Mr Han says the ACT’s solar projects are small, but internationally the industry is indebted to Australia.
“In China scales are much bigger, ultimately the solar voltaic cell is actually Australian technology that was originally developed out of the University of NSW,” Mr Han said. “That technology was commercialised in China as well as Europe. A lot of the technology and breakthroughs we still owe to Australia research and development.”
The proponents say the ACT is Australia’s front -runner in solar projects.
“The long term off-take agreements, or power purchase agreements, mean it has a reliable and predictable revenue stream for owners and investors, ” Mr Crockett said.
“The ACT has proved how efficient, effective and cheap it is to transition your electricity sector, you are seeing now the Victorian Government is going to do something very similar,” Mr Crockett said.
Mugga Lane and Williamsdale solar farms to begin tracking sun by year’s end http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/energy/mugga-lane-and-williamsdale-solar-farms-to-begin-tracking-sun-by-years-end-20160718-gq8lrg.html July 21 2016 John Thistleton
A GPS-guided pile-driver sinking steel posts into the ground is swiftly changing the landscape in South Canberra for a new solar farm. Continue reading
World’s biggest solar + storage projects planned for Australia http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/worlds-biggest-solar-storage-projects-planned-australia-95528 By Giles Parkinson on 19 July 2016 Australian infrastructure investor Lyon Group says it plans to build the world’s biggest solar plus storage project in South Australia in the next two years, and sees a huge future for combined solar and battery storage plants..
Lyon Group’s David Green – which worked on developing a soon-to-be built 30MW solar plant and 1.4MW/5.3MWh lithium battery storage facility near Cooktown, in far north Queensland, before selling it to German-based company Conergy – plans a series of other projects and claims a pipeline of more than 300MW of solar and up to 60MW of battery storage.
The first new project is planned for South Australia, with a 100MW solar PV plant to be combined with a battery storage array of up to 40MW, Green says the plant could be in operation near Roxby Downs by early 2018, and there are plans for other similar projects around the country.
The first stage of what is known as the Kingfisher project – 20MW of solar PV plus a minimum 2MW battery storage – is expected to be running late next year.
The project is one of the finalists in the Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding round for large scale solar, which is expected to allocate monies to 10 or more projects when decisions are announced next month.
Green says the company – which has previously invested in coal, gas and wind projects, but is now specialising in solar and storage – is looking to be a global industry leader in solar plus storage.
“The genie is out of the bottle. There will be a burst of activity now in large scale solar + battery projects. This is the real battery storage story coming out of Australia – batteries used to convert large scale solar to effectively baseload, or peaking plant.”
The combination of solar and storage means the facilities can compete on two levels – providing clean energy and dispatchable power, either to household or large energy users, and also re-enforcing the edge the grid, in some cases avoiding the costs of grid upgrades. Continue reading
Record-breaking, brolga-friendly, $650m wind farm gets government green light, The Age, July 19 2016 Benjamin Preiss Victoria’s most productive wind farm generating enough power for 140,000 households will be built in the south-west after the state government approved the plans.
The $650 million wind farm, to be built near Dundonnell, will have 96 turbines. Once completed, it will produce enough power to supply the combined populations of Ballarat and Warrnambool.
The project will create an estimated 300 jobs during construction, with 16 positions once it is built…….The wind farm’s layout was designed to accommodate brolga breeding and flocking habits, according to the government………http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/recordbreaking-brolgafriendly-wind-farm-gets-government-green-light-20160719-gq8o3t.html
Thanks to a particularly windy weekend, South Australia recently saw nearly 83-percent of its total electricity coming solely from eco-friendly wind energy. Although the harsh weather conditions led to power outages in some of the places, its advantages far outweigh the temporary inconvenience. According to officials, wind turbines installed in the area captured much of the ambient energy, which was used to meet more than two-thirds of the region’s total electricity demands last Monday.
When it comes to renewable power, South Australia is one of the front runners, boasting both solar and wind energy. Investments of up $6 billion have resulted in the installation of as many as 638 wind turbines in the area. According to Alicia Webb of Australia-based Clean Energy Council, an organization dedicated to improving renewables and conversion efficiency, the industry has also generated “hundreds” of jobs. Given the current trend, the region will soon see wind and solar power overtaking conventional fossil fuels. Webb said:
Southern Australia…is in the midst of a remarkable transformation, with more than 40 percent of its power needs coming from renewable energy last year. It is clear that modern economies can run on increasingly higher levels of renewable energy, and it is clear from South Australia’s example that other mainland states can go much further with no loss of reliability.
With oil and volatile gas prices skyrocketing in recent years, wind turbines in South Australia actually help produce electricity at lower costs, especially during windy weather. As pointed out by Webb, the area’s total “installed solar capacity” will likely reach five gigawatts in the coming months. These steps are part of the government’s efforts to meet the targets declared in the Paris agreement. In addition to renewables, researchers in South Australia are coming up with new, innovative technologies that could in turn help reduce environmental pollution. Via: CleanTechnica
Logan becoming south-east Queensland’s greenest city , Brisbane Times, July 17 2016 The greener side of Logan is starting to show through, with the south-east Queensland city embracing solar energy, recycling initiatives, DIY kits and sustainable living workshops.
Energex statistics from June revealed Logan was ahead of nearby cities when it came to solar power, with more than a quarter of all properties having solar panels on their roofs.
This was compared to 17 per cent in Brisbane and 18 per cent on the Gold Coast.
The city of more 308,000 residents is 70 per cent rural or semi-rural, an appealing factor for those in the area who enjoy their open spaces…….
“A lot of schools are becoming a lot more sustainable, Calvary Christian College at Springwood have their own chickens and sell their eggs, the children involved in gardening, selling produce, checking the eggs,” ………..http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/logan-becoming-southeast-queenslands-greenest-city-20160717-gq7mp0.html
Libs pushing for wind farm changes
ALL new wind farm projects would have to undergo an assessment to see how they would affect the electricity market before being approved, if changes proposed by the Opposition were adopted…. (subscribers only )
Vatican praise for Townsville Catholic diocese solar scheme http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-14/vatican-praise-for-townsville-catholic-diocese-solar-scheme/7630890?section=environment By Ben Millington Catholic schools in north Queensland have caught the eye of the Vatican with a solar project that is cutting carbon emissions and saving millions of dollars.
The Diocese of Townsville, which stretches from the coast to Mt Isa in the state’s north-west, has installed solar panels on roofs of all its eligible schools. The diocese has invested $6 million in one megawatt of solar panels, but diocese director of education Dr Cathy Day said this could deliver a much higher return. “The best figures that I like to think is a saving of $40 million over 25 years,” she said.
“Now when you turn that into teachers that we can pay for, or resources for students, that’s quite a substantial amount of money and I think it’s a great investment.”
In combination with the use of low-energy LED lighting, she said, the diocese had cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent, which is equivalent to taking 40,000 cars off the road. Dr Day said her main motivation had been to set a positive example for students and the broader community. “We’ve all got to start investing in technology and energy efficiency,” she said. “This is the way of the future. Our students are going to be in these industries. Nobody’s going to be working in a coal-fired power station in years to come.”
Emissions will eventually be cut by 80 per cent With further investment, Dr Day said they expect to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in emissions through installing more solar and energy-efficient air conditioning, as well as using batteries to store the power generated.
She returned last week from a visit to Rome, where she presented the project to Vatican officials in meetings led by former deputy prime minister and onetime ambassador to the holy see, Tim Fischer, who has become a spokesman for the project. Mr Fischer said the scheme was well received in Rome and he would like to see it rolled out in schools across the world. “What has happened in Townsville is mildly revolutionary and is extremely positive in terms of energy savings because it works and it can be monitored in real time,” he said.
“That’s what caused positive ripples in Rome. They saw in this sustainable, cut-through, realistic energy savings created without massive capital expenditure.”
The project is already being replicated in other Catholic schools in Cairns and the Northern Territory.
Australia’s Largest Solar Crowdfunding Campaign a Success, http://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2016/07/australias-largest-solar-crowdfunding-campaign-success/ Pro Bono, Ellie Cooper, 14 July 16 For-purpose business, The People’s Solar has helped iconic Melbourne Not for Profit, the Abbotsford Convent raise $120,000 for its renewable energy project in the biggest crowdfunding project of its kind in Australia. The People’s Solar, part of Energy for the People, is a platform for delivering community-owned solar power to schools and Not for Profits.
Director and co-founder Tosh Szatow told Pro Bono Australia News this was the biggest solar crowdfunding project of its kind in Australia to date. It was also the largest project his business has been involved in.
“It’s really exciting. We’ve raised something like $250,000 now over two years, so the amount of money we’ve raised for projects has been doubling every six months, and that includes the project with the convent,” Szatow said. “We’ve now completed about 10 projects, it’s the biggest by some margin and it’s really confirmed for us that we can fund really big projects like this.
“And the other exciting thing is the organisations we’re working for would otherwise find it really hard to find the money to pay for solar power, and so it’s really great to know we’re able to help those organisations.”
The Abbotsford Convent, spread over 16.8 acres, has green space and historic buildings, which are said to house Australia’s largest multi-arts precincts. “It’s an iconic building in Melbourne… that’s really well loved by people in Melbourne, and the activities that are hosted at the convent are really important to the community,” Szatow said.
“As well as support for the creative arts and music, painting, sculpture and it’s a really valuable public asset. There’s a large green space which is a real oasis for people in that community. So there were a lot of reasons to get behind it.”
He said the $120,000 solar panel installation, half of which was crowdfunded through Pozible and the other half matched through a donor, would make a huge difference to the convent.
“It will save up to about $15,000 a year, and I believe that’s enough to fully fund the maintenance of their public open space so that’s all the gardening and upkeep on the gardens,” he said.
“So that’s a huge saving to their bottom line. And because it’s a Not for Profit organisation, it runs entirely on donations, saving that $15,000 every year is going to make a huge difference over the course of the panels lifetime.” The mission of Energy for the People is to help foster a “democratic” energy market where all Australians can access renewable energy. Szatow said The People’s Solar was started to focus on social impact and community benefit.
“[We were] talking with a lot of organisations that were struggling to find the money to go solar even though solar power has a pretty good financial payback. We were really looking for a solution to that,” he said.
“And I think more broadly there’s a really strong ethic in what we do with Energy for the People. We’re really keen to give back to the communities that we do work in, and solar is a really nice way of executing that and bringing together our skills and capability in clean energy with our interest and enthusiasm for the community side of things.”
Climate change: how Victoria trumped New South Wales in the great renewable energy race
Wind and solar energy projects are set to be the big winners of the state’s ambitious renewable energy targets, Guardian, Giles Parkinson 6 July 16
Victoria’s ambitious renewable energy targets will see a doubling of the state’s wind energy capacity.
Two years ago Rob Stokes, the then environment minister for New South Wales, promised that his state could become Australia’s answer to California in the clean energy industry.
“We are making NSW No 1 in energy and environmental policy,” Stokes, a Liberal,told the Clean Energy Week gathering in Sydney in July 2014.“When it comes to clean energy, we can be Australia’s answer to California.”
It was a bold vision, and a laudable one, but it didn’t turn out that way.
Investment in large-scale renewable energy, apart from some federally funded large-scale solar projects, has all but dried up. In May, a report by the Climate Council rated NSW as the “worst place” for renewable energy investment in Australia.
It’s ironic because NSW has the biggest pipeline of undeveloped renewable energy projects in the country. But now other states are seeking to grab a bigger share of the renewable energy pie, particularly as traditional industries of car manufacturing and steel-making face an uncertain future.
Last month Victoria became the latest Labor government to announce renewable energy targets over and above the federal target, announcing it would aim to have 25% of its electricity served by renewable energy by 2020, and 40% by 2025.
That compares with a national target that translates to about a 23% by 2020, and the Australian Capital Territory’s 100% target by 2020, Queensland’s 50% target by 2030 and South Australia’s 50% target by 2025, a percentage it is likely to reach later this year.
ut Victoria’s target appears the most ambitious of the lot, simply for the sheer number of new wind and solar farms that will be needed to meet the target. And it also intends to have legislation in place from next year that will ensure the target is met.
The 40% by 2025 target translates into some 5,400MW of new renewable energy capacity to be installed within the next 10 years. That will be almost exclusively wind and solar farms and is three times as much renewable energy capacity as the state has installed up till now and nearly equal to the national target for 2020.
“This is an ambitious target but a very achievable target,” says the Victorian energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio. She intends to adopt the system of “reverse auctions” pioneered successfully by the ACT, which will have some 600MW of large scale renewables in place by 2020 to meet its own 100% target.
Already, under a previously announced tender designed to support wind projects, the Victorian government has signed contracts that will help two windfarms be built over the next year – a 13-turbine windfarm at Kiata near Horsham and a 44-turbine windfarm at Mount Gellibrand near Colac………https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/06/climate-change-how-victoria-trumped-new-south-wales-in-the-great-renewable-energy-race
Queensland’s $500m Coopers Gap wind farm could be operational by 2020 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-04/hope-qld-500m-coopers-gap-wind-farm-project-operational-2020/7562124?section=environment By Ellie Sibson An energy company planning to build Queensland’s largest wind farm is hoping to have the project operational by 2020.
AGL Energy’s proposed $500 million Coopers Gap wind farm would be constructed at Cooranga North, about 200 kilometres north-west of Brisbane in the state’s South Burnett region. It has a proposed capacity of 350 megawatts and could power 190,000 homes each year.
Under the plans, up to 115 turbines would be built across 11 properties.
Last month, the wind farm was declared a coordinated project and community consultation on the draft terms of reference for an environmental impact statement is currently underway. Dozens of residents attended a recent public meeting at the nearby township of Bell to raise concerns and ask questions about the project.
Project manager Neil Cooke said most of the feedback had been positive. “Some of the community are concerned about the noise being too high and concerned about sleep,” he said. “We’re in the process of organising a second trip down to our wind farms in Victoria so people can actually get to see wind farms close up.”
Wind farm would ‘drought-proof property’ If the wind farm is approved, Cyril Stewart would have three turbines built on his cattle property. During times of drought, Mr Stewart has had to leave his land in search of a job. “It would be the greatest thing since sliced bread because it is drought-proofing the property,” he said. “This is something that rain, hail or shine, there’s an income.”
About 350 workers are needed for construction with ongoing employment for 20 people. South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said it would be a big jobs boost for the region. “Economic development is something our region really needs,” he said. “These sorts of things don’t come about often … employment driven by the economic outcomes is something that as a region we can’t ignore.” The environmental impact process is expected to take at least six months.
Two new wind farms gain Victorian government support http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/two-new-wind-farms-gain-victorian-government-support-20160705-gpz37f.html Benjamin Preiss STATE POLITICAL REPORTER FOR THE AGE TWO NEW VICTORIAN WIND FARMS WILL BE BUILT WITHIN TWO YEARS AND WILL RECEIVE AN EXTRA SOURCE OF INCOME FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT.
The new wind farms will produce enough energy to power 80,000 homes. They will be located at Kiata near Horsham and Mount Gellibrand near Colac. The Kiata wind farm will have up to 13 turbines, while Mount Gellibrand will host up to 44. Both projects are expected to be operating by 2018.
The government says it is using its purchasing power to support these wind farms through so-called renewable energy certificates. The state government has committed to purchasing some renewable energy certificates from these two wind farms, giving them an additional revenue stream. Certificates are allocated to wind farms as part of the national renewable energy target. Producers of renewable energy can also sell the certificates to energy retailers.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the government was rebuilding much-needed confidence in the renewable energy industry. “We can build a strong, sustainable, renewable energy industry that powers our broader economy, creates well-paid jobs and reduces our environmental impact,” she said.
Last month the government committed to a renewable energy generation target of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. Planning Minister Richard Wynne is also considering six applications to amend existing wind farm permits so they can increase their turbine size.
Solar In Australia Saving $1 Billion Per Year http://cleantechnica.com/2016/06/28/solar-australia-saving-1-billion-per-year/ June 28th, 2016 by Joshua S Hill Australia can now boast of over 23.2 million solar PV panels saving citizens $1 billion on their power bills each year.
According to a new report from Solar Citizens, “an independent community based organisation,” Australia reached 23.2 million solar PV panels installed earlier this year — the equivalent of one per person in the country.
Solar Citizens also calculated the savings currently being made by solar owners on their regular electricity bills, analysing average electricity retail rates across all State and Territories over the past 8 financial years, revealing that solar households have saved $4.4 billion on their power bills since FY 2007–2008, and have been saving around $1 billion every year over the past three years.
“The pace of rooftop solar installation in Australia has been nothing short of phenomenal in recent years,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens. “Solar panels are now a regular and normalised part of Australian life. In fact, Australians spend as much on their solar as they do on tea and coffee.”
In terms of investment, the report shows that 1.5 million Australian households and small businesses have invested more than $8 billion into rooftop solar PV. In fact, the investment figures reported in The State of Solar: Australia’s Solar Rooftop Boom are the highlight of the Solar Citizen’s research. During the 2014–2015 financial year, Australians invested $1.23 billion in rooftop solar — compared to only $118 millioninvested in large-scale solar projects in the calendar year 2014. So far, it is the hard-earned cash of Australian homeowners and small business owners that is driving the renewable energy transformation in Australia.
“Australians are leading the renewables charge and this new set of data plainly reveals that investment in solar PV has been the backbone of the renewables revolution in Australia,” said O’Rourke.
So far in 2016, Australia’s rooftop solar PV installation base has generated over 6.5 TWh, preventing 6.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
And with Australia about to go to the polls this weekend in the country’s federal election, this goes a long way to showing what Australians want from their politicians.
“Australian political leaders need to understand just how much the average Australian themselves have committed of their own money to play a part in the transition of our power system,” added O’Rourke. “With 5 million Australians (or 1 in 5 voters) living under a solar roof, this is potent political constituency.”
The next solar revolution could replace fossil fuels in mining, The Conversation, Geoffrey Brooks Pro-Vice Chancellor (Future Manufacturing), Swinburne University of Technology, June 29, 2016 Recently Sandfire Resources, a gold and copper producer based in Western Australia, announced its new solar power plant will soon start powering its DeGrussa mine. By replacing diesel power, the 10-megawatt power station, with 34,000 panels and lithium storage batteries, is expected to reduce the mine’s carbon emissions by 15%.
This is an exciting development because it realises an important potential that has long been recognised but not exploited. Two of Australia’s greatest resources – solar energy and minerals – are, as luck would have it, both highly concentrated in the same parts of Australia.
In this case, solar energy is being used to power the mine, but there is also great potential for solar energy to be used to convert the minerals to chemicals and metals……..
The next revolution
Currently, Australia’s use of solar energy is largely limited to homes, for hot water and solar-powered electricity. But solar energy has great potential for regional Australia too.
Mines are often isolated. There is typically limited natural gas and electricity supply, and in remote areas energy supply is limited to liquid fossil fuels. This is exactly the potential being exploited by Sandfire Resources at its mine facility 900km north of Perth.
Recent studies by CSIRO have identified the potential to use solar in high-temperature processing of ores such as bauxite, copper and iron ore. This process would use concentrated solar thermal (CST) energy as a heat supply. This heat can also be converted to electricity, known as concentrated solar power (CSP).
This is different to the solar photovoltaic technology used in Sandfire’s solar power plant (and rooftop solar panels), which converts sunlight directly to electricity……..
Concentrated solar energy is still relatively expensive. The Australian Solar Institute estimated in 2012 that the cost of electricity from concentrated solar was approximately double the current cost for conventional energy, reflecting largely the high capital cost of solar systems.
This gap can reasonably be expected to close with increases in the scale of operations (lowering manufacturing costs) and in regulatory pressure on conventional power sources.
It may be a way off, but the small step by Sandfire Resources could be the start of a revolution in the Australian minerals industry. https://theconversation.com/the-next-solar-revolution-could-replace-fossil-fuels-in-mining-61153
‘Largest community-owned’ solar farm in Australia taking root in Canberra vineyard June 28, 2016 Katie Burgess Canberra Times reporter There are two reasons Canberra’s David Osmond puts his money into solar panels rather than stockpiling it in the bank.
“The returns are better plus it’s going towards a cause I’m very passionate about,” he said.
The latest solar project Mr Osmond will invest in will be the largest community-owned solar farm in Australia – and it will be right here in Canberra.
Mr Osmond is one of the first investors in the SolarShare Community Energy Majura Solar Farm, a $3 million solar plant that, when built, will generate enough electricity to power 250 Canberra homes.
SolarShare project leader Lawrence McIntosh said more than 5000 solar panels will be mounted on three hectares leased from the Mount Majura Vineyard, producing 1.9GWh of electricity each year.
“Wine grapes are best grown on slopes, which leaves the flatter land at the bottom of the valley with not much interest for grape growing but great for a solar project,” he said.
While only 5 per cent of the size of the Royalla Solar Farm south of Canberra, this one will be owned by the community, investors pledging $50 to $10,000 each towards its construction and maintenance.
About 400 people have registered as investors so far and more are being welcomed, Mr McIntosh said.
The flagship farm is predicted to earn more than $360,000 a year in revenue from selling electricity to the energy networks, its profits shared among the project’s investors…….http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/largest-communityowned-solar-farm-in-australia-taking-root-in-canberra-vineyard-20160620-gpnu4k.html
the report estimated solar owners will avoid 6.3m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 – which they found is equivalent to taking a third of all trucks off Australian roads.
Solar Citizens found 80% of federal electorates have more voters with rooftop solar than would be required to change their sitting members. And of the electorates with the highest numbers of solar owners, seven out of the top 10 were now held by Coalition MPs.
Australians have spent almost $8bn on rooftop solar since 2007, says report https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/22/australians-have-spent-almost-8bn-on-rooftop-solar-since-2007-says-report Solar Citizens says since the 2012-13 financial year, rooftop solar owners have saved about $1bn on their household bills each year, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 22 June 16, Australian households and small businesses have invested more than $1bn a year in rooftop solar over the past five years, spending a total of almost $8bn since 2007, new calculations show.
In its latest State of Solar report, Solar Citizens – which campaigns for, and represents the interests of, solar owners – has for the first time estimated Australian’s out-of-pocket investment in rooftop solar, how much money it has saved consumers, and how much carbon it has abated. Continue reading