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.
A 50/50 joint venture between Clough Group and Spanish infrastructure giant Elecnor has been selected as EPC for the 700km NSW section of the SA-NSW Interconnector, Project Energy Connect. The big jobs require the big guns, and it seems as though the big guns have been called in on this occasion, with Project Energy Connect deemed integral to the energy future of both states.
Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor is set to expand the remit of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to allow it to invest in gas generation. The move, which is so counter-productive that it resembles sabotage, has sparked waves of disapproval from around the nation, led by the Clean Energy Council.
A new analysis by the Clean Energy Council reveals a dramatic fall in the number of large-scale renewable energy projects committed in the second quarter of 2020, with just three projects representing 410 MW of new capacity reaching financial close – the lowest level since 2017.
Wood Mackenzie analysts have expressed concern over deteriorating renewable energy investment conditions in Australia, noting that greater clarity on transmission investment is needed to support the sector.
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