Climate change means more storms, bushfires and extreme weather events. Our energy system must adapt to this changing climate. Victoria is well on the way to meeting its renewable energy targets thanks to a range of policy measures.
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.
With its feed-in tariff set to expire at the end of June, Vietnam is considering different levels of payment, classified across three irradiation regions and involving four solar technologies. Future payments would range from $0.0659-0.0985/kWh, with the cloudy north in line for the highest tariffs and with the government likely to revise tariffs for new projects every two years.
Backed by an estimated $15 million raised from the sale of renewable energy certificates, EnergyAustralia will install free solar PV and battery systems for participating charitable organizations, with the goal to connect them into a virtual power plant and slash their electricity bills by as much as 50%.
A proposal to mandate solar and storage systems for all new dwellings has been proposed by the NSW Greens in the lead up the state election. The policy is a part of a wider package that the party says will see one million households add rooftop PV over four years.
In the aftermath of January’s blackouts in Victoria and South Australia, public policy think thank Grattan Institute underlines that blaming renewable energy for supply failures is wrong and dangerous. The new report flies in the face of repeated claims by the Coalition government that renewables are undermining the reliability of electricity system.
The nation already meets well above 80% of its electricity demand from renewable energy. With e-mobility and electric industrial processes on the rise, higher demand has created new development opportunities.
A $2.2 million trial run by Jemena, AusNet Services, and UNSW Sydney will explore how existing network infrastructure can better integrate with solar power, as Australia’s rooftop PV uptake goes from strength to strength.
Australia’s more than 1,300 golf clubs can each spend upwards of $100,000 a year on electricity bills in the process of managing their greens and running their clubhouses. Today AEES Group announced an exclusive partnership with Golf Management Australia, to provide customised energy-efficiency audits and solar solutions that can reduce Australian clubs’ carbon footprint, and their grid-derived energy by up to 60%.
The growing market for tracker-mounted solar within the U.S. commercial and industrial market is being driven squarely by mammoth utility bills that often include time-of-use charges and total demand charges. Single-axis and double-axis systems are being deployed on warehouses, at agricultural facilities, factories, mines, landfills, carports, and other sites, often with a payback of only a few years, equipment sellers say.
The 240 MW Prairie Solar Farm in Victoria has moved forward with a planning permission and the 315 MW Clarke Creek Solar Farm in Queensland has received a material change of use permit.
The Central Goldfields Shire Council has given its tick of approval for the construction of the Carisbrook Solar Farm, proposed by Germany’s ib vogt.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded $9.6 million in grants for five projects and seven studies into the role of distributed generation assets on the grid – and how to expand their penetration.
In an Australian first, Canada’s Hydrostor is delivering a 5 MW / 10 MWh compressed air energy storage facility, which will store excess solar and wind power at a closed underground mine in South Australia.
Australia’s renewable sector is driving the country towards its Paris commitments well ahead of schedule. The Australian National University (ANU) published the findings today, concluding that on the current trajectory the country is on track to hit 50% renewable electricity in 2024 and 100% in 2032 – at a net cost “of approximately zero.” Despite the good news, the Clean Energy Council warns that current federal government policy may result in the country squandering the opportunity.
Indra Overland, head of the Center for Energy Research at the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs, explains how the world’s future energy landscape may include pan-regional super-grids. However, prosumer states seeking energy independence could also be in the mix. According to Overland, the two developments will go hand in hand and the balance between them will be determined by the competitiveness of storage technologies.
The first sod has been turned on a $30 million smart microgrid which is to power Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds Campus. The project, featuring a 7 MW solar farm and a 1 MW battery, is delivered in partnership with AusNet Services and its subsidiary Mondo with the goal to provide an integrated research and education platform, and contribute to the university’s sustainability goals.
The Ontario firm has revised figures for shipments, net revenue and gross margin after seeing better-than-expected trading in the final three months of 2018.
The Chinese module maker said the result was certified by the Photovoltaic and Wind Power Systems Quality Test Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The record, Jinko said, is thanks to its high quality n-type wafers, selective doping technology and advanced fine-line printing.
According to the Taiwanese analysts, JA Solar was number two, followed by Hanwha Q-Cells and Trina Solar in joint third. The ten largest module makers met around 70% of demand, with 66 GW of shipments.
Having welcomed Sol Distribution on board, Norwegian solar manufacturer REC Group hopes to expand its presence in Australia, which it sees as its key market in the APAC region.
Wood Mackenzie’s number-crunchers are the latest analysts queueing up to predict a bumper year ahead for PV, with falling prices, rising efficiency rates and booming markets outside China all on the cards. And it could be a make-or-break year for mega-projects, says Wood Mac.
As India plans to set up large lithium-ion battery plants, the Lithium Triangle countries in South America (comprising Chile, Argentina and Bolivia) have offered to meet India’s growing demand for lithium.
Australian-based Redback Technologies is now eligible for subsidies under the South Australia Home Battery Scheme, alongside nine other brands. The company manufacturers its solar inverter-battery hybrid systems overseas.
Diversifying its gas-focused portfolio Down Under, the Italian oil group has acquired the Northern Territory’s largest solar project – the 33.7 MWp Katherine Solar Farm.
With li-ion battery supply chains stretched by the rapid EV and energy storage uptake, Western Australia is looking to position itself at the forefront of global battery manufacturing. The state government has launched a strategy to grow WA’s future battery industry, which includes plans for an investment attraction strategy.
A flagship report from the Senate Committee on Electric Vehicles (EV) has called on the federal government to adopt a strategy that will accelerate EV uptake in Australia, and implement new vehicle emissions standards to encourage manufacturers to sell more EVs. Since a growing EV fleet could pose a challenge to the grid, solar is set to assume an important role in flattening out the demand and supply curve.
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