Australian news, and some related international items

Turnbull government is not convincing Australians in its attack on renewable energy

Turnbull destroys renewablesWhy the public is not buying Coalition attack on text-relevantwind and solar, REneweconomy By  on 20 January 2017 What is it that the general public appears knows about renewables and electricity prices that much in the conservative side of politics, and the federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg, do not?

2017 has kicked off with another round of attacks on renewable energy targets, both state and federal. They display fundamental misunderstandings of renewable energy, its deployment capabilities, costs and impacts on electricity prices. The good news: the public isn’t buying it.

As working life, business and the public debate gets back into full swing after the holiday period, attacks on renewable energy and targets have, unfortunately, also resumed. The Australian, unsurprisingly, is leading the charge, and elected officials have added their voices to the unrelenting campaign of misinformation.

Most worryingly Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg is playing a prominent role. On Wednesday he penned an OpEd in the Australian Financial Review in which he got stuck into the Victorian and Queensland state governments’ RETs.

On Friday, The Australian gave him a platform to attack renewable energy by way of a rebuttal to the Labor opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler’s arguments for a 50 per cent by 2030 RET.

While Frydenberg’s argumentation in today’s Australian specifically addresses the Labor 50% RET, it is riddled with direct attacks on renewable energy itself.

Frydenberg argues that RETs lead to higher power prices. To support this he says that power prices rose rapidly under Labor, that a 50% RET will drive out coal generation – implicitly increasing prices – and that it will require $48 billion in new investment in generation capacity.

The Energy Minister then cites AEMC findings that the RET will have “the highest cost of abatement,” that it does not encourage emissions reductions beyond renewable generation.

(RenewEconomy editor Giles Parkinson has already pointed out that the AEMC modelling actually shows the opposite, that the RET is actually a cheaper option, even given the AEMC modelling’s ridiculously expensive costing of wind and solar).

Despite this and other lines of argument, it appears that the Australian public is just not buying it. There continues to be evidence that renewable energy remains widely popular with Australians, to which their continued adoption of rooftop solar and increasingly battery storage attests. And polling continues to confirm this.

GetUp released the findings of a ReachTEL poll it conducted on January 12 today, in which it asked 2,126 householders what they believe are behind rising power prices.

The leading response, with 58%, was that “privatization and the lack of competition between the big energy companies” were behind the price hikes. The next response was “undecided,” with 24.2% and renewable energy in third place, with 17.7%.

“The owners of the poles and wires have been gold-plating the grid, spending billions of their customers’ money building far more grid infrastructure than we needed.”

Taking the RET in isolation, as a policy to drive the shift towards less emission intensive electricity generation as Frydenburg does, is also mischevious.

In combination with overdue electricity market reforms and the pricing of externalities, such as carbon pricing, in combination with renewable targets has repeatedly been shown to deliver a lower-cost energy transition……..

GetUp’s Miriam Lyons weighs in on the South Australia debate, saying that it is indeed “an example of what’s wrong with the current system” with its botched electric utility privatisation and the lack of competition.

“The Liberal Olsen government didn’t break up the generators when it privatized electricity – they chose to make as much from the sell-off as possible in the short term, rather than creating a genuinely competitive market,” says Lyons. “The price-gouging by gas companies that we saw in South Australia last year is a direct result of that.”

GetUp notes that it is encouraging to see public support for renewables and RETs hold fast, but that the battle against the demonization of renewables on the basis that they leads to higher electricity prices is far from over.

“This polling shows that the fossil fuel lobby’s campaign isn’t convincing most Australians – yet.”

January 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Energy Minister Frydenberg ignores rapid price developments of large scale solar and wind

Frydenberg, Josh climateWhy the public is not buying Coalition attack on wind and solar, REneweconomy  By  on 20 January 2017    “…….The Energy Minister is clearly also ignoring the rapid price developments of large scale solar and wind, in his advocacy for “supercritical coal and gas” generation. Whether these lowe(er) emission generation sources can compete in the coming years given current large scale renewable cost trajectories is highly debateable.

Frydenberg, in his Australian opinion piece, then turns his attention to South Australia. He argues that the “forced” closure of coal in South Australia is behind high electricity prices and then says that low-income households are bearing the brunt of additional costs.

Strangely, Frydenberg didn’t mention Queensland. He should have, because then he would have understood that the issue is not about renewable energy, but market rules and market competition.

Queensland is similar to South Australia in that the wholesale electricity market is dominated by just a few companies who control some two thirds of the generation. In Queensland, the owners are government owned, and it has not yet got any large scale renewables to provide competition.

So the predictions for this summer was that prices in South Australia would soar, proving that renewables were a dangerous and costly diversion.

But wholesale prices in January in South Australia have been less than NSW, little more than in Victoria and Tasmania, and less than half what they have been in Queensland, where the lack of competition to the coal and gas generators (apart from rooftop solar) has meant prices have average more than $200/MWh.

There have been numerous spikes above $13,000MWh, which the regulator is to investigate, and days when the price has average near $500/MWh. The smelter in Gladstone is so appalled it has flagged possible downsizing.

There is a lot more to be written about Queensland, and its focus on LNG exports, the extra 1GW of demand that that is sucking from the grid.

The Labor government is trying to address that issue by encouraging 5,000MW of wind and solar in its own 50 per cent renewable target, a move it says will result in lower costs to consumers.

And while the Coalition carps on about the high cost of wind and solar, with the wholesale prices at their current levels, there is really no argument, which is why the likes of Sun Metals have decided to built their own large scale solar plants.….. ”

January 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Utility scale investment marks the surge in wind and solar power in Australia

solar-panels-and-moneyWind, solar investment surge “the start of bigger text-relevantthings to come” REneweconomy By  on 18 January 2017 The strong growth in large scale renewable project financing in Australia in 2016 could be just the beginning of a major wave of investment.

This is the prognosis of Bloomberg New Energy Finance associate Leonard Quong, who adds that if key policy settings remain in place the $2.5 billion in annual large scale project investment required for Australia to meet its Renewable Energy Target could be achieved through to 2020.

“We have seen a new sense of momentum and energy in the market,” Quong told RenewEconomy, speaking of the latter stages of 2016. “If some of the fundamentals looking forward are to be believed, this is the start of bigger things to come.”

Quong explains that the stage is set for a large number of utility scale wind and solar PV projects to attract financing and get off the ground in 2017.

This is due in a large part to the “paralysis” the large scale renewable market experienced in 2014 and 2015, itself brought on by the Abbott Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) review. This paralysis is the primary cause of the large scale generation certificates (LGCs) shortfall likely to eventuate in 2018.

The BNEF analyst notes that the RET reduction agreed to by the major political parties, a position advocated by the Clean Energy Council aimed at breaking the paralyzing deadlock, laid the groundwork behind the recent growth in project financing.

The significant factor being that as it was achieved in a bipartisan fashion, investors gained confidence that the policy will be in place over the mid-to- long term.

As to whether Australia can achieve the reduced RET, Quong is quietly optimistic…….

A major trend set to emerge strongly in 2017, according to BNEF analysis, is the rise of utility scale solar. While wind project investments far exceeded utility scale solar in Australia in 2016, rapid price declines and solar PV’s inherent advantages in terms of project execution should see large scale solar take off.

“Given the shortfall in certificates now expected to happen in 2018, it gives quite an incentive for investors to look at solar,” says Quong. “With the shorter build times, potentially shorter development times, and with certificate prices now above $80/MWh, it certainly makes it quite attractive.”  ……

January 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment

Renewables tide will leave Trump and Turnbull behind

text-relevantNeither Trump nor Turnbull can turn back the tide on renewables, Guardian, Blair renewable-energy-world-SmPalese, 18 Jan 17  The argument for renewable energy is now a purely economic one – and the move away from coal will only pick up speed The inauguration of President Trump this Saturday (Australian time) marks a radical change in the world as we know it. It ushers in the beginning of four years where progressive issues as far reaching as race equality, women’s health, nuclear and foreign policy, and of course climate change will be under sustained attack.

Less than a year after the world agreed a historic climate pact in Paris, the US – the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas polluter – elected a man who wants to revive the glory days of coal, oil and gas.

To less fanfare here at home, the Turnbull government is pursuing a similar trajectory. Ploughing through the headwinds is our resources minister, Matt Canavan, who is seeking a $100bn investment in coal and is the biggest campaigner for a new mega-coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee basin run by the Indian company Adani.

The truth is that try as they might, neither Trump nor the Australian government can turn the tide on renewable energy, nor resuscitate an ailing coal industry with a clear expiration date. This is not a moral or political case, but a purely economical one.

This is why I remain quietly optimistic about the continued global transition away from fossil fuels despite the hostile political climate.

Renewable energy is rapidly becoming the cheapest and easiest way of producing energy in countries around the world. Investors everywhere are watching these changes and the market is responding rapidly.

China has recently announced that it will invest US$361bn into renewable energy over the next four years, creating 13m jobs in the process. This is as much as the entire globe spent on renewables over the past four years. This makes good financial sense as well, since the cost of building large-scale solar has decreased by about 40% since 2010, making it cheaper than coal…….

While the Turnbull government’s bungling of federal energy policy is stifling some of the potential for clean energy developments, many Australian business leaders are steaming ahead regardless.

Australia is the best country on the planet for solar energy and the former BHP executive Phil Galloway is looking to capitalise on that.

He has plans to roll out 220,000 solar panels across the empty space on an almond farm in regional Victoria, generating enough electricity to power about 30,000 homes. Inspired by the model adopted in the US by companies such as Google and Apple, Galloway would look to negotiate power-supply agreements directly with large local companies rather than energy retailers.

This is just the sort of project that is not only becoming more viable but, with a bit of clever government incentivisation, could transform Australia’s energy future and create a clean energy transformation that would create countless new, sustainable jobs across the country.

A similar project is under way in the sleepy Victorian town of Yackandandah. Residents there have come together under the banner of 100% renewable energy and energy sovereignty to pursue a transformation of their own.

Working with AusNet, which runs the Victorian grid, the town will trial new storage technology along with setting up a renewable energy farm to power it, with profits from the energy generated being ploughed back into their community. This is one of dozens of community renewable energy projects that are quietly driving Australia away from polluting energy.

Likewise, in the northern rivers region of New South Wales, a community-owned energy company is seeking to offer a clean alternative to the dirty energy produced by Australia’s big three energy retailers: AGL, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia.

Our governments may now be held hostage by visionless representatives more determined on prosecuting their narrow ideological agenda than helping Australia find solutions to its most pressing issues but, elsewhere, leaders in other fields are transforming the way we generate, share and manage our energy needs and addressing climate change.Enova Energy is making inroads not only to kickstart renewable energy but also to empower energy consumers. Headed by former executive heavyweights disillusioned by the government’s inaction on renewables, including Alison Crook, a former Monash University deputy chancellor and Qantas businesswoman of the year, Enova’s mission is to offer the country’s highest feed-in tariffs and lowest GreenPower price while working with social welfare groups to tackle energy poverty in the region.

Bellicose political rhetoric can’t hide the economic fact: renewable energy is the future. My advice for Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull is this: find an economic reason to justify being part of the clean energy revolution to the deniers around you or watch as investors, businesses and communities steamroll right over you.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Melbourne trams to be powered by solar energy by end of 2018

text-relevantMelbourne tram network to use solar energy by end of 2018, Government says 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.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Smarter, cheaper solar plants are halving Australian solar farm capital intensity

solar-panels-and-moneyAustralian solar farm capital intensity halves, due to smarter, cheaper plants, REneweconomy By  on 19 January 2017

The capital intensity per watt of the utility scale solar plants in the current development pipeline in Australia is about half that of those that are already operational.

The stark and rapid improvement in the economics of big solar in the country is due to global declines in component costs, but also importantly declining EPC (construction) costs and the deployment of yield-boosting technology like tracking.

With the pipeline of utility scale PV projects growing seemingly on a daily basis, Sustainable Energy Research Analytics (SERA) believes that solar’s increasing competitiveness is due to a large part to a more competitive and efficiency EPC landscape…….

January 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Solar energy is racing ahead in Australia – large scale projects

text-relevantSolar closing cost gap with wind, conventional power, AFR,  Angela Australia-solar-plugMacdonald-Smith, 16 Jan 17  The latest batch of large-scale solar projects have revealed a “new cost paradigm” for the technology in Australia, although costs remain more than double the lowest-cost projects overseas, experts say.  Construction contracts awarded to Downer EDI for the Clare solar project and to RCR Tomlinson for the Sun Metals Solar project, both in Queensland, demonstrate a further decline in costs per unit of power produced that makes the projects markedly cheaper than the first utility-scale solar projects built here, said Gero Farruggio at Sustainable Energy Research Analytics (SERA).

“The costs are half of what the the capital intensity was of the ones that are on stream and were built over 2015 and 2016,” Mr Farruggio said. “It’s a huge step forward for the industry and for the future of solar in Australia.”

The progress on costs has been more rapid than expected, and large-scale solar projects are now becoming competitive with wind power and getting “very close” to wholesale electricity prices excluding large-scale generation certificates (LGCs), said SERA director Ben Willacy.

 “It really won’t be long before solar projects can compete in Australia without a subsidy and without necessarily relying on LGC revenue,” Mr Willacy said.

Mr Farruggio said that while the cost of solar panels was falling worldwide, increased competition among contractors was also helping improve the economics of local solar projects, with about 15 EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] contractors now fighting it out for work as opposed to just one a few years ago. Work has also slowed in other areas such as mining and energy, helping soften construction costs, while expertise in the area has grown.

Solar developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures late last month awarded a $190 million construction and operations contract for the 100 megawatt Clare project near Ayr to Downer, after striking a deal last May to sell power from the plant to Origin Energy.

RCR Tomlinson said late December it won a contract worth more than $155 million from Korea Zinc’s Sun Metals subsidiary to build a 98.5MW solar project at a zinc operation in Townsville. RCR previously worked on AGL Energy’s Broken Hill solar farm.

A wave of further announcements on construction contracts is expected by the end of the month as the projects that were selected for funding under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s large-scale solar funding round move towards financial close. Those 12 projects, spread across Queensland, NSW and Western Australia, are expected to unlock almost $1 billion of commercial investment……..

The solar power projects will contribute to rising investment in clean energy in Australia thanks to the 2020 Renewable Energy Target. Investment in the sector surged 49 per cent last year to $US3.44 billion, bouncing back after two weak years thanks to renewed confidence in the large-scale RET, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report on Friday.

 Last year’s increase in investment bucked the global trend, which showed a global slowing in the sector, and was driven by a rise in large-scale project financing which rose to $US1.98 billion, BNEF said. Still, investment in large-scale renewables projects will need to double if the 2020 target is to be met, the firm found.

January 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | 2 Comments

Australian politics in 2017 – allout war over renewable energy?

text-relevantEarly skirmishes point to a war over renewable energy lasting well into 2017, The Age, Peter Hannam, 15 Jan 17   “……Trenches are now being dug for what looms as a political battle that will probably last through 2017. On one side lie the Turnbull government, fossil fuel suppliers and right-wing pundits, who say the priority has to be affordable and reliable power.
Turnbull destroys renewables 

logo Paris climate1On the other, Labor and the Greens and clean-energy backers who argue ageing coal-fired power stations need to prepare for an orderly if not accelerated exit to meet Australia’s commitments agreed in the Paris climate treaty.

Josh Frydenberg, environment and energy minister, ended holidays early on Thursday to rail against states for curbing unconventional gas exploration, which also feeds into higher Frydenberg, Josh climateelectricity prices. That’s especially true in SA where gas provides all the power that’s not from wind or the sun.

He took particular aim at Queensland, where the Labor government under map-solar-QueenslandAnnastacia Palaszczuk is aiming for a 50 per cent share of renewable by 2030, up from 4.4 per cent in 2015………

Frydenberg’s Labor counterpart, Mark Butler, though, says the Coalition’s energy policy was “being dictated by the hard right of the party with the likes of Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi”.

“The culture-war element starts to blind people to pretty clear policy,” he says, noting three-quarters of Australia’s fleet of power stations were operating beyond the end of their design life and needed to be replaced.

“The Turnbull government leaves a policy vacuum at the federal level, the states will fill the void,” he says.

Federal Labor remains committed to a 50 per cent renewable share by 2030, he said, noting the Turnbull government has no target beyond 2020 nor is a target among the terms of reference for its 2017 climate policy review. NSW Labor shares the party’s national goal……

Abbott, as if on cue, weighed into the renewables debate on Saturday……

What is certain is that energy bills are on the rise – although the causes are highly debated…….

Bruce Mountain, an energy economist with CME Australia, says rising energy prices will prompt more people to add solar panels and also batteries as prices continue to tumble – much faster than regulators predict.

Tesla’s new 13.5-kilowatt-hour Powerwall 2, costing about $8800 before installation, already offers a lower battery price than AEMO had predicted for 2040, he says

An average household in Adelaide, where power prices have doubled in the past eight years to be among the highest in Australia, would now be better off with panels and storage.

While panels alone typically slash demand for electricity from the grid by a third, adding a battery will reduce grid purchases by about 95 per cent, he said.

‘Existential threat’

Dylan McConnell, a research fellow at the Melbourne Energy Institute, notes AEMO is predicting 15.5 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants  will be shut by 2030. That’s about half of such stations and equivalent to 10 Hazelwoods.

Importantly, AEMO is betting 12GW of new gas-fired power will come on stream “assuming no alternative technologies come to fruition”, Mr McConnell said.

However, the open-cycle gas plants that can provide peaking power to complement variable suppliers such as wind and solar farms “face an existential threat from batteries”, he said……..

Without clear signals, investors won’t have the confidence to invest the billions needed to bring new, more efficient capacity online.

RET challenges

Bloomberg New Energy Finance underscored the scale of the challenge even meeting the 2020 Renewable Energy Target of supplying 33,000 gigawatt-hours from clean energy annually from 2020.

Last year, investment in large scale renewables under the RET bounced back from a meagre $US10 million in 2014 and 2015 after the Abbott government’s review of the sector threw it into a panic. In 2016, it recovered to $US1.1 billion ($1.45 billion).

“However it is still well below the $US2.9 billion per annum now needed to satisfy the notional 20 per cent target by 2020,” Bloomberg said.

Greens energy spokesman Adam Bandt says the Coalition will be tempted to stir up fears of rising electricity prices “in the hope that they can repeat 2013”, when Tony Abbott swept to power in part because of the carbon tax issue.

“They’ll try to beat the electricity bill drums but the prices are going up on their watch,” he says………

January 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, solar, storage | Leave a comment

Australia’s clean transition to renewable energy – theme for January 2017


The whole point of renewable energy is that it is clean. And, for sure, the major fuels – sun and wind – are undoubtedly clean. However, renewable energy does require some components – rare earths – that certainly have a dirty radioactive  history, and may still have a dirty radioactive present.

rare-earths-pollution-ChinaTwo notorious historic examples of pollution from the production of rare earths are the Bukit Merah  project in Malaysia , and China’s project in Inner Mongolia

China is now controlling   rare earths’ production in a cleaner way.  but it would be naïve and simplistic to assume that its pollution problems have completely gone away.

Meanwhile Australian companies, too, are mining and processing rare earths. Lynas, in Malaysia, has had a history pf inadequate management of radioactive wastes, but now has improved its practices.  Greenland Minerals and Energy, about to mine rare earths in Greenland, is criticised for unsatisfactory planning for its radioactive waste tailings.

3 main approaches are being taken to this problem:

rare-earth-recyclingDesign for recycling. This is particularly appropriate for wind turbines.

Reduction in consumption of rare earths . This is not applicable to renewable energy, but rather to the rampant and wasteful  consumption of modern electronic gadgets –  often unnecessary, all too often a part of our throwaway culture.

clean-technologyDesign for green technologies that don’t require rare earths

Of course, like all modern industrial technologies, mining and manufacture and transport  of renewables do mean environmental disturbance.  But this is a balancing act, considering the environmental benefits of renewable energy.

The nuclear lobby pretends that renewable energy is environmentally dirty. In the 21st Century, it is vital that we acknowledge environmental problems, including that fact of radioactive waste from rare earths, and make sure that the production processes are clean, even if this adds to their cost.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Christina themes, energy, rare earths | Leave a comment

Australian Capital Territory prepares for role as clean energy hub and exporter of renewable technology

text-relevantFunding boost for renewable sector to prepare ACT for green future  Clare Sibthorp  11 Jan 17 

The ACT government hopes a funding boost to the local renewable sector will take the territory one step closer to a green future.

Two new grant programs launched by Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury aim to shape the ACT as an export-oriented hub for renewable energy innovation and investment.

The new Direct Grants Stream will provide grants of more than $30,000 to businesses developing renewable technologies.

The Innovation Connect Renewables Stream will feed extra cash into the ACT government’s existing Innovation Connect grants program, allocating $120,000 to the development of innovative products and services in the renewable sector in 2017.

Mr Rattenbury said the programs would be financed from the $12 million industry-funded Renewable Energy Innovation Fund.

He said the ACT was on track to be fully powered by renewables by 2020. “The grants announced today are designed to grow the renewable energy industry, help organisations take the next step in commercialising their technology and reduce deployment costs of renewable energy and energy storage,” he said.

Jobs growth in the ACT renewable energy sector in the past six years was 12 times faster than the national average, a report into the territory government’s action on climate change revealed.

The Minister’s Report into Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction also showed the rate of job growth in the ACT’s renewables sector was six times higher than any other state and territory, as the government invested $12 million into a renewable energy industry development strategy.

January 12, 2017 Posted by | ACT, business, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Australian not-for-profit, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) installs solar household systems in East Timor villages


East Timor villages lit up by solar from Australian not-for-profit By Tom Kenning Jan 12, 2017 


An Australia-based not-for-profit, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA), has installed hundreds of household solar lighting systems across 12 villages in East Timor.

The two-year project was completed in partnership with two local partners, CNFP and Natiles, and with funding from the Google Impact Challenge 2014, four East Timor Friendship Groups and public donations.

After pilot projects in 2015, now 607 solar systems have been installed in villages in the districts of Aileau, Viqueque and Baucau, affecting 4,000 people.

In each village, Natiles liaised with the community, providing training to a management committee and helping it set up its own maintenance fund, while CNEFP trained 30 local technicians to install, maintain and repair the systems. Participating villagers pay a US$10 installation fee, followed by a monthly subscription of US$2, which will be held by the management committee to fund ongoing maintenance and repairs.

This monthly payment is less than the cost of candles and kerosene for a month, said the ATA.

Lighting was installed inside and outside the front of each house, and each household also received a USB-rechargeable torch on a wristband. The systems are designed to be easy to fix and tamper-proof.

The solar systems allow villagers to charge mobile phones via the USB port and to work or study in the evenings.

The ATA has worked closely with the East Timor Government and the United Nations Development Program on the future of the country’s renewable energy rollout since 35% of Timorese households still have no access to the grid.

January 12, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Great solar energy potential for Queensland, but Australia’s Minister For Coal denies this

text-relevantmap-solar-QueenslandSunny Brisbane rooftops well placed to capitalise on solar power, experts say, ABC 6 Jan 17, PM  By Katherine Gregory  Brisbane has the potential to capitalise on solar power’s more competitive pricing, according to experts.

New research by the not-for-profit solar energy company Australian PV Institute and the University of New South Wales has revealed solar panels in Brisbane’s CBD could generate significant savings.

“We’ve done this stocktake of the solar potential of Brisbane’s CBD and from that we’ve worked out that Brisbane could install 188 megawatts of solar on the rooftops of the CBD and produce enough power to meet 11 per cent of demand of the CBD,” the Institute’s chair Renate Egan said.

“This could be done with upfront investment of about $200 million and would payback in electricity repayments $30 million a year.”

To conduct the stocktake the institute used its new Solar Potential Map, which calculates how much electricity can be generated from any particular roof in Brisbane’s CBD.

Ms Egan said it had found close to 50 per cent of roofs could have solar panels.

“We’ve started with Brisbane CBD because Brisbane and Queensland are really proactive around solar,” she said.

“Queensland has got the largest update of solar in Australia, with 1.6 gigawatts of solar installed in Brisbane [and] in Queensland, and they have a target of getting to three gigawatts by 2020.”

Ms Egan said the institute had also engaged with the Queensland Government about it providing the initial upfront investment to install the panels on government buildings such as Suncorp Stadium and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC).

“Anything that helps achieve our renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030 is being considered,” a spokesman for Queensland’s Energy Minister Mark Bailey said in a statement.

Canavan, Matt climate‘Like trying to develop an alpine skiing industry in Queensland’

But the Federal Minister for Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, said Queensland’s renewable energy target was mad.

“It’s like trying to develop an alpine skiing industry in Queensland, it’s about as realistic as that,” he said.

“We don’t have the same renewable resources as say South Australia.

“It would cost an enormous amount of money to build in Queensland and put at risk huge amounts of jobs, particularly in the power sector.

“You’ve got a Labor state government more interested in the philosophy and ideology of power rather than the practicality and reality of it and providing jobs and a decent cost of living for people.”……

January 7, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland Government moving fast towards its renewable energy target

map-solar-Queenslandtext-relevantSolar targets: ‘We’re already halfway there’ says Energy Minister Mark Bailey, Brisbane Times, Tony Moore , 5 Dec 16  The Queensland Government says it is halfway towards one section of its 2020 target of generating 3000 megawatts of solar power from Queensland rooftops by 2020.

“November’s peak of almost 16MW of solar generation capacity installed represents a 33 per cent increase on the year-to-date monthly average,” Energy Minister Mark Bailey said on December 19.

“The four-month period from August to November included four of the five best months during 2016 for the number rooftop solar installations in Queensland.”

Fairfax Media on Tuesday reported calls by University of New South Wales researchers for Brisbane to make better use of the roofs to collect solar energy.

The researchers will arrive in Brisbane on Friday to demonstrate that by putting solar panels on public buildings such as Suncorp Stadium, QPAC and Roma Street Station enough energy could be collected to power 1200 homes.

Senior researcher Anna Bruce wants to talk to Queensland’s Energy Supply Department and to Brisbane City Council about the potential of using extra roof space to collect solar power.

The research team believes it is possible to “generate 241 gigawatt hours of energy per year,” from photo-voltaic cells which could collect a potential 188 megawatts.

Generating 3000 megawatts from Queensland rooftops is one of the Queensland government’s renewable energy objectives; as well as establishing “a credible pathway for having 50 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030”.

That is contained in its solar energy policy, which can be read here.………

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

South Australia needs a level playing field for rooftop solar

text-relevantDennis Matthews, 1 Jan 17 Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, has recentlymap solar south-australia drawn attention to a problem in adopting new energy technology.

When home owners consider installing rooftop photovoltaic (PV) electricity generators they are faced with up-front costs.

By comparison, electricity supplied through the grid by large scale electricity generators is provided at no up-front cost to the consumer. The consumer eventually pays the generators’ up-front costs (plus interest) through quarterly bills over a period of several years.

The solution to the problem has been known for several decades – provide a level playing field by having PV up-front costs financed by either an electricity service provider or government with the costs plus interest being recovered over time through the usual quarterly bill.

Such a simple arrangement would not only make rooftop PV competitive (including for rental properties) with grid electricity but would also make energy conservation measures, such as double glazing, more competitive.


January 1, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s future energy – clean renewables, not dirty nuclear or coal – theme for January 2017

Renewable energy transition is Australia’s future, whether Prime Minister Turnbull likes it or not.

Aust renewable energy

Fossil fuel industries tell the Turnbull government what to think, and what to do. That’s why the government plans to axe the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

However, renewable energy IS happening in Australia.  Renewables with energy storage, are hereAustralia can get to zero emissions, as rooftop solar booms. Report finds 100% renewable grid plan“reliable, robust and stable” Energy expert Giles Parkinson has exposed the  misinformation on rooftop solar and battery storage

While the Federal govt dithers, some States develop their own Renewable Energy Targets. Australia’s electricity industry strongly calls for a carbon price, and switch to clean energy. General Electric supports State-based renewable energy targets. EnergyAustralia is investing $1.5 billion in new wind and solar projects 

This website continues to follow developments – see the category Energy.  Here are some of the latest items:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Canberra shows off its renewable energy success. Australia’s first sun-tracking solar farm opens at Majura.

Victoria. A NEW wave of wind farm developments is sweeping this State. New 116-turbine wind farm for the Wimmera. Solar energy park is seeking co-operative venture with sheep farming! Solar cooling systems in Echuca and Ballarat.

South Australia. Port Augusta is attracting solar energy developers.  South Australia’s home solar batteries provided electricity throughout recent blackout.  Sundrop Farms – desert solar powered agriculture -now internationally applauded.

Western Australia. Western Australian town to host large renewable energy grid.  Retirees trading solar power. Solar switch for one of Australia’s biggest companies funded by community. Carnegie Wave Energy to build its first commercial wave plant in ENGLAND

Queensland. A month  ahead of schedule, Queensland’s huge new solar farm is up and running. Queensland govt’s push for solar power on all government buildings.

New South Wales. Sydney students pioneer a shared solar and battery system for apartment block.

Tasmania. Tidal energy – Australian Maritime College launches new turbine in Tamar River

December 26, 2016 Posted by | Christina themes, energy | 5 Comments