Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Battery storage project Victoria. 2 more solar farms Queensland

Victoria
$660m battery project to give business new power options
A new large-scale solar and battery storage project in Victoria, involving 2.3 million solar panels, is touted as a possible solution for businesses struggling with Australia’s volatile energy market.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-20/new-solar-battery-storage-project-for-nowingi/8632628 
 
Belectric completes second solar farm, plans two more
Germany solar and storage developer Belectric says it plans to complete two more solar farms in Australia by the end of the year, after finishing a 4.77MW solar plant at Goondiwindi , Queensland, using a new, low cost installation system.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/belectric-completes-second-solar-farm-plans-two-more-65632/

June 21, 2017 Posted by | energy, solar | Leave a comment

Finkel Review not much help for solar and storage home customers

Finkel Review: What’s in it for solar and storage customers like Jenny? REneweconomy By Dominic Adams on 14 June 2017 The focus of this piece is about what the Finkel Review delivers for a Mojo customer, Jenny. Jenny has solar on her roof and a smart battery in her garage.

Having your attention though (and also my cake and eating it) I’d like to start by noting that we should think carefully before opposing the Clean Energy Target (CET), the big ticket item in the Finkel Review designed to reduce emissions in the power sector.

It’s become more important to put the carbon wars behind us for a time than to find the perfect policy.

The CET is far from perfect. It’s all carrot and no stick. It’s a political and environmental compromise. But it’s our last best hope of ending the lost years of uncertainty in the generation sector that are now leading to wholesale electricity price rises that will start flowing through to customers like Jenny in a few weeks.

 The CET can also form the bones of a scheme that can evolve over time to sweeten the carrot for renewables or add a cane for fossil fuels, when the political will returns.

Mojo’s mission is to drive down the costs of energy for its customers (including Jenny), and we think that ending the uncertainty in the policy environment is an essential step in that direction.

The CET however makes up just a fraction of the 212 page report. It’s a few paragraphs out of the 7 pages packed with recommendations 1.1 through 7.14. It’s fair enough to ask the question, what’s in all those recommendations for Jenny?

The answer is somewhat unclear at this stage, but the signs aren’t great for Jenny in the short to medium term.

The big problem that the Finkel Review is charged with solving is how to decarbonise the energy sector while keeping the system secure and inexpensive for consumers.

A key focus however is on the security of the system in the wake of a particular storm in South Australia (plus more than a few in teacups in Canberra). The security issue is summed up well in the Review:

“Because [system security services such as inertia, system strength and voltage control] were historically plentiful, as essentially a by-product of power supply from synchronous generators, they were not explicitly valued in the [National Electricity Market (NEM)]. With their growing scarcity, the hidden value of these services has emerged. New mechanisms will be needed to source these services, or appropriate alternatives, from synchronous machines and a range of other technologies.”

As more renewable energy pushes into the NEM, driven initially by policy, but increasingly by sheer economics, system security services are in decline. The same process contributes to reliability issues, where the lights go out because available supply can’t meet demand in the NEM.

People with batteries and controllable devices behind their meters (the so called prosumers, or Jenny) can provide system security services to the market as well as help supply meet demand in the NEM.

The key issue in the Finkel Review for Jenny is what the mechanisms for sourcing these services will be, and whether she will be able to benefit from the value that her assets provide……..

What it ultimately means for Jenny is that her solar system and battery are less valuable. Her assets can’t access all the value in providing security and reliability services because initially the markets don’t exist for those services.

In the longer run, when the markets may exist after the long process of review and policy development, the value may not be there anymore. The lions share of the value could be taken by the grid scale batteries and other devices that were required to be built in the non-market phase.

We think a better approach is to fast-track the development of market based solutions to these issues. Doing so will not just increase the benefits for Jenny, but also reduce costs for other consumers not fortunate enough to afford solar and a battery.

At Mojo we will keep up the fight for Jenny and our other customers, because they have better things to do than read the Finkel Review.

Dominic Adams is Regulatory Strategy Manager for energy retailer Mojo Power  http://reneweconomy.com.au/finkel-review-whats-solar-storage-customers-like-jenny-79674/

June 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, storage | Leave a comment

Pipeline of solar farms across Australia to begin from Western Australia

WA, UK team announce $200m big solar pipeline for Australia, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 13 June 2017 Western Australian large-scale solar start-up Stellata Energy has joined forces with UK based renewables investment specialist, Ingenious, to build what they say is a $200 million pipeline of solar farms across Australia, starting with a flagship 120MW ground-mounted project in their home state.

The companies said in a join announcement on Tuesday that they were seeking approval to build a 120MW ground-mounted solar plant in the regional town of Merredin, roughly half way between Perth and Kalgoorlie.

The partnership signals the arrival of yet another European investor into the Australian market, in the rush to meet the remainder of the 2020 renewable energy target as technology costs continue to fall.

Stellata, which has been around for roughly one year, says it is well placed to deliver large-scale solar in Western Australia, with an executive team with extensive previous experience developing more than 600MW of ground-mounted and rooftop solar across Europe.

Ingenious, meanwhile, has raised and deployed more than £9 billion, including £500 million in renewables projects across the UK and Ireland, the companies said……http://reneweconomy.com.au/wa-uk-team-announce-200m-big-solar-pipeline-for-australia-58923/

June 14, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Major commercial shopping sites in NSW and South Australia to go solar

Four shopping centres to go behind the meter in major commercial solar deal, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 6 June 2017 One Step Off The GridOne of Australia’s biggest shopping centre owners, SCA Property Group, has joined the march to solar, after signing a deal to power four of its major commercial sites cross regional New South Wales and South Australia with a combined total of 2.9 MW of rooftop PV.

In an ASX announcement on late last week, Queensland-based solar supplier ReNu Energy said it had entered an agreement with SCA Property to own and operate solar PV and embedded network systems across four shopping centres, for a period of 10 years with an additional three, five year options……..http://reneweconomy.com.au/four-shopping-centres-to-go-behind-the-meter-in-major-commercial-solar-deal-31391/

June 7, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

In sunny Broome, residents are fed up with restrictions on accessing solar power

Broome residents tire of cap on solar power installations http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-03/broome-residents-tire-of-waiting-for-solar/8584060

Key points

  • Horizon Power only allows 10 per cent of the town’s power to come from solar due to issues with grid fluctuations
  • This leaves some residents unable to install a solar system that connects to the grid
  • Horizon is trialling battery storage technology in other WA towns and hopes to expand this to Broome

State-owned energy utility Horizon Power allows just 10 per cent of the town’s power to be generated from solar to protect the grid from fluctuations during periods of high and low light.

Small business owner Cameron White has been trying to switch to solar for two years in a bid to reduce his power bill but said he has been blocked at every turn.

“We’re in the sunniest place in Australia, probably, but we can’t use it,” he said.

Mr White said the high cost of electricity in regional areas, combined with the inability to access solar was putting added financial stress on homes and businesses already suffering in a post-mining boom era.

“Businesses in town are struggling at the moment, including myself, and you know these power bills [are] enough to tip people over the edge,” he said.

Horizon Power acknowledges the problem and is currently trialling battery-supported solar systems in the WA towns of Carnarvon and Onslow which can store the power to deal with the fluctuations in supply.

Spokesman Frank Tudor said Horizon ultimately wanted regional towns to generate half their energy from the sun. “Broome will be part of the trials that we are looking at across all of our different systems, if that proves worthwhile then we will gradually roll it out,” he said.

But Mr White said he was not going to wait any longer, opting instead to disconnect from the grid and rely solely on the sun. “I’m going it alone, I’m determined to do it myself,” he said.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Solar power plant for Northern Territory Aboriginal community -cuts reliance on diesel

NT aboriginal community to get 1MW solar plant, cut reliance on diesel, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 1 June 2017  One Step Off The Grid

A remote Aboriginal community south of Darwin in the Northern Territory will soon be powered mostly by the sun, thanks to a hybrid solar and diesel generation plant being built as part of the Territory government’s SETuP program.

The Daly River project will see the construction of a 1MW solar facility, that is expected to provide 100 per cent of the local Nauiyu community’s energy needs during the day, relegating the diesel generators for use only at night and as back-up…….

…to read the full story on One Step Off The Grid, click here

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation.  http://reneweconomy.com.au/nt-aboriginal-community-get-1mw-solar-plant-cut-reliance-diesel-59838/

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Northern Territory, solar | Leave a comment

Telstra funding construction of $100 million solar farm in northern Queensland

Telstra’s solar contract part of bigger power play, AFR,  Angela Macdonald-Smith 30 May 17 Telstra has lifted the veil on its highly anticipated new energy strategy, revealing it will underpin the construction of a $100 million solar farm in northern Queensland as part of a wider play to protect itself from soaring power prices. Under a deal struck with renewable energy giant RES Group, Telstra will buy all the power generated by a 70 megawatt solar project to be built near Emerald over “multiple” years.

Head of Telstra’s new energy division Ben Burge also said the telco was gearing up to use its hundreds of megawatts of backup power at exchanges around the country to offer electricity into the wholesale market when ultra-high demand causes prices to surge.

“It’s a highly distributed, highly responsive source of energy which over the coming years we will look to make better use of in order to improve our resilience but also to address extreme wholesale prices in the market,” Mr Burge, the former head of Meridian Energy’s Australian business, said.

 He said Telstra, which accounts for about 1 per cent of the country’s power demand, was looking to protect itself from movements in power prices the way large corporates did for exchange and interest rates…….. http://www.afr.com/business/energy/solar-energy/telstras-solar-contract-part-of-bigger-power-

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Australia-German co-operation launching solar roof tiles

German battery giant Sonnen teams with Australian solar tile maker to take on Tesla, One Step Off The Grid,  By Sophie Vorrath on May 25, 2017  German battery storage giant and major Tesla rival, Sonnen, has opened up competition on yet another front in Australia, with the announcement this week of a partnership with a local roofing company that is set to launch its own version of an integrated solar tile.

Sonnen said on Thursday that it had signed an agreement with Australian company Bristile Roofing to be the national supplier of solar powered energy storage systems for homes using its new solar tile, which is due to hit the market in September.

Under the deal, Bristile will offer the Sonnen AC Coupled modular battery storage system to the builder market, as well as its new Sonnen DC Hybrid range.

The storage system includes an inverter, battery modules, and an energy management system with built-in smart appliance control. The systems have a 10-year guarantee, but are designed for a 20-year life, according to Sonnen.

Bristile, which is a part of the building materials group Brickworks, says it expects to target the estimated 102,000 new-build homes throughout Australia in 2017-18, with a number of builders the company deals with “looking to offer integrated solar systems” as a standard feature of off-the-plan homes…..

The deal come’s just weeks after Tesla announced that its own, much-hyped solar roofing tiles were open for Australian orders, with down-payments, ahead of delivery in 2018.

Tesla, which has previously claimed the tiles would be no more expensive that a regular roof, making the solar power generation “a bonus”, has estimated that the “typical homeowner” should expect to pay $US21.85 per square foot for the tiles. Bloomberg, however, puts the price at $US42 per sqaure foot, including materials and labour.

Prices are yet to be revealed for the Bristile Solartile. https://onestepoffthegrid.com.au/german-battery-giant-teams-australian-solar-tile-maker-take-tesla/

May 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s large-scale Greenough River solar farm to quadruple in size

Australia’s first large-scale solar farm to quadruple in size http://reneweconomy.com.au/australias-first-large-scale-solar-farm-to-quadruple-in-size-20618 By Giles Parkinson on 19 May 2017

The Greenough River solar farm in Western Australia, the first large-scale solar farm in the country, plans to quadruple in size from 10MW to 40MW.

The plans by co-owners Synergy, the government-owned generator and retailer, and US energy giant General Electric, were unveiled in a submission to WA’s Economic Regulation Authority, and reveal that two new 15MW arrays will be built either side of the existing facility, around 50km south-east of Geraldton.

The new arrays, will use First Solar modules, as did the first, but unlike the first installation these will deploy single axis tracking technology to improve the yield. More than 90 per cent of solar farms in Australia are now using tracking technology. SMA is providing the inverters.

Synergy and GE say that the solar farm will seek a power purchase agreement, but presumably that will come from Synergy itself, as it is it the biggest utility in the state and has yet to meet all its renewable energy target commitments.

Greenough River was built in 2012 and remains the only solar farm connected to the main grid in Western Australia, although several other projects have begun, or are about to begin, construction. These include the 30MW Byford solar farm south-east of Perth and a 10MWW solar farm planned near Northam by Carnegie Clean Energy.

Across Australia, however, the large-scale solar boom is accelerating. Eight grid-connected large-scale solar farms have now been completed and another 30 are under construction, or have reached financial closure and are about to begin.

The joint owners of Greenough River says the solar plant, located on a wheat farm, “has been extremely warmly welcomed by what is a very small remote community. No public complaints or opposition have been received.”

May 20, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Big solar energy projects taking off across Australia

12 from 12: ARENA’s big solar plans take off across the country http://reneweconomy.com.au/12-from-12-arenas-big-solar-plans-take-off-across-the-country-81918/ By Giles Parkinson on 16 May 2017  The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced that all 12 of the projects that won funding under its large-scale solar program have now reached financial close and will begin construction shortly, if they haven’t already.

The last of the 12 projects to get to financial close – the 20MW White Rock solar farm in northern NSW – did so late last week. Funding was never really in doubt considering that the project is owned by Chinese giant Goldwind, which is building a 175MW wind farm by the same name at the same place.

ARENA, however, used the milestone to hail its $90 million initiative as a huge success, helping to bring down the cost of large-scale solar to the level of wind energy – and five years ahead of what had been expected.

The 12 projects have also benefited from $320 million in low-cost finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, as the country’s major banks tried to wrap their mind around this new technology.

But there is every sign that they have, and have lowered the risk quotient on their financing, at least for those with long-term power purchase agreements. While the ARENA program will deliver 490MW of large-scale solar, another 1,500MW is thought to be also under construction, or about to begin, around the country.

“This competitive round is the perfect demonstration of how ARENA is accelerating Australia’s shift to a low emission, renewable energy future,” Frischknecht said in a statement. “From zero to more than 20 plants in five years, Australia’s large-scale solar industry has grown at a tremendous pace thanks to concerted efforts by ARENA and the CEFC.

“We know of at least six new plants that are being developed without any ARENA grant funding support.”

He said the ARENA program had unlocked $1 billion in investment from other sources and regional economies would benefit, with an estimated 2,300 direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs expected to be created by these plants.

Frischknecht said planning, developing and financing large-scale solar projects remained a complex task involving multiple different parties. That’s why the knowledge gained from the project is so valuable. “ARENA believes in the power of shared knowledge. That’s why we require project developers to share the learning from each stage of development, construction and connection with the renewable energy sector,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Our support for Whitsunday Solar Farm assisted project developer Edify Energy to secure debt finance for two additional plants, Hamilton Solar Farm in Queensland and Gannawarra Solar Farm in Victoria. ARENA is benefitting from knowledge sharing activities across the three projects.”

The projects are expected to be completed between late-2017 and mid-2018, and will help reduce wholesale prices in all three states where these projects will be built when they come on stream.

May 17, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | 1 Comment

Western Australia: renewable energy going ahead in leaps and bounds

Solar power has become so popular in some parts of Western Australia that there are more households equipped with panels than without.

The national leader is Baldivis, south of Perth, where two-thirds of households feature rooftop solar. Other strong WA performers include Byford (56%) and Rockingham (53%).

There is now six gigawatts of solar power installed across the country. The Australian Photovoltaic Institute chair, Renate Egan, said an additional 1GW was added over the past year by household-scale solar in tandem with commercial and large-scale solar farms.

Once considered an eco-warrior’s pipe dream, renewable energy is rapidly gaining ground in the traditional mining state of Western Australia, Guardian, Max Opray, 15 May 17, Along the remote southern coastline of Western Australia, the locals have cottoned on to a new, surefire way to keep their beer cold. Continue reading

May 17, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Solar panels and the law: Can you stop your neighbour from blocking your sunlight?

It’s a problem central Adelaide resident Jo Thomas was forced to confront when she learned a developer had plans to build a four-storey building next door.

Continue reading

May 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, solar | Leave a comment

Victoria’s grid could be dominated by wind and solar

Network owner Ausnet sees grid dominated by wind and solar http://reneweconomy.com.au/network-owner-ausnet-sees-grid-dominated-by-wind-and-solar-19103/ By Giles Parkinson on 16 May 2017

Ausnet Services, the largest operator of electricity and gas networks in Victoria, has given its vision of what the grid of the future might look like in that state – and it is one dominated by wind and solar.

That is probably not surprising, given that the state government is likely to have its target of 40 per cent renewable energy generation by 2025 locked into legislation in the next few months. But it does reflect how quickly the nature of generation in the state most dependent on brown coal will change. Continue reading

May 16, 2017 Posted by | solar, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Solar and battery storage mini-grid trial takes part of Melbourne suburb off-grid

AusNet trial successfully takes part of Melbourne suburb off-grid http://reneweconomy.com.au/ausnet-trial-successfully-takes-part-melbourne-suburb-off-grid-21015/ By Sophie Vorrath on 11 May 2017  A solar and battery storage mini-grid trial by Victorian network operator AusNet Services has succeeded in taking part of a Melbourne suburb completely off grid, demonstrating how utilities can use solar, battery storage and the internet of things to boost energy security and reliability in the future.

AusNet said on Wednesday that eight homes had been successfully separated from Victoria’s main electricity grid and operated together as a stand-alone solar and battery storage powered mini grid, as part of the company’s Mooroolbark Mini Grid trial.

The homes, including two that had neither solar or batteries, were able to maintain power by sharing electricity via AusNet’s powerlines that connect the mini grid, before being successfully re-integrated with the main grid.

AusNet said the cloud-based mini grid control system – which has been provided by locally-based energy technology company GreenSync – and the stabiliser took the mini grid through a sequence of stages to test the stability of the mini grid as an independent, unified renewable energy system.

The stabiliser, developed by Power Technology Engineered Solutions, is essentially a smart battery storage system that smooths renewable energy supply and consumption across the mini grid by either delivering or absorbing power when needed.

Parker, speaking at Energy Network Australia’s Welcome to the Grid Edge conference on Wednesday, said that the achievement was a “major milestone” on the road to a future grid with high penetration of solar and storage.

“The electricity network will continue to play an important role in our energy future, but we need to make sure it is able to support technology such as solar panels and battery storage for the benefit of all customers,” he said.

“In the future, we may be able to use this technology to keep homes powered during major storm events.

“We could also use (it) to smooth peak demand on our network, helping to reduce the need to build expensive power stations and therefore reducing costs to customers.”

The next step for the trial is to test additional control functionality to manage peak loads and generation on the network, as well as further testing of the stand-alone supply scenario involving additional customers being integrated into the stand-alone mini grid.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Queensland 20,000 jobs in solar power proposal

Queensland
20,000 jobs in solar power proposal
A US firm is scouting sites in Queensland for up to six solar thermal power stations, each of which would cost about $600m to build and need 4000 construction workers…..
http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/solar-power-queensland-plans-for-up-to-six-solar-thermal-stations/news-story/500edfdd61cdd0603bb876a8a558e3b0

May 7, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment