It’s been a busy couple of months in global energy and climate policy. Australia’s largest trading partners – China, South Korea and Japan – have all announced they will reach net-zero emissions by about mid-century. In the United States, the incoming Biden administration has committed to decarbonising its electricity system by 2035.
Soaring fossil fuel prices have caused the scaling back or closure of Australian mines, resulting in production and job losses at a massive scale. More recently with the added consideration of carbon emissions, energy represents both a risk and an opportunity for this sector.
Australia doesn’t yet export renewable energy. But the writing is on the wall: demand for Australia’s fossil fuel exports is likely to dwindle soon, and we must replace it at massive scale.
Cornwall Insight Australia’s Lead Consultant – Market Analysis, Lumi Adisa, compares the lead times of major coal fired power station retirements in the National Energy Market (NEM) and analyses how renewables, particularly solar plus battery storage, are able to replace lost generation in the transition to a two-sided market.
This month’s final thought comes from Violette Mouchaileh, EGM, emerging markets and services with Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
Biden has made a long list of promises and commitments to the environment and future of clean energy if elected. Which of these promises could we see immediate action on and which are years down the line?
A report by Finnish company Wärtsilä has estimated the potential impact if every dollar committed to a non-renewables energy sector recovery was instead funnelled to clean power.
Rooftop solar installation figures in Victoria have plunged dramatically in recent months but an easing of Covid-19 restrictions has provided a welcome boost for the state’s small-scale solar installers.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has published its annual report this week, a report glowing with the hue of ‘prudent investment’ according to the CEFC Chair. The report emphasises the prudence and efficacy of the green bank’s mandate despite attempts by the Morrison Government to siphon off funds for fossil-fuel investments.
Spanish giant Iberdrola has broken ground on its 317 MW Port Augusta hybrid wind and solar farm, set to be the largest in Australia. The global energy company stressed its desire to increase its renewable presence in Australia on the day, betting on Australia’s potential for a green recovery from the economic strife of Covid-19.
Some Australian states are choosing this moment to ensure that electric vehicle drivers are paying their fair share of funds needed to maintain road infrastructure — given that they don’t contribute via fuel excise. The moves are expected to throw a spanner in the works of drivers deciding in favour of zero-emissions motoring.
The election of Joe Biden as U.S. president is set to heap further pressure on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to lay out a clear and firm strategy charting the nation’s transition to a clean energy future.
The University of New South Wales will lead a consortium of Australian and German researchers and industrial partners in a feasibility study to tease out and provide solutions for the obstacles for the trade of green hydrogen from Australia to Germany.
Brisbane-based global EV charging powerhouse Tritium has unveiled a scalable solution which will give peace of mind to network operators and governments the world over. The solution, launched in tandem with the next-gen RTM75 DC Fast Charger, knocks down one of the few remaining obstacles to large scale EV charger uptake.
Following on from Social Energy’s launch in Australia late last year, the UK company has teamed up with SolaX to offer a rather appetising feed-in-tariff deal to go with a combined solar and energy storage system.
For a company that has its own big sunny solar farm and is developing a companion green-hydrogen production plant, the next step must be to formalise its commitment to go 100% renewable.
South Australian design and manufacturing company PVDymanics has unveiled a unique ‘slide in’ solar canopy system which it believes can revolutionise the micro-grid market.
The Australian rooftop PV market is expected to eclipse all previous records in 2020 but a new report has raised serious questions about the fire safety standards associated with small-scale solar installations.
Australian renewable energy company ClearVue continues to push ahead with the development of its transparent solar glass technology with construction beginning on a commercial-scale trial project.
Goodwill may be the most under-appreciated resource for renewable project developers and one that is delivered through community ownership. At least, that’s according to Kristy Walters, chairperson of the 1 MW Haystacks Solar Garden project – which claims to be Australia’s first large scale solar garden cooperative.
A Dutch-Hungarian research team has measured, for 12 years, the degradation rates of PV modules installed in an off-grid system located in Ghana. It found that the panels had an average annual decline in power yield of 3.19%.
AGL, one of Australia’s biggest polluters, is working towards net-zero emissions by 2050 and new relevance in a renewable-energy-powered world. Think big batteries to replace the spinning reserve of some coal and gas generators, and digital management of its customers’ distributed rooftop resources.
Scientists in the U.S. examined the use of different conductive filler materials in a lithium-ion battery electrode, finding that adding single walled carbon nanotubes to a nickel-cobalt-manganese cathode resulted in better electrical conductivity and higher rate capability for the overall battery. The results, according to the group, could provide new insights into design of high power, high energy battery electrodes.
On Tuesday 13th October 2020 Queensland’s electricity spiked from approximately $25/MWh to $15,000/MWh (the current market price cap) in response to a tripping incident involving the constraint of 11 solar farms and one wind farm. The event is being seen as illustrative of just what needs to be addressed in the design of NEM 2.0.
In an Australian first, newly re-elected Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk has established a ministry for hydrogen in her new government. The move comes amidst a raft of recent hydrogen related policies throughout Australia and reinforces the nation’s determination to lead the global race for a hydrogen economy.
For the last few months, while her city lay dormant in lockdown, Nastaran Meftahi has been tucked away developing a machine learning model to predict where the most promise for next-generation organic solar cells is held.
Steel giant BlueScope is backing the NSW Government’s ambitious renewable infrastructure plan through a $20 million investment into the development of a Renewable Manufacturing Zone at its Port Kembla site in the Illawarra. The investment seeks to encourage innovation in the renewable sector and work towards the Government’s goal of constructing the state’s Renewable Energy Zones with local materials.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the photovoltaic inverter maker was able to significantly increase its turnover and sales compared to the previous year.
It remains unclear why Chairman Jin Baofang was detained, but the company said its operations will not be affected. The Paper, a Chinese state-owned media outlet, reported that Jin’s detention might be connected to the fall of Liu Baohua, the formal deputy director of the National Energy Administration, which has also been under investigation by the anti-corruption authorities since mid-October.
PV modules are being sold with ever longer warranties, but when modules underperform or fail, making claims on those warranties is rarely straightforward. So are the warranties worth the paper they’re written on? Where does this leave installers? And how can this liability be mitigated?
The Northern Territory is advancing projects that will help it achieve 50% penetration of renewables into its energy supply by 2030. First up, the procurement of a 30 MW battery to boost reliability of the Darwin-Katherine grid.
Australian electricity wires are awash with sunshine, such that network operators have threatened to up the drawbridge on further rooftop connections, while limiting rooftop PV exports to the grid. But data streams hold the key to unlocking surprising existing capacity, stabilising voltage, and living the Aussie dream.
An International Energy Agency report led up by Rolf Frischknecht from Treeze in Switzerland and under the joint project management of the University of New South Wales’ José Bilbao has measured the lifecycle emissions of both residential solar PV with battery storage and gas-generated grid electricity. The results are not particularly surprising, only the Morrison Government’s ongoing obduracy is.
Victoria will be home to one of the world’s largest lithium-ion batteries with the 300 MW / 450 MWh Victoria Big Battery to be constructed on the outskirts of Geelong.
Residential battery manufacturer Sonnen has unveiled a new power tariff program which signals a major shift for the Australian market.