Melbourne tram network to use solar energy by end of 2018, Government says http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-19/melbourne-tram-network-to-use-solar-energy-by-end-of-2018/8194642 A new solar energy plant to be built in regional Victoria will run Melbourne’s entire tram network by the end of 2018, the State Government has said.
The Government said it would run a tender to build 75 megawatts of new solar farms — most likely in the state’s north-west — by the end of next year.
About half of the energy produced by the farms will offset the amount of electricity needed to run 401 trams on Melbourne’s network.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the plan was a world first.
“The world is moving to clean energy, we made a commitment as a Government, we continue to uphold that commitment to grow renewable energy,” she said.
“The world is moving to clean energy, we made a commitment as a Government, we continue to uphold that commitment to grow renewable energy,” she said.
But Ms D’Ambrosio would not say how much extra the solar energy would cost.
“We won’t be disclosing that figure,” she said.
“We know that [the] cost of solar plant is coming down every single day and we know that we will drive a very competitive process.”
The Government said the project would create 300 new jobs.
It last year approved a $650-million wind farm near Dundonnell, in south-west Victoria, the state’s largest.
Solar cooling systems take heat out of summer’s hottest days https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/dec/20/solar-cooling-systems-take-heat-out-of-summers-hottest-days
A few Australian businesses are exploiting the searing heat of summer to create purpose-designed solar cooling systems whose benefits extend far beyond electricity savings, Guardian, Dyani Lewis, 20 December 16,
As Australia settles in for another long hot summer, the demand for air-conditioning is set to surge. In fact, with the World Meteorological Organisation stating that 2016 is likely to be the hottest year on record, it’s no surprise an estimated 1.6bn new air conditioners are likely to be installed globally by 2050.
Powering all these units will be a challenge, especially on summer’s hottest days. In Australia, peak demand days can drive electricity usage to almost double and upgrading infrastructure to meet the increased demand can cost more than four times what each additional air-conditioning unit costs.
Yet an emerging sector of the solar industry is turning the searing heat of summer into cooling by using solar heat or electricity. For those developing the technology, the benefits of solar cooling are obvious: the days when cooling is needed the most are also the days when solar works best.
Nevertheless, several solar cooling technologies are making their way to market. While off-the-shelf systems for most are still years away, a handful of businesses have already opted for purpose-designed solar cooling systems, which experts hope will convince others to follow their lead.
Echuca regional hospital in rural Victoria was one of the first to take the leap into solar cooling. In 2010, with support from Sustainability Victoria, the hospital designed and installed a solar heat–driven absorption chiller with engineering firm WSP consultants.
A 300 sq m roof-mounted evacuated tube solar field feeds hot water to a 500 kW chiller that was set to save the hospital $60,000 on energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 1,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
The system was not designed to run entirely off solar (a gas-fired boiler takes up the slack on hot days), but “we have had days where we run 100% solar” for both cooling and hot water, says Echuca regional health executive project manager Mark Hooper.
The benefits of solar were clear enough that a larger 1,500 kW chiller, connected to a field of trough-shaped solar collectors that track the sun during the day, was installed during the hospital’s recent expansion and redevelopment. This second chiller started operating in November and an analysis of the resulting energy and emissions savings will be assessed in conjunction with CSIRO.
Meanwhile, Stockland Wendouree shopping centre in Ballarat, Victoria, is trialling a CSIRO-designed solar cooling system with funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena). Trough-shaped metal collectors on the centre’s rooftop collect solar heat that is used to dry out a desiccant matrix (much like the silica gel sachets in your shoebox) that dehumidifies air brought in from outside. The hot, dry air is then directed to an indirect evaporative cooler, which delivers cool, dry air into the shopping centre.
The yearlong trial is still under way and hasn’t yet seen a full summer to calculate energy savings, but “it’s going very well,” says CSIRO’s Stephen White. The system is 50% more efficient than an earlier iteration of the design – an important improvement given many buildings don’t have the sprawling rooftop spaces of a shopping centre to mount large solar collector arrays.
With photovoltaic cells more affordable than ever, cooling systems that run off solar electricity are already commercially available. But solar thermal systems could still find a place in the market, according to Guthrie, especially for larger commercial buildings. “There’s no single solution,” he says.
Like any solar technology, solar cooling doesn’t work 24/7. Storing the solar energy collected during the day for use overnight is possible. Stockland’s system uses thermal oil storage, for example, and Echuca regional hospital has insulated its firewater tanks to store chilled water. But there are also efforts to store heat or cooling from one season to the next using underground storage tanks.
Whichever systems a building adopts, White says the benefits of solar cooling extend beyond electricity savings. “It’s not just about the cents per kilowatt hour avoided, but it’s also about the value of the asset itself,” he says.
For Hooper, the motivation was even simpler: “We did it to ensure that our children have a future.”
Comments on Preliminary Report SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SEPARATION EVENT, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)
The “separation event” was the disconnection of the Heywood interconnector into South Australia.
The following uses the same headings as the AEMO preliminary report.
A short-circuit in a Victorian 500 kV (kilovolt), alternating current (AC) transmission line connected to the Heywood Victorian-SA interconnector resulted in the SA electricity network being disconnected from the Heywood interconnector.
At the time of the “incident” the Victorian electricity network was highly vulnerable to disruption. One of the two circuits served by the Heywood interconnector had been taken out of operation for maintenance. To make matters worse, one of the circuits supplying the Alcoa aluminium smelter at Portland was also out of service. Like all aluminium smelters, the Portland smelter had a very heavy electricity demand (about 480 MW).
The vulnerability of the Victorian electricity network meant that the SA network was also vulnerable to an abrupt loss of 230 MW. Nevertheless, no measures had been put in place to immediately replace power supply from Victoria in the event of disconnection from the Haywood interconnector. As with the SA state-wide blackout two months earlier, there was more than sufficient generating capacity available in SA but it was not on standby.
A short circuit in the remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector resulted in SA and the Portland smelter being disconnected and the shutdown of two wind farms in Victoria.
The “incident” in Victoria, together with inadequate contingency plans resulted in the loss of 230 MW to SA, BHP’s Olympic Dam project losing 100 of its 170 MW for 3 hours, Portland smelter being disconnected for 4½ hours and disconnection of two wind farms (Portland generating 3MW, and Macarthur generating 4MW) in Victoria.
2. Pre-event Conditions
“Immediately prior to the incident there were two planned outages.”
Use of terms such as “incident” and “event” is reminiscent of the nuclear industry’s avoidance of terms such as “failure” , “accident”, and “meltdown”.
“Planned outage” refers to deliberate disconnection of parts of the system for maintenance or repairs. Such deliberate disconnections should be permitted only if they do not expose the system to serious disruption and only if there is sufficient backup in case of a fault developing in the remaining parts of the system. For SA no backup was put on standby in the case of SA being disconnected to the Heywood interconnector.
One of the “outages” referred to was that one half of the Heywood supply to SA (a 500 kV busbar) was out of service. This left SA and Victoria vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood supply. The other “outage” was the Heywood to Portland 500 kV transmission line servicing the Alcoa aluminium smelter.
Both outages were given permission by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
These two decisions left the aluminium smelter vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood transmission line in Victoria. There was no backup plan for maintaining supply to the smelter in this contingency.
At the time, SA was importing about 240 MW from Heywood in Victoria.
“A single phase to earth fault occurred on the Morabool-Tarrone 500 kV transmission line causing the line to trip out of service.” In other words, there was a short circuit in the only remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector.
“It is believed that the line tripped as a normal response to this type of fault”. The short circuit caused the transmission line to Heywood to be disconnected (trip).
The short circuit was caused by the breaking of an electrical cable. The reason for the cable breaking was not known to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
The “trip” of the transmission line left the Portland smelter still connected to SA, the power flow reversed so that instead of 240 MW into SA from Victoria there was 480 MW from SA to Victoria to supply the Portland smelter. A control scheme then disconnected the smelter from SA.
5 Operation of SA when Islanded
Islanded means that SA was on its own as far as power supply was concerned, in particular, it means that it was not receiving power from Victoria. In fact, SA was still receiving about 220 MW through the high voltage, direct current (DC), Victoria-SA, Murraylink interconnector.
Geelong solar array capable of powering 1000 homes proposed for old Corio landfill site http://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/news/geelong-solar-array-capable-of-powering-1000-homes-proposed-for-old-corio-landfill-site/news-story/6b6154708d9fa4a7383b44246a096143 DECEMBER 8, 2016 A LARGE solar energy project with the potential to power 1000 homes is being explored at an old Corio landfill site.
Barwon Water and the City of Greater Geelong are investigating the feasibility of building a three-megawatt solar PV system at the former tip, which is next to Limeburners Lagoon. Early research into the concept has proven positive, with the agencies to embark on a detailed feasibility study. The 3000-kilowatt capacity system would generate about four million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, which is enough to power about 1000 homes.
The renewable energy would be shared by the two partners and fed through the grid to supply other locations.
Barwon Water has several power-intensive sites nearby, including the Northern Water Plant, Cowies Creek Sewer pump station and Lovely Banks water pump station. Strategy and planning general manager Carl Bicknell said Barwon Water was developing a program to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy use over the next 10 years. “Investing in locally sourced renewable energy would directly reduce Barwon Water’s use of fossil fuel-based grid electricity,” Mr Bicknell said. “A partnership approach makes good sense for the region. If feasible, the project would help both businesses make significant reductions in their emissions.”
The council’s city services acting general manager, Vicki Shelton, said the study, which is out to tender, would explore the project’s economic and environmental benefits. “Importantly it will examine how the City and Barwon Water can collaborate to secure a local renewable energy supply,” she said.
Barwon Water has recently tendered for a one-megawatt solar array at Black Rock, to feed renewable energy directly to the site’s water reclamation plant. It also hosts Victoria’s oldest wind turbine at Breamlea and jointly runs a mini-hydro generator at Lal Lal.
The $650 million, 116-turbine farm at Murra Warra, north of Horsham, was approved by Planning Minister Richard Wynne after no objections were received.
“We are paving the way for more investment and jobs in the wind sector and it’s great to see Murra Warra come online and deliver a boost to the region,” Mr Wynne said.
Project operator RES said the farm would create more than 600 jobs during construction, 15 ongoing jobs and remove more than one million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year from Victoria’s energy sector.
It is expected to generate enough energy to power 252,000 homes. RES is working with 18 families, across more than 4250ha, who are expected to receive lease payments for the turbines.
RES also manages a 75-turbine wind farm under construction at Ararat.
A nuclear power plant should be built in the western Victorian city of Portland to supply cheap electricity to Alcoa’s troubled aluminium smelter, according to a local-micro party MP.
Vote 1 Local Jobs MP James Purcell has warned that Portland, which has a population of about 10,000, will become a “ghost town” if the smelter closes and cheap power generation is not created. He says the recent power failure that damaged the Alcoa’s aluminium smelter illustrated the need for nuclear energy.
Earlier this month the smelter suffered a major setback when one of its two “pot-lines” was closed due to a disastrous power failure……..
Mr Purcell has called on the Andrews government to consult with the people of Portland to determine whether they would support a nuclear facility.
He said major industries, including wood chipping and wool processing were ideal for Portland. But they relied on substantial amounts of power. Mr Purcell said an energy efficient method of power generation would revitalise Portland and ensure the creation of “many thousands of jobs” into the future. “House prices will be double what they are and you finish up with a thriving town or region,” he said………
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford told Parliament that the Labor Party’s national platform did not support the establishment of nuclear power plants.
She said the government was in “regular dialogue” with community leaders in Portland and would continue to work on a solution to the problems at Alcoa.
Greens energy spokeswoman Ellen Sandell urged Mr Purcell to abandon his push for nuclear power and support renewable energy sources.
“The people of Portland need sustainable jobs and clean energy. They don’t want a toxic waste problem and the dangers of a nuclear power plant in their backyard,” she said.
Alcoa is also negotiating a new electricity supply deal with AGL after the expiration of its previous contact that ensured affordable power. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/call-to-build-nuclear-power-plant-in-portland-20161206-gt4zt8.html
Vic network fault causes outages in South Australia, conservatives blame renewables, REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 1 December 2016 A major fault on the Victorian transmission network overnight caused power outages in South Australia for up to an hour, and forced the Portland smelter in Victoria to also go offline.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said that at 01:33 AEDT on December 1, the South Australian power system separated from Victoria, due to an unknown issue on the Victorian transmission network
“The root cause still under investigation,” AEMO said, but added “it is important to note that this event was not related to the Black System event in South Australia on September 28.”
It is believed that the fault lay in an Ausnet feeder line to the Heywood Interconnector in Western Victoria, when a transmission line conductor “hit the ground.”…….
questions have been raised about the decisions by the market operator, which chose to take no preventative measures, and for many underlined the fragility of a centralised grid, and the risks of storms, bushfires and other outages on an elongated network.
It has led to calls for a think about the design of electricity markets, and a push to localised grid and local renewable generation. AGL CEO Andrew Vesey, and many others, said the best security could be offered by more localised generation, and that meant renewable energy, and more storage. http://reneweconomy.com.au/vic-network-fault-causes-outages-in-south-australia-conservatives-blame-renewables-84808/
Victorian fracking ban legislation to be in introduced, ABC News By Stephanie Anderson, 22 Nov 16 The Victorian Government will introduce legislation today to permanently ban fracking following what the Premier described as “one of the most amazing community campaigns” in Australian history.
Fracking is used to extract so-called unconventional gases such as coal seam, tight and shale gas by pumping high-pressure water and chemicals into rock, fracturing it to release trapped gases.
There has been fears the chemicals could contaminate groundwater supplies and threaten agricultural industries.
The Victorian Government held a parliamentary inquiry into unconventional gas industries and announced earlier this year it would bring in a permanent ban.
Premier Daniel Andrews said there was a strong community campaign against fracking and unconventional gas.
“This is a triumph of one of the most amazing community campaigns that our state and indeed our nation has ever seen,” Mr Andrews said.
“Local communities have put an elegant and articulate argument, and we have responded to that.”
Fracking occurs in all other states except the Northern Territory, with the most by far in Queensland.
Government to pay compensation to licence holders…… http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-22/fracking-permanently-banned-in-victoria/8045264
Rising sea levels, stronger waves speeding up Victorian coastal erosion, CSIRO says, ABC News 30 Oct 16 By Joanna Crothers Rising sea levels and more frequent storms are increasing the rate of erosion across Australia’s southern coastline, the CSIRO has said, while locals at one Victorian beach are concerned it is not safe for summer holidaymakers.
- CSIRO warns of rising sea levels and a statewide trend of more storms
- Since 2010, Government has spent $450,000 on maintenance at Point Lonsdale
- In the past five years, erosion near Apollo Bay has increased from 8cm to one metre per year
Kathleen McInnes, a CSIRO sea level and coastal extremes expert, said more powerful waves were also contributing to the problem. “Sea levels have risen some 20 centimetres over the past 100 years, and are currently rising at about three millimetres per year,” she said. “There is also evidence that winds in the southern ocean are intensifying and this is driving a positive trend in wave energy reaching our coastline. “So this is creating a double whammy for coastal impacts.”
Individual storms have also become more frequent and intense, meaning beaches do not have as much time to recover after a harsh winter.”They’re driving higher waves which means a higher wave energy [is] reaching the shore,” Ms McInnes said.
Point Lonsdale beach ‘dangerous’, not ready for holidays The beachfront at Point Lonsdale, on the Bellarine Peninsula, has been badly eroded over the past decade and local residents said there was a risk children could slipping and cracking their heads open near the seawall…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-30/rising-sea-levels-speeding-up-coastal-erosion-csiro-says/7972924
UK company RES, which has built 5000 turbines worldwide, is building its latest wind farm on 17 Murra Warra farmers’ land, including Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke’s property.
Mr Jochinke, who will have six turbines built on his property, said it was a great to have all landholders working together on the project.
RES Murra Warra project manager Kevin Garthwaite said the company had chosen Murra Warra on the flat Wimmera plain because it was on a major transmission line, had “good” wind and was capable of generating more than 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply about 220,000 homes.
He said the project would employ 250-300 people during construction, with ongoing employment for 10-15 workers once completed.
“We’ve been really pleased with the level of community support,” Mr Garthwaite said. “If it goes through (the planning process) without a hitch we’d hope to start construction towards the end of 2017.”……..http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/wind-farm-developments-crank-up-across-victoria/news-story/d6f4464f23be9c83c0d83a98e9223498
Company withdraws from government-funded clean coal scheme in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley ABC Gippsland, 4 Oct 16
The call comes as Ignite Energy Resources pulls out of a $90 million Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program to find cleaner uses for Victorian brown coal.
Chinese company Shanghai Electric last year also withdrew from the program, after being offered $25 million to develop a demonstration plant to convert coal into briquettes.
Environment Victoria campaigns manager Nicholas Aberle said there needed to be a focus on other ways of developing the Latrobe Valley economy, outside of coal………
Dr Aberle said the continued focus on coal was distracting from other efforts to develop the regional economy.
Greens energy spokeswoman Ellen Sandell said government grants for failed coal schemes should be redirected to renewable energy initiatives in the Latrobe Valley.
“This money should support the transition to clean, modern jobs, not prop up dead-end coal projects,” Ms Sandell said.
“The future will be powered by the sun and the wind. With support the Latrobe Valley could become a renewable energy powerhouse.”……..
State says ‘not one dollar’ went to Ignite
A spokeswoman for Victorian Resources Minister Wade Noonan said not one government dollar had gone to Ignite Energy Resources because the company had failed to meet the benchmarks for the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program.
Ignite was offered $10 million from the State Government and $10 million from the Federal Government.
The Victorian Government said it was yet to allocate those unused funds.
A third company, Coal Energy Australia, remains in the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program, with access to $30 million in government support. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-04/clean-brown-coal-fail-in-latrobe-valley/7899900
Everybody needs good neighbours … to produce renewable energy, Benjamin Preiss The Age, 12 Sept 16 Linda Parlane got more than energy from the sun when she installed solar panels on her roof. She harnessed the power of her community. Ms Parlane bought her solar panels back in 2009 through a bulk-buy community scheme in Coburg………
She is now a board member of the Moreland Community Solar co-operative and wants to see more local projects, including ventures established through community investment. But she fears community energy projects have come unstuck in recent years after running into legal and administrative hurdles.
Moreland Community Solar is among a collection of environment, energy and lobby groups calling on the state government to ensure small to medium-scale community projects play a bigger role in reducing carbon emissions.
A submission to the government prepared by the Community Power Agency is urging it to establish “clean energy community hubs” that can provide advice to local groups and help them strike up relationships with renewable energy developers. It also recommends financial support for community-produced energy.
The state government has called for submissions as part of its plan to have 40 per cent renewable energy by 2025. NSW has a 20 per cent target by 2020-21. The government will use a “competitive auction process” in which renewable energy developers can bid for contracts to run their projects. The Community Power Agency wants community energy projects to account for up to 10 per cent of the overall renewable energy target.
Community energy projects take many different forms. Several years ago residents in Daylesford and Hepburn set up a community co-operative to establish a two-turbine wind farm that now produces enough energy to power more than 2000 homes.
In Bendigo a crowdfunding campaign was launched to buy solar panels for a local library.
Community Power Agency director Nicky Ison said many Victorians wanted to produce renewable energy at a local level. “Community groups have great ideas,” she said. “Once they’ve turned those ideas into something financially viable there are so many people who want to invest in these projects.”Ms Ison said community energy projects also resulted in stronger relationships within communities. “It’s bringing neighbours together.”
The groups supporting the submission include progressive lobby group Getup, Solar Citizens, Yarra Community Solar, Moreland Community Solar co-operative and the Central Victoria Greenhouse Alliance. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/everybody-needs-good-neighbours–to-produce-renewable-energy-20160911-grdp6z.html
Victorian unconventional gas exploration ban to end fracking and CSG extraction, ABC News, 30 Aug 16 The Victorian Government is introducing legislation to permanently ban exploration and development of unconventional gas in the state, including coal seam gas and fracking.
- Legislation will permanently ban development, production of all unconventional gas in Victoria
- Moratorium on conventional gas extraction to be extended until 2020
- Government says ban will protect Victoria’s agriculture sector
The legislation — the first of its kind in Australia — will be introduced into State Parliament later this year.
Premier Daniel Andrew said the ban would protect the reputation of Victoria’s agriculture sector and alleviate farmers’ concerns about environmental and health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.
“We’ve listened to the community and we’re making a decision that puts farmers and our clean, green brand first,” he said.
The legislation will also extend the moratorium on conventional onshore gas until 2020, but offshore gas exploration and development will continue.
The Government said the decision, which responds to a parliamentary inquiry, acknowledged the risks involved outweighed any potential benefits……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/victoria-to-ban-csg-fracking-and-unconventional-gas-exploration/7796944
A landmark high-rise apartment tower in Southbank whose glass exterior is wrapped in solar cells will provide its residents with “off-the-grid” power stored in Tesla-like batteries, its designers say.
The 60-level building will be the first skyscraper in Australia environmentally engineered to include solar cells in the facade, creating a far greater surface area for catching the sun’s rays.
“We get an enormous area of solar panels by comparison to running them across the roof,” said Peter Brook from Peddle Thorp, the architects behind the design.
The curved exterior of the building has been orientated to deliberately capture the sun’s movement from east to west throughout the day, a feature that had created an “elegant tower”……..http://www.theage.com.au/business/property/first-solarpowered-apartment-skyscraper-to-rise-in-melbourne-20160819-gqwv76.html
Majority of Victorians support urgent shift to renewable energy, poll finds https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/18/majority-of-victorians-support-urgent-shift-to-renewable-energy-poll-finds
A ReachTEL poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth shows 68% of the state, including a majority of Liberal voters, want to see an end to reliance on coal, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 18 Aug 16, The vast majority of people in Victoria – and even a majority of Liberal voters – support the state moving towards 100% renewable energy “as a matter of urgency,” a new poll has found.
The polling comes as the state government works to rewrite the Climate Change Act, including pre-2050 emissions reduction targets.
More than 68% of Victorians said they agreed or strongly agreed that “Victoria needs to transition its energy use from coal to 100% renewables as a matter of urgency”, according to the ReachTEL poll of 1,137 people conducted on 4 August and commissioned by Friends of the Earth.
That was in line with previous national polls. But when the researchers drilled down to the views of people who supported different political parties, they found consistent support for an ambitious state-based renewable energy target. Continue reading