Australian news, and some related international items

Despite grid problems, Australia’s solar, wind, energy boom to power ahead in 2019

Australia’s solar, wind boom to power past grid woes in 2019, Sonali Paul, MELBOURNE (Reuters) 21 Jan 19 – Australia’s wind and solar boom looks set to power through 2019 following a record year, despite grid constraints and extra scrutiny from network operators to make sure new projects don’t spark blackouts like ones that hit two years ago.

Abundant wind and sun, falling turbine and panel costs, and corporate demand for contracts to hedge against rising power tariffs have attracted dozens of international developers looking to build wind and solar farms Down Under.

Even though the developers have met with flip-flops on energy policy, a strained grid that has trouble integrating intermittent renewable power, and unexpected hook-up costs, they still see Australia as a growth market.

“We believe that we have a great future in Australia, because we have the right answers,” said Xavier Barbaro, Chief Executive of France’s Neoen (NEOEN.PA), whose biggest market is Australia.

Companies like Neoen, its compatriot Total-Eren (TOTF.PA), India’s Adani (ADEL.NS), U.S. utility AES Corp (AES.N) and Germany’s Sonnen are expanding in Australia, looking to fill a gap as ageing coal-fired plants are retired over the next two decades.

“Confidence is high as the industry enters 2019, with unprecedented levels of construction activity under way,” said Anna Freeman, a director at the Clean Energy Council, an industry group.

Australia generates nearly 20 percent of its electricity from renewables. This is forecast to jump to 75 percent over the next 20 years.

A total of 14.7 gigawatts (GW) of large-scale solar and wind projects worth A$20 billion ($14 billion) were under construction or reached financial close last year, more than double 2017’s record, according to the Clean Energy Council.


A Clean Energy Council survey of senior executives in December found grid connection is the biggest industry concern heading into 2019, Freeman said.

UK-based solar investor Octopus Investments said grid issues were what took it two years to choose its first investment in Australia. The Darlington Point solar farm is about to begin construction and will be the country’s largest.

“The grid is the biggest issue where assets fail in our project filter,” Octopus Managing Director Sam Reynolds told Reuters, declining to name projects the company rejected……..


January 22, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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