After a decade of climate policy failure, Wednesday brought good news and slightly less good news for Australian action on climate change.
New research suggests we might be able to rethink the type of silicon needed to make high-efficiency solar cells, say researchers from the CSIRO, UNSW and Oxford University.
To hear Prime Minister Anthony Albanese committing Australia to a clean energy future is cause for enormous optimism for those of us in the renewable energy sector. Finally, after too many years of static, the signal is clear: Australia is open for renewable business. Investors can now move forward with confidence into what is one of the greatest economic opportunities for our country in generations.
The Federal Government this week introduced its hotly awaited climate change bill to parliament. Despite the attention and controversy it’s attracted, the proposed legislation – as it stands – would be almost entirely symbolic.
Last week, two influential environmental groups warned the Greens not to stymie progress on Australia’s climate policy. In an unusual intervention, Greenpeace and the Australian Conservation Foundation urged the Greens to “play a constructive role” with Labor or risk being blamed for holding climate policy back.
Global renewables contracting giant Sterling and Wilson Solar has warned Australia’s large-scale solar PV industry faces a significant workforce shortage as the nation shifts away from fossil fuels towards renewable power.
British analyst GlobalData has predicted residential and commercial rooftop panels will not return to a declining price trend until next year, with post-Covid logistics headaches the cause, rather than a polysilicon shortage.
Fotowatio Renewable Ventures Australia’s 90 MW (AC) solar farm outside Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, has reached the commissioning phase after less than a year of construction. Barring no obstacles, the project should start exporting solar energy to the grid in a matter of months.
The input costs of the two biggest contributors to solar plant development expense have gone through the roof since the world began to come out of Covid-19 lockdowns, to leave project developers with some difficult choices.
Soon 2020 will only be a worry to future high-school history students. But when they ask us if anything good at all happened in 2020, remember this review and tell them that solar PV shone in the darkness. Despite the mess of it all, 2020 has been another good year for Australian solar. The industry has demonstrated resilience, and significant progress has been made in the fields of energy storage, green hydrogen and others.
Researchers in Russia have developed a new sodium-vanadium phosphate fluoride powder. It has a particular crystal structure that provides superior energy storage capacity in the battery cathode.
New legislation to enshrine Australia’s 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction targets into law has cleared the first hurdle with the Federal Government’s climate change bill passing through the parliament’s lower house.
The latest modelling from Bloomberg senior clean energy analyst Rob Barnett indicates a 30% increase in global PV deployment this year, and double-digit growth through 2025.
Malaysia’s largest electricity provider Tenaga Nasional Berhad has announced plans to fast track the closure of its coal-fired power plants to hasten the transition of its generation fleet from fossil fuels to renewable sources including large-scale solar PV and green hydrogen.
Australian mining technology company TNG Limited, which owns the world’s most advanced vanadium project – the Mount Peake Project in the Northern Territory, is having its leadership team formally challenged by a shareholder campaign criticising the project’s setbacks and slow progression.
Just days after Genex Power rejected a proposed $300 million takeover offer, claiming it undervalues the company, the developer’s 50 MW Kidston Solar Farm has once again been ranked Australia’s best performing large-scale PV asset.
The system is reportedly able to refill about eight hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, each in three minutes. It is also able to supply electric power by using hydrogen produced with renewable energy within the station.
India installed 12.3 GW of solar in the 12 months ending March 31, 2022. The nation is expected to add a record 20 GW in the current fiscal year.
International mining giant BHP has pushed forward with its first large-scale off-grid renewable energy project, installing the first solar PV panels at a 10.7 MW solar farm that will help power the company’s estimated $1 billion Nickel West mining operation in regional Western Australia.
The Queensland government has exceeded its own expectations with 200,000 PV panels installed at more than 900 schools across the state as part of a $168 million solar installation program designed to help slash electricity costs and cut carbon emissions.
Israeli researchers have developed a device that combines a reversible Si anode with halide cathodes and uses hybrid electrolytes to enable cell recharging. In the proposed system configuration, silicon is dissolved during the battery discharge process, and upon charging, elemental silicon is deposited.
The Northern Territory is set to install its first hydrogen energy storage system as part of a pilot being operated by the Charles Darwin University in Darwin.
West Australian natural hydrogen startup H2EX will work with Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, to study natural hydrogen systems in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, describing the research as a “pivotal first step” for the nascent industry. Natural hydrogen proponents believe projects could deliver some of the world’s cheapest hydrogen quickly and with a minimal footprint.
The novel technique consists of attaching cotton wicks immersed in the water (CWIWs) to the backside photovoltaic module. The water is supplied to cotton wicks from top to bottom by gravity which the scientists said helps the effective absorption of cotton and reduces water consumption.
Research from renowned PV scientist Martin Green and colleagues at UNSW reveals that perovskite solar cells may struggle to deal with reverse-bias caused by uneven shading or other issues likely to appear in the field. Both the reverse-bias itself and resulting build up of heat can cause several of the materials commonly used in perovskite solar cells to degrade, and these issues have received only limited attention in research published to date. Solutions, however, are at hand.
Australian hydrogen tech company Hysata has raised over $40 million in funding, attracting backing from major institutional players including CEFC, Hostplus and Bluescope. Hysata is seeking to commercialise a breakthrough made at the University of Wollongong which CEO Paul Barrett describes as “brand new category of electrolyser” with 95% system efficiency.
The ‘cradle-to-cradle’ certification is considered a globally recognised holistic product quality standard. The assessment is made for five categories: material health, recyclability of materials, energy management and CO2 emissions, water management and social responsibility
New research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) predicts cumulative polysilicon demand of 46-87 Mt will be required to achieve 63.4 TW of PV installed by 2050.
The panel has an absorption area of 1.96 m2 and a weight of 27 kg per square metre. According to the manufacturer – Swiss start-up TVP Solar – it may be a real booster for thermal output, by combining it with photovoltaics and heat pumps to provide enhanced output per square meter, in particular for low-temperature applications such as district heating.
Scientists in Russia have developed a new wide-band optical absorber called ‘black silicide’ which they claim is more adjusted to match AM-1.5 solar spectrum with theoretically higher photogenerated current density. It could be used for tandem operation in photovoltaic devices.
French company Neoen has seen its storage revenue “more than tripled” as a result of its recently commissioned Victorian Big Battery coupled with Australia’s energy crisis. In other news, the company signed a 10 year power offtake agreement with Flow Power for its “flagship” Goyder Renewables Zone project in South Australia.
Wood Mackenzie places Australia fourth on its list of the globe’s top 10 storage markets, coming in just behind Germany, with the US and China unsurprisingly topping the list. The analyst expects the world’s cumulative storage deployments to reach 500 GW by 2031, according to its Global Energy Storage Outlook released today.
In other news, German energy company Uniper said it will test a new salt cavern built for hydrogen storage, while Serbia and Hungary signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on renewable hydrogen.
South Australia’s 150 MW / 193.5 Hornsdale Power Reserve, more commonly known as the Tesla Big Battery, will now provide inertia services to Australia’s National Electricity Market after securing approval from AEMO. Neoen says it is the first big battery in the world to deliver the service at such a scale.
No two projects are alike, and sharing the lessons learned from working on these highly complex systems can help accelerate the deployment of energy storage with essential clean energy assets.
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