Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Community energy in Canberra – backing a solar energy future

Investing in a brighter energy future for Australia http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4860382/investing-in-a-brighter-energy-future-for-australia/?cs=97, 20 Aug 2017, We’re backers, not bystanders. Like many, we’re concerned about climate change – and want to play our part. That’s why we’re among the 867 people who invested in what will be Australia’s largest, community-owned solar farm.

SolarShare is building its flagship project, a one-megawatt solar farm that shares land with a vineyard, in the Majura Valley in Canberra.

It’s the first of hopefully many solar farms and projects owned by the community.

SolarShare has been funded by people like us, who will receive a good return on our initial investment as the electricity it generates from the sun is sold. At the same time, the farm will power 260 homes, reducing our reliance on polluting fossil fuels.

While governments can be slow to act, individuals, communities and businesses across Australia are finding their own solutions.

The transition to renewable energy has started – and it’s exciting. But it needs to happen faster if we are to leave this place better, cleaner and safer for our grandchildren. None of us can do everything, but we can all do something.

As soon as we could, we put solar panels on our roof making our house somewhat of a novelty in the neighbourhood. These days, solar covers 21 per cent of Australia’s suitable rooftops.

A couple months ago we bought an electric car, which we fuel for free with the rooftop panels. We were amazed to see that India, Britain, France and Norway have announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

Until governments pick up the pace, individuals will have to work together. Being part of a larger project, like a community solar farm, is a great way to be part of an exciting new vision.   David and Lainie Shorthouse are SolarShare investors, and Canberra residents.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | ACT, storage | Leave a comment

Standards Australia to ban home energy storage batteries!

Warnings of energy storage market chaos, as industry unites against home battery ban http://reneweconomy.com.au/warnings-energy-storage-market-chaos-industry-unites-home-battery-ban-71889/By Sophie Vorrath on 17 August 2017 One Step Off The Grid

The potentially industry crippling home battery installation safety guideline proposed by Standards Australia has again been slammed by the industry, as fundamentally flawed and – if passed – certain to throw the energy storage industry into chaos, both in Australia and overseas.

In a newsletter to members on Tuesday, Australia’s Energy Storage Council said that the current Draft Battery Standard ASNZ5139 – which effectively bans the installation of lithium-ion battery storage systems inside homes and garages on the basis that they are a fire risk – needed to be completely re-written.

“The draft Standard is not evidence-based and has enormous implications for the Australian and global battery storage industry,” the ESC said. Continue reading

August 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

John Grimes – on South Australia’s energy storage revolution

SA’s energy revolution – what it means for Australia http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4803957/sas-energy-revolution-what-it-means-for-australia/?cs=97 23 Jul 2017 The energy storage revolution has arrived with a bang. The recent announcement by the South Australian government that it will partner with Elon Musk’s Tesla to build the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery was a lightning bolt moment with profound implications for regional communities. The 100MW battery will provide stability for a wind farm, and emergency backup power. It will also provide badly needed jobs for regional towns in construction, operation and maintenance, as well as tourism from those flocking to see this technological wonder.

This project marks just the beginning. Both Victoria and Queensland are planning similar large-scale battery projects, and storage is also being rolled out in homes, businesses and regional communities across the country.

Australia has the highest rate of household solar use in the world, so it makes sense that families would look to batteries to store excess electricity (created during the day) to be used when they need it most (when returning home from work or school).

Around 20,000 families have solar batteries now, but as prices keep plummeting it’s not unreasonable to expect 500,000 Australians will have them by 2020.

Many companies offer mouth-watering financial packages that combine solar and storage. German battery storage company Sonnen is offering Aussies free electricity – paying customers’ power bills in return for accessing the battery storage capacity to provide grid balancing services for network operators.

Storage has arrived and it will give you control of your energy use, and slash your power bills. With power prices set to rise by up to 20 per cent, now is the time to shop around and see how solar and storage can work for you.

John Grimes is the Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council and Australian Energy Storage Council.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Australian Energy Market Operator warns on over-loading storage on wind, solar

AEMO cautious about over-loading storage on wind, solar farms http://reneweconomy.com.au/aemo-cautious-about-over-loading-storage-on-wind-solar-farms-18966/, By Sophie Vorrath & Giles Parkinson on 11 July 2017 The head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman, has expressed caution about suggestions that new wind and solar farms should have to match their entire capacity with an equivalent amount of battery storage.

The need for wind and solar farms to include battery storage was raised by chief scientist Alan Finkel in his recently released review, although it left such requirements at the discretion of the AEMO.

However, energy minister Josh Frydenberg has been arguing, in both the Coalition party room and in public lectures, that the ratio should approximate one megawatt hour for every megawatt of installed capacity.

Although many wind and solar farms, both new and existing, are considering adding storage to shift their load or provide network services, the requirement of matching each MW for MWh is seen as overkill, and an attempt to turn wind and solar into baseload generators, when flexibility and reliability is the key.

 “The idea that as you put in wind and solar (you need to have a certain amount of dispatchable power), the question becomes, to what level?” Zibelman said when asked by RenewEconomy.

“This is a dynamic issue. So having generators purchase a certain amount (of storage) and thinking (in terms of) once that is done, is probably not going to be the optimal way forward.

“Is that the optimal way to get resources in – in other words to have a static approach – or should we create a dynamic approach where AEMO identifies the amount of reliability that’s required; there’s a mechanism to procure it in the system; and we do it in the most economic way?” Zibelman said.

“We need to make sure the system remains reliable. …The concern I have… is that if you leave it and we set a static number, there’s only one thing that we can be clear about, and that is that it is probably going to be wrong. It’s either going to be too much or too little.

“So we’re going to want think about how do we approach this in a much more dynamic way, with changing the nature of the system.

”So, while I get the desire, I think we would like an opportunity to explore, is that the best result for consumers.”

The CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia have pointed out that most Australian grids will likely not need significant amounts of storage anytime soon because anything less than 30-50 per cent penetrations is “trivial”.

South Australia, however, is reaching saturation, which is why the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery storage project will be located there, followed by others which will allow more wind and solar farms.

Zibelman, speaking at a CEDA conference in Melbourne, said her organisation and others wanted to “get on with it” and implement some of the much needed reforms in the energy market, including some of those identified in the Finkel Review.

“100 per cent of people I have talked to across the industry are saying ‘we’ve got to get on with it,” she said.

 “We’re a Coalition of the willing (she said in reference to AEMO and the heads of other institutions such as the Australian Energy Regulator, headed up by Paula Conboy, and the Australian Energy Market Commission, led by John Pierce.

“Paula and John and I want to get on with it. … we’ve got to make these changes. We don’t want to waste this crisis.”

Zibelman said she was looking forward to the COAG meeting on Friday and wants them to endorse broad recommendations of Finkel.

“(We’re not only solving issues for Australia) …we’re solving issues for the rest of the world,” she said. “We have to remember that economics is driving all of this. It’s not just about policy.”

July 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

South Australia’s big energy storage battery

Tesla to supply world’s biggest battery for SA, but what is it and how will it work? ABC By political reporter Nick Harmsen and Alle McMahon, 7 July 17 The “world’s biggest” lithium ion battery is to be built in South Australia by Tesla and French company Neoen.

It is to be close to the French renewable energy company’s wind farm near Jamestown and ready by the start of summer.

What is it?

An array of lithium ion batteries will be connected to the Hornsdale wind farm, which is currently under construction in SA. It will look like a field of boxes, each housing Tesla commercial-scale Powerpack batteries.

The array will be capable of an output of 100 megawatts (MW) of power at a time and the huge battery will be able to store 129 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy so, if used at full capacity, it would be able to provide its maximum output for more than an hour.

It will be a modular network, with each Powerpack about the size of a large fridge at 2.1 metres tall, 1.3m long and 0.8m wide. They weigh in at 1,200 kilograms each.

How will it stack up against the next biggest?

It will have just slightly more storage than the next biggest lithium battery, built by AES this year in southern California. But Tesla’s 100 MW output would be more than three times larger than the AES battery and five times larger than anything Tesla has built previously.

The largest lithium ion battery storage system that Tesla has built to date sits on a 0.6-hectare site at Mira Loma in southern California.

American electricity company Southern California Edison was also involved. It has a storage capacity of 20 MW, or 80 MWh, and is said to be capable of powering 15,000 homes.

The California array took three months to build. Tesla says the lithium ion batteries in the Jamestown array will have a life of about 15 years, depending on their usage and how aggressively they are recharged.

The company says the battery components are replaceable and the circuitry should last 20 to 30 years……..

How will it be used?

Neoen said the battery would primarily provide stability for the power grid, something traditionally the domain of coal, gas and hydro, rather than wind or solar………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-07/what-is-tesla-big-sa-battery-and-how-will-it-work/8688992

July 8, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Elon Musk to build South Australia’s big storage battery, as he promised earlier thisyear

Billionaire Elon Musk to build SA battery, –  on July 7, 2017 Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk will build the world’s biggest battery in South Australia and if it’s not finished in 100 days, it’s free. Mr Musk first made the bold promise in a Twitter exchange earlier this year, as debate raged over South Australia’s energy woes.

On Friday he said he will stand by the pledge, which has been written into the contract to construct the 100 megawatt lithium ion battery. It will be more than three times larger than any storage station anywhere in the world. “That’s what we said publicly, that’s what we’re going to do,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

Mr Musk’s company Tesla will partner with French renewable energy group Neoen to build the battery near Jamestown in South Australia’s mid-north.

It will be paired with Neoen’s existing Hornsdale Wind Farm to store energy, stabilise and bring added security to SA’s electricity grid, and put downward pressure on prices.

It forms a key part of the state government’s $550 million energy plan which was developed in response to last year’s statewide blackout.

The clock will start ticking on Mr Musk’s 100-day commitment once regulators approve the project, clearing it for grid connection. He said he was confident he could deliver on his promise but admitted the project was not without risk.

“This is not like a minor foray into the frontier. This is going three times further than anyone has gone before,” he said. “The technical challenges are those that come with scale. When you make something three times as big, does it still work as well?” the Tesla boss said. “We think it will, but there is some risk in that.”

Mr Musk said a failure to deliver the project on time would cost his group about $50 million, though the details of the contract have not been revealed.

Premier Jay Weatherill said both Tesla and Neoen were experts in energy security and the project would place SA as a world leader in the integration of renewable energy.

He expects the battery to be up and running in time for next summer. “Battery storage is the future of our national energy market and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space,” he said.

Clean Energy Council spokeswoman Natalie Collard said the pioneering project would set a benchmark for the rest of Australia and the world to follow. “The South Australian government has again cemented its place as a world leader in renewable energy and we look forward to other states following their lead,” she said.”These kinds of projects have a huge role to play in modernising Australia’s energy system and enabling much higher levels of renewable energy.”

July 7, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Drop in peak energy demand, as Western Australia goes for rooftop PV solar

Boom in rooftop PV shifting peaks, and taking market operator by surprise, http://reneweconomy.com.au/boom-in-rooftop-pv-shifting-peaks-and-taking-market-operator-by-surprise-46984/ [good graphs] By Giles Parkinson on 16 June 2017 The growth of rooftop solar PV in Western Australia has taken the market operator by surprise, but has resulted in a dramatic reduction in both the scale and the timing of peak demand in the state.

According to the latest statement of energy market opportunities for WA, the Australian Energy Market Operator says that rooftop solar PV – now on one in four homes and businesses in the state – reduced peak demand by 265MW, or 7.2 per cent in the last summer.

It says the uptake of rooftop solar in WA, which has been double expectations over the last two years – driven by falling costs of rooftop solar PV and the rise in grid prices – is “accelerating a paradigm shift” for the energy industry.

The biggest impact is on peak demand. The biggest peak in the state occurred on March 1, reaching 3,670MW in the 1700-1730 trading interval – the lowest since 2009.

 This was helped by the contribution of rooftop solar (265MW in that peak interval), and from demand response (124MW), a technology that AEMO wants to deploy more in the eastern states for the same reason.

“The rapid adoption of rooftop solar is not only slowing annual operational consumption growth but also eroding the mid-day grid demand and shifting peak demand to later in the day,” said AEMO’s Executive General Manager – Western Australia, Cameron Parrotte.

“With the strong growth in rooftop solar installations anticipated, AEMO expects demand in the middle of the day to shrink further, resulting in a rapid increase in demand in the lead up to the evening peak once the sun sets.” Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | storage, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s energy problems – solved by battery storage?

Battery storage: How it could solve our energy problems http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-16/how-does-battery-storage-work/8624378   7.30  By Matt Peacock If chief scientist Alan Finkel gets his way, battery energy storage will be central to Australia’s energy future.

The move to battery technology is a worldwide trend and three state governments — South Australia, Victoria and Queensland — are already going it alone, commissioning their own battery storage to ensure energy security.

So how does it work?

Batteries are used to store energy from renewable sources like solar and wind. Dr Finkel recommends all large scale wind and solar generators in Australia should have energy storage capacity.

The batteries will be particularly helpful on days when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

“It can be used alongside a solar farm to help smooth the output and make any disruptions less likely and much more manageable,” said Kobad Bhavnagri, head of Asia Pacific economics and policy at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“Storage is also very likely to go in at your local substation. Your suburb is probably going to have a lot of storage in it because it adds a lot of resilience to the system. It makes operating the network better, stronger and also cheaper.”

growing number of Australian homeowners are installing their own energy storage batteries for personal use.

The most common technology being used is lithium ion batteries.

“[It’s] the same battery that sits on your mobile phone and it’s actually the exact same battery pack that is being put into all these electric vehicles that are now coming to market,” Mr Bhavnagri said.

“So it’s a huge new industry that’s been created to manufacture large-scale battery packs for electric vehicles and for energy storage.”

Mr Bhavnagri predicts solar-plus-batteries will carve out a major slice of the Australian grid.

“We forecast that by 2040 almost half of [all] buildings in Australia, be that a factory or a household, will have a solar system. And a quarter of all those buildings will have a storage system as well,” he said.

“So when you add all of that together, we see distributed energy supplying about a quarter of Australia’s national energy needs in 2040.”

In South Australia, after a string of damaging blackouts Premier Jay Wetherill announced a major grid-scale battery storage facility to be completed this year.

Not to be outdone, the Prime Minister is investigating another form of stored energy, with a study into expanding the Snowy Mountains Scheme, where at the touch of a switch water can be released to drive the turbines.

Now both Victoria and Queensland have also commissioned huge battery storage units to be up and running within three years.

“All of those governments now are turning to storage as a way to bolster the system and the beauty of storage is that you can get that built in six months,” Mr Bhavnagri said.

“And you can also build a new solar farm in under 12 months, whereas it would take three or four years to build a new gas-fired power station or a coal-fired power station.”

Which other countries are doing it? Ike Hong represents the massive South Korean battery manufacturer Kokam, which is bidding for the power storage contracts in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.

South Korea has already adopted battery technology, even though almost a third of its power is generated by nuclear reactors. Last year when a nuclear reactor tripped the batteries saved the day.

As battery prices continue to fall other countries are getting on board.

“In the United States, UK, Asia, and everywhere globally, the utilities start picking up the storage system. They understand the need of the storage system,” Mr Hong said.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | 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

Not all that much back-up is actually needed for high renewable grids

How much storage and back-up do high renewable grids need? REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 28 April 2017  Exactly how much storage and back-up does renewable energy need? It’s a question at the heart of electricity planning and the subject of many of the myths peddled by vested interests in the fossil fuel lobby and the gullible media. The answer is: not nearly as much as the naysayers would have you think.

According to the CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia, which own the local and interstate grids, a level of between 30 and 50 per cent share of variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar can be easily accommodated without any further back-up.

That’s because there is so much back-up built into the system already to support coal and gas-fired generation, either to meet peaks in demand, or to fill in gaps when coal and gas plants fail, as they do quite regularly, particularly in hot weather.

The estimate also reflects the changing view of technologies and how grids are managed. It was not so long ago that most engineers would have thought 10 per cent was the absolute maximum. The Murdoch media has been misquoting an old report saying that 20 per cent is the level at which problems occur. Some network operators think 60 per cent is the level.

The CSIRO and ENA says the amount of storage needed beyond that 30 to 50 per cent continues to be minimal until much greater levels of renewable energy are introduced, and then the extent of that back-up is largely dependent on local weather and climate, and their natural renewable energy sources.

The roadmap released by CSIRO and ENA on Friday, following nearly three years of work, includes an appendix on the levels of storage and/or peaking plant back-up needed, and how this might affect individual states.

By their own admission, the estimates are on the conservative side – because they have not allowed for greater network links between the states, and because some of the estimates do not include a mix of options. …….http://reneweconomy.com.au/much-storage-back-high-renewable-grids-need-60710/

May 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

Victoria aims for two 20MW large scale batteries to be installed by January,

Victoria seeks two 20MW large scale batteries to be installed by January, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 27 April 2017  Victoria has announced that it is seeking two 20MW battery storage installations – with a total of 100MWH of storage – to be located in the western part of the state where network strength is low.

The announcement came following an exceptionally strong market response to its call for expressions of interest – that attracted more than 100 enquiries – and as it prepares to ramp up its state-based target of reaching 40 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

Earlier this year the Andrews Labor Government announced $25 million to support large-scale energy storage, and a total of 100MW of battery storage, to enhance the reliability of its grid and unlock economic growth in areas experiencing network constraints.

It ran two expressions of interest processes – one specifically for a 20MW/80MWh facility in western Victoria and another more general one for up to 100MW of energy storage.

It has now refined its needs and is now formally looking for two large scale battery storage installations – both of 20MW, with a total of 100MWh – to be in place by January next year, when the summer peak is expected……..

Acting minister for energy, environment and climate change Lisa Neville said the government was looking to support projects that integrated both existing and new renewable energy generation, with storage, distribution and management technologies.

“Large scale energy battery storage will improve the reliability of Victoria’s energy grid and enhance energy security. We are encouraging significant local and international investment opportunities for businesses to work together in modernising our energy system.”

Full guidelines for applicants will be available on 1 May 2017 here. http://reneweconomy.com.au/victoria-seeks-two-20mw-large-scale-batteries-installed-january-79103/

April 28, 2017 Posted by | storage, Victoria | Leave a comment

Communities of battery users could create a virtual power plant.

New power generation: Home battery sharing could build virtual public utilities, The Age, Brian Robins, 23 Apr 17  It was one of the disasters of recent energy policy: the boom in sales of air conditioners without taking into account the impact their mass sale would have in forcing up power prices for all.

Those without air conditioners have had thousands of dollars added to their electricity bill to pay for the network upgrades to cope with air conditioners, since much of the extra “poles and wires” are used only a few hours a year, when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Now, mass adoption of battery storage systems poses the same risk for those who don’t install them. Their adoption will allow households to slash their use of the grid which will leave fewer users faced with higher bills to maintain the network.

Communities of battery users But for German battery challenger Sonnen, batteries are only part of the energy equation. More fundamental is creating “communities” of connected battery users to create virtual power plant. Continue reading

April 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | 1 Comment

Tasmania, with wind and hydro can be “energy battery” for Australia – says Turnbull

Turnbull says Tasmania wind, hydro can become “energy battery” for Australia, Reneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 20 April 2017 Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has extended his vision of large-scale pumped hydro and storage to Tasmania, outlining plans to expand the island’s existing hydropower system, and possibly add 2,500MW in pumped hydro, and describing the possibility that the state could become the “renewable energy battery” for Australia. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | storage, Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Huge 300MW solar farm begins construction near Port Augusta,

Isn’t this a brilliant outcome?   For the last few years, the nuclear lobby has been touting Port Augista as the place for a nuclear power station. Following the absolute defeat of the shonky South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, and thanks to all those who fought against it, so brilliantly –  South Australia now could become a world leader in modern clean energy.

REneweconomy, By  on 11 April 2017  The first two stage of a 300MW solar farm – Australia’s biggest – has begun construction near Port Augusta in South Australia after its developers last Friday reached financial close on the project, and agreed to sell it to two of Europe’s biggest investors in renewables, Italy’s Enel Green Energy and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

The first two stages, totalling 220MW, of the Bungala project is being built around 12kms from Port Augusta, where the state’s last coal fired generator closed last May. Ironically, project developer Reach Energy is headed by Tony Concannon, the former head of the owners of the Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria which closed late last month.

The two first stages of Bungala will be completed late in 2018, and will be built by Spanish company Elecnor, which recently completed the 57MW Moree project in NSW and the smaller 21MW Barcaldine project in Queensland.

Bungala will be built “battery storage ready”, and will also likely be the first major solar farm to participate in Australia’s FCAS market (frequency control and ancillary services), using SMA inverter technology to provide voltage control for the grid.

Concannon says the remaining 80MW of capacity could be built – along with battery storage – should the company win a South Australian government tender for 25 per cent of its electricity needs with “dispatchable” renewables.

Reach has submitted proposals for both 20MWh of battery storage and 100MWh, although it did not participate in the other tender for a separate 100MWh battery unit. If the tender is not successful, there are also discussions with other potential off-takers in train…….

The new plant, he says, will be designed to provide FCAS – even at night, after the sun has gone down. “What a number of people don’t realise is that you can design ancillary services for solar plants to operate at night time.

“We can draw in power from the grid at night, and use the inverter technologies to regulate voltage, and that helps stabilise the system, even when the sun is not shining.”

Unlike battery storage in households, which he describes as mostly “passive” and focused on converting the output of solar panels from DC power to AC power so it can be put into the grid, utility-scale inverter technologies are able to shape voltage and current very quickly and in a very flexible manner. Modern wind farms are also using the same technologies.

“The inverter changes phase between the voltage and current … inverters can pull the current in, and change the phase to what grid wants.”

Concannon, a power engineer, says it is a tricky subject to try and explain, but says a lot of the articles he has read in the media – about wind and solar not being able to provide grid services – are wrong……..http://reneweconomy.com.au/huge-300mw-solar-farm-begins-construction-near-port-augusta-63411/

April 12, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel scare campaign backfires – renewed boom in solar rooftops

February recorded more capacity than November. And now March capacity has shot 16 per cent higher than December.

This has got us thinking at Green Energy Markets that more fundamental and longer term drivers are potentially supporting this increased capacity.

it doesn’t quite work out the way the fossil fuel industry that dreamed up the PR campaign intended.  Households and businesses start worrying and think I need to take things into my own hands – and that happens to mean a solar system.

Rooftop solar enjoys second boom as fossil fuel scare campaign backfires, REneweconomy By  on 7 April 2017 It appears the fossil fuel industry’s scare campaign over renewable energy driving up the price of electricity is having the same desired effect that it had back in 2011, when they campaigned against placing a penalty on polluting the atmosphere with global warming gases.

Yep you guessed it – households and businesses are flocking to install solar on their rooftops.

Green Energy Markets’ Solar Report assessment of STC creation data shows that March hit levels of capacity not seen since the days of 45c to 60c premium feed-in tariffs in 201, when there was also an STC rebate that was twice to five times its current level.

All up, we estimate almost 92MW (92,000 kilowatts) of rooftop solar PV capacity created certificates in March………. Continue reading

April 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, storage | Leave a comment