Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Community Buying of solar power – a very good deal for Australia’s Non Profit organisations

NFPs Encouraged to Make the Switch to Solar   A new campaign has launched aiming to help the not-for-profit and community sector make the switch to renewable energy. Pro Bono,  Luke Michael, Journalist, 15 May 18

Community Buying Group and Moreland Energy Foundation officially launched The Big Solar Switch campaign on Monday.

The campaign aims to facilitate Australia’s largest switch to solar power by actively reducing barriers of solar installation for the not-for-profit and community sector.

Developed exclusively for charities and community organisations, the initiative uses the strength of aggregated purchasing to reduce the cost and barriers of installing solar PV systems.

Packages contain a “best value” guarantee which includes negotiated rates for the sector, extended warranties, expert advice and links to funding.

Alison Rowe, the CEO of Moreland Energy Foundation, said unlike individual households and businesses, the charitable sector has not had the benefit of a dedicated program to assist them in the uptake of solar.

“Moreland Energy Foundation (MEFL) has a proud history of supporting communities to benefit from solar installations. We are excited by the opportunity to support the NFP and charitable sector to navigate the process of installing solar PV,” Rowe said.

“MEFL has a wealth of experience having facilitated the installation of over 10 MW (megawatts) of solar. Being an NFP ourselves we understand the resource challenges facing the sector and strive to make the process of investigating solar simple.”

Jill Riseley, the chair of Community Buying Group, told Pro Bono News electricity prices were causing a big headache for community organisations.

………Community Buying Group is hoping for around 10,000 organisations to make the switch to solar power during the campaign.The campaign’s roll-out will firstly focus on the housing sector, with the initial deadline for housing providers on 15 June.

This rollout for large NFPs will commence in late June.

Riseley encouraged the sector to buy-in to the campaign.

“The story we’re really trying to get out to the sector is that it’s a permanent reduction in one of their core operational expenses and it’s a real game changer for the bottom line of many NFPs,” she said.  https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/05/nfps-encouraged-make-switch-solar/

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May 17, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Australia’s scarce water could be helped by solar and wind power

Solar and wind could ease Australia’s water shortage https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/solar-and-wind-could-ease-australia-s-water-shortage-20180513-p4zf1t.html -By Cole Latimer, 

Australia is one the world’s top 20 water-stressed nations but a shift to more renewable energy could lessen the nation’s water pressure.

A report by the World Resources Industry identified Australia as one country vulnerable to water stress where the potential for cheap renewable energy, solar and wind as opposed to fossil fuels, could reduce water consumption country-wide as these technologies use minimal – or zero – water.

May 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, solar, wind | Leave a comment

Solar microgrid to launch in the heart of coal country

 SMH,    By Cole Latimer, Dairy farmers in the heart of Victorian coal country will soon be able to trade solar power using blockchain processes.

A virtual microgrid will be created in the the Latrobe Valley, exchanging energy generated from 200 Gippsland dairy farmers, 20 businesses and 150 households, powered by a decentralised, peer-to-peer blockchain energy trading platform called Exergy.

Ivor Frischknecht, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s chief executive, said the trial was the first step in transitioning the agricultural region – near the state’s coal-fired power stations – to renewable power. It would be the first major trial of a blockchain-based virtual microgrid in Australia.

“The ‘virtual microgrid’ concept brings an alternative approach to energy where the control remains with the customers, rather than retailers, who can choose to opt in depending on the current prices and energy types, or their willingness to provide demand response,” Mr Frischknecht said.

The project will be built by LO3 Energy, a New York-based company that created the world’s first local energy marketplace, in Brooklyn, which allowed participants to trade energy using blockchain technology.

…….. The Victorian virtual microgrid will comprise solar installations, battery storage, and demand response and enabling technologies combined with LO3’s Exergy peer-to-peer trading mechanism, which uses blockchain processes to allow those within the market to buy and sell locally generated renewable energy.

With the energy-hungry farming industry still recovering from the 2016 milk crisis, it promises a cost-effective and resilient solution for farmers to create and manage their own energy and profit from trading their excess generation,” LO3 Energy founder Lawrence Orsini said.

“Engaging with farms is a key part of the project as they have the capacity to install large solar generation and storage. Exergy makes it possible for them to become mini-power plants and gain revenue for energy they don’t use.”

The farms will be given loans to build solar installations by the Sustainable Melbourne Fund, which will be repaid through council fees.

ARENA will also provide $370,000 in funding for the $775,000 project.

“The local Latrobe Valley marketplace would allow Gippsland farmers to take greater control of their energy use, providing the opportunity to sell their power back to the grid,” the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said, “consumers will also be paid for choosing to conserve energy at peak times.”

The study will run to the end of the year, with plans to roll out a pilot microgrid in Gippsland in 2019. https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/solar-microgrid-to-launch-in-the-heart-of-coal-country-20180426-p4zbtf.html

 

May 9, 2018 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Floating solar array included in South Australia Water’s big move into solar power

SA Water set to add another 5MW solar, including floating PV array http://reneweconomy.com.au/sa-water-set-add-another-5mw-solar-including-floating-pv-array-85781/  By Sophie Vorrath on 22 March 2018   One Step Off The Grid   

South Australia’s largest water and sewerage services supplier, SA Water, is set to install another 5MW of solar PV, including a floating solar plant, after local outfit Enerven was awarded the tender for the job.

Enerven said on Wednesday that it had won a Stage 1 contract to design and construct ground-based solar installations at facilities in Hope Valley, Christies Beach and Glenelg, and to develop a floating solar PV array.

SA Water, which has targeted zero net energy by 2020, began its shift to solar last year, with a tender to install 100kW solar and 50kWh battery storage at its Crystal Brook Workshop site.

The utility, which manages more than 27,000km of water mains, including 9,266 km in the Adelaide metropolitan area, said it was installing the solar and storage system to manage periods of high electricity prices, and to ensure safe and sustainable delivery of water to customers.

Ultimately, the company aims to get its on-site renewable energy generation to the point where it is equal to the total annual amount of energy used by SA Water’s buildings and desalination operations.

And it is not alone in its quest. As we have reported on One Step Off The Grid, a number of Australian water utilities are turning to solar and/or wind energy to lower costs and help guarantee supply.

In Queensland, Logan City Council has installed an off-grid solar and battery storage system as part of a micro-grid powered “electro-chlorinator” that will help maintain local drinking water quality 24 hours a day.

The solution – delivered by the Logan Water Infrastructure Alliance and solar installer CSR Bradford – combined a 95kWh Tesla Powerpack with 323 PV panels at the site of the relatively new 20 Megalitre Round Mountain Reservoir, which provides drinking water for residents in Flagstone, Yarrabilba, North Maclean, Spring Mountain and Woodhill.

In the regional Victorian city of Portland, Wannon Water has installed a 100kW solar system on a water tank at its treatment plant at Hamilton that was expected to cut the plant’s grid electricity consumption by 25 per cent.

In NSW, a community-funded 100kW floating solar array has been installed at the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant in NSW.

And Queensland’s City of Gold Coast is proposing to install a series of floating solar PV arrays on its network of wastewater ponds – both to help power the city’s wastewater treatment plants and to cut evaporation from the ponds.

Enerven says design of the SA Water solar project has commenced, and is due for completion in September 2018.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Solar energy poised to take off in a big way in New South Wales

NSW, the sleeping giant of rooftop solar, is about to awake http://reneweconomy.com.au/nsw-sleeping-giant-rooftop-solar-awake-68621/   By Giles Parkinson on 22 March 2018 

March 22, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall carrying out the Liberal agenda – Cuts Access To Solar Batteries For Low Income Households.

SA’s New Premier Cuts Access To Solar Batteries For Low Income Households. Gizmodo, Hayley Williams Mar 19, 2018 

Incoming South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has today revealed that the Liberal government will not continue with Jay Weatherill’s plan to install batteries in thousands of low-income households. The new government’s plan will instead focus on means-tested subsidies for battery systems, and on the grid scale a focus on interconnectivity with NSW.

In a radio interview with ABC RN Breakfast this morning, Marshall talked briefly about his focus for South Australia in the upcoming years, including the direction he was planning to take with Jay Weatherill’s many renewable initiatives. Marshall confirmed that the party would be continuing with a $100 million home battery subsidy outlined mid campaign, rather than following through on the Labor campaign that would have installed Tesla batteries in South Australia’s Housing Trust homes at no cost to their occupants.

While on the surface Marshall’s plan sounds similar, promising batteries in 40,000 homes where Labor had aimed for batteries and rooftop solar on 50,000 houses, the Liberal plan cuts low income earners out of the equation. “[Jay Weatherill] was doing it for Housing Trust homes in South Australia. That’s not part of our agenda,” Marshall clarified. “Our agenda is the 40,000 homes and we’re going to do 10,000 a year.”

While the grants – around $2,500 per home – will be means tested, they are intended for houses with existing rooftop solar, and still require an upfront payment that low income earners will not be able to afford. The cheapest battery available in Australia is the Ampetus Super Lithium at $2,300 for 2.7kWh of usable storage, but this doesn’t include the cost of installation, a separate inverter and the solar panels to go with it.

Disappointingly, Marshall has said he will not be upholding Weatherill’s promise of a 75 per cent renewable target for South Australia. “We don’t believe in state-based renewable energy targets,” he explained. “We do support a national approach.” Yet experts have said that the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee sets too soft a target for the electricity industry to pull its weight on meeting Australia’s emission targets under the Paris Agreement, making it all the more disappointing that South Australia will now be doing even less to help……..https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/03/sas-new-premier-cuts-access-to-solar-batteries-for-low-income-households/

March 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

India’s solar parks – a good system for Australia, too

Farming the sun’s rays: Should Australia follow India’s lead and create solar parks?   http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-03-21/farming-the-suns-rays-australian-farmers-should-follow-india/9526812 NSW Country Hour By Michael Condon, 21 Mar 18, [Excellent graphics] 

March 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

New schemes may help renters get solar panels on their roof – Australia’s solar energy boom

Solar boom: New schemes may help renters get solar panels on their roof,  ABC Science, By Anna Salleh, 18 Feb 18,  

 

February 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

In Australia solar farm approvals and record rooftop installations expected to ‘turbo-boost’ production

Australia’s solar power boom could almost double capacity in a year, analysts say https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/11/australias-solar-power-boom-could-almost-double-capacity-in-a-year-analysts-say

Solar farm approvals and record rooftop installations expected to ‘turbo-boost’ production, Guardian,  Naaman Zhou, 11 Feb 18 

A record-breaking month of rooftop installations and a flood of large-scale solar farms could almost double Australia’s solar power capacity in a single year, industry analysts say.

A massive solar energy boom is being predicted for 2018, after an unprecedented number of industrial solar farms were approved by the New South Wales and Queensland governments last year.

Last month also became the biggest January on record for rooftop installations, according to the renewables website RenewEconomy and industry analysts SunWiz

With 111MW of new panels, it saw a 69% rise compared with the same month last year and became one of the top five months ever – largely driven by low installation costs and a boost in commercial uptake.

At the same time, nearly 30 new industrial solar farms are scheduled to come on line.

NSW approved 10 solar farm projects last year – twice as many as the year before – and has approved another in 2018. Queensland currently has 18 large-scale projects under construction, which is the most in the country.

The new farms could be operational within the year, according to John Grimes, the chief executive of the Clean Energy Council.

“These solar farms can be built within a matter of weeks,” he said. “They’re really quick and simple.”

Together, the new large-scale projects could add between 2.5GW and 3.5GW to the national grid and rooftop installations could add another 1.3GW, according to the Smart Energy Council’s estimates. This would nearly double the nation’s solar energy capacity, currently 7GW, in a single year.

“The train tracks are about to converge,” Grimes said. “Rooftop installations and utilities are both booming and could turbo-boost the solar numbers overall.”

In Queensland, residential solar panels are already the state’s largest source of energy, producing more combined than the 1.7GW Gladstone power station. Just under a third (30%) of residential homes in the state have solar installed – the most in the country.

With the completion of the new solar farms, solar will provide 17% of the state’s energy. “We’ve turned the sunshine state into the solar state,” Queensland’s former energy minister Mark Bailey said in October.

In New South Wales, the planning minister, Anthony Roberts, said the 10

new solar farms would generate 1.2GW of energy and reduce carbon emissions by more than 2.5m tonnes – the equivalent of taking about 800,000 cars off the road.

Grimes said the solar boom “was only going to grow” in future.

“Solar is the cheapest way to generate electricity in the world – full stop,” he said. “It’s not unusual for grid pricing to be north of 20c per kilowatt hour in a majority of jurisdicitions. A solar array, at an average size for an average home, if you amortise the cost over 20 years, the effective rate is 5c per kilowatt hour. That’s called an economic no-brainer.”

He said the rush to install rooftop panels could have been sparked by January’s warm weather and rising energy prices.

“I think people are acutely aware of energy prices. People are running air conditioning and thinking, ‘hooley dooley I’m going to get a bill’.”

2017 saw a record 1.25GW of solar power added to the grid nationally, counting both large-scale solar farms and rooftop panels. The predicted rate of rooftop panels alone in 2018 is expected to be 1.3GW.

February 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

New South Wales Liberal Premier Berejiklian is approving a solar energy revolution

The Berejiklian government has approved 11 large-scale solar energy plants in the past 12 months, clearing the way for NSW to join a “tsunami” of new renewable energy capacity across the nation.

The 170-megawatt Finley Solar Project in the Riverina, which will include half a million solar panels, is the first to get approval in 2018.

The 10 to get the go-ahead in 2017 doubled the number in the previous year, and alone supported 1800 construction jobs, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said.

Those 10 “collectively reduce carbon emissions by over 2.5 million tonnes, which is equivalent to taking around 800,000 cars off the road”, he said.

NSW had more renewable generation capacity under construction than any other state, Energy Minister Don Harwin said.

 “These projects will ensure our energy security and with many more in the pipeline, NSW is in a stronger position than other states,” he said.
Energy security remains a contentious issue in Australia, with the Turnbull government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee yet to secure sign-on by states and territories unsure about the fine detail.

John Grimes, chief executive of the Smart Energy Council, a group promoting solar energy and storage, described the acceleration of solar approvals in NSW as “fantastic”.  The Coalition-led state government was “one conservative group that’s not working against renewables, and that’s got to be good thing”, Mr Grimes said.

In 2017, large-scale and roof-top solar added about 1.3 gigawatts nationally, a record for the industry.

On current trends, roof-top panels could alone add 1.4 GW of new capacity this year, with solar farms soaring by 2.5-3.5 GW, the Smart Energy Council estimates.

Together the 2018 tally may come close to doubling existing capacity in a single year as firms rush to supply the Renewable Energy Target that has to be filled by 2020.

“We’re about to get this giant, enormous tsunami, and nobody knows about it,” Mr Grimes said. “Wind [energy] used to be big and solar was small – now solar’s big, and wind is small.”

Officials in various approval agencies are struggling to keep up with approvals as companies flood them with applications, he said.

“With some of the best sunshine anywhere in the world and lots of good locations available, it is not surprising that NSW is up there with Queensland as one of the national frontrunners for new large-scale solar power projects,” Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, said.

At present, Queensland is ahead of NSW in terms of projects with finance or under construction, although the two states have similar numbers of approved ventures.

Renewable energy projects to be built under the Renewable Energy Target in the next couple of years add up to more power than the original Snowy Hydro project, which took a quarter of a century to complete, Mr Thornton said.

Solar projects can typically be developed, approved and built faster than wind ventures.

“And with the cost of new solar power continuing to plunge, they can also be built for a very competitive price which is substantially lower than either new coal or new gas,” Mr Thornton said.

An example of other states’ development includes a plan by Tilt Renewables to spend almost $500 million to integrate two projects – a solar farm and battery venture, and a 300-megawatt, pumped hydro storage project in a disused quarry – with its wind farm interests in South Australia.

Tilt’s $90 million Snowtown North solar and storage project includes a 180,000-panel farm with 44-MW capacity and a 26 MW-hour battery. It is forecast to have an operational life of around 25 years and offset around 85,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent.

“By combining wind energy – with typically an evening peak at this site – and solar energy with a daytime peak,  the two assets can combine to better match daily electricity demands,”  Tilt chief executive Deion Campbell said, adding that “with the battery reducing the effect of short-term variability from the two renewable generation technologies”.

One area where NSW is a relative laggard is the penetration of rooftop solar, with roughly half the 30 per cent rate of South Australia and Queensland. “There’s a lot of ground to make up,” Mr Grimes said.

Beyond the big solar farms, though, is a jump in demand from companies looking to install smaller systems – such as between 400 kilowatt to 10 MW capacity – without power purchase agreements to offset the output.

“They are doing it to offset their own electricity use” and to get price certainty, Mr Grimes said.

 

February 10, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

South Australia’s new solar energy plan – an international first

Reuters 4th Feb 2018, South Australia’s state premier Jay Weatherill announced a plan on Sunday to create a network of 50,000 home solar systems backed by Tesla Powerwall batteries, ahead of a state election in March.

“We lead the world in renewable energy with the world’s largest battery, the world’s largest solar thermal plant and now the world’s largest virtual power plant,” he said in a televised interview from the state capital of Adelaide. “The size of it is the reason why it’s going to be a success.” The project would begin with a trial on 1,100 public housing homes, the government said on its website.
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-australia-power-tesla/south-australia-promises-worlds-largest-virtual-power-plant-idUKKBN1FO029?rpc=401&

February 5, 2018 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s renewable energy powerhouses to come – Whyalla and Port Augusta

Whyalla and Port Augusta could be a renewables powerhouse, says local mayor, ABC North and West By Tom Rohde  , 4 Jan 18

SA’s clean-energy projects

  • A hybrid power station is being built at Coober Pedy. The hope is that the outback community can be powered solely by solar, wind and diesel energy
  • Investors have funded a $300m solar battery-power plant at Roxby Downs
  • A wind, solar and battery farm is planned at Crystal Brook in the state’s mid north
  • A 100 megawatt solar powered facility is being built at Tailem Bend
  • US-based company Solar Reserve is seeking federal support for a $650 million solar-thermal project in Port Augusta
  • Zen Energy wants to build a solar power plant in the Upper Spencer Gulf

Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer said she hoped her city could team up with Port Augusta 80 kilometres away to make the plan a reality.

Regional South Australian cities have seen several energy projects announced over the past year, with construction on a new solar thermal power station in Port Augusta to start early this year.

In October last year, Whyalla steelworks owner Sanjeev Gupta announced that he had approved a plan worth up to $700 million for solar, battery storage and pumped hydro, with 200 megawatts of solar photovoltaics at Whyalla……..

Port Augusta’s mayor Sam Johnson said he believed the region was already becoming a hub for renewable energy.

“Port Augusta will, and I believe actually is becoming the renewable capital of Australia and there’s no doubt that Whyalla is a direct link into that.

“There’s some really great synergies between Port Augusta and Whyalla in what’s becoming a new and exciting industry.”…. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-05/sa-cities-could-become-australian-renewable-energy-centre/9306318

January 6, 2018 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

World’s first fully solar-powered train on the New South Wales North Coast

World-first solar train now leaving the platform in Byron Bay with zero emissions, ABC North Coast , By Bruce Mackenzie, 17  Dec 17,  What is claimed to be the world’s first fully solar-powered train is operating on the New South Wales North Coast.

A refurbished 70-year-old ‘red rattler’ is running on a three-kilometre stretch of disused rail line at the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay.

It made its maiden trip yesterday with almost 100 passengers on board.

Electric bus solar system

The $4-million project is the brainchild of multi-millionaire businessman Brian Flannery, who owns a resort in the area.

“Hopefully it attracts people to Byron Bay,” Mr Flannery said.

“I think international tourists will come here to have a look at this world’s first solar train.

“So let’s see, in five years’ time they’ll probably still say I’m mad, but it’s a bit of fun.”

Tim Elderton, from the Lithgow Railway Workshop, was tasked with building curved solar panels and a battery system to power the train.

“Of course the major difference is it’s got solar panels on the roof so it can recharge itself.

“For those cloudy days we’ve also got 30 kilowatts of solar panels in this [station’s] roof here so we can also plug it in.

“On a sunny day like today we can do about four or five trips before we have to plug it in.”……..

Tram infrastructure a possibility

Longer trips than this one — 10 minutes to cover three kilometres or so — would require regular recharging stations along the route, but Mr Flannery said the technology might be suited to inner-city trams.

A lot of the tram networks of course have overhead wires and they’re electric but they’re powered off the grid from overhead,” he said.

“But in a case where you want to build a tramline without that infrastructure, I think you could.

“At various stations you could top the train [or tram] up.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-16/world-first-solar-train-the-brainchild-of-byron-bay-millionaire/9265522

December 17, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland election is critical for solar energy, and for electricity consumers

Queensland poll could be a show-stopper for solar, and consumers http://reneweconomy.com.au/queensland-poll-could-be-a-show-stopper-for-solar-and-consumers-11958/ By Giles Parkinson & Sophie Vorrath on 24 November 2017 Dirty versus clean; old versus the new; fossil fuels verses renewables; expensive energy versus cheap. There has rarely been so much at stake for an industry as there is in Saturday’s state election in Queensland, and the result is far from clear.

Current polling from Galaxy puts the ALP on track to win the required 47 seats for a majority, but as the Brisbane Courier-Mail reports, this will hinge on a number of factors, including unpredictable preference flows from One Nation supporters.

As at the federal level, politics in Queensland has been heavily focused on energy in the run-up to Saturday’s poll.

The Labor Palaszczuk government – which has a 50 per cent RET by 2030 for the state – has been campaigning strongly around renewables, with a particular focus on increasing rooftop solar uptakeas a way to cut power costs for businesses and homes around the state.

The new policies, launched in late October as part of the Palaszczuk government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan, will offer no-interest loans to consumers wishing to invest in rooftop solar and battery storage, but lacking the up-front capital to do so.

They will also work to give landlords and renters equal access to solar, through a trial initially involving 1000 rental households. Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey said the rental solar scheme had the potential to save tenants up to 10 per cent off their annual bill, or up to $150 a year, while landlords could get a rebate of up to $520 per year.

On large-scale renewables,  as we reported here, Labor, has promised to follow through on a program already underway to underwrite 400MW of renewable energy projects.

Following on from this, it has committed to support a further 1000MW of renewable energy projects via a new government power company; and to look to construct new transmission infrastructure in Northern Queensland that would unlock a vast new province of wind, solar and hydro power projects.

On the other side of the political divide, the LNP conservative coalition that is seeking to replace the current Labor government has made its intentions on energy clear: the end of renewables incentives; government money for a new coal generator in north Queensland; and support for the Adani coal mine.

The LNP is also claiming a huge reduction in consumer bills: $160 a year for two years, followed by savings of up to $460 a year in 2020.

But this is largely a mirage, as energy analyst Hugh Grant has pointed out. He noted that the only parties with policies that would deliver price reductions were the Greens, and Labor.

Not that Queenslanders got to read about that anywhere – apart from RenewEconomy, the local media refused to publish the results, as Michael West points out in this piece.

In the Conservative corner in the fight for new coal is federal minister for resources and northern Australia, Matt Canavan, who – recently restored to his portfolio – is as keen as ever to use the federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to help fund a new coal-fired power plant in Queensland’s north, as well as to get the Adani coal mine and port project off the ground.

One Nation is also keen to build a coal-fired power station west of Townsville, with party leader Pauline Hanson pledging to commit $1.5 billion to the project, which she wants built in Collinsville – a former coal hub of the state that is more recently turning to large-scale solar.

In fact, according to data gathered for RE’s Renewable Energy Index, the North Queensland region has more power generating capacity under construction than the entire state of NSW, and almost as much as Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia combined.

Meanwhile, Queensland home and business owners are leading the country – which in turn is leading the world – in rooftop solar uptake.

A Climate Council report last month showed that almost one third (31.6 per cent) of all Queensland homes now have solar panels, which puts the state ahead of South Australia, at 30.5 per cent, and Western Australia at 25.4 per cent.

What’s more, there are 14 postcodes in the Sunshine State alone where more than 50 per cent of households have rooftop solar, including the the Moreton Bay region town of Elimbah, where an impressive 63 per cent of homes have PV panels on their roofs.

The Australian Solar Council – newly rebranded as the Smart Energy Council – aren’t resting on their laurels, though. The peak solar industry body is spooked enough about a possible LNP victory that is has launched its own major election campaign, urging voters to put the Coalition last.

“Queensland voters face a stark choice at the election tomorrow,” the SEC said in an email to members on Friday:

“A new polluting coal-fired power station or a solar thermal plant providing 24-hour solar power; no new large-scale renewables and massive job losses or 1,000 megawatts of new large-scale renewable projects in regional Queensland; and a National Energy Guarantee that delivers the longest solar eclipse in history or sensible national energy policy.”

November 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Australian Solar Council launches campaign againstQueensland’s Liberal National Party

Solar industry launches big campaign in Queensland poll against LNP http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-industry-launches-big-campaign-queensland-poll-lnp-59401/ By Giles Parkinson on 17 November 2017  The Australian Solar Council – the peak body for the country’s solar industry – has announced a major advertising campaign against the Liberal National Party coalition in the Queensland election campaign, saying the future of the industry is at stake.

The ASC says it is spending “hundreds of thousands” of dollars in the first stage of its campaign, which will include TV, designed to highlight the implications for the solar industry if the LNP win power.

“It is a huge step for the Australian Solar Council to do political advertising, but solar companies are concerned,” says John Grimes, the chief executive of the ASC.

Liberal National Party policies present a direct threat to profits in Queensland’s renewables industry.”

 Grimes told Reneweconomy that campaign was launched because it was felt that the issue – essentially one of solar versus coal – had not got the prominence it deserved.

“The reality of what’s at stake is not well understood, we have got to shake people up,” Grimes said.

“The implications of a Queensland LNP government that abolishes the renewable target, abolishes the RET in Queensland and signs up to new coal fired power station is completely untenable. That’s why we are taking this action.”

The LNP has made clear it will remove all subsidies for renewable energy in the state, and focus instead on building a new coal fired power station in north Queensland – an idea that even other coal generation companies say is ridiculous.

Labor, on the other hand, has promised to reach “at least” 50 per cent renewable energy by 2020, and promised more funding for a first solar thermal plant with storage, more solar for schools, initiatives for renters and low income households, and a 400MW tender for solar and storage.

The result, however, is in the balance, with One Nation polling strongly enough to possibly win some seats, and provide the numbers to support the LNP in a minority government.

Grimes noted that there were more than 24 large scale solar projects under development, or committed, in Queensland, and a pipeline of at least double that.

“We right on the cusp of an energy transformation,” he said. “There is a whole lot of investment that will fall by the wayside if we get a change in government.

The ASC is also concerned about the LNP’s declared support for the proposed National Energy Guarantee, which critics say will end up supporting existing fossil fuel generators and effectively penalise and put a halt to renewable energy development. The National Energy Guarantee is really a guarantee for coal,” Grimes says. “It means delay, inaction and confusion for renewable energy. That’s untenable for Queensland’s solar industry.

“When the National Energy Guarantee was announced, the Australian Solar Council promised a pointed political campaign against it. We are making good on that promise through newspaper, radio and digital advertising in key marginal seats in Queensland.

“Thousands of regional jobs have been created by the solar boom, and billions of dollars are being invested in regional communities but the solar boom could turn to bust in the Sunshine State,” said Mr Grimes.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment