e-extra February 2020

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Round-up of the latest energy-related policies, projects, innovations.

NSW energy deal to reduce power prices and emissions

The Morrison and Berejiklian governments have reached a landmark agreement to lower power prices for consumers, reduce emissions and strengthen grid reliability.

Second energy from waste plant to reduce waste going to landfill

ARENA has announced $18 million in recoupable grant funding to develop Australia’s second large scale energy-from-waste plant in Western Australia. The $511 million plant will reduce waste currently going to landfill and generate dispatchable electricity for the grid.

Initial support terms for 2 generation projects agreed

The Australian Government has progressed 2 projects to agreement of key initial support terms as a part of their Underwriting New Generation Investments program (UNGI). APA Group’s proposed 220MW gas generator in Dandenong, Victoria and Quinbrook’s proposed 132MW gas generator, in Gatton, Queensland, are the first 2 projects selected from the shortlist.

Victoria slashes grid outage risk with record demand response uptake

Record customer participation in electricity demand response initiatives has cut the risk of network outages in Victoria. This has delivered more than $500,000 to those taking part, new data from United Energy shows.

Retailer Reliability Obligation triggers in South Australia

On 9 January 2020, the South Australia Minister for Energy and Mining triggered the Retailer Reliability Obligation (RRO) in South Australia for the first quarters of 2022 and 2023. The RRO is designed to support reliability in the National Electricity Market (NEM), as well as encourage retailers and some large energy users to establish contracts for their share of demand for a prescribed period.

South Australia's biggest wind solar hybrid project gets financial green light

A 320MW hybrid wind and solar project near Port Augusta in South Australia will begin construction in June after its new owner, Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, gave final approval for what will be its first investment in Australia.

$243,000 for WA renewable hydrogen study

The WA Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Fund has awarded $243,000 to sustainable energy producer EDL, with funds supporting EDL’s study to produce hydrogen from renewable energy sources. The study is reported to be the first step towards totally displacing diesel and gas to power remote sites.

AGL signs 15 year deal for giant battery in Queensland

AGL has announced a big expansion of its big battery plans, with a 15 year deal for a new 100MW/150MWh giant battery to be built next to the Wandoan solar farm in Queensland and close to AGL’s new Coopers Gap wind farm.

Monash claims 'most efficient' lithium-sulphur battery

Researchers from Melbourne's Monash University have announced the development of what they call the world's most efficient lithium-sulphur (Li-S) battery, capable of powering a smartphone for 5 continuous days and allowing an electric vehicle to drive more than 1000km without requiring another charge.

University of Sydney researchers take key step in preparing for a hydrogen economy

Scientists have finally figured out how hydrogen causes embrittlement of steels required for distribution and storage infrastructure in a hydrogen economy. The research, conducted by engineers at the University of Sydney, also revealed new strategies for steels resistant to embrittlement.

Gas industry wary of EU ruling as green finance soars

Australia's peak oil and gas industry body has warned that new European Union environmental and social governance rules that no longer consider gas a "sustainable" investment could be counterproductive given the role gas plays in supporting renewable energy.

Most electric cars in Australia are charged with renewable power

75% of electric cars in Australia are charged almost exclusively with renewable power, according to an informal poll conducted by Future Smart Strategies managing director and electric vehicle advocate Professor Ray Wills.

Entire household energy ratings on the horizon

As the benchmark for home energy efficiency, the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) provides a star rating out of 10, which is currently indicative of a property’s building envelope and structural design. Soon, this rating could extend to factor in appliances used within the home to provide a more comprehensive and accurate measure of a household’s energy footprint.

Australia rooftop solar installs total 2.13GW in 2019 after huge December rush

Installations of small-scale rooftop solar panels reached 2.3GW in 2019 – a jump of 35% over the previous year – after a record surge in December.

Battery bonus for new home buyers in South Australia

Under a change to the SA Government's Home Battery Scheme, new home buyers will be able to have solar and battery systems subsidised during the building phase.

New microgrid tech brings solar energy to Melbourne renters

Ovida has launched the first site of its $2.3 million Community Energy Hubs project – a 52-resident community housing apartment building in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, with a solar and battery storage system. The Australian-first microgrid project will allow all the building residents to have access to solar energy.

Bank Australia offers discount rates to people who buy or build energy-efficient homes

The Bank Australia Clean Energy Home Loan is the first green home loan backed by the CEFC, and will use energy efficiency measurement tools to determine eligibility. Eligible borrowers will be offered a 0.4% discount on their home finance.

Homes with higher energy ratings sell for more

An energy-efficient home is comfortable to live in, without large energy bills. These are important factors for prospective home owners or renters. A review of international research found energy-efficient homes typically fetch a higher price.

Australian renewables set to break records in 2020

Analysts expect up to 1.5GW of new utility PV projects will break ground in Australia’s NEM in 2020. Around 7.9GW in wind projects has received development approval. It is also likely new markets will begin to open up as pilot hydrogen projects come on line and the off-grid sector starts to invest in renewables, resources companies in particular.

National Energy Efficiency Awards 2020

The National Energy Efficiency Awards 2020 will recognise and celebrate excellence in energy efficiency, energy management and demand response across Australia. The awards night will be held in Melbourne on 26 May 2020, with nominations due by 16 March 2020.

Global wind turbine market to surpass $30 billion by 2025

A new report has found that technological improvements are accelerating the adoption of wind power worldwide and driving the global offshore wind turbines market toward monumental growth.

World’s largest offshore wind farm  begins construction

Construction on the world’s largest offshore wind farm – 3.6GW – has begun near the coast of Yorkshire, England.

Major companies form alliance to accelerate transition to EVs

Amazon, IKEA USA, AT&T, DHL, and Siemens are just some of the big names signing on to join the new Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance.

Microsoft pledges to negate 45 years of company emissions

Tech giant Microsoft vows to 'negate' the company’s historical contributions to climate change, removing the entirety of its carbon footprint since founding 45 years ago.

Tesla delivers its first batch of China-made cars

Tesla delivered its first batch of China-made cars on Monday, less than a year after the electric vehicle company broke ground on its first plant outside the United States.

Electric trucks: The next frontier for energy and emissions savings

A promising array of new electric trucks, buses, and delivery vans is slated to soon enter the US market, with California among some states beginning to push for their wider use.

Electric commuter ferry for New Zealand

Wellington Harbour, New Zealand, will soon be home to the southern hemisphere’s first zero-emissions electric commuter ferry.

China opens oil and gas exploration to foreign firms

China will allow foreign companies to take part in oil and gas exploration and production in the country, in what officials hailed Thursday as a "major reform" opening up the industry.

Ping An becomes first Chinese signatory to Climate Action  100+

Ping An Insurance Company of China, Ltd. recently became the first Chinese asset owner to join Climate Action 100+, an investor initiative launched in 2017 to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.

EU to lay out 1 trillion euro green deal

The EU's executive body has launched its 1 trillion euro green deal - an ambitious rethinking of the economy, transport and energy sectors to turn the EU into a leading inspiration in the fight against global warming.

IEA analysis find that the energy sector is crucial for cutting global emissions

Recent IEA analysis shows that we can cut energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 33% by 2030 through swift, smart policies from governments that give companies and investors the incentives and clarity they need to accelerate clean energy transitions.

Breakthrough innovation enabling solar energy production is one step closer to the market

Lithuanian and German researchers have come up with a novel solution for developing low-cost solar technology, tackling the limits of efficiency of currently commercially used silicon-based solar elements.