Investment in large-scale solar appears to be faltering in Australia. The technology with the lowest cost, with no emissions and the fastest time to delivery, has often found itself dangling at the oversubscribed end of a limp transmission line, with additional, expensive requirements to connect, or earnings-slashing curtailments when operational. Investors have found no reassurance in the federal government’s winking at coal, courting of gas, and undermining of agencies established to support innovation and investment in renewables. In short, the Australian prime minister is showing a complete lack of urgency to act on climate change. Enter the Renewable Energy Zone.
Powerlink Queensland has launched its ‘system strength as a service’ model in Far North Queensland through a deal with renewable energy giant Neoen’s 157 MW Kaban Green Power Hub. Powerlink Queensland’s model is to install a large synchronous condenser and then on-sell its system strength capacity to multiple renewable energy projects, a way to increase renewable energy integration into congested parts of the grid.
Nextracker’s NX Horizon has delivered some pretty impressive results in testing, results that caught that eye of Neoen and EPC contractor Sterling & Wilson to incorporate the bifacial tracking system into what is to be Australia’s largest solar power plant in Queensland’s Western Downs.
AGL Energy has expanded its solar battery VPP to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria with the immediate launch of solar battery sales for residents of the eastern states, while solar and battery bundles will be available by the end of the year.
The Supermarket Wars have taken to the aisles of renewable generation as each grocer strives for greater renewable integration. This week, Coles Group signed a 10-year PPA with QLD state-owned generator CleanCo to source more than 90% of its QLD energy requirements from the as yet completed Western Downs Green Power Hub.
The Queensland Government has opened the registrations of interest period for its three planned and well-funded Renewable Energy Zones. The Sunshine State is calling on the renewables sector to come forward and lead Queensland’s renewable revolution.
The first of three large-scale green hydrogen plants in the pipeline of the Green Hydrogen Australia Group has been given the green light. The Bundaberg Hydrogen Hub, featuring an 80 MW hydrogen electrolyser, will produce clean hydrogen for Australian hydrogen vehicle developer H2X.
After being ignored by the Federal Government, Queensland has announced a $500 million Renewable Energy Fund for state-owned energy corporations to invest in commercial renewable project and infrastructure, a particular complement to QLD’s three pending Renewable Energy Zones.
Solar Citizens, the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) and Queensland Conservation Council have come together to propose a $215 million initiative to the Queensland Government which would see 50 MW of solar installed across more than 50,000 social dwellings to help households save on their energy bills in these tough economic times.
Australian mining giant BHP has signed a five-year power purchase agreement with CleanCo as it looks to cut emissions from its electricity use at its QLD coal mines by 50% by 2025. The agreement relies on a variety of energy sources, including gas, at least until the Western Downs Green Power Hub comes online in late 2022. Critics have described the deal as “greenwashing”.
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