Australian news, and some related international items

Batteries Also Make Nuclear Uneconomic

Australian Submarines May Go Nuclear But Our Power Stations Never Will,   SOLARQUOTES, October 11, 2021 by Ronald Brakels 

  • ”………………………………………..Batteries Also Make Nuclear Uneconomic. As solar and wind generation increases, the worse the economics of nuclear energy become.  This is because its low cost pushes down wholesale electricity prices.  There can be periods of high electricity prices when renewable output isn’t sufficient to meet demand, but this isn’t enough to make nuclear pay.  Nuclear wouldn’t pay if there were no such thing as battery storage, but battery storage makes its economics worse. 
  • Next year a 580 megawatt-hour battery will be built in Victoria for $270 to $300 million.  That’s around $500 per kilowatt-hour.  If each kilowatt-hour of storage capacity provides a total of 4,000 kilowatt-hours of stored energy over its lifetime — a not unreasonable amount — then the cost of storage will be around 13 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  •  That’s not cheap, but still a lot cheaper than nuclear energy, especially since we will often charge it with renewable electricity that costs 1 cent or less per kilowatt-hour.  It also has the advantage it will supply electricity when prices are high, rather than more or less continuously, as is usually the case for nuclear power.    
  • There’s no reason to expect the cost of utility-scale battery storage to stop falling anytime soon, so by the time a nuclear power station could be completed in Australia, its economics will be far worse from falling energy storage costs alone. ………

October 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

Solar, storage to take over from Ranger uranium mine

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Northern Territory, solar, storage, uranium | Leave a comment

Victorian homeowners will be paid nearly $5000 towards the cost of household solar batteries if Labor is re-elected

Victorian Labor offers a $4838 battery bonanza for homes with solar panels , The Age ,By Noel Towell & Benjamin Preiss, 10 September 2018 Victorian homeowners will be paid nearly $5000 towards the cost of household solar batteries by a re-elected Andrews government in the latest move aimed at making the state Australia’s leader in domestic-scale renewable energy.

The latest promise of subsidies for small-scale renewable energy will see households who already have solar panels able to claim half the cost – up to $4838 – of batteries that can store energy generated on their rooftops.

The announcement comes as the Andrews government commits to building six new renewable energy plants across regional Victoria, generating enough power for 640,000 homes.

The three solar and three wind farms, producing 928 megawatts of power, will be built by private companies.

Labor has been encouraged by more than 9000 registrations of interest in its subsidised solar program in the three weeks since it began its announcements.  The new batteries policy will cost an estimated $40 million, with 10,000 households expected to take part, lured by the chance of cutting up to $650 from their annual power bills with the rapidly improving battery storage technology.

The announcement is part of a suite of subsidies and payments aimed at putting solar technology in 720,000 Victorian homes. The centrepiece of the government energy renewable election pitch, a $1.2 billion subsidies scheme offering free solar panels to 650,0000 households, was announced in August.

It was followed by a $60 million promise to pay $1000 toward the installation of solar hot water systems in homes that are not suitable for rooftop solar panels.

The latest announcement will open up subsidies to even more households – those already using solar panels to generate power – as Labor looks to build a strong cost-of-living policy platform heading into November’s election………

The government says technology is in development that will allow neighbourhoods to link their batteries, creating “micro-grids” of shared stored power to lower electricity prices even further.

Labor says it will spend $10 million to preparing the state’s ageing power grid for an influx of hundreds of thousands of household micro-generation operations………

September 12, 2018 Posted by | politics, storage, Victoria | Leave a comment

Japanese companies join in starting storage battery business in South Australia

TEPCO JV to enter Australia battery biz 30, 2018
 TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Jera Co., a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Chubu Electric Power Co., said Tuesday that it will enter storage battery business in Australia.

The thermal power and fuel company agreed to explore opportunities to deploy energy storage solutions in the Asia-Pacific region with Australian power company Lyon Group and Fluence Energy LLC, a U.S. storage battery maker partly held by German industrial giant Siemens AG.

Under their plan, the three companies will spend a total of ¥120 billion to build solar power plants equipped with lithium-ion batteries in three regions in Australia.

Their combined power generation capacities will reach some 550,000 kilowatts.

One of the power plants will be built in South Australia. It will have a 100,000-kilowatt battery system, one of the largest in the world.

The generated electricity will be sold locally. The companies aim to start running the power plants in 2019.

Jera expects to invest around ¥10 billion. The company hopes to learn know-how about the storage battery business, as the renewable energy market is forecast to expand.

June 1, 2018 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

South Australia’s new Premier vows to kill the Tesla battery storage plan

Marshall’s first promise as SA premier: Kill Tesla battery plan  By Giles Parkinson on 19 March 2018 

March 19, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Tesla’s South Australian battery project – a rapid success

Inverse Innovation 11th Jan 2018. The results are in: Tesla’s South Australian project, touted as the
world’s largest lithium-ion battery with enough energy to power 30,000
homes, had an astonishing first month of operation. The 100-megawatt
behemoth, originally conceived by Elon Musk through a bet over Twitter, has
inspired the states of Queensland and Victoria to follow suit with their
own projects.

January 14, 2018 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Australian banking giant Macquarie invests in energy storage system

Business Green 12th Jan 2018, Connected Energy has secured a £3m investment from Australian banking giant Macquarie and French utility ENGIE to support the rollout of its
stationary storage system, it announced yesterday. The E-STOR system
offered by Connected Energy uses second-hand batteries from electric
vehicles (EVs), repurposing them into an energy storage system to help
homes and businesses cut energy costs and manage their power use more

January 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, storage | Leave a comment

Hot weather in South Australia: Tesla battery turned on a day ahead of schedule

South Australia’s Tesla battery called on a day ahead of schedule as hot weather takes hold, ABC News 30 Nov 17 By politics reporter Nick Harmsen, South Australia’s giant Tesla battery has begun dispatching stored wind power into the electricity grid a day ahead of its scheduled switch-on.

Premier Jay Weatherill will visit the battery site — alongside the Hornsdale windfarm near Jamestown in the state’s mid north — on Friday, to mark its official opening on the first day of summer.

But with temperatures across South Australia and Victoria hitting the mid 30s, and output from the state’s wind farms low, the battery was called upon early to help meet Thursday afternoon’s peak demand.

The battery dispatched a maximum of 59 megawatts of power. The 100MW/129MWh battery is capable of powering about 30,000 homes for a little over an hour.

The manufacturer, Tesla says the lithium-ion device — made up of PowerWall 2 batteries — is both the “largest” by storage and “most powerful” of its type in the world……..

December 1, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel urges more energy storage

Alan Finkel pushes for more energy storage to keep bills down and maintain reliability   Power bills will go up and energy supply will be less reliable unless Australia develops better storage systems, according to Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Key points:

  • Report emphasises batteries and other storage solutions including turbines and demand response are key to keeping costs down and maintaining reliability
  • It also notes Australia could source 50 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030
  • Energy ministers are due to meet this week to discuss Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee
 A new report from Dr Finkel’s office and the Australian Council of Learned Academics (ACOLA) warns planning and investment are needed to prevent power costs continuing to rise and to shore up reliability.The reliability of renewable energy depends on energy storage, particularly on days when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow.

Storing the energy captured from renewable sources like solar and wind means suppliers are able to meet electrical energy demand at all times of the day.

Dr Finkel has recommended in the past that all large-scale wind and solar generators in Australia should have energy storage capacity.

In addition to battery storage, which today’s report said was the most cost-effective way to strengthen energy security, it also listed alternatives including fast-start gas turbines, spinning reserves in wind turbines, demand response and load shedding measures.

“As we have more and more penetration of variable renewable energy, solar and wind, then we’re going to need storage to be a very important component of having a stable, secure and reliable grid,” the report’s lead author Bruce Godfrey said.

“[That will also help to] enable the environmental benefits that come from low-emissions sources.”

The report estimates Australia will need to spend about $11 billion on storage before 2030 in order to provide a secure energy supply.

But more money may need to be spent to ensure power supply is reliable as Australia makes the transition to renewable energy.

Dr Finkel said Australia had a “long way to go” on storage, and predicted future storage projects would dwarf those already being developed.

“The challenge is to manage the transition from here to there. We are going to be moving to a new future, it’s happening around the world, it’s inevitable,” Dr Finkel said.

“What this report shows is that if storage is used effectively, we can manage that transition as smoothly at the lowest possible price.”

The report has been released ahead of a meeting of state and federal energy ministers to discuss the Turnbull Government’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG).

Under the NEG 28 to 36 per cent of power generation is projected to come from renewables by 2030.

Climate Council modelling shows that means Australia will miss out on between 6,000 and 20,000 new jobs that would have otherwise been created.

Andrew Stock, who has decades of experience in the energy sector and sits on the council, says at least 50 per cent of power generation should be renewable by 2030.

“The current aspiration level that the Federal Government is talking about, that’s way too short of what’s required, so we need more aspirational plans for electricity. That will bring more jobs, up to 20,000 more jobs in this sector,” he told AM.

The Chief Scientist’s report said this target could be easily met without risking reliability or requiring further significant investment in energy storage.

November 22, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

Decentralised energy solutions looking better than centralised

Will Tasmania be the ‘battery of the nation’?  By Jack Gilding on 7 November 2017 Lately we have been subjected to Prime-ministerial statements on energy policy that jump from Snowy 2.0 to propping up aged coal-fired power stations in NSW, to government support for a new “clean” coal power station in Queensland and back to pumped hydro in Tasmania. Long term strategy seems to have gone missing.

The latest announcement is a feasibility study of pumped hydro in Tasmania supported by ARENA.

Is investing in Tasmania as the ‘battery of the nation’ likely to be a sensible idea?

Tasmania itself doesn’t need more centralised energy storage. At full capacity, our dams hold more than a year’s supply of electricity. Tasmania’s problem is lack of renewable generation, which leaves our energy security dependent on imports from Victoria and increasingly expensive gas fired electricity.

The mainland grid would certainly benefit from more large scale renewable generation backed by storage. Implementing this would require both a bipartisan consensus on closing down aged coal infrastructure and a long term policy in support of low emission renewable energy.

 Sensible, bipartisan, long term planning doesn’t appear likely to break out any time soon. Even if it did, the next questions are what is the best form of storage and where should it be located?

Pumped hydro is the most cost-effective form of large scale energy storage but it requires a stable investment climate, and in some locations, significant investment in transmission infrastructure.

Snowy 2.0 does have the advantage of being well connected to the NSW and Victorian grids. If the national battery is located in Tasmania it would require a billion dollar second interconnector to the mainland.

The sorts of big national project preferred by politicians are not the only solution. Our electricity system is rapidly moving from centralised energy generation to distributed generation and storage.

CSIRO and the Australian electricity network operators have developed one of the most credible scenarios for the future of the grid.

It anticipates that by 2050, 30-45% of our electricity would come from customer owned generators. The plan identifies the need for incentives to ensure that customer battery systems provide benefits to the network as well as to customers.

A recent ANU study has identified 22,000 potential sites for off-river pumped storage around Australia in a range of sizes. Only a few of these are likely to provide viable but they offer possible advantages in being smaller investments that can address local requirements and reduce rather than increase the need for network enhancements.

If there is a role for large scale pumped hydro storage, is Tasmania likely to be the most cost effective place to build it?

As Everett Dirksen never actually said, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money”. At over $1bn for a second interconnector, $2bn for a 600 MW wind farm on King Island or over $1bn for the Robbins Island and Jim’s Plain wind farms, and Hydro Tasmania’s estimate of $5bn to build 2500 MW of pumped storage, we are talking ‘real money’.

And it is ultimately our money, whether the infrastructure is built as a regulated asset (added to our electricity bill), by government grant (our taxes) or by private investment (including our super).

Investments on this scale take the best part of a decade to plan, fund and build, and are paid for by users over a 40 year period or more.

We need to be very sure that this is the most cost effective way to meet our energy security in an electricity market where the significant trends are to increased energy efficiency, local generation and storage, and demand management.

The detailed analysis of pumped hydro funded by Hydro Tasmania and ARENA will be a welcome contribution to the public debate. But big schemes may well have had their day.

Hydro Tasmania dropped work on the King Island project and the Tamblyn report on the viability of a second interconnector was lukewarm on its viability to say the least.

My prediction is that the market will have provided decentralised solutions to the challenge of reliable, affordable clean electricity long before these big schemes see the light of day. The flurry of announcements and feasibility studies mainly serves to convince the public that the politicians are dealing with the problem.

Jack Gilding is the Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance but the views in this article are entirely personal. This article first appeared in The Mercury and is republished here with permission of the author,

November 8, 2017 Posted by | energy, storage, Tasmania | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Whyalla to become a booming renewable energy hub

Whyalla steel city goes green with 1GW of solar and storage, UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has made good on his commitment to transform his newly acquired Australian steel business into a renewable energy powerhouses, announcing massive investments in solar and storage that will knock 40 per cent off his electricity costs.

Gupta said on Monday that he would build 1 gigawatt (1,000MW) of dispatchable renewables in and around Whyalla, where his major steel plant is located. This would comprise huge investments in solar, battery storage, pumped hydro and demand management.

He won’t stop there. Gupta is looking to repeat the dose – although with varying mixes and scale of renewables and storage – to power the company’s steel operations in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle. He said on Tuesday he wanted these bigger plants to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy.

The initial development will see a proposed 80MW solar farm at Whyalla expanded to 200MW and completed by the first quarter of 2019.

 This will be accompanied by:

Continue reading

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

Queensland council saves $1.9m in grid costs from single Tesla Powerpack

A Queensland local government council has installed what is believed to be Australia’s first off-grid solar and battery storage system to use a Tesla Powerpack, to maintain local drinking water quality around the clock.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, storage | Leave a comment

South Australia’s network of charging stations for electric cars

Tesla charging stations to link Adelaide with world’s largest battery By Andrew Spence on 28 September 2017, The Lead

A network of car charging stations is being developed in South Australia to allow Tesla drivers to visit the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery being built by Elon Musk in the state’s north.

Eight fast charging stations: four generic chargers for a range of electric vehicles, and four Tesla Superchargers, opened today in the capital city of Adelaide, completing an Australian Tesla charging network that stretches to Brisbane.

The fastest electric car charging units available in Australia, the Tesla Superchargers can charge Tesla Model S and X vehicles in 30 minutes, allowing a range of 270km.A Tesla charging station also opened today at the Clare Country Club to complement two existing chargers in the wine region about 140km north of Adelaide. From there, it is only about 90km further to the site of the world’s largest battery being installed by Tesla at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm north of Jamestown.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk flew into Adelaide, the South Australian capital, in July to announce his company would build the 100MW/129MWh lithium-ion battery in the state’s Mid-North.

The tech billionaire told reporters the Tesla Powerpack would be three times as powerful as the next largest lithium ion battery.

“I was made aware there was this opportunity to make this significant statement about renewable energy to the world,” Musk said in July.

“Coal does not have a long-term future.”

Musk will be back in Adelaide on Friday to update the International Astronautical Congress on plans by his company SpaceX to send humans to Mars in its Big Falcon Rocket.

It is not known if he will use the opportunity to make the trip north to Jamestown to check on the progress of the battery.

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said construction at the site was well underway and the batteries were on track to be operational by December 1, the start of the Australian summer.

Last month, Fluid Solar took its four-storey, renewable energy powered headquarters about 30km north of Adelaide off the main electricity grid.

Surplus electricity generated at the site will be used as part of Tesla’s car-charging network, with 11 electric vehicle bays that will be supplied completely by solar power harvested from a 98 kWp array of 378 PV solar panels on the building’s roof.

Eleven more electric vehicle charging points will be installed in the Adelaide Central Market car park in the centre of the city by the end of November and another 25 will be built around the city by mid next year.

South Australia leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and roof-top solar with renewable sources accounting for almost 50 per cent of the electricity generated in the state.

However, the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years has increased South Australia’s reliance on energy supplies from the eastern Australian states, particularly in times of peak demand.

September 29, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Some recycling of lithium already going on in Australia

LITHIUM ION BATTERIES  ore The number of lithium-ion reaching end of life is expected to increase exponentially over the next 20 years. A report from Randell Environmental Consulting and Blue Environment can be downloaded here.

A report from Anna Boyden on the environmental impacts of lithium ion batteries provides useful background material and can be downloaded here.

Lithium-ion batteries (UN No. 3480) are classified as Dangerous Goods under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code).

The ADG Code requires all dangerous goods, including lithium ion batteries, to be carried in a secure, safe and environmentally controlled manner. The carrier has the right to refuse carriage if dangerous goods are not packed in accordance with the regulations. There is a special provision (377) and packaging instruction (P909) for ‘lithium ion and lithium metal cells and batteries and equipment containing such cells and batteries transported for disposal or recycling, either packed together with or packed without non-lithium batteries…’

The following ABRI members provide a collection and recycling service for used lithium-ion batteries. Contact the company or check their web site for details. Continue reading

September 27, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths, storage | Leave a comment

Australians won over by cheapness and reliability of solar batteries, poll shows

Solar Batteries: Australians see energy storage as the future, poll finds, ABC By consumer affairs reporter Sarah Farnsworth and the National Reporting Team’s Rebecca Armitage, 22 Sept 17, As power prices continue to surge, Australians believe household solar storage batteries are the key to cheaper and more reliable energy, according to a new poll of 2,000 households.

Key points:

  • A survey found almost three-quarters of people believe solar batteries will become commonplace
  • 68 per cent of households with solar panels are considering purchasing a battery
  • The price of storage batteries in the first half of 2017 only dropped by 5 per cent

The Climate Council found nearly three-quarters of those surveyed believe batteries, coupled with solar systems, would become commonplace within 10 years.

Of those who already had solar systems, 68 per cent were considering adding a household storage battery.

Most said the primary motivation for buying a solar battery was to reduce power bills.

Only 6 per cent believed consumers were driven by the need to protect their homes from blackouts.

More than half said they expected large-scale batteries like the one being built by Elon Musk in South Australia would also become common in the next 10 years.

“It shows that Australians do understand that renewables — particularly solar and increasingly battery storage — provide a solution to high power prices,” the Climate Council’s Andrew Stock said.

“I think it’s very encouraging that Australians really do get the importance of new technology. There is very little appetite for keeping aging coal fire stations running in the Australian populace, frankly,” he said……..

Energy economist and director of Carbon and Energy Markets, Bruce Mountain, agreed South Australians would benefit from installing batteries sooner rather than later.

“That is simply because battery and solar prices have come down, and in South Australia energy prices have gone up so much,” Mr Mountain said.

Mr Mountain said he wanted the Federal Government to invest more in the local industry to bring down solar battery costs, instead of seeking to subsidise coal fire power generators like Liddell.

“They can accelerate the installation of these batteries, they can grow a local equipment suppliers and often than incentive creates new industry and scale economies,” Mr Mountain said.

“The household would benefit, but the system as a whole would benefit as well, because a household of battery and solar gives to the grid a far more stable demand,” he said.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment