Australian news, and some related international items

Distributed solar energy is transforming Australia’s electricity system

Energy myths exposed: King Coal or King Solar? “   The Conversation,  by Ray Wills, Adjunct Professor, School of Earth and Environment at University of Western Australia and Peter Newman Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University   16 June 2012, “…….. A new report was released by the Australian PV Association (APVA)… It reveals a total of 837 MW of PV was installed in Australia in 2011, capacity not considered in the BREE publication. Add 2668 MW from BREE to 837 MW from APVA and we find solar delivered an amazing 25% of new installed capacity in Australia in 2011. Revised proportions for the other generation is gas 29%, wind 33% and coal 14%. Renewables added a remarkable 58% of all electricity generation capacity in Australia in 2011.

King Coal is well and truly on the way out. What’s more, renewables now make up over half of all new power being generated in Australia.

There is a major challenge in Australia, and globally, to understand the rapidly changing scene of energy investment toward sustainable energy. The agencies responsible for reporting these metrics are not reporting the whole picture, because the conventional view of energy markets doesn’t consider you can generate a lot of electricity on homes…….

…and for the rest of the world

The global data can also be confirmed, though it’s not quite as simple. A major source for the global data is Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) who first showed that in 2008 there had been a higher amount of investment in renewables than in fossil fuel. BNEF have done several revisions since and found a dramatic three-fold increase between 2004 and 2008 in renewables investment. There was a plateau for 2009 and then a further increase in 2010 and 2011 (see Figure 1). This is real data rigorously collected  by BNEF…….

We’re not using as much power……

Businesses are changing the energy they invest in…..

Renewables are becoming cheaper, more reliable and more widespread….

The new paradigm that helps to explain the “fundamental re-engineering of the world’s energy architecture” is that renewables, especially PV, are producing power right where it is needed. There is no elaborate distribution system needed; no poles and wires and sub-stations that push the power up in voltage to send it over long distances and then brings it down in voltage for the user. In electricity, network costs are the largest component accounting for 50-60% of the cost of electricity . Distribution costs have contributed almost 2/3 of price rises over recent years.

Last week the City of Sydney took the next step , introducing a power system to the CBD no longer dependent on coal from the Hunter Valley. Based on gas and renewables, the system will save 80% of the greenhouse gas in the present system and will be cheaper for businesses as it does not need the expensive distribution system.

Why wouldn’t you do this if new technologies allowed it?

These new sustainable energy systems are rapidly being adopted across the world. They will continue to demonstrate that the inevitable continued growth of coal, and the unfortunate cost and impracticality of renewables, are in reality just myths.  ….

June 16, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar |

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