Australian news, and some related international items

Canberra school Amaroo to get benefits from ACT’s largest rooftop solar system

sunAmaroo School to gleam under ACT’s largest rooftop solar system, Canberra Times, September 25, 2015   Canberra Times reporter Amaroo School will gleam beneath the territory’s largest rooftop solar system when school returns next term. Almost 2000 large solar panels will be installed across the school’s buildings, producing 600kW of power to be fed into the ACT electricity grid.

The school is leasing its roof space to solar energy company Solar Choice and will power the equivalent of about 175 Canberra houses each year. The 20-year lease will also generate $30,000 a year in school funding.

Solar Choice managing director Angus Gemmell said a team of 30 contractors would install the panels over the next fortnight while students were on school holidays, before solar inverters were installed the week after.

Mr Gemmell, who will soon oversee construction of the Majura Valley solar farm, said the school’s utility-scale panels would be about 25 per cent bigger than the panels installed on regular houses.

“We have large skillion, north-facing roofs that are much like a ski slope to the north. The panels can be perfectly flush-mounted, they won’t need tilt fronts,” he said………

the installation was part of a broader rollout of solar technology in the territory, which had seen rooftop solar capacity jump from less than one megawatt in early 2009 to about 45 megawatts today.

“As we head to a 90 per cent renewable energy target, rooftop solar is going to play an increasingly important role,” he said.”Medium and large-scale rooftop solar is the growth market now for PV [solar power] in Australia and I’m very excited to see Amaroo sharing in those benefits.”

Amaroo School principal Julie Cooper said the school, which is also home to a wind turbine, would make the most of the money injected into the school via the roof space lease.

September 26, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

French ACT co-operation on renewable energy for Canberra and South Australia

French diplomacy delivers renewable energy to Canberra and $250m to South Australia, ABC, SA Country Hour By James Jooste, 26 Aug 15 A joint venture between French company Neoen and the Australian Capital Territory Government will inject $250 million into the South Australian economy and deliver clean energy to the capital. Continue reading

August 29, 2015 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

Huge solar panel array for Canberra Hospital’s roof

Canberra Hospital to get one of the nation’s largest solar rooftop arrays August 15, 2015  Reporter at The Canberra Times The ACT government will spend up to $3.3 million, and install one of the nation’s largest rooftop solar arrays, to make Canberra Hospital more energy efficient.

The moves to add a 500-kilowatt solar system and install LED lights throughout all hospital buildings were aimed at slashing energy use at the site, which accounts for a quarter of the government’s electricity bill.

Overlapping two of his portfolios, Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell said the loan to ACT Health from the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Fund – by far the largest in the fund’s short history – would reap financial rewards.

“The Canberra Hospital delivers a critical 24-hour service to our community and is the ACT government’s largest user of energy,” he said.

“The announcement will see the hospital save a massive $490,000 a year in energy bills by 2017-18 and improve the government’s overall carbon footprint.”

The Sunday Canberra Times understands the hospital would become home to one of the top 10 largest roof-mounted arrays in Australia. A 500kW rooftop array [see below] at Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Melbourne, using 2000 panels, was Victoria’s largest when installed last year………

solar-toyota Melbourne

August 16, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Government’s attack on Clean Energy Finance Corporation threatens commercial solar projects in ACT

Federal directive on solar threatens commercial rooftop projects in the ACT, says Simon Corbell July 13, 2015  Chief Assembly reporter for The Canberra Times. The Abbott government’s directive against investment in small and medium-scale solar threatens commercial rooftop projects in Canberra, ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell said on Monday.

Mr Corbell attacked Prime Minister Tony Abbott as “public enemy No 1” on renewable energy.

“He’s putting jobs at risk, he’s putting investment at risk and he’s putting the industry at risk, an industry that will need to grow considerably over the next decade if Australia is to meet its international greenhouse gas reduction commitments,” Mr Corbell said.

He was responding to news of a draft directive from the Abbott government to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in small and medium-scale solar projects. The corporation was also ordered not to invest in new wind projects.

He was responding to news of a draft directive from the Abbott government to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in small and medium-scale solar projects. The corporation was also ordered not to invest in new wind projects.

Mr Corbell said there was potential for major growth in solar on office blocks, shopping centres and warehouses, but it needed the certainty provided by the corporation’s backing.
The ACT government has signed 20-year contracts with three wind farms and three solar farms, with a guaranteed price for the energy they produce over 20 years, as part of its ambitious target of meeting 90 per cent of the city’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020. One of the solar farms is operational to date. Still to come is funding for “next-generation” solar, and more wind projects.

Mr Corbell said the ACT’s large-scale projects were not threatened by the decision, with the ACT government’s funding providing the certainty that companies and financiers needed.

Queensland, South Australia and Victoria were already looking at the ACT’s model, he said.

July 15, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

100% renewable energy will power Canberra’s light rail

Canberra light rail to run on 100pc renewable energy, Capital Metro Minister says, ABC News 20 June 15  Stage one of Canberra’s light rail network will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, according to Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell.

Mr Corbell said the multi-million-dollar transport project, linking Civic to Gungahlin in Canberra’s north, provided a significant opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the territory…….

June 19, 2015 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

Australian electricity utilities to supply battery energy storage

battey TeslaAustralian Utilities Cozy Up to Home Storage: ‘If We Don’t Respond, Someone Else Will’ Three Australian power companies are set to offer Panasonic’s residential battery systems. Greentech Grid  Jason Deign  June 5, 2015

Australian utilities are moving to combat the threat of revenue loss from residential energy storage by opting to supply batteries themselves. Three companies — Red Energy, Ergon Energy and ActewAGL — announced trials offering Panasonic battery systems.

“Our customers are already showing interest in this technology, and if we don’t respond to what our customers want, someone else will,” said ActewAGL CEO Michael Costello.

The Australian Capital Territory utility, which already has more than 15,000 residential installations in its catchment area, expects to start offering the systems this October.

“The trial will validate batteries as a product offering in the Canberra environment and evaluate the product functionality,” Costello said.

He confirmed ActewAGL had been working with Panasonic for two years “on how to make a trial of battery energy storage in Canberra a reality.”

Panasonic, which last year won the contract to supply Tesla’s Gigafactory in the U.S., is said to be keen on using utilities and retailers as a channel to the residential market, rather than selling direct to homeowners…….

June 6, 2015 Posted by | ACT, storage | Leave a comment

Canberra battery storage trial likely to kill the myth of “no baseload renewables power”

Battery trial could kill anti-renewable energy argument    Reporter at The Canberra Times A three-year trial of batteries to find the most effective electricity storage options could kill the anti-renewable energy argument once and for all and help households with rooftop solar choose the best products for them, the company behind the tests says.

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.

logo-ARENAA testing centre will be established at the Canberra Institute of Technology for the trials to be partially funded by $450,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

T Power’s managing Director Simon Troman said storage was the next step needed to help integrate renewable energy, especially solar, into electricity grids.

 “If we can nail this down it means that the value of the PV solar on the grid is no longer just in the sunshine hours, but in the whole 24-hours of the day,” he said.

battey Tesla“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

May 9, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | 1 Comment

Australian Capital Territory could become Australia’s Silicon Valley of renewable energy

ACT pushes to expand its renewable energy industry  May 1, 2015 –  Reporter at The Canberra Times The ACT could become Australia’s Silicon Valley of renewable energy development and a test site for new logo-ARENAtechnology 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

May 2, 2015 Posted by | ACT, energy | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory helps Victoria’s wind energy industry to get going

WIND-FARMCoonooer Bridge Wind Farm a renewable win for Victoria in dire environment, SMH April 28, 2015  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

April 30, 2015 Posted by | ACT, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Professor Penny Sackett points to Australian Capital Territory’s leadership on Climate Change

climate-changeSustainability Symposium: World to learn from Canberra’s climate change policy April 16, 2015   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……..

April 17, 2015 Posted by | ACT, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory a winner for renewable energy jobs

ACT renewable energy jobs soar in past five years April 14, 2015  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.

April 15, 2015 Posted by | ACT, employment | Leave a comment

ACT solar farm project will go ahead – in a different location

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.”……

March 25, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory rejects hosting radioactive waste dump

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.

March 16, 2015 Posted by | ACT, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia and ACT are ahead in renewable energy

Hitting the Renewable Energy Target,   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

February 4, 2015 Posted by | ACT, energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Strong interest from South Australia and Victoria in ACT’s wind energy auction

Parkinson-Report-ACT wind energy auction: And the winners are …. REneweconomy, By  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………….

January 16, 2015 Posted by | ACT, South Australia, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment


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