Australian news, and some related international items

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

Solar energy to power Perth

text-people-power-solarSolar to fuel new power generation Daniel Mercer August 27, 2015, 

Nearly all of Perth’s daytime electricity needs will be met by rooftop solar panels within a decade, according to State Energy Minister Mike Nahan.In his strongest comments yet on the rampant popularity of solar panels, Dr Nahan told an Energy in WA conference the technology would provide virtually all new generation capacity by 2025.

Fuelled by falling solar panel prices and rising electricity tariffs, demand for solar cells has been running at 20-30 per cent in Perth for the past six years.

About 170,000 households in the South West grid covering Perth now have a system.

Dr Nahan said installed solar capacity across the city was about 500MW — or the equivalent of a major base-load power station — and this was expected to more than double within years.

“We expect that the bulk of generating capacity during sunlight hours in the metro area in about 10 years time will be provided by rooftop solar,” Dr Nahan said.

“That’s the reality. So it is going to provide the bulk of additional capacity going forward.

“It will also displace a lot of the existing capacity. It’s low-priced, it’s democratically determined and it’s something we’re committed to facilitating.”

The comments came as Dr Nahan provided an update of the Government’s plans to shake up the electricity sector.

He said moves to end Synergy’s monopoly over the household power market and throw it open to competition by 2018 were on track.

Before the Government could do that, however, he said the subsidy to the State-owned utility would need to be erased and excess capacity from the system stripped by reducing some Synergy capacity.

He said it was too early to say which plants would be closed

August 27, 2015 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Citigroup analysis finds that renewable energy IS cheaper than fossil fuel energy

Parkinson-Report-Giles Parkinson: Why wind and solar are already better value than fossil fuels.When radio shock jock Alan Jones got the cost of wind energy so horribly wrong in front of a million or so viewers on ABC TV last month, he did more than misplace a decimal point. He repeated an often-made misunderstanding about the costs of energy, and why renewables are already better value than fossil fuels. …

Jones admitted his error, but he remained unbowed on his view of wind energy and renewables in general. Like the Coalition government, its advisors, and other opponents of renewable energy, including elements of the Murdo ch media, Jones is convinced that renewable energy will cause overall consumer costs to soar. But he is wrong about that too.
Citigroup has published a detailed analysis of the costs of various energy sources, and it concludes that if all the costs of generation are included then renewables turn out to be cheaper than fossil fuels and a “benefit rather than a cost to society.” &

August 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Sunshine Coast solar farm to start building before Christmas

map-Sunshine-CoastSunshine Coast closer to solar farm starting before Christmas, Brisbane Times, August 20, 2015 -Tony Moore The Sunshine Coast will beat a number of south-east Queensland councils to the solar energy punch by beginning to build its own 15-megawatt solar energy farm before Christmas 2015.

It will mean the Sunshine Coast Council will be Australia’s first council to own and use its own solar energy plant.

The Sunshine Coast plans to meet the cost of its own electricity once the plant is at full production, saving the council about $9 million over 30 years, Mayor Mark Jamieson said.

The Sunshine Coast is close to announcing the successful tender for the project………

August 20, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Australia’s Photovoltaic Institute ahead of Google with software tool for estimating solar savings

Aust-sunGoogle allows households to calculate solar system savings, but Australia beats them to it, Business Spectator TRISTAN EDIS , 18 Aug 15, Google has unveiled a software tool that assists home owners to estimate how much they could save on their energy bill from placing solar panels on their available roof space. Yet Australia’s Photovoltaic Institute had already developed a similar tool some time ago.

The Google tool, known as Project Sunroof, uses high resolution aerial maps to estimate the suitable roof space of a building that could host solar panels, and then calculates the amount of energy these panels would produce and associated power bill savings. It does this taking into account the amount of solar radiation for that geographic location and then adjusts for factors such as roof orientation and shade from nearby buildings and trees. At present the tool is only available for the US locations of the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno in central California and the North-east coast city of Boston.

However the Australian Photovoltaic Institute has designed almost precisely the same tool, releasing it several months ago.  Called the Live Solar Potential Tool, it is a free to use tool that operates in a similar manner to Google Earth, allowing anyone to zoom in on a specific household and then estimate how much energy a given area of the rooftop would be likely to generate with solar panels……..

August 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | 2 Comments

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

Guidelines for growing renewable energy in Victoria

Victoria-sunny.psdFour easy ways to grow renewable energy in Victoria, REneweconomy, By  on 12 August 2015  With the Abbott government sabotaging Australia’s clean energy future, states such as Victoria must step up and lead on renewable energy.

The uncertainty unleashed by the Abbott government has cost Australia’s renewable energy sector dearly. On the Prime Minister’s watch, investment has collapsed by 90 per cent and over 2,500 people working in the sector have lost their job.

Not content with its savage 20% cut to the national Renewable Energy Target, the Abbott government has dictated to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation that it can no longer invest in wind farms and rooftop solar power.

This is the context in which the Daniel Andrews government is developing its Renewable Energy Action Plan to grow the sector and jobs in Victoria.

The Andrews government has been sending all the right signals when it comes to renewable energy. It was elected with a commitment to repeal the Baillieu-era restrictions on wind farms. And it delivered on the commitment just months after taking office.

To date, the Andrews government has provided financial support for the Newstead community in it pursuit to be 100 per cent renewable by 2017, as well as a 30-KW community solar project in Woodend. It has also established a $20 million New Energy Fund to encourage investment in renewable energy and cleantech projects.

The Andrews government’s Renewable Energy Action Plan is due for release later in 2015 and will build on these positive first steps.

“We will do whatever we need to do to increase the total percentage of energy generated from clean sources but also do whatever we can to create more jobs,” Premier Andrews said while visiting the Ararat wind farm.

There are some straightforward ways the Victorian government can increase renewables before it announces its comprehensive plan. Continue reading

August 14, 2015 Posted by | energy, Victoria | 1 Comment

Strategy for developing Australia’s renewable energy

Australia-solar-plugIn Australia, survey evidence has shown clearly that renewable energy is wildly popular (research and development on renewable and other low-emissions technologies also enjoys wide popularity across all climate-relevant segments of society), whereas fossil fuels, nuclear power, carbon taxes and increases in electricity bills are very unpopular. One conclusion from this evidence is clear: Labor’s renewable energy frame is likely to be appealing, and the Abbott Government’s fetishisation of coal is likely to be unappealing.
Australia’s renewable energy wars: How to win the argument for green power, The Interpreter,  12 August 2015 

The first post in this three-part series compared the energy plans of Australia’s major political parties with the rest of the world. The second post considered the economics of Australia transitioning to a renewables-based energy system. When it comes to the politics of climate change and renewable energy, it is relevant to consider both strategy and tactics.

Climate change is not going to be solved with a single giant global treaty and a perfect emissions trading scheme. Climate action is not, internationally or domestically, a ‘one shot game’. As such, agents of climate action, including policymakers, must take seriously the idea that decarbonising global and national economic sectors will require a strategic approach. Continue reading

August 14, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Solar power is top choice for Australians, nuclear is last

Solar Power Still The Preferred Energy Choice Of Australians  August 10, 2015

The Climate Institute has released Climate of the Nation 2015, its annual review of public attitudes on climate change and its solutions.Even in the face of stinging attacks from the Coalition, renewable energy has become even more popular with the Australian public – and fossil fuels less so.

Among all energy sources, solar power leads in popularity at 84 per cent, up 2 points on last year. Women turned out to be the strongest supporters of solar energy; with 86% ranking it their most preferred choice, compared to 81% of men.

Solar power is followed by wind at 69% (up 5 points on last year).

The popularity of both gas and nuclear crashed 7 points to 21 and 13 per cent respectively; making nuclear and coal tied as least preferred energy sources. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Australian electricity companies offer solar, battery technology for lease

Australia-solar-plugSolar power for rent: Electricity companies offer solar, battery technology for lease  AM  By Eric Tlozek Electricity companies have offered solar and battery systems for lease in a bid to keep customers and lower their own costs. Continue reading

August 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, storage | 1 Comment

South Australia’s new wind farm creating 250 construction jobs

wind-turb-sm  Work on Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown to create 250 construction jobs BELINDA WILLIS THE ADVERTISER AUGUST 06, 2015

WORK on a new 100-turbine wind farm in the state’s mid-north is expected to start within months, creating up to 250 jobs during construction.

Canberra-headquartered Neoen Australia’s $250 million investment in the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown was signed off by state Planning Minister John Rau on Friday, with its first stage of 100 megawatts production planned to be in operation in 2017.

Two South Australian firms, Catcon for civil construction and CPP for electrical works, have been confirmed as contractors by Neoen Australia managing director Franck Woitiez.

It is believed to be the state’s first new wind farm construction since the Federal Government’s political compromise in May on reducing the nation’s Renewable Energy Target to 33,000 gigawatt hours by 2020, down from 41,000 gigawatt hours. Continue reading

August 7, 2015 Posted by | South Australia, wind | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency helps kick off Queensland’s ‘Virtual solar plant’

text-people-power-solar‘Virtual solar plant’ in home trial in Queensland August 6, 2015 Angela Macdonald-Smith  Californian electricity storage developer Sunverge Energy has forged an alliance with Ergon Energy for a limited commercial rollout of its power systems in Queensland homes, with at least two similar deals with other Australian partners expected to follow later this year.

The partnership with the Queensland utility, which also involves US-listed solar panel provider SunPower, will tap into keen interest in battery storage among households in Australia, partly thanks to the huge popularity of rooftop solar.

The deal announced on Thursday involves installing SunPower solar panels and Sunverge energy storage systems in 33 homes in Toowoomba, Townsville and Cannonvale in a program that will receive $400,000 of funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Sunverge systems include back-up power, a six-kilowatt inverter with 11.6 kilowatt-hours of energy and a sophisticated communications and control capability that allows the utility to control and collectively manage them to increase the efficiency of power supply on its grid. Continue reading

August 7, 2015 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Wind inquiry: Australia’s pro-nuclear Senate trio downgrades nation’s peak medical research body

The Committee also cast doubt on the reliability of National Health and Medical Research Council investigations of the issue, after the nation’s peak research body reported a lack of evidence to support claims of the harmful effects of wind turbines.

It proposed the IESC take the lead on conducting research on the issue, dismissing the NHMRC’s efforts in the area as “manifestly inadequate”.

But in a dissenting report, Labor Senator Anne Urquhart shredded the credibility of Sarah Laurie, who the majority senators relied heavily upon for evidence of the adverse health effects of wind farms, as an authority on the issue.

SenatorsSenators want federal health body sidelined on wind turbine investigations, REneweconomy,  By  on 4 August 2015 Australian Medicine The Federal Government has been urged to sideline the nation’s peak medical research body and set up a stand-alone scientific committee to investigate the health effects of wind farm noise.

The Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines, chaired by Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan, has recommended the establishment of an Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC) on Industrial Sound to research the health effects of wind turbines “and any other industrial projects which emit sound and vibration energy” and develop a national noise standard for wind farms.

The IESC, which along with a National Wind Farm Ombudsman, would be paid for through a levy on wind farm operators, would provide advice to State governments on the health effects of any proposed or existing wind farm, and the Senate committee called for states that did not accept expert advice or adopt the national noise standard to be overruled by the Commonwealth.

The recommendations are in keeping with Government hostility to the wind power industry. Continue reading

August 5, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Batteries about to change everything – off-grid or on grid electricity

With the world’s highest uptake of residential solar per capita, Australian demand for batteries that allow households to better match up the power generated from their rooftop panels with when they want to use it is primed to take off……..

Morgan Stanley estimates that 2.4 million east coast homes will have batteries installed within the next few years.

Instead of having to draw on peak-tariff electricity from the grid in the evenings, a household can then use stored energy, saving money and helping prevent the grid from overloading. Batteries also provide back-up power for computers, lighting and life-support systems that have to stay on during power cuts.

How battery-powered homes are unplugging Australia, SMH, August 1, 2015  Energy Reporter “……….While the much-hyped Powerwall home battery system from Californian electric car pioneer Tesla Motors won’t be available locally until 2016, lithium-ion batteries have been on offer to Australian homes and businesses for the last year or so.

High-tech, adaptable and controllable and typically the size of a small fridge, these systems have left clumsy and ugly lead acid batteries far behind.

Less than a week after the soft launch of the sleek Powerwall and larger Powerpack batteries in late April, Tesla was said to have sold out until mid-2016 after about $US800 million of orders for some 55,000 Powerwalls and 25,000 commercial units.

In Australia, the 1.4 million homes with rooftop solar panels are the battleground for battery providers and retailers.

diagram battery + solar

Others, like Whiltsher, are starting from scratch, having batteries and rooftop solar fitted at the same time. Even for homes without solar PV panels, batteries could make economic sense down the track, many say. Continue reading

August 5, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

Energy storage revolutionising electricity – especially in off-grid solar

The next biggest potential market in Australia for energy storage – as a value proposition – would be the off-grid market, the report finds.

“Off-grid electricity is Australia’s most expensive electricity due to the underlying high gas and diesel prices in remote areas,” it notes.

“As such, the business case for renewables as a means to offset fuel use is strong. Similarly, in order to enable higher penetrations of renewables, energy storage can be utilised to manage the intermittent nature of wind or solar generation.”

Energy storage ‘megashift’ ahead, battery costs set to fall 60% by 2020, REneweconomy By  on 3 August 2015 [excellent graphs and tables] The key role energy storage will play in the electricity grids of the future – and the vital importance of investing in and testing the various emerging battery storage technologies – has been highlighted in a major report published by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency on Monday, which predicts a 40-60 per cent price plunge for certain battery technologies by 2020. Continue reading

August 5, 2015 Posted by | storage | Leave a comment


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