Canberra-based renewable energy consulting company IT Power will analyse the performance of six major lithium-ion battery brands, comparing them to “old school” and advanced lead-acid batteries for use in large and small electricity grids.
T Power’s managing Director Simon Troman said storage was the next step needed to help integrate renewable energy, especially solar, into electricity grids.
“It kills the argument put out there by the anti-renewable mob that they’re intermittent and you can’t rely on them… and it turns intermittent renewables like solar and wind into a direct competitor for base-load power.
Rather than research new options for storage, Mr Troman said the trail will purchase batteries for
testing that are already commercially available making the impact more immediate and maintaining the independence of the data.
Electric car maker Tesla’s first foray into lithium-ion batteries for homes the Powerwall, announced last week featuring technology developed by Canberra start-up Reposit Power, could be part of the trials when it goes on the market. Continue reading
ACT pushes to expand its renewable energy industry http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-pushes-to-expand-its-renewable-energy-industry-20150501-1mxt2w.html May 1, 2015 – Clare Colley Reporter at The Canberra Times The ACT could become Australia’s Silicon Valley of renewable energy development and a test site for new technology as it moves towards reaching its 90 per cent renewables target by 2020.
At the centrepiece of a new strategy to expand the renewable energy industry in the ACT is a $1.2 million Renewable Energy Innovation Fund collected from private companies as part of the government’s 200 megawatt wind auction. Continue reading
Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm a renewable win for Victoria in dire environment, SMH April 28, 2015 Tom Arup Environment editor, The Age It’s been a torrid few years for renewable energy in Australia, with jobs being shed and investment drying up. The Victoria landscape has been no exception.
So it is perhaps to some state shame that one of the few recent Victorian projects to get the financial go-ahead has been backed by the Australian Capital Territory.
On Tuesday renewable energy firm Windlab announced it has signed a deal with a Japanese company for the final financing for a $50 million wind farm north-west of Bendigo, meaning construction will now begin mid-year.
The Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm will have a modest six turbines and generate up to 19.4 megawatts of power, enough for 14,000 homes It is one of three wind projects supported by the ACT government via feed-in-tariffs, with winning projects selected earlier this year through an auction. Company RES Australia was also backed to build a 80.5 megawatt wind farm near Ararat.
The auctions are part of the ACT’s goal to have 90 per cent of its electricity needs come from renewable power by 2020. Continue reading
Sustainability Symposium: World to learn from Canberra’s climate change policy April 16, 2015 Clare Colley Reporter at The Canberra Times Canberra is a world leader when it comes to climate-change policy, but Australia is still not doing enough to tackle the problem, former chief scientist Professor Penny Sackett says.
Professor Sackett, now deputy chair of the ACT Climate Change Council and an adjunct professor for the ANU’s Climate Change Institute, will join Nobel laureate Professor Brian Schmidt, and ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell at a climate change symposium bringing together about 12 Nobel Prize winners in Hong Kong from April 23.
She said Australia wasn’t the only country that had to catch up with its cities leading the way on climate change.
The invitation extended to Mr Corbell to address the international symposium’s policy challenge session was evidence of Canberra’s reputation as a world leader tackling climate change, Professor Sackett said.
“People are recognising how Canberra is not only stepping up with ambitious targets … but actually already on its way to meeting them,” she said. “I would really love to see the country I live in … do all it can for climate change and I don’t think we are there yet.”……
Professor Schmidt said Canberra’s status as an affluent city with people who had a greater understanding of climate change allowed it to be “more adventurous on a small scale”.
Neither the federal government nor opposition’s policies would solve climate change in the short-term, Professor Schmidt said, instead scientific solutions would take 20 years to develop but work should begin now.
“We don’t actually have that much more carbon to throw up in the atmosphere before we start exceeding two degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century,” he said.
Professor Schmidt said he expects a declaration from the symposium to be taken to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December to help reach a “sensible outcome”.
Professor Sackett said the “very important” summit would be where nations decide whether they will stand with their citizens to do all they can to combat climate change……..http://www.canberratimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/sustainability-symposium-world-to-learn-from-canberras-climate-change-policy-20150416-1mmcee.html
ACT renewable energy jobs soar in past five years April 14, 2015 Henry Belot Canberra Times Reporter The number of jobs in the ACT renewable energy industry has increased by more than 400 percent over the past five years, the largest increase in Australia.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released earlier this week, 630 people were employed by the renewable energy industry last year with 480 employed by the government or non-profit institutions and 150 in solar power.
But while the ABS figures indicated a growth in ACT employment they revealed more than 2000 jobs had been lost in the industry nationwide over the past two years.
Some 12,590 people were employed full-time in the wind, solar and other renewable energy industries last year down from almost 15,000 two years earlier…….
In late 2013, the ACT government legislated a 90 percent renewable energy target for the territory by 2020 drawing praise from the Climate Council as a welcome contrast to federal uncertainty. …………
Mr Antflick Elementus Energy manager director Ashleigh Antflick,said he expected the solar farm, which will be relocated from a proposed site near the Uriarra village to beside the Monaro Highway at Williamsdale, to be a long-term stable employer of skilled labour in the ACT.
“We are looking at working with a number of tertiary education institutions in the territory to be part of their skills programs for undergraduate and technical training programs,” he said.
Mr Antflick said the ACT government and broader community were supportive or major solar power investments despite a concerted public relations campaign from Uriarra villagers to relocate the solar farm.
“There is a pretty clear understanding by territorians of the broader climatic benefits of solar energy and I think broad support for doing something to make a positive contribution to climate change,” he said. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-renewable-energy-jobs-soar-in-past-five-years-20150414-1mku8a.html
ACT solar farm project moved from controversial Uriarra site to Williamsdale
666 ABC Canberra 24 Mar 15 A controversial project to build a solar farm next to the rural village of Uriarra has been dumped by the ACT Government after fierce opposition from local residents.
Plans by Elementus Energy to build a 26,000-panel solar farm that could power more than 1,400 homes will now be moved to Williamsdale in the Territory’s south.
Environment Minister Simon Corbell told 666 ABC Canberra the Government would now license parts of blocks 1470 and 1471 in the district of Tuggeranong (Williamsdale) for the OneSun Capital solar project.
But an approval process would still be necessary for the new location.
“The ACT Government is proposing to enter into a rental arrangement with the developer for a new site on land the Government now owns at Williamsdale, on the Monaro Highway,” Mr Corbell said.
“And it will occur without any change to the tariff feed-in price that the developer bid in the reverse auction for the solar farm project.
“What this means is a clearer path. We can get on and hopefully see that project built and it also addresses the concerns raised by Uriarra residents.”……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-24/act-solar-farm-project-to-move-from-controversial-uriarra-site/6342900
Environment Minister Simon Corbell says radioactive waste is not welcome in ACT, Canberra Times March 14, 2015 Matthew Raggatt The ACT government would reject any moves to build a radioactive waste facility in the territory, its deputy leader has said.
Environment Minister Simon Corbell said he doubted the nation’s smallest jurisdiction – half of which is covered by national parks and state forests – would make the federal government’s cut for a new site.
“It is extremely unlikely there is any land suitable in the ACT for this activity,” he said.
Earlier this month the federal government called for nominations from landholders of any state or territory for a site for a national permanent radioactive waste management facility. The site would allow for the storage and disposal of “low level and intermediate level waste”, produced in Australia from a range of scientific and industrial/medical activities. …….
A spokeswoman for the Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said details of the nominated sites would be made public after all applications were received and the minister had considered them.
The spokeswoman said the majority of Australia’s radioactive waste was stored by the Commonwealth at two sites, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation campus at Lucas Heights and the CSIRO facility at Woomera in South Australia.
The Defence Department, Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, state and territory governments and other scientific, industrial and research organisations also stored some waste.
Australia does not produce or store high level radioactive waste, the federal government said.
If you want to put forward your land to be bought for the project, you have until May 5. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/environment-minister-simon-corbell-says-radioactive-waste-is-not-welcome-in-act-20150314-1412y9.html
Hitting the Renewable Energy Target, Robin Mellon Chief Operating Officer, Green Building Council of Australia Souceable, 3 Feb 15 “……..The Climate Council’s recent report, The Australian Renewable Energy Race, finds that those states with a favourable policy environment and with established renewable energy targets winning the renewables race. South Australia, having already met its 2020 renewable energy target of 33 per cent, now sources more than a third of electricity from renewable sources and a quarter of homes have solar PV panels. South Australia has installed more large-scale renewable capacity since 2001 than any other state, and has now set a 50 per cent target.
The report finds the ACT is also “punching above its weight” with a target of 90 per cent renewable energy by 2020, and a feed-in tariff scheme attracting investment in large-scale project Continue reading
ACT wind energy auction: And the winners are …. REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 14 January 2015 The ACT government’s wind energy auction has thrown up some surprising winners, and none of the planned 200MW of wind turbines will be built within a bull’s roar of the nation’s capital, if market intelligence is correct. The ACT government advised the winning tenderers of their success just before Christmas, and have until early February to prove that they have the finance in place to build the projects.
The winners have not been publicly announced, and will be kept confidential. But through a process of elimination – i.e. by crossing out those among the 18 project tenders who concede they didn’t make it, there are three likely winners.
They are the Hornsdale wind project in South Australia – regarded as the country’s most prospective wind project because of its excellent wind resources. Industry estimates suggest that the project could be a go-er with a tariff of around $80/MWh…………
The second winner is thought to the small Coonooer Bridge wind project in Victoria. This is owned by Windlab, a spinoff of CSIRO which is based in Canberra. Coonoer is likely to be just 18MW, but will also likely have a level of community ownership through an innovative structure that we discussed here.
The third project is less certain but is thought to be the Ararat project owned by RES, also based in Victoria. It is also bidding for less than half of its nominated capacity of more than 220MW.
The ACT wind energy auction is important to the wind industry in Australia because the sector has been at a standstill for nearly two years. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, no new wind projects were financed in Australia in 2014 because of the Federal government’s attempts to nobble the renewable energy target.
That helped cause an 88 per cent slump in large scale clean energy investment, and pushed Australia down from 11th position to 39th in the world, below Myanmar and Honduras. For some international investors, the ACT auction was considered to be the last hope in Australia, given the uncertainty that continues around the RET.
Contrary to the federal government, which sees its future in coal, the ACT government hopes to source 90 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. It will do this through a series of auctions – 40MW of large scale solar already completed, an initial run of 200MW of wind, and around 50MW of other large scale solar projects including storage, and 23MW of waste-to-energy projects.
The ACT government raised the prospect of winning tenders going to other states if the price was cheaper, although it did profess to have a strong “local content” component of the tender………….http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/act-wind-energy-auction-and-the-winners-are-25695
Majura Valley solar farm system tracks sun January 4, 2015 John Thistleton Reporter for The Canberra Times. Sun-tracking technology for solar panels will be deployed for the first time in Australia at a new solar farm in the Majura Valley on Canberra’s eastern fringe.
Solar Choice is developing and will operate the $6.5 million solar farm, which will feature a QBotix robotic tracking system, developed in California in 2012. The system is used in the United States, Japan and Europe.
Self-charging, track-mounted robots adjust the tilt and orientation of individual solar arrays throughout the day to gain maximum exposure to the sun.
Solar Choice, a brokerage firm which develops and manages solar projects throughout Australia and Britain, is finalising details for the 2MW first stage of its Canberra venture, which will generate about 3 million kWh of clean energy………http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/majura-valley-solar-farm-system-tracks-sun-20150104-12hitb.html
“Unlike traditional generators, consumers who become prosumers can can flip, so when electricity prices are low they will be consumers, when prices are high they will be generators.
Reposit Power’s GridCredit technology a game changer for energy market, Canberra Times, December 14, 2014 – John Thistleton Solar panel owners will more than double their savings with new technology being launched today. Owners of solar panels in Canberra will be offered new technology from Monday, which will more than double their savings on electricity prices.
A group of investors and electricity industry specialists are investing almost $100,000 to commercial the system, which they believe will be a game changer for the energy market.
Our goal is to get their bill as low as possible. Luke Osborne
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will announce $445,000 funding for Canberra technology company Reposit Power to trial the solar storage and trading system, ahead of a national roll-out next year.
Reposit director Luke Osborne says for the first time solar customers can store their renewable energy and sell it back to the grid for a profit. Continue reading
The ACT has the country’s most ambitious emissions reductions and renewable energy targets Climate Council report reveals, Canberra Times November 18, 2014 Clare Colley The ACT is “punching above its weight” compared to other jurisdictions with the most ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy targets in the country, the Climate Council’s latest report reveals.
Along with South Australia, the ACT is “winning the Australian renewable energy race” putting it in the “best position to reap the benefits of the global shift to cleaner energy”, the report comparing the renewable energy policies of all states and territories said.
The ACT aims to source 90 per cent of its electricity supply from renewables by 2020; currently it’s at 20 per cent.
In comparison, South Australia has a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2025 but is already sourcing around 33 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.
………The report said Australia’s states and territories could act as leaders tackling climate change and growing Australia’s renewable energy industry, mirroring the US where state-based targets and incentives had made the country second in the world for installed renewable energy capacity.
ANU defends divestments, says fossil fuels companies must diversify into new energy, The Age Heath Aston, political correspondent October 13, 2014 – The head of the Australian National University has defended a decision to dump certain resources stocks from the university’s $1 billion investment portfolio on ethical grounds, saying fossil fuel-reliant companies will not survive the next 20 to 30 years unless they diversify into new energies……
ANU is the first Australian university to divest from fossil fuels but in the United States 19 universities have sold out of investments deemed unethical or a risk to the environment, including the prestigious Stanford University, which has purged its $US19 billion ($22 billion) investment fund. ANU modelled its socially responsible investment policy on that of Stanford.
Professor Young said there had been a “torrent of support” from students and the wider community.
“They have been saying ‘don’t back down’,” he said. “There is tremendous enthusiasm out there around environmental issues and investment.”
ANU Student Association president Cam Wilson said 82% of 2000 students polled before the university made its decision supported divestment.
In an opinion piece written for Fairfax Media, Professor Young, whose ocean research has resulted in his consulting to a range offshore gas and oil companies, questioned the short-term thinking of the divestment critics.
“What will our industries be in 20 or 30 years’ time?” he writes. “I am confident they will not be in producing fossil fuels.”
He told Fairfax Media: “I don’t think fossil fuels will be a big part of the world economy in 20 to 30 years’ time. But, that said, there is a big opportunity for these companies to change the mix of what they produce.”
While seven resources stocks were dumped, ANU has retained investments in mining groups BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, as well as in Woodside Petroleum and Wesfarmers.
Professor Young said those groups were more diversified and showed signs of evolving to new energy sources in future……. http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/anu-defends-divestments-says-fossil-fuels-companies-must-diversify-into-new-energy-20141012-114ypp.html
ANU decision to sell fossil fuel company holdings not enough: students By Lisa Mosley ABC News, 3 Oct 2014, An Australian National University (ANU) decision to sell off about $16 million worth of its investments in seven fossil fuel companies does not go far enough, a students’ group says.
ANU said it would divesting itself of shares in Newcrest Mining, Iluka Resources, Oil Search and Santos, among other companies.
Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young said it was important that the university did not invest in companies that are doing some form of social harm……….
Louis Klee from the group ANU Fossil Free said while it was a big achievement for the university, the decision did not go far enough.
He said the ANU still had major holdings in BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Woodside Petroleum.
“It is wrong for ANU to continue to profit from these industries that are responsible for the wreckage of the planet,” he said. …….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-03/anu-selling-fossil-fuel-company-holdings-not-enough-student-says/5789748
Residents fighting Jupiter wind farm plan Canberra protest, Canberra Times September 15, 2014 Land owners in communities along the Goulburn-Braidwood Road are continuing their self-described “David and Goliath battle” to stop a $400 million wind farm development proposed for 12,000 hectares in the area.
The Residents Against Jupiter Wind Turbines group last week said progress was being made in the fight, after another community meeting at Tarago and contact with Goulburn MP and planning Minister Pru Goward.
Planning is underway for a demonstration outside the ACT Legislative Assembly on Tuesday as group members want territory residents to know the local impact of some renewable energy sources.
An Australian-Spanish joint venture is developing the 110 turbine wind farm on the properties of 25 landholders. The individual turbines are set to be more than 110 metres high, with three 63-metre rotor blades, near small towns at Lake Bathurst, Tarago, Mayfield, Boro, Mount Fairy and Manar.
Group spokesman Michael Crawford said many of the residents were current and former Commonwealth and state public servants who had migrated to the area, east of Goulburn, and were desperate to preserve their rural setting……..
The group believes the state’s wind farm development guidelines are inadequate, and fail to take full account of impacts including noise, visual changes, sleep and health effects and property values…..
The company has several proposed wind farm projects in New South Wales and Victoria.