Northern Territory to Switch to 50% Renewables by 2030

Wind Turbines and Solar Panels

The Northern Territory government has given support to the 11 suggestions mentioned in the report which includes the use of reverse auctions to contract new large-scale renewables, and the gradual, long-term replacement of its gas power fleet with large-scale battery storage, RenewEconomy reports.

The government declared in a statement that it would give $750,000 to Power Water. The fund will be used to develop “a dynamic system model” that will guarantee that the rising levels of renewable energy can be incorporated into the grid in a more stable way.

According to Chief Minister Michael Gunner, the switch to renewables would put “downward pressure” on the cost of electricity generation. He stated, “All the advice we’ve got is that the cost of renewables is coming down so this provides a better way to provide reliable and affordable electricity for Territorians.”

The 86-page Roadmap to Renewables Report shows a slow route to switch the three grids of the Territory, which is presently powered by gas and diesel generation to an installed total of 450MW renewables.

The report also mentioned, “Many Territorians have already installed solar PV on the roofs of their homes and businesses to save on their electricity bills, reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Gunner also added, “The shift to renewable energy is inevitable, and the Northern Territory is uniquely placed to take advantage of this technological advance to deliver secure, reliable, and affordable power.”

“Our abundance of renewable resources and our existing gas power infrastructure puts us in the box seat. Increased investment in renewable energy creates jobs and delivering cheap and reliable energy for businesses and families is a boost for economic development and population growth.”

Read the full report here.

New Energy Solar to Make Its first Investment in Australia as Interest in Renewables Grows

Solar panels in roof

A report published on RenewEconomy stated that the company is reportedly raising $300 million almost exclusively from some private investors in Australia but it has centered its work on the more developed and better managed US market.

To date, the company has four major projects in North Carolina and California which are supported by big corporate buyers such as Stanford University and Duke Energy. It also contracted to acquire a portfolio of 124MW recently.

New Energy Solar CEO John Martin stated that the firm is seeking for projects in Australia as it aims for another $300 million and a public listing on the Australian stock exchange.

Australia is becoming one of the countries which continuously explore means and methods in order to expand and improve the renewables industry in the world. Sun Metals is presently establishing a 116MW plant in north Queensland while Telstra has recently contracted a 68MW solar plant and is now under construction.

In an interview with RenewEconomy, Martin said, “I think the behind the meter commercial and industrial sector is going to be large. They have to look after themselves (in terms of managing their electricity bills).”

He added that one 5MW project is too small to get investment from the fund, “but a portfolio for five of them starts to get interesting.” He also mentioned that some of the fund investors have previous experience supporting new technologies, specifically solar and battery storage developers and manufacturers, and the experience has not been good always.

“What these people want is solar and renewables, but investments that are sustainable. They want a stable low-risk investment and they want to be able to look at their investments, and show their grandkids that they are investing for a sustainable future.”

The full report can be found here.

Australia Should Take More Action to Achieve Its Clean Energy Target

Solar Panel

A report published on the website of RenewEconomy mentioned that one of the most substantial developments was the introduction of a “2018 Talanoa dialogue.” It is said to put pressure on large economies to further improve their climate commitments to guarantee that the targets of the climate deal are met.

The Head of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Programme, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, stated, “We have within our reach an unprecedented opportunity following the Paris Agreement – one that can and must change the future. The decisions we make today set the foundation for 2018 and beyond. Countries must increase their ambition to put us on a path to a 1.5°C future.”

He further added, “In order for governments to have confidence in strengthening their climate targets in 2020, they need to see that exceeding their current targets is urgent, achievable, and desirable.”

The Talanoa Dialogue is essential in this aspect because it will enable the participating countries to better comprehend that cities, businesses, and communities all over the globe are escalating their clean energy initiatives ahead of them. “They will understand that their national climate plans have been surpassed by the real economy and it is time to catch up,” Pulgar-Vidal said.

The General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation Sharan Burrow expressed, “Governments should not hide behind those who do not want to make progress. They put at risk the benefits of investments in jobs and economic growth and they put at risk the planet.”

Australia is predicted to be one of the countries to be under pressure following the release of a UNEP report which suggested that the country’s targets would not be met and it still supports the coal industry. Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s Energy Minister said that coal is still a vital part of the energy mix of the country.

For the full report, check out this website.

ARENA Provides Another Grant to Genex Project in Queensland

The funding was granted just as Genex is preparing to commence work on its Kidston Stage Two (K2) project. It is reported to integrate a 250MW pumped hydroelectricity storage facility and 270MW solar PV plant and will produce a maximum of 783GWh of renewable energy every year.

RenewEconomy reported on its website that during peak power demand periods, water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir and will pass through reversible turbines. The report added, “During off-peak periods and when the sun is abundant, water will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using electricity primarily from the solar farm.”

Michael Addison, the Managing Director at Genex Power, expressed that the latest funding from ARENA would bolster the company’s financial status as it finalises financial close on its K2 project by the middle of next year.

The project has received support from ARENA since the start of its construction. The organisation has already provided $4 million for technical feasibility studies and $8.9 million for the Kidston Stage One solar PV project as part of the $92 million large-scale solar PV.

In a statement on Friday, the CEO of ARENA, Ivor Frischknecht, said, “The Stage Two of the Kidston hydro and solar project is an important step in achieving a secure and reliable grid and increasing the value delivered by renewable energy.”

He added, “Kidston will be the only grid-connected solar project located in Australia’s solar red zone, providing consistent strong sun throughout the year, and combining it with pumped hydro will provide Queensland access to an entirely renewable flexible energy option.”

On the other hand, Addison expressed his appreciation for the continued support of ARENA to Genex Power’s projects. He stated, “The continued support from ARENA is a testament to the innovative nature of the project, and the growing importance of large-scale energy storage in the context of the increasing penetration of renewable energy in the National Electricity Market.”

The full report is published here.

Flinders Island to Complete Switch to Renewables Before 2017 Ends

Wind Turbines

Hydro Tasmania, a facility owned by the state, is reported to formally “switch on” the Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub next month. The project will finally be completed after nearly two-and-a-half- years following it s initial announcement to the public. Its goal is to meet a minimum of 60 percent of the island’s 6.7 gigawatts yearly demand with renewables and to control the output of the 3 megawatts diesel power station.

A report from the website of RenewEconomy states that the hub is already leading the Bass Strait island to almost 80 percent renewables and the team who who works behind it is convinced it will be able to supply 100 percent of demand before 2017 ends.

The Flinders Island project, which costs around $13.3 million, follows up on Hydro Tasmania’s success with King Island. It also utilized a similar integration of solar, wind, and energy storage to attain 60 percent renewable from 22010 to 2014.

The Implementation Manager of Hybrid Energy Solution at Hydro Tasmania, David Brown, stated, “The technology mix is very much the same at Flinders Island, but with a bit more solar and the whole project has been easier, cheaper, and quicker.”

Brown stated on the possibility of establishing additional energy hubs in Australia, “We are actively talking to people across the Pacific and making in-roads into the mining sector. We are also looking at (rolling the technology out) in embedded networks, in grid-connected projects, fringe of the grid. A lot of this is fairly transferable.”

He also believes that the residents of Flinders Island are now much satisfied because they have a more sustainable, much cheaper, and more reliable power supply. “Power prices on Flinders Island, King Island, and most remote places are regulated,” Brown added.

Click here to read the full report.

DP Energy Announces Additional Large-Scale Expansion of its Energy Park in South Australia

Solar and Wind Farm

DP Energy levels up its game following Sanjeev Gupta’s initial announcement of a 1-gigawatt project which will utilise solar, pumped hydro, and battery storage. The company had come to a deal with Downer Group and Vestas as contractors for the previously confirmed 375MW first stage of the project. The initial phase will include 225MW of wind and 150MW of solar near Port Augusta.

A report from the website of RenewEconomy mentioned that the projects will be included in a series of other projects at the top end of the Spencer Gulf, which includes the 220MW Bungala solar project, the 212 Lincoln Gap wind project, and the 150MW Aurora solar tower and storage project.

Already nearing 50 percent of its local generation, South Australia is expected to double the amount of renewables in the region with its numerous large-scale clean energy programs and initiatives.

However, the Irish company mentioned that the project has not reached financial close, but it reassures that it will push through especially with the appointment of Downer Group as one of its contractors.

DP Energy Catherine Way told RenewEconomy in an interview, “This project will happen. When the facility is fully complete the end result has the potential to be a game changer for energy production and provision in Australia.”

The company further stated, “The wind farm will be producing at maximum strength at the peak of local electricity demand. This will be further complemented by high levels of solar power generation. Matching supply with demand ensures maximum efficiency and reliability.”

“By combining the wind energy which ramps up during the day to the evening peak with solar energy which peaks in the middle of the day, the combined generation profile closely matches South Australia’s demand profile,” the company’s statement continues.

To read the full report and to know more about the other renewable projects of DP Energy, click here.

350MW Lower Wonga Solar Farm Project Gets Approval from the Council

Solar Farm

SolarQ mentioned in a statement that the Gympie Regional Council had already approved the 350MW Lower Wonga Solar Farm on the basis that it reflects a positive progress for the local and state communities.

A report published on Renew Economy also claims that the Gympie Regional Energy Hub, which also has three stages of development, hopes to include over 1 gigawatt of PV capacity. The third stage of the project suggests one more solar farm of 800MW and a 4,000MWh/800MW of battery storage.

According to Scott Armstrong, SolarQ’s Managing Director, “We are actually designing for the future. We are looking to create the equivalent of a peaking power station. The final design of the Gympie Regional Energy Hub will meet customer demand and growth, will be scalable, dispatchable, will align with solar variability and will provide security of energy supply.”

The location of the project in Gympie has been revealed to be a former gold centre which is now utilised for fruit farming and industry. It suits the project due to certain metrics which include having a high percentage of unemployment in the area.

The project is also anticipated to create nearly 450 jobs in the span of four years, 12 jobs for 30 years during the energy hub’s operations, and other related jobs for the region.

Armstrong also revealed that the project is expected to be funded through a combination of power purchase agreements and the merchant market, after drawing in interest from investors in the private sector.

He further commented, “Our plan is to bring in (investors) who have an understanding of ultra high-speed dispatch. PPA’s tend to steralise (a project’s) capabilities. We need to start looking beyond them.”

Read the full report here.

Queensland Still Leads in Small-Scale Solar Installations in Australia

Solar panels in roof

An article published on the website of Energy Matters mentioned that there were a total of 6,927 small-scale systems installed nationally in September with an overall generation capacity of 36,265kW. Queensland still has the highest level of small-scale installations in the country with a total of 2,153 systems installed in September.

The CER presents a monthly update of the small-scale renewable energy system installations under the Renewable energy Target’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

The following are the national trends and analysis included in CER’s latest report:

  • Installation rates for September are currently tracking lower than August, with 6,927 installed compared to 8,017 last month
  • Queensland had the highest number of commercial-sized solar PV systems (10-100kW) installed in September, with 149 systems installed
  • There were 409 commercial sized solar PV systems (10-100kW) installed Australia-wide in September
  • There were 132 PV systems that had a concurrent battery storage installation in September

In the initial half of the present year, a 23 percent increase in small-scale solar systems installations in the country was posted, which, according to an analysis, could have reduced the trading price of Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STC) from $40 to $30.50 in September. The decrease in the price affected the amount that solar energy rebate installers could pass on to their customers.

Meanwhile, New South Wales posted the second highest level of small-scale installations in Australia in September with 23 percent of the overall number of installations in the country. It also had 104 commercial-sized solar PV systems (10-100kW) and 48 PV systems that had a concurrent battery storage installation.

The following are the highest performing solar postcodes in Australia for September:

  • Yanchep (6035) in Western Australia
  • Tarneit (3029) and Pakenham (3810) in Victoria
  • Northgate (5085) in South Australia
  • Upper Coomer (4209) in Queensland
  • Gunn (0832) in the Northern Territory
  • Casino (2470) in New South Wales
  • Ngunnawal (2913) and Moncrieff (2914) in the ACT
  • Launceston (7250) in Tasmania

Visit this site for the full report.

Stockland Solar Projects Back Queensland’s Clean Energy Initiatives

Solar Panels

Queensland Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt made the announcement on the roof of the Stockland Cairns Shopping Centre. It was also revealed that Stockland will begin working on the $3.4 million solar project at Stockland Cairns in the next few months. The first of the 10 projects will be installed nationally, and the 1.6mW Cairns solar roof installation will constitute of 5,200 panels. Each panel is at least 23kg in weight.

According to the press release published on the website of Stockland, Pitt was joined by the Managing Director and CEO of Stockland, Mark Steinert in inspecting the Cairns installation and discussed the solar rollout. The solar rollout is believed to set a new Australian standard and aid the energy requirements of the state in the future.

Pitt praised the project and considered it as a breakthrough in Australia’s renewable energy efforts. He stated, “Five centres in regional Queensland will see solar panels rolled out across their rooftops adding to the mix of residential and large-scale commercial and industrial solar projects supplying clean and renewable energy.”

He added, “Queensland currently has the highest capacity of rooftop solar panels in Australia and one of the highest penetration rates anywhere in the world so it makes sense to have a big part of this project here in the Sunshine state particularly in Cairns.”

Mark Bailey, the Minister for Energy, expressed confidence that the Sunshine State will soon turn into Solar State. “We’re well on our way to meeting our target for one million Queensland rooftops with solar or 3,000 megawatts of total solar by 2020,” Bailey said.

According to Stockland’s Managing Director and CEO, Mark Steinert, “This solar project is an important step for renewable energy in Queensland, playing a significant role in the transition to a lower carbon energy future. We are extremely proud to be setting a new standard in solar for Australian property which will help create clean, green energy for our retailers, our customers, and the communities we operate in.”

For more information about this report, click here.

Australians Favor Demand Response Schemes Than New Power Stations – Survey

Electric Meter

A report from Dan Cass, a strategist at the Australia Institute expounds that demand response enables energy consumers to sell “megawatts” of reduced demand into the National Electricity Market in order to maintain the stability of the grid and lessen price peaks.

According to Cass, “Respondents were asked which they thought was a better way to plan for peak demand events. Two-thirds (64 percent) supported demand response, while 28 percent supported building new grid infrastructure and power stations.”

He further stated, “This polling shows the public understands demand response is cheaper and faster and are supportive of the technology. There is a real eagerness from Australians to make money by generating, storing, and trading electricity. What is needed are smart regulations that would unleash huge benefits to the stability, efficiency of the grid, and lower prices to boot.”

There were also four out of five voters who said they are interested in taking part in various demand response methods.

The respondents were also asked if they were keen on turning off certain appliances off for at least 30 minutes during a demand peak, in return for a payment. Here are the results of the survey:

  • Eighty-five percent of voters stated they would be interested in turning down the heating temperature two degrees for half an hour
  • Eighty-two percent of the respondents said they would be eager in turning off appliances such as computers and televisions for at least 30 minutes
  • Seventy-seven percent of the respondents said they would turn off their air conditioners for half an hour

“Demand response can deliver security faster and cheaper than building new power stations and more efficiently than prolonging the life of aging plants like Liddell. Technology has overtaken ideology.”

For the full report, click here.