Poll Results Reveal Most Australians Not in Favour of Keeping Liddell Coal-Fired Power Station Open

Coal Power plant

As the Climate Council reported on its website, the majority of the people (77 percent) thought that public money should not be used to keep the said power station open after its initial planned closure in 2022. Fifty-nine percent of the poll respondents selected the option of introducing a Clean Energy Target policy as a solution to promote and back new renewable energy to replace the power station.

The Chief Executive of the Climate Council, Amanda McKenzie stated, “Australians are practical people, and given the choice of putting a billion dollar band-aid on old lady Liddell, or rolling out a new lower cost, clean technologies – it is a no-brainer.”

New coal-fired power stations are twice as expensive as wind and solar, resulting to two-thirds or almost 66 percent of those who participated in the poll prefer coal-fired power stations to be replaced with renewables. The poll also revealed that the preference to have the station shut down after its supposed closure cuts across political party orientation and age. Almost half of Liberal voters (47 percent) and the majority of Labour voters (82 percent) agree that the oldest working power station in Australia must be substituted with renewable energy.

“The public has made its mind up on Liddell – and more broadly on the future energy direction of the country. Now it is up to our elected leaders to listen and act,” McKenzie added.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents said that keeping the old power station would only make their energy bills more expensive. Residents living in New South Wales were the most concerned, with approximately 55 percent anticipating that energy costs will continue to rise if the station remains open.

McKenzie further commented, “Most of the public is now fully aware of the negative impact of ageing and new fossil fuel energy production on their hip pocket.”

ReachTel conducted the survey with 2,176 respondents across Australia on 20th September.

View the full report here.

Investors Demand Top 60 Banks to Take Action Against Climate Change

Green Investment

The investors have written to the CEOs of the largest banks in the world including Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC Holdings, Bank of America, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and Australia’s majors.

A report published on Bluenotes website mentioned that the letter was coordinated by ShareAction and Boston Common Asset Management, and calls for tougher and more appropriate climate-related disclosure to be given to investors on four major aspects:

  • climate-relevant strategy and implementation
  • climate-related risk assessments and management
  • low-carbon banking products and services
  • public policy engagements and collaboration with other actors on climate change

The letter is a priority for global banking regulators, and it also asks for greater transparency from banks in terms of the methods they utilise to manage the financial risks related to climate change.

Luiz Awazu Pereira da Silva highlighted the key elements of how regulators were thinking in a recent presentation at a forum titled “Green finance: Can it Help Combat Climate Change?” The forum was coordinated by the BIS, OMFIF, World Bank Group, and Deutsche Bundesbank.

He said, “Any good policy to combat climate change requires a ‘price’ to act as an incentive to reduce a negative externality such as greenhouse gases (GHGs), in line with basic welfare economics.”

Da Silva also stated that a “shadow price” would be sufficient to lessen emissions in a perfect world. “In particular, in the cost-benefit analysis of investment projects, (we should) to take into account these negative externalities (congestion, pollution, toxic emissions).”

“The ‘right price of carbon’ is a tricky issue. We need to be pragmatic and use various metrics to reach emission targets, calculating abatement costs while incorporating all the available information on new technologies that reduce them,” he added.

The letter from ShareAction demanded details from the banks regarding their plans to assist and aid the transition to a low-carbon economy – implying an investment of up to US$93 trillion by 2030.

To read the full report of Bluenotes, click here.

Brisbane Airport Invests in Massive Renewable Energy Solar PV Project

Rooftop Solar

The said project is allegedly a 6 megawatts system which is consist of 22,000 panels and will be installed in six sites at Brisbane Airport (BNE). The panels will be covering an area of 36,000 meters squared or more than double the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

A report published on the website of Brisbane Airport Australia stated that the Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal will support 1.98 megawatts with 7,133 panels extending more than 11,675 square metres, which will make it the biggest single rooftop solar panel installation at an airport in Australia and also the largest commercial rooftop solar system in the Southern Hemisphere. Also, over 200 kilometres of cabling will be utilised for the installation.

The BAC General Manager Assets, Krishan Tangri said that one of the most expensive expenses in the airport is electricity, especially when there are many large establishments that require cooling, lighting, heating round the clock.

Tangri stated, “We are acutely aware of the increasing energy needs of running a major airport and since 2012 we’ve had an extensive energy reduction program in place resulting in the completion of 40 projects which collectively save more than 8 GWh per year.”

“Once fully operational, the new system will account for 18 percent of BAC’s direct electricity consumption, further complementing the savings we are making through air conditioning control optimisation, lighting control upgrades and LED technology within BAC buildings, carparks, and street lighting,” he added.

An Australian commercial solar company that specialises in serving Australian businesses with solar energy solutions, Epho, partnered with Shakra Energy’s Managing Director Sam Khalil. Khalil will oversee the effective and efficient development of the project.

Epho Managing Director Oliver Hartley stated, “To win this project, Epho had to demonstrate superiority in project management, stakeholder management, engineering, operations, and work health and safety. The introduction of such a significant solar system is a prime example of how BAC is adopting world-leading technologies in harmony with its sustainability focus.”

Full report here.

Australia Will Not Meet Paris Commitments Without Major Shift to Renewables

Power Plant

Presently, power generation accounts for 35 percent of the total emissions, which is reportedly twice as much as fuel combustion and transport, which accounts for 18 percent.

While Tony Abbot was Prime Minister, the emissions reduction target committed to in Paris is 26 to 28 percent lower than the 2005 level. Because of this, the government has been working to decide on a CET in official policy before the current year ends.

However, the Australia Institute claims that even the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s proposed clean energy target would not be enough to satisfy the international duties signed under Abbot.

The Executive director of Australia Institute, Ben Oquist, stated, “This analysis of the economic modelling demonstrates meeting these targets for the electricity sector with a policy like the clean energy target is likely to require 66 to 75 percent of electricity to be supplied by renewables.”

Oquist added, “If Australia adopts a weak clean energy target which does not provide a strong signal for renewables, we risk turning Australia’s moderate Paris targets into an extremely expensive task. It remains to be seen if we choose to meet those Paris commitments the easy way or the hard way.”

Rod Campbell, Australia Institute’s Director of Research and author of the discussion paper said that is contrasting that the government-commissioned plan indicates that policies would “minimise renewable energy penetration such as carbon pricing and an emissions intensity scheme have already been rejected.”

He further remarked, “All that remains is the CET that would bring in the largest share of renewable generation or the prospect of failing to meet our Paris climate targets.”

Read here for more information.

New Owners of Whyalla Steelworks Invest in Zen Energy

Solar panels in roof

The said deal was divulged less than a month after GFG Alliance has completely acquired Whyalla, claiming that investing in renewable energy will make the company feasible again.

A report published on the website of Renew Economy mentions that the new venture between Zen Energy and the energy unit of GFG, SIMEC Energy, has the potential to remould the issue on renewable energy and the benefits that big businesses in Australia could get from it. The alliance is known as SIMEC Zen.

The Executive Chairman and CEO of GFG Alliance – Australia, Sanjeev Gupta, stated that the expensive cost of energy is “debilitating for the economy and a crying shame for a country so rich in resources.” He added, “our main focus, as in the UK, will be renewable energy.”

The announcement also comes several days after Zen Energy has made a formal application the Australian Energy Regulator for a licence to retail electricity to potential clients utilising solar and storage and demand management technologies.

In a statement, GFG Alliance said, “GFG Alliance has now taken a major step towards realising its Australian energy ambitions. The opportunity to invest in large-scale power projects to meet its own industrial requirements and support the domestic economy was a key driver for GFG’s strategic entry into Australia.”

Furthermore, the partnership will centre on providing more reliable, less expensive, and environmentally sustainable energy for the mining operations of SIMEC in South Australia and Liberty OneSteel’s operations in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia.

The other projects lined-up for SIMEC Zen includes the development of SIMEC Australia’s latest large-scale energy projects that include solar PV, pumped hydro facilities, and battery storage.

For the full write-up, click here.

Climate Council Releases Report Showing the Effects of Australia’s Old Energy System

Forest Fire

The report titled “Hot and Dry: Australia’s Weird Winter” by the Climate Council digs into the effects of this year’s warmest winter on record. It states that Australia’s old energy system will not be able to deal or cope with periodic and longer heatwaves.

As Energy Matters reports on its website, the report also claims that over 260 heat and low rainfall records were broken. In addition, the country’s energy system is deteriorating, polluting, and inefficient. The energy system also cannot cope with intensifying extreme weather conditions such as frequent heatwaves, storms, and droughts. Australia is also challenged with an increased bushfire risk this season based on the report.

Climate Council is in favor of the switch from fossil fuels to clean energy systems, which include solar power installation, commercial and residential solar power, and solar power battery storage.

The council further remarked that the Paris Agreement should still be integral amidst the issue that the United States has interests in altering it. The council also recommends the government to further stabilize its efforts in advancing clean energy systems.

Amanda McKenzie, the CEO at Climate Council stated that the investment in clean energy worldwide is set to increase. “There is no denying the economics, renewables are cheaper than new coal and continue to drop in cost.”

“The future is renewable power regardless of the U.S. and Australia isolating itself from global action,” she added.

Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate Councilor and Ecologist, claimed that the hottest winter in the history of Australia was linked to aggrevating climate change. “Without any meaningful action to tackle climate change, we will continue to see many more hot winters, just like this, as global temperatures rise. We must take meaningful action to strongly reduce Australia’s emissions from fossil fuels.”

To read the full report, click here.

Flow Power, Ararat Wind Farm Ink Australia’s First 50MW Corporate Power Purchase Agreement

Wind Farm

The agreement indicates to provide 50MW of renewable energy but Matthew van der Linden, the Founder and Managing Director of Flow Power said, “We will go well beyond that. We would like to get to thousands of megawatts over the coming years.”

He added, “We’ll hopefully be able to establish more of Ararat and the numerous other wind farms and solar farms around. The advantage of Ararat is that it is operating now. Customers can get a chunk of that today, and that is very important for customers who are trying to resign [contracts for electricity] at double or triple the price they were previously on.”

As Ecogeneration reported on its website, Flow Power also claims that the renewable corporate PPAs can guarantee energy supply at rates up to half the present retail rates.

This is the first time customers will be able to sign up in order to access a part of a large-scale renewable energy project. Van der Linden also said that drawing the generator away from the more lucrative spot market is one of the challenges of crafting such offer.

“They are getting huge revenues off the spot market at the moment, but the reason they are doing it [the PPA] is it is a long-term contract, they get surety of price over a 10-year period, and that is what they are after they get better lending rates and maximise their return.”

Renewable PPAs are already recognised by top companies around the world as they provide both long-term price security and are also one of the fastest methods to attain sustainability goals. PPAs will also enable the clients to be aware of the variability of renewables and Flow Power will inform its customers on demand response technologies and battery storage.

Click this link to read the full report.

Geelong Sustainability CORE Gives Updates on its Renewable Energy Projects

Solar Panels

CORE was founded in order to establish an “energy democracy” and to guarantee that renewable energy is available and accessible to all residents of Geelong. The group has also concentrated on aged care primarily because of the sector’s high energy usage and bigger facility roof spaces. Two years ago, CORE has successfully finished a 9.25 kW crowdfunded solar system project located at the South Geelong Primary School.

A report published on Energy Matters website stated that the group has recently shared updates on its website regarding its present solar and renewable projects in the region. The projects of the group include the following:

* Installation of a 150 kW community-owned solar power system on an aged care facility. The project will be opened for investment early next year and has an expected completion until mid-year of 2018.

* A solar power feasibility assessment for an organisation that manages three aged care facilities. The study presented potential savings of over $50,000 p.a. And a 6-7 year payback.

Furthermore, a community solar and battery bulk-buy pilot project is currently in progress. Members are participating in the bulk-buying of solar panels and/or energy storage batteries in order to try the group-purchase model.

Another CORE strategy is having a Public Sustainability Fund to help households with low-income install solar systems and a solar advisory for expert advice on battery storage and solar power is also provided.

The solar-for-renters method of CORE will study how landlords and tenants could save money through solar installations on rental establishments or estates. A community solar financing model for 30-100 kW behind-the-meter solar systems is also available and this is anticipated to create better-than-bank returns for investors.

Negotiations with the local government on the development of a community solar system project model is also in progress and it intends to assure 10 to 15 years of funding for community sustainability programs.

View this link for more details.

Report Shows Renewables Can be a Substitute to Liddell Coal Station

Wind Farm

The report also stated that 3,600 megawatts of new solar and wind farms are available to replace the 1,680 megawatts capacity of the Liddell power station when it shuts down in 2022. More than 1,000 megawatts of solar and wind farms are also under construction in New South Wales with additional 2,600 megawatts of solar and wind projects approved and waiting to be built.

AWA Coordinator Andrew Bray stated that renewables can fill the energy vacuum that will result from Liddell’s closure. “Cheap renewables combined with modern solutions like batteries and demand management will keep the system reliable and lower power bills. New wind and solar farms will be spread across the state and generate power at different times so their output is highly predictable and dependable.”

He added, “Speedy 1-2 year construction periods mean these projects can be up and running by 2022. The biggest danger of blackouts we face is the inability of the government to deliver policy that supports the transition to clean energy that is already happening.”

To date, there are five wind farms and five solar farms under construction while there are 11 wind farms and 17 solar farms approved.

Bray further remarked, “The government’s obsession with coal and schoolyard name calling is putting politics ahead of Australian households, while power bills continue to rise. Liddell is the oldest and least reliable plant in Australia’s energy grid. It broke down when we needed it most at the height of the February New South Wales heatwave.”

As of May 2017, the 5,600 megawatts of solar and wind capacity being built in Australia is sufficient to replace Hazelwood’s yearly output 1.3 times.

You can view the full report here.

Innovation Energy Summit Highlights Energy Future in Australia

Solar and Wind Energy

The said event was held at Parliament House with approximately 400 audiences. The summit had Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) Chief Executive Kane Thornton as a keynote speaker. Some of the speakers also include Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, ARENA CEO Ivor Frischnekt, and CSIRO Research Scientist Wes Stein.

According to a report published on the website of Energy Matters, the goal of the summit was to provide opportunities for policy-makers, professionals in the clean energy sector, and the public in order to come up with new energy ideas that can be used in the future.

ARENA’s Frischnekt also highlighted that the organisation has $700 million ready to invest in new and potential renewable energy projects.

Thornton said that Australia is in the midpoint of a so-called energy revolution and that the switch to renewables is inevitable. He further remarked, “The reality is the vast majority of our coal-fired generation that we’ve relied on for much of last century is old and is getting older.”

He also added, “It is starting to close down. And just like an old car, the older they get, the more expensive they become to run and the less reliable they become. The reality is that whether we like it or not, we are going to have to replace these generators with new forms of energy generation.”

In addition, Thornton stated that the lowest-cost energy plants to establish to replace coal are solar and wind power and that the amount of generating energy via these methods are fast reducing. This is supported by policy certainty and bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The CEC Chief Executive also reiterated that the commitment of Australia to lessen emissions by at least 26-28 percent by 2030 aids in raising the momentum in the renewable energy industry.

To view the full report, click this link.