Australian news, and some related international items

Port Augusta highlights the energy transformation now happening in Australia

Leading the transformation, though, is the city of Port Augusta in South Australia……Nothing highlights the clean energy transformation more dramatically than what is happening in that city.

Tide turns as solar, storage costs trump ideologues and incumbents, REneweconomy, By  on 13 April 2017

Looking at the machinations over the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin this week, or seeing certain Coalition Senators howling at the moon over wind turbine “emissions”, or the Treasurer brandishing a lump of coal in parliament, it is hard to imagine that any sort of progress has been made in Australia in what all but a determined few accept is the inevitable clean energy transition.

But there is no doubt that the transition is happening. Over the last few months, small but significant gains have been made as key politicians, regulators, market operators and many incumbents realise just how quickly the cost of new competition technologies are falling, and how quick the transition to a smarter, cleaner, more reliable and cheaper grid might be.

Awareness about the plunging costs of wind energy, solar energy and battery storage, along with the enabling software that could lead to a complete redesign of the way we generator, share, transport and use energy, is growing each day.

Politicians – both to the left and the right – are starting to embrace this change. The public is supportive, while the fossil fuel incumbents are slowly and surely losing their social licence, both due to the pollution levels of their plant and their manipulation of prices. Even the regulatory barriers that currently protect their business models are starting to unwind.

This is not to say that victory is at hand, or that this transformation will suddenly be complete within a few years. It won’t. But change is starting to happen quickly, old plant is being replace by new, rules are being changed, industry leaders are starting to talk of a new energy vision. Consumers are picking up new technology with increasing speed.

And here are a bunch of key developments in Australia over the last few months that indicate that the plunging cost of key technologies costs will trump the resistance of conservative ideologues and fossil fuel incumbents:

The new boss at the Australian Energy Market Operator………

South Australia’s energy plan…….

The billionaire tweets:……

Falling costs of renewable technologies:…….

Cheap electricity for consumers:……

Fossil fuel generator price rorting:…..

The transformation of Port Augusta

Much has been and will be written about the challenges facing the Latrobe Valley, and soon the Hunter valley as their massive coal-fired generators close down.

Leading the transformation, though, is the city of Port Augusta in South Australia. Its two brown coal generators, Playford and Northern, have closed in the last few years – and are now being replaced by solar thermal, solar PV and wind energy.

The greenhouses at the Sundrop tomato farm are now heated and powered by a statuesque solar tower, a 300MW solar farm that is “battery ready” has already begun construction, and a contract for a 212MW wind farm was also signed this week.

Many other projects are also looking to begin, none more so than the 110MW Aurora solar tower and molten salt storage facility, which looks to have gained the promise of a $100 million concessional loan from the federal government.

Nothing highlights the clean energy transformation more dramatically than what is happening in that city. Good on the council, and good on the people at Repower Port Augusta for having the vision and drive to help make it happen. And good on the project developers and financiers for delivering.



April 15, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, South Australia

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