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e-extra December 2020

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Government

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Grid infrastructure to deliver benefits of Snowy 2.0

The Australian Government will invest $125 million to help finance the development of grid infrastructure critical to the delivery of Snowy 2.0.

Australia's hydrogen future with Germany

Academia and industry experts will team up to advance the development of a hydrogen supply chain between Australia and Germany. The Australian Government has selected a consortium led by the UNSW to deliver the ‘German-Australian Supply Chain Feasibility Study of Hydrogen produced from Renewables’.

WA renewable hydrogen microgrid an Australian first

Australia’s first remote microgrid using renewable hydrogen generation is becoming a reality, with the trial of new energy technologies in remote Western Australia.

Funding to propel commercialisation including in key manufacturing sectors

The Australian Government has announced $8 million in grants to support manufacturing companies in commercialisation. Included is a hydrogen fuelled scramjet engine to put satellites into low-level orbit, and a pilot plant to manufacture batteries using Australian supply chains.

Solar panel serial number ledger in development

The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) is developing a new serial number ledger capability to strengthen the integrity of the solar industry. The ledger will store all solar panel serial numbers supplied to the Australian market and eligible for small-scale technology certificates.

Delivering cheap and reliable energy in Victoria

The Australian Government and Government of Victoria will jointly underwrite early works to progress the Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector (VNI) West project – with a preferred route known as KerangLink – for delivery by 2027.

Making Victoria a renewable energy powerhouse

The Victorian Budget 2020-21 will invest $1.6 billion to create renewable energy hubs across the state, improve crucial grid infrastructure, decarbonise the energy system and support more Solar Homes.

Queensland budget delivers $500m renewables fund

The Queensland Government has delivered on its promise to establish a $500 million renewable energy fund. This is despite dividends derived from government-owned energy assets being hit by lower electricity prices and new network pricing determinations.

NSW outlines energy plans in Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap

The NSW Government has released a 20-year energy plan to deliver Renewable Energy Zones, energy storage (such as pumped hydro) and on-demand supply.

SA launches $240m hydrogen project

The Government of South Australia has launched a $240 million hydrogen project which will become the largest green ammonia plant in the world. A further $37 million has been allocated for upgrading the Port Bonython jetty to support the state's export potential.

Queensland to invest $10 million into hydrogen pipeline

The Queensland Government is committing a further $10 million over the next 4 years to develop the renewable hydrogen industry in Queensland. The investment brings the government's total funding commitment to the hydrogen industry to $25 million.

Victoria to build southern hemisphere's biggest battery

The Government of Victoria is installing a 300 megawatt battery just outside of Geelong to be ready by the 2021-22 summer. Construction of the battery will create more than 85 jobs.

NSW green lights 65MW Tamworth solar farm and big battery

The NSW Government has approved plans for development of a 65MW solar farm and 19MW lithium-ion battery in Tamworth.

Recycled gas opportunity for Albany

Albany residents could be cooking with recycled gas harvested from a waste disposal facility, pending the outcome of a feasibility study supported by the Government of Western Australia.

SA invests $60m into energy efficiency of public buildings

The Government of South Australia is investing $60 million over the next 2 years to improve energy efficiency in government buildings. The commitment is the largest per capita stimulus investment of any Australian government in improving the energy efficiency of public buildings.

Solar powered savings for NSW health facilities

Health facilities across New South Wales will save on electricity bills and reduce their carbon footprint under a $20 million NSW Government initiative for energy-saving projects.

NSW to roll out 120 electric buses in 2021 ahead of full transition

The NSW Government will begin the transition of its entire bus fleet to zero emissions within the decade, starting with 120 electric buses in 2021. The first 50 electric buses will service Sydney routes in the inner west, south west and north.

Victoria investing in buses of the future

The Government of Victoria will invest $20 million in a statewide trial to investigate solutions to achieve a zero-emission bus fleet.

ACT drivers to access free rego and zero interest loans for EVs

Australian Capital Territory drivers will soon be able to access a zero interest loan of up to $15,000 and free registration for buying an electric vehicle (EV), making it the most EV-friendly jurisdiction in Australia.

Tasmania's Renewable Energy Target passes parliament

Legislation to double Tasmania's renewable generation to a global-leading target of 200% of the state's current needs by 2040 has passed both houses of parliament.

Tasmania sets 100% EV target for government fleet

Weeks after tabling legislation to lock in the nation-leading renewable energy target of 200% by 2040, the Tasmanian Government has pledged to transition its car fleet to 100% electric vehicles by 2030.

Business

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Fortescue leads stampede into green energy with plans for 235GW of wind and solar

Iron ore mining giant Fortescue Metals has unveiled plans to build more than 235GW of renewable capacity to become a supplier of green energy and hydrogen that would rival the country’s biggest oil suppliers in terms of energy produced.

Woolworths to be powered by 100% green energy by 2025

Woolworths Group will power its entire operations with renewable electricity by 2025, on the road to net positive carbon emissions by at least 2050. The ambitious power pledge is part of the retail group’s newly announced sustainability plan.

Big banks, insurers publish road map to net zero

Australia's entire financial sector, including the big 4 banks, major insurers, fund managers and superannuation funds, are calling for an institutionally embedded collective target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Meat & Livestock Australia releases carbon neutral roadmap

Meat & Livestock Australia's ‘Carbon Neutral by 2030 Roadmap’ has set a path for making Australian meat the most sustainable in the world.

Strata buildings save up to $60k each in annual electricity with green solar deal

Switching to renewable energy sources, 64 strata buildings in New South Wales will change from coal-generated electricity plans to green-solar electricity, saving a total of $681,000 annually and up to $60,000 per building.

Households

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Distributed energy marketplace trial for consumers

The Australian Government is supporting a distributed energy resources (DER) marketplace trial project in which households and businesses will be able to buy and sell electricity and grid services through the wholesale electricity market.

EV charging technology trial to commence across Australia

The Australian Government will support a trial of various EV charging methods on 300 users across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. The project will demonstrate how an EV plugged in at home can be best used to store energy and provide it back to the grid. 

Bio-gas to power NSW households and businesses

The Australian Government and NSW Government are backing Australia’s first biomethane-to-gas project that will see thousands of New South Wales homes and businesses using renewable gas for cooking, heating and hot water.

Victoria unveils $797m energy efficiency package

The Government of Victoria will invest $797 million to help Victorians cover the cost of their power bills and make homes more energy efficient. This will be the biggest household energy-efficiency package in any state’s history.

Mandating high sustainability in Victoria a strong selling point for housing estates

Some progressive residential estates are using design controls to lay down the law on a high sustainability standard. It’s not proving a deterrent for buyers, with lots in these estates selling like hotcakes.

Five household switches to help you save power

When it comes to reducing your electricity costs, it’s the little changes and simple habit swaps that result in big savings. From switching light bulbs to preventing ‘phantom electricity’ usage, here are 5 easy bill-cutting moves to make.

Reports and analysis

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Australia’s resources and energy investment pipeline has grown

The Australian Government's 2020 Resources and Energy Major Projects report shows a 19% increase in the number of resources and energy projects under development in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Enough energy supply for summer but COVID risks remain

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released its Summer Readiness Plan, with sufficient energy supply forecast across the National Electricity Market (NEM), but uncertainty remains on the impact of COVID-19.

AER report finds sustained low wholesale energy prices

Newly released data in the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Wholesale Markets Quarterly Q3 2020 report shows wholesale electricity and gas prices remained low during the third quarter of 2020, dropping to levels not seen since 2014 and 2016 respectively.

AER report reveals rise in energy debt for small business and household

A report from the AER reveals thousands of households and small businesses in energy debt and struggling to pay bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Annual Retail Markets Report 2019-20 shows debt owed by small businesses growing from $35 million in March 2020 to $45 million in June 2020.

AER releases Value of Distributed Energy Resources report

The AER has released the Value of Distributed Energy Resources report (VaDER). The report recommends a methodology to determine the value of distributed energy resources that can be used by networks in investment proposals to integrate DER into the grid.

CER releases Quarterly Carbon Market Report

A report by the CER shows Australia's share of renewable energy in electricity generation is expected to reach around 30% by the end of 2020, with capacity deploying 10 times faster than the global average.

Australia’s pathway to $2 per kg hydrogen

Prosperity, emissions reductions and opportunities for Australia to lead on a global stage — all underpinned by the most common element in the universe.

Australia notches up a decade at the top of global real estate sustainability ranking

Australian property companies have recorded a continuous 10-year run at the top of the global GRESB Real Estate Assessment ranking in 2020.

Australian motorists shun biofuels against global trend

APAC Buiofuel Consultants have found Australian motorists are continuing to shun biofuels against global trends, as local supply tightens and growth incentives fall short.

Innovation

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CEFC backs revolutionary eArc panels in next wave of solar innovation for Australia

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has committed $9.6 million to support technology company Sunman in the development of its innovative eArc solar PV panels. The technology has potential to revolutionise Australia’s use of rooftop solar, delivering lightweight, flexible panels that can be used across a wider range of applications than existing glass panels.

CSIRO signs agreement with US partners for a transformational power generation technology

CSIRO has signed an agreement with US-based GTI to join a Joint Industry Program on the development of a supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power plant that could assist mining companies to reach large renewable energy targets.

Small wind turbines for telecommunications

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $341,990 in funding to Diffuse Energy. The company will demonstrate the effectiveness of its micro wind turbine technology for use on off-grid telecommunications towers and broader remote applications.

NSW Government backs unique NUW Energy project by three of Australia’s leading universities

NUW Energy, an Australian-first collaboration of the best researchers from three leading universities, is working on finding the best solutions to Australia’s future energy needs and ways to lower energy costs for households.

Carbon-capture breakthrough could be a game-changer in utilising CO2

The CSIRO and Monash University have developed a revolutionary device that captures CO2 directly from the atmosphere. Its inventors say it’s the most cost-effective method of capturing CO2 yet devised.

Technology fast tracks hydrogen-fuelled future

University of Sydney researchers have made a critical breakthrough by finding a much more efficient means of turning water into hydrogen.

Now for air conditioning-as-a-service

A Singaporean business offering air conditioning as-a-service has its sights set on Australia, which could bring cheaper, ultra-efficient cooling to Australian buildings.

Apartment living in the US gets a money-saving Aussie tech boost

Allume Energy’s SolShare technology equitably spreads the solar among residents of community housing and apartment buildings that can install PV on top. It has achieved the certification to enable residents of ‘multi-family units’ across America to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy.

If this battery war is successful, EV prices should fall

One method of bringing down the cost of EVs would be to attack the cost of the metals that go into a lithium-ion battery. If recycled metals become a large, reliable source for batteries, they will be competition for mined metals, helping to stabilise prices.

Cleaner, cheaper, more efficient — energy is going digital

Engineers claim the digitalisation of electricity through the implementation of virtual power plants using internet-of-things (IoT) and AI technology will lead to cheaper energy and more stable electricity networks.

An expert explains how to turn industrial carbon emissions into building materials

Sophia Wang is Chief Operations Officer of MCi, a technology platform that transforms CO2 into building materials and other valuable industrial products. Sophia discusses MCi’s Carbon Capture and Use process and why she’s a passionate advocate for seeing carbon as a valuable resource.

These solar panels don’t need the sun to produce energy

An electrical engineering student in the Philippines has found a way to work around the inconsistency of solar energy by harvesting unseen ultraviolet light that’s present no matter the weather. It could soon be turning the windows and walls of buildings into a rich new source of electricity.

New technique rolls out 40 feet of perovskite solar film per minute

Perovskite solar cells are rapidly catching up to their silicon forebears in terms of efficiency but continue to lag behind in production speed. Researchers at Stanford University in the US have developed a method of making perovskite solar cells at up to 12 metres per minute, which is even faster than silicon.

New Zealand geologists to harness volcano heat to reduce climate emissions

A group of geologists in Dunedin are hoping to reduce carbon emissions by drilling deep into an extinct 11-million-year-old volcano harness its heat. The wells would enable the heat flow from the magma to be monitored, providing data on whether there is sufficient heat to be tapped into.

International

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UK outlines 10 point plan for 'green industrial revolution'

The UK government has announced a 10 point plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan includes an investment of £12 billion into clean energy technologies and the creation of 250,000 green jobs.

Energy Technology List launched in the UK

The new-look Energy Technology List (ETL) website has been launched by the UK government to help simplify the purchasing of energy-efficient products. A search-and-compare feature will enable businesses and the public sector to quickly find verified products to cut their energy bills and reduce emissions.

African Ministers stress need for greater investment to revitalise energy sector and drive sustainable recovery

Ministers from African countries representing nearly three-quarters of the continent’s energy consumption have met with global energy leaders to consider how to revitalise the African energy sector and enable a sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19.

GM opens up a new front in its battle with Tesla: batteries

General Motors has begun building a US$2.3 billion battery factory with the capacity to produce at least 30GWh of batteries each year. The investment is just a fraction of the US$20 billion GM will be pouring into electric and autonomous cars by 2025.

San Francisco bans natural gas in new buildings

Beginning in June 2021, buildings constructed in San Francisco will be barred from having natural gas heating, gas appliances or gas fireplaces. The ordinance will affect the planned development of more than 54,000 homes and 32 million square feet of commercial space.

BIG goes back to school with sustainable village

Following an architecture competition, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been commissioned to design a student centre for Johns Hopkins University in the US. Named The Village, the facility is conceived as an oversized living room with a timber structure and roof covered in solar panels.