion a chain of events that would lead to Australia hosting 2 million rooftop solar power systems.
Coal miner Glencore is failing investors in its latest forecasts.
While much has been made of the ‘trilemma’ facing the Australia electricity network, Ray Wills from Future Smart Strategies argues that rapid change of energy technology, business models and social changes is resulting in rapid and difficult-to-predict changes.
As the deployment of renewable energy continues to expand around the world, driven by various inputs, such as capital allocation and investment, falling capital costs, competitive LCOE and various policy mechanisms, we are now moving towards a new era for renewable energy. ‘Renewables 2.0’ will have significant, wide-ranging consequences for all market players, as regulators reduce their support and power producers seek new revenue models. In this article, Duncan Ritchie, partner at Apricum – The Cleantech Advisory, will look at the key market developments for renewables, explode the myth of grid parity, highlight the need for flexibility and explain the importance of new financing solutions that are capable of meeting the new complexities brought about by ‘Renewables 2.0’.
After releasing the December quarter update for the 50 MW Kidston Solar Project Stage 1, which showed strong revenues and a big boost in generated power, Sydney-based Genex Power has shared a research paper on the term sheet signed with electricity provider EnergyAustralia for the 250 MW Kidston Stage 2 Pumped Hydro Storage development.
Melbourne University’s Energy Transition Hub has released an update on its popular OpenNEM data tool, adding historical data to the searchable stream of information on where Australia’s energy is coming from, how we use it and what it costs.
Danish renewables investor and asset manager Obton has set up a joint venture with Australian developer Torus with the goal to buy, develop and build solar projects Down Under. With several projects already in its pipeline, the company says it has faith in the market despite policy uncertainty.
Australia’s solar PV capacity additions tripled in 2018, as its rooftop solar fleet continued to set new records high and big PV experienced an unprecedented growth. While stabilization in electricity prices could lead to a slowdown in the rooftop solar segment in all states except Victoria, it is unlikely to result in a noticeable decline in sales in 2019. Large-scale solar PV is in line for over 3 GW this coming year, while small power stations up to 5 MW will also get their time to shine.
In addition to its primary goal of driving down energy bills, the Victoria Labor government’s major push for the rooftop solar deployment across the state in the form of rebates and interest-free loans granted under a $1.24 billion Solar Homes program has had a positive effect on local industry in the brown coal-dominated Latrobe Valley.
A newcomer to Australian solar, Indonesia’s Terregra Renewables, has appointed Balance Utility Solutions to carry out EPC activities on a 5 MW solar farm north of Murray Bridge in South Australia.
Canadian Solar will provide EPC services, under a JV partnership with Singal Energy, for the 175 MW Finlay Solar Farm in southern NSW. The Chinese manufacturer will also supply modules to the project – which is notable for having signed the largest single PPA in the Australian marketplace.
Commercial electricity retailer Flow Power has signed an offtake deal for more than a half of the production from the 120 MW Bomen Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga to power one of the nation’s largest vineyard owners, Australian Vintage, and a major snack food manufacturer, Snack Brands.
Major reports from Australia’s chief energy institutions point to the importance of wind and solar not just because of their climate credentials, but also the economic benefits they bring. A report from the energy market operator and the CSIRO finds based on analysis of LCOE that renewables are the cheapest new-built power. A separate report from the Australian Energy Market Commission shows that wind and solar will give a typical household a saving of $55 a year in next two years.
With NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin drawing a line on energy and climate policy between the state Liberals and the feds, the NSW government continues to pursue its renewables agenda waving through another large-scale solar project.
At an energy storage fair in Dusseldorf, researchers will present a ceramic high-temperature battery. Storage costs using sodium-nickel-chloride battery cells are said to be 50% lower than those of lithium-ion.
The German car giant has created Elli, a subsidiary that will provide green power and charging solutions for the EV sector. Volkswagen – still haunted by the diesel emissions scandal – says it wants to make mobility sustainable.
The December meeting of the COAG Energy Council has grabbed headlines as NSW attempted to push for a zero-emissions policy only to be blocked by Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor. But, in a rare substantive outcome of the meeting, the energy ministers agreed to develop a national hydrogen strategy.
Engineers from the Australian National University, in collaboration with researchers from and the California Institute of Technology, have developed a way to combine silicon PV material with perovskites to achieve higher efficiencies and lower production costs.
The New South Wales government has launched its ambitious pumped hydro roadmap designed to back the rising level of wind and solar in the energy mix. Meanwhile, the board of government-owned energy provider Snowy Hydro has given the green light to its landmark $4 billion pumped hydro expansion project, Snowy 2.0.
High solar irradiance and few cloudy days are ideal for solar. Fine dust and extreme heat is not – particularly when it comes to power electronics. As the distributed generation market segment emerges in the MENA region, it’s a challenge that inverter suppliers are grappling with.
Crystal-ball gazing is dangerous in a sector as fast moving as PV. But that hasn’t stopped pv magazine’s international team of solar reporters from compiling a list of the top 14 solar PV and energy storage trends expected to characterize 2019. What do you think? Have we missed anything?
pv magazine is pleased to announce the winners of our inaugural Annual Award. Winners will be recognized in a ceremony alongside the Middle East Solar Industry Associations’ Solar Awards, during the World Future Energy Summit.
SMA Solar technology AG has announced that around 425 full time jobs or 12.8% of its global workforce will be lost as part of its restructuring efforts. The PV inverter manufacturer will also discontinue operations in China, preferring to refocus its efforts on Germany.
The U.S. module maker projects 5.4 to 5.6 GW of solar module shipments next year, more than double its current projected 2018 volumes of 2.6 to 2.7 GW.
The EV and battery maker wants to start production of its Model 3 for the Chinese market by the end of the year. Next year, according to high-profile CEO Elon Musk, mass production of electric cars will start there, and this is expected to include their batteries as well.
NREL has released an report which, for the first time, highlights utility scale energy storage costs with various methods of tying it to solar power: co-located or not, and DC- vs AC-coupled.
Sydney-based publicly listed Genex Power has signed an agreement with electricity provider EnergyAustralia to begin construction on the 250 MW pumped hydro project as part of the Kidston renewables hub in north Queensland. Genex is now looking to secure financing for a 270 MW solar component of the project.
The Andrews Labor government is investing $2 million to boost the development of clean hydrogen energy technologies, and $1.1 million to support renewable energy projects in local communities across Victoria.
In what is being billed as Australia’s first off-grid, 100% renewable energy project in the oil and gas sector, Santos will power 56 crude oil pumps into solar and battery storage. The project has won a grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
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