Audio: Renewable energy finally makes economic sense, ABC Radio National 3 March 2014 Critics says renewable energy cannot supply a reliable base-load of electricity, a claim rejected by author Mark Diesendorf. In this opinion piece, he argues that wind, solar and other technologies are not only better for the environment, they make economic and scientific sense as well.You may have recently heard the following common claim repeated by aproponent of nuclear power: renewable energy cannot supply ‘base-load’ electric power. This misleading claim is based on the false assumption that the only way to supply base-load electricity demand is via coal and nuclear power stations.
Australia’s solar industry prepares for battle, pvmagazine 06. FEBRUARY 2014 | BY: EDGAR MEZA The government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott looks set to gut the country’s Renewable Energy Target program. Critics accuse Abbott of having misrepresented his stance on renewables. Australia’s renewable energy sector is feeling increasingly threatened by the government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
In a report on Thursday in U.K. newspaper The Guardian, opposition Labor Party environment spokesman Mark Butler took Abbott to task. Butler accused the prime minister of having pretended to support the renewables industry before the election but said he was now “launching a full-frontal attack” on the sector…….
The Labor environment spokesman said Abbott had taken control of a scheduled review of the country’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), adding that the current ruling coalition may reassess the program due to increases in power prices.
Butler said Labor would continue to oppose the repeal of the country’s carbon tax when parliament resumes this month and added that the party was also preparing “to ramp up a community campaign in support of renewable energy.” The renewable energy sector has become increasingly alarmed at the possibility of the government drastically reducing or even abolishing the RET.
The Australian solar council has already launched a “save solar” campaign out of fear the government review will immobilize the industry by eliminating the target, which requires 45,000 gigawatt hours of power to be sourced from renewables by 2020 and provides a subsidy to people who install solar systems. http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/australias-solar-industry-prepares-for-battle_100014143/#ixzz2se7wYtKC
under the status quo, those without air conditioning and with solar are being slugged unfairly.
Matthew Warren: The way we pay for electricity is out of date and urgently needs reform MATTHEW WARREN THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 03, 2014 THE recent intense heatwave across south-eastern Australia stretched many things to breaking point.Heatwaves provide a rare, but important examination of the power system.On a normal summer’s day in South Australia the peak load is around 1890 megawatts. In the heatwave it topped 3000 megawatts for almost three days straight. That put the network right at the edge of its capacity.
There is one key reason for these spikes in demand: increased deployment of airconditioners. On the hottest of days they are all turned on at once and this sends demand skyrocketing……
A large part of your household power bill is to pay for these infrequent events. It would make sense if those households with large air conditioners paid more than those who have only a small unit or none at all.
But they don’t. Continue reading
Construction begins on Nyngan, Australia’s largest solar PV plant REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 28 January 2014 Construction of AGL Energy’s $300 million solar PV plant in central NSW is set to begin, with the head contractor, First Solar, going on-site on Tuesday.
The ARENA-backed Nyngan Solar Plant – with more than 1,350,000 PV modules expected to be installed on a 250 hectare site – will be the largest PV plant in Australia, and the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, once finished.
Construction is expected to take around 18 months to complete, with the 102MW plant slated to be fully operational by June 2015. Continue reading
Australia Day honours for solar pioneers CHRISTOPHER DOYLE, ABC, 26 JAN 14 Two Australian scientists who have paved the way for solar thermal power plants worldwide have been honoured with Australia Day medals.
A WORLD POWERED BY solar energy is inevitable according to two distinguished scientists being honoured this Australia Day. Continue reading
Power company says solar panels can soon stand alone ANNABEL HEPWORTH THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 25, 2014 AUSTRALIA’S largest energy retailer is predicting that solar rooftop electricity panels will be competitive without subsidies in the next few years, adding to pressure on the federal Coalition to scale back the renewable energy target in this year’s review of the scheme.
The Weekend Australian can reveal that ahead of the RET review this year, Origin Energy — which has 4.3 million customers — thinks photovoltaic panels will be able to compete without subsidy in the next few years and wants this conclusion investigated as part of the review…..(subscribers only) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/power-company-says-solar-panels-can-soon-stand-alone/story-e6frg6xf-1226810029021#
Sun powers hot returns as Cairns takes a shine to solar power for profitable asset CAIRNS is reaping the benefits of tropical sunshine, with annual returns on investment in local solar power more than twice those of most other assets.http://www.cairnspost.com.au/lifestyle/sun-powers-hot-returns-as-cairns-takes-a-shine-to-solar-power-for-profitable-asset/story-fnjpuwet-1226808318516 24 Jan 14
The city has been revealed as one of the top performers in Australia for giving the best return on solar investment when compared with shares, property, gold, global fixed interest and fine art.
National solar provider Energy Matters recently used consumer feedback to rank each town for solar viability.
Cairns came in fifth on the national list, with a 20.1 per cent investment return per year for almost a quarter (23 per cent) of solar-eligible homes that had invested in the power source as of last March.
Townsville ranked the country’s top solar town with a 21.8 per cent annual return on investment, closely followed by Gladstone (21 per cent), and Brisbane and Mackay (both 20.2 per cent).
The figures took into account each city’s sunshine hours, the cost of a solar system for that region, local electricity rates and the region’s level of government support.
According to the report, returns from solar lie well ahead of the average returns for Australian shares (9.8 per cent), residential investment property (9.5 per cent), global fixed interest (8.5 per cent), fine art investment (8 per cent) and gold (4.1 per cent).
“Australians are constantly looking for the best place to invest their money, yet they’re overlooking one of the best, and it’s right above their head,” said Energy Matters co-founder Nick Brass.
He pointed to the initial outlay costs and consumer confusion around available government support for preventing more people seeking out solar.
Wade Allen, managing director ofNaked Energy, said Cairns’ solar consumers were still on the rise, despite a dip in numbers after July 1 last year when the solar grid feed-in tariff dropped from 44 to 8.
“It’s no longer a ‘plug and play’ situation,” he said. “We’re sizing solar systems perfectly for what people can use … and that’s how we’re able to help them achieve a good return.”
Abbott urged to cut rooftop solar in national renewables revamp http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/abbott-may-cut-rooftop-solar-national-renewables-revamp-83883 By Giles Parkinson on 23 January 2014 The Australian rooftop solar PV industry may have to prepare for a future with no federal government incentives. There is growing speculation that the small scale renewable certificate may be cut in a revamp of the national renewable energy target.
RenewEconomy understands that there is a renewed push by utilities and generators – particularly but not exclusively the state-owned ones – to close the small scale renewable energy scheme (SRES) and cease issuing renewable energy certificates for rooftop solar. Others suggest cutting the price cap on the certificates.
The renewable energy target is already under threat from utilities and generators, state governments, and sympathizers within the Abbott ministry to either remove, or severely dilute, the 20 per cent target. Continue reading
“The stand-alone approach would give electricity network companies the opportunity to sell assets that they can no longer afford to maintain, and creates the potential to unwind cross-subsidies from urban to regional consumers,”
Unplugging Australia From The Mains Grid http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4136 Regional towns and new housing estates in Australia have the potential to dump mains grid electricity supply quite soon according to a new report.
The document, prepared by Energy for the People and the ATA might initially send shivers down the spine of Big Energy; one that is already quivering from the impact of the home solar revolution in Australia.
This doesn’t necessarily mean households would be reliant on whatever panels they could fit on the roof. It could also involve “micro-grids” where communities buy back their local energy grid and invest in local energy generation and storage says Tosh Szatow, director of Energy for the People. Continue reading
Australia’s micro-grid opportunity, Business Spectator, Tristan Edis, 21 Jan 14 A new report released today suggests that the improving economics of solar and battery technology mean that by 2020 it would be cost-effective for greenfield housing
What’s highly surprising is that the authors of the report suggest that it could be economically viable for some Victorian regional towns to move to self-contained solar micro-grids today.
The study was prepared by the Alternative Technology Association and the organisation Energy for the People, which is focused on developing community clean-energy power projects. It looked at three alternative Victorian locations for assessing the viability of stand-alone power solutions: the regional town of Bendigo; Werribee – a fringe suburb of Melbourne experiencing rapid greenfield housing estate growth; and inner urban Melbourne. Continue reading
Home Solar: Australia’s Best-Performing Investment http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4131 20 January 2013 - National solar provider Energy Matters has released consumer insights that rank each town for solar viability and also reveal the true investment potential of solar power in comparison to shares, property, gold, global fixed interest or even fine art.
The figures will startle many; with it outperforming all other investment options using current ASX figures and other key organisations that rate investment opportunities.
The consumer insights also revealed Townsville in Queensland was Australia’s top address for solar, giving its residents a healthy return of investment of 21.8% per year. Other mainland capital cities included Brisbane (annual return of investment of 20.2%), Adelaide (19.1%), Sydney (18.9%), Perth 17.8%) and Melbourne (13.2%). Continue reading
Bright sparks scoop top award for cutting cost of solar power, The Age, 20 Jan 14 Peter Hannam ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD AUSTRALIA’S WORLD-LEADING EFFORTS TO DRIVE DOWN THE COST OF SOLAR ENERGY HAVE BEEN RECOGNISED WITH AN AUSTRALIA-BASED RESEARCHER TAKING OUT THE ENGINEERING EQUIVALENT OF THE OSCARS.
Professor Stuart Wenham and his team at the University of NSW won this year’s A. F. Harvey Engineering Research Prize from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and plan to plough the $560,000 award – one of the world’s richest – back into their work. “The prizemoney is going to be very valuable for us,” Professor Wenham said. “We’re going to use that to expand one of the research areas that actually contributed to winning us the prize.”
As Fairfax Media reported in May, Professor Wenham’s team discovered methods to control hydrogen atoms to correct deficiencies in silicon, the most costly material in solar photovoltaic (PV) cells.
As a result of the new hydrogenation process, lower-quality low-cost silicon can achieve the same performance as typical commercial cells using the expensive high-purity silicon, which now convert about 17-20 per cent of the sun’s energy into electricity.”
Australian Heatwave Solar Power Statistics http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4129 17 Jan 14, The contribution solar energy has made in combating the effects of the current heatwave is significant.
The Australian Solar Council has found that at their peak on Wednesday,solar panel systems were contributing the following as a percentage of state electricity use:
- 27.54% in South Australia
- 11.77% in Western Australia
- 8.14% in Queensland
- 5.38% in Victoria
- 5.23% in New South Wales
The value of this power was not only in the quantity, but also in its timing; with peak production between 2:30pm-5:00pm – a timeframe when demand is high. This helped to rein in wholesale pricing which has reached staggering levels at times and possibly reduced the number of blackouts and load shedding that may have otherwise occurred.
Load shedding and blackouts are not only inconvenient and can cause significant economic losses; the often sudden nature of these events can also be dangerous.
“As a community we should be congratulating those people who have made a significant personal investment in installing solar PV, which is now paying dividends for the entire community,” said John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council.
“Because solar PV produces electricity where it is used and does not need vast network infrastructure, the power that is produced is all being used to best effect, which adds up to a big saving for solar.”
“In a country like Australia where 1 in 100 year heat waves are becoming more frequent, solar is the perfect solution” said Mr. Grimes. “We expect more and more Australians to invest in solar PV systems to take control of their own energy future.”
While some states are yet to feel any relief from the heat, it’s reassuring to know that thousands of solar power systems are quietly working away delivering clean energy and helping to keep the lights and cool on indoors for many.
Australian Youth Climate Coalition 16 Jan 14 We’re excited to share a great win with Repower Port Augusta
Today the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the South Australian Government announced that they have committed to funding for Alinta Energy to run a feasibility study into building solar thermal in Port Augusta.
This is a huge step forward in building our first solar thermal plant!
The Australian Greens BREAKING NEWS: South Australia is one step closer to having a solar thermal plant!
On a day when we are sweltering under record-breaking heat, and climate change looms large, it has just been announced Alinta Energy has received ARENA funding for a feasibility study into solar thermal in Pt Augusta.
A huge effort from the team at Repower Port Augusta who have worked tirelessly on this project, and great news for the Port Augusta community. Bring on a healthy clean energy future!
Australia reaches nearly two million small scale solar systems http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/australia-reaches-nearly-two-million-small-scale-solar-systems-66389 By Giles Parkinson on 9 January 2014 Clean Energy Regulator says Australia now has 2 million small scale renewable energy systems – enough to power Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra.
Australia has now installed more than 2 million small scale renewable energy systems – reaching the target just eight months after the country achieved its first one million rooftop solar systems.
The announcement came from the Clean Energy Regulator, which manages Australia’s renewable energy target. The total is made up of 1.83 million small scale solar systems (both rooftop PV and solar hot water, and 173,000 air source heat pumps – see graph below).
The CER said the data underlines the fact that investment in small-scale renewable energy continues to flourish in Australia. Nearly all subsidies have been removed for small scale installations, although rooftop solar and other systems still benefit from renewable energy certificates. Continue reading