energy.gov.au

energy-theme-default

e-extra July 2021

A round-up of energy news from Australia and around the world

[toc]

Government

Government and energy related images including Parliament House, transmission lines, wind turbines and press conferences

National

Delivering fuel security and protecting jobs

Measures to lock in the future of the refining sector and keep petrol prices low have been passed in the Australian Parliament. The Fuel Security Act 2021 gives effect to key measures in the government’s comprehensive fuel security package included in the 2021-22 Budget.

Third iteration of DMO takes effect

More than 700,000 energy customers will benefit from lower energy prices, with the third iteration of the Default Market Offer (DMO) taking effect. The DMO, which commenced on 1 July 2019, locks in cheaper electricity prices for customers on standing offer contracts.

Helping industry to reduce emissions and energy costs

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced the $43 million Industrial Energy Transformation Studies Program. The first round will see up to $25 million to support studies into similar projects that demonstrate energy efficiency and decarbonisation technologies.

Cutting energy costs for hotels

Small and medium hotels are receiving support from the Australian Government to cut their energy costs. The $10.2 million Hotel Energy Uplift Program will enable operators to undertake energy savings projects, energy audits and energy monitoring.

AER’s 2021-22 compliance and enforcement priorities: Consumer protection

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released five compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021-22, which include a major focus on protecting energy consumers. The AER will monitor retailers to ensure they offer appropriate payment plans to consumers who need assistance.

AEMC draft decision considers how smaller generators participate in the market

Smaller generators will not need to be scheduled in the national electricity market under a draft determination from the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released on 24 June.

Simply a better way to read the rules

The AEMC has launched a web-published version of the National Electricity Rules, providing a smarter, faster way to use and access the rules online. The new features include extensive cross-referencing via hyperlinks.

Solar industry given deadline to address waste issue

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley has given the solar industry a hard deadline to ‘step up’ and address the mounting issue of solar panel waste or face regulation.

Public hearing: Committee to examine dispatchable energy

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy held its first public hearing into dispatchable energy generation and storage capability in Australia on 23 June.

Hydrogen

Building Australia’s hydrogen industry through research collaborations

CSIRO will deliver a $5 million research, development and demonstration (RD&D) Hydrogen International Collaboration Program. The program will strengthen collaboration between Australia and international hydrogen research organisations.

Promoting Australian hydrogen through a certification scheme

The Australian Government has released a discussion paper on the design of a Hydrogen Guarantee of Origin (GO) certification scheme. The scheme will measure and track carbon emissions from hydrogen production.

CEFC makes first hydrogen-related investment

The Australian Government, through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), is backing a new venture that aims to help commercialise innovative electrolyser production technology.

International cooperation on high tech and hydrogen

International partnerships are key to the Australian Government’s plan to accelerate development of the Technology Investment Roadmap’s priority technologies. Australia is partnering with various countries to get new energy technologies like hydrogen to commercial parity.

A green hydrogen partnership between Australia and Germany

Australia and Germany have agreed to invest in the development of a clean hydrogen supply chain between the two countries. The arrangement could see Australia eventually exporting renewable hydrogen fuel to Germany.

ACT

Sustainable Household Scheme underway

Guidelines are now available for the ACT's $150 million Sustainable Household Scheme. Zero interest loans will be made available under the scheme to help eligible households with upfront costs of investing in energy-efficient products and appliances.

Significant interest in Big Canberra Battery

There has been significant industry interest in the Big Canberra Battery project, with 42 submissions from interested parties to a market sounding process. The project will enable at least 250 MW of storage, making it one of the biggest battery storage systems in Australia when completed.

NSW

Record renewables funding for roadmap rollout

$380 million will be invested in implementing NSW's landmark Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap. The Roadmap is expected to attract $32 billion of investment over the next decade.

NSW charges ahead with EV plans

The NSW Government’s EV Strategy is backed by an almost half a billion dollar investment to reduce barriers for electric vehicle purchases. The 2021-22 budget commitment will cut taxes and incentivise uptake over the next four years.

Energy deals to help NSW seniors stay warm this winter

An exclusive EnergyAustralia deal will help seniors save on their energy bills this winter. NSW Seniors Card and NSW Senior Savers Card members who sign up for EnergyAustralia’s ‘Total Plan’ will receive 27% off electricity, 25% off gas and up to a $100 energy credit.

Geothermal heat pumps offer a cool change at western Sydney estate

Residents in an 800 home development in western Sydney are saving energy and money by using geothermal heat pumps to provide heating and cooling. This technology is already popular in the northern hemisphere but has been slow to take off in Australia. 

Queensland

$2bn clean-energy investment to power more jobs and industries

The $3.34 billion Queensland Jobs Fund includes the $2 billion Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund, increasing the existing $500 million Queensland Renewable Energy Fund by $1.5 billion.

New study to unlock potential of Bowen Basin

The initial concept phase of the $5 million Bowen Basin pipeline study is under way. It will investigate potential infrastructure to improve delivery of the area's gas to domestic and export markets.

Queensland Government buys Australian for national park solar rollout

Adelaide-based Tindo Solar has supplied the hardware for a Queensland program to replace diesel fuel-based Remote Area Power Systems at five National Park facilities around the state.

Tasmania

Tasmania eliminates EV stamp duty for two years

The Tasmanian Government will eliminate stamp duty on electric vehicles for a period of two years starting from 1 July 2021. Premier Peter Gutwein says Tasmania is ideally suited to benefit from the transition to EVs with low cost renewable energy.

Marinus Link confirmed to drive down power prices

A TasNetworks report confirms that Project Marinus is economically viable and will place downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices. The report highlights the need for change to the current interconnector pricing rules to ensure Tasmanians pay only their fair share.

Victoria

AER approves 2021-22 network tariffs for Victorian electricity customers

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has approved 2021–22 electricity distribution network tariffs proposed by AusNet Services, CitiPower, Jemena, Powercor and United Energy. As a result of the decision, most Victorian customers will pay no more for network charges compared to 2020.

Disaster assistance for prolonged power outages

The Australian and Victorian governments have jointly funded disaster assistance for Victorian households affected by prolonged power outages from the recent severe storms. The payment of $1680 per week for up to three weeks was extended to all eligible households without power as at Thursday 17 June.

Expert panel steering Victoria’s zero-emissions transport future

Victoria has introduced a target of 50% of new light vehicle sales to be zero-emissions by 2030. This is backed by a $100 million support package to make these vehicles accessible to Victorians.

Empowering Victorian communities to reduce emissions

The Victorian Government is establishing 7 new Community Power Hubs and providing grants for community groups to install renewable energy and undertake energy audits.

Western Australia

Microgrid trial powers Onslow with 100% renewables

Onslow has been successfully powered for a total of 80 minutes using its own 100% renewable microgrid. The Australian-first trial was powered by 700 kW of customer-generated solar, 600 kW of utility solar, and supported by battery technology.

Carlisle North celebrates transition to underground power

Carlisle North has become the first of 3 suburbs in the Town of Victoria Park to transition from overhead to underground power. The project, which covers 933 properties, involved the removal of 222 wooden poles and conductors, as well as 12 km of overhead cable.

Business

Energy technologies including lighting solar, buildings and automation

WA ready to lead Australia’s $7.4bn battery industry

An independent report, prepared by Accenture for the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre, predicts the battery industry will contribute $7.4 billion per year to Australia's economy and create 34,700 jobs by 2030.

Big $300m battery to be built without government aid in market first

Victoria will get Australia’s first grid-scale battery built without government support by the end of 2022, marking what its proponent says is a tipping point in the electricity sector as storage prices tumble.

Consumer groups and energy industry take new approach to support

The Australian Energy Council and a range of consumer advocates have collaborated to develop the Best Practice for Energy Retailer Assistance guide. It helps retailers enhance the support they provide to customers who can't pay their energy bills.

Collector wind farm moves to full output in NSW

The 227 MW Collector wind farm has been given the all-clear to run at full capacity. All 54 of its Vestas turbines are now sending power to the grid and to the project’s commercial off-takers, including supermarket giant Aldi.

Gunnedah solar farm begins sending power to the grid

The 110 MW Gunnedah solar farm in NSW has become the latest to join the grid, after securing its registration late last month. It will likely be up to six months before the facility works through various ‘hold points’ and is allowed to reach full production.

Alinta plans big solar farm and 4-hour battery in Port Hedland

Energy utility Alinta has unveiled plans for a 90 MW solar farm and a 4-hour big battery near Port Hedland, WA. The move will set new benchmarks for solar and battery storage in Australia.

SA Water boosts massive solar rollout at Mt Gambier

SA Water has added another ground-mounted solar system to its network of zero-carbon energy supply. This addition is a 176 kW PV array in Mt Gambier.

Smart battery inverters bolster system strength

Queensland transmission operator Powerlink has completed a project exploring network challenges arising as more renewables come online. The project found emerging smart battery inverter technology can help to build system strength.

NAB launches carbon trading pilot with Natwest, CIBC, Itau Unibanco

National Australia Bank has joined forces with a group of international peers to develop a carbon trading platform using distributed ledger technology. The scheme will operate on a private platform using the cryptocurrency ethereum.

HydroREC becomes 12th founding partner in Zero Carbon Certification Scheme

Queensland blockchain developer HydroREC has become a founding partner in the Smart Energy Council's Zero Carbon Certification Scheme. The initiative is an industry-led certificate of origin scheme for renewable hydrogen, renewable ammonia and renewable metals.

Australia’s first zero-carbon kitchen offers a taste of the future

In November last year, Ben Armstrong launched Atiyah, Australia’s first zero-carbon, off-grid street food kitchen that uses no gas. Since then he’s served up over 6250 meals, moved into catering, and offset 10,000 kg of carbon emissions.

How to get the most out of your PV panel purchases

Rigorous due diligence can save solar project developers millions. A proper quality-assurance regime can help protect against underperforming solar PV systems.

Households

Household energy-related images including solar panels, heating and cooling and automation systems

CEFC backs new green home loan

Australian homeowners will have access to $230 million in discounted green home loan finance. This will be funded as part of a $750 million green mortgage-backed securitisation. The homes will be among the most energy efficient in Australia, meeting or exceeding a 7 star rating under NatHERS.

LG NeON H rooftop solar panels heading for Australia

Australians will soon be able to get their hands on the LG NeON H solar panel range designed for residential rooftops. LG has previously said the NeON H is the most efficient panel it has ever created.

Cheaper energy bills top of mind for savvy homebuyers

Whether looking to buy an existing home or build a new one, Australians are increasingly demanding sustainable, energy-efficient properties – with their hip pockets in mind.

Solar homes pay 30% less for power than non-solar homes, even while using more energy

The economic benefits of rooftop solar were up in lights in the ACCC’s latest report on the national grid. Solar households and small businesses are paying around 33% less for their electricity than their non-solar counterparts – and not necessarily due to lower grid power use.

Revised standard to assist in lowering household energy consumption

A recently published standard aims to provide clear guidance to manufacturers and suppliers for the assessment of energy consumption for heated water systems. The revision now includes guidance for evaluation performance assessment methods for larger systems and those using photovoltaic energy sources.

Policy and industry lessons from retrofit experience

Over 7 million Australian homes were built before energy efficiency standards were introduced into the National Construction Code. Many of these homes are draughty and have insufficient insulation, especially in the walls. These ‘permanent tents’ are freezing in winter, baking in summer and cost a small fortune in energy to run.

Reports and analysis

Logos of many goverment NGO energy aencies

Australia

AER releases State of the energy market 2021 report

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released its annual state of the energy market report providing an accessible review of energy market activity in eastern and southern Australia. The report covers wholesale electricity and gas markets, transmission and distribution networks, and retail markets.

Draft Distributed Energy Resources integration expenditure guidance note

The AER has published its draft Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Integration Expenditure guidance note. The uptake of DER, such as rooftop solar PV units and battery storage, continues to increase across the National Electricity Market (NEM). This brings a range of benefits to all customers, but challenges the way that electricity distribution networks operate.

ACCC report confirms significant electricity savings

The ACCC's fifth report of its ongoing inquiry into the NEM has confirmed wholesale electricity costs have continued to fall. The inquiry used a customer dataset with over 13 million electricity bills from 11 retailers to assess usage patterns in 2020.

Australia's carbon market on track for growth year in 2021

The Australian Government’s emissions reduction schemes are on track to drive down Australia’s emissions by as much as 57 million tonnes in 2021, according to the Clean Energy Regulator’s latest Quarterly Carbon Market Report.

Battery costs falling fast, wind and solar still cheapest new electricity

Modelling undertaken by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and CSIRO has found the cost of batteries is falling faster than any other generation or storage technology, with solar and wind continuing to be the cheapest form of new energy generation.

EV registrations in Australia almost doubled for 2nd year running

Registrations of electric vehicles surged again in 2021, almost doubling to 23 thousand registrations. This is the second consecutive year where the number of electric vehicles has almost doubled.

Positive outlook for WA’s evolving power system

Accelerating investment in new renewable generation and DER in WA is driving a paradigm shift in the power system. One in three homes now have rooftop solar installed, and AEMO projects rooftop and large-scale commercial solar systems will reach around 40% of total generation capacity by 2030-31.

Renewables drive regional power prices down again

Regional Queenslanders will save even more on their electricity accounts from July with renewables driving the biggest drop in power prices in more than 16 years. The Queensland Competition Authority has confirmed the savings in its Regulated retail electricity prices for 2021-22 report.

Australia and Germany open door for major energy efficiency collaboration

The complementary energy efficiency approaches of Australia and Germany have created an ideal climate for collaboration, with methods outlined in a jointly-produced report. The research found lessons can be applied from the countries’ contrasting approaches in the residential and commercial sectors.

International

New IEA report: Gas demand set to slow

A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) reveals that demand for global gas is set to slow, but that governments need to adopt more ambitious policies to achieve net zero emissions.

Hydropower Special Market Report

The first ever IEA market report dedicated to hydropower is available. The report highlights the economic and policy environment for hydropower development, including the challenges and recommended solutions to accelerating growth and maintaining existing infrastructure.

Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2020

A new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that 2010 to 2020 saw renewable power generation becoming the default economic choice for new capacity. Costs for electricity from utility-scale solar PV fell 85% in that timeframe.

Global offshore wind farm pipeline balloons by 200GW since 2020

More than 200 GW worth of new offshore wind projects have been announced around the world since 2020. However, regulatory hurdles and supply chain constraints will hinder completion of the entire pipeline by 2030.

Industrial Energy-Efficiency Services Market 2021 by Global Key Players

This report provides a bird’s eye view of the current proceedings in the Industrial Energy-Efficiency Services market. The report also takes into account the impacts of COVID-19 and offers a clear assessment of projected market fluctuations during the forecast period.

Innovation and research

Innovations-related images including labs, microscopes and renewable technologies

Australia

Supporting a low emissions future in alumina refining

The Australian Government is funding a study into the feasibility of using renewable hydrogen instead of natural gas to process alumina. The government will provide up to $579,786 through ARENA to support a trial undertaken by Rio Tinto.

Deakin Uni to create world-leading clean energy products

The Victorian Government has a $34.9 million plan to create a world-first battery facility and a regional hydrogen hub at Deakin University’s Burwood campus. The hub features a testing lab and pilot production line to research and manufacture advanced batteries.

Clean, green way to make ammonia fertilisers

A team of Australian scientists has developed an efficient way to make the critical agricultural product, ammonia. The research could be used to make fertilisers using renewable energy by the end of the decade.

ANU at core of steeling industry for a cleaner future

The Australian National University is at the forefront of the industrial sector's transition to producing steel and other heavy metals via zero net carbon emissions hydrogen technology. 

Solar inverter solution points the way to fossil-free grid

A significant development indicates inverter-based technologies can deliver the same key grid services that have been supplied by synchronous generators, such as coal and gas.

International

Battery recycling plant starts 'shredding' in Germany, using Australian technology

Battery minerals company Neometals has begun commissioning a lithium-ion battery recycling demonstration plant in Hilchenbach, as part of a 50:50 joint venture with German plant manufacturer, SMS group.

New research shines light on perovskite solar cell performance

New research published in Nature Energy has revealed defects in a popular perovskite light absorber that impede solar cell performance. The discovery could lead to improved solar cell technology.

3D Printing holds new opportunities for the power sector

3D printing will increasingly be used to produce the complex metal-organic frameworks that allow for the storage of hydrogen and to print water electrodes for water splitting, used in the production of hydrogen.

Microlino electric microcar moves into pre-series development phase

The third prototype of the Microlino electric bubblecar has been completed after being in development for over 5 years. The company will now build the final two prototypes ahead of EU-type approval in August and production starting in September.

International

UK connects its first grid-scale big battery in Oxford

The UK’s first grid-scale battery storage system connected directly to its transmission network. A 50 MW lithium-ion battery is part of the £41 million GBP Energy Superhub Oxford project.

Tesla to open up Superchargers to other EVs

Tesla is considering opening 5 Superchargers to the general public, possibly confirming comments made about Supercharger accessibility by Tesla CEO Elon Musk last December.

US government says EVs cost 40% less to maintain

Electric vehicles cost less to maintain than conventional cars, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. A vehicle with an internal combustion engine and transmission has about 10,000 parts whirling around in order to make it go. An EV has fewer than 10.

US heatwaves are stressing vulnerable grids in a new test for clean energy

A series of extreme weather events are causing havoc for power grids in North America. Extreme heat has resulted in hundreds of heat records being shattered in the Pacific Northwest, Canada and California.

Energy-saving infrastructure could boost jobs in the US by 400,000

A package of proposed energy-saving investments in US buildings, transportation and industry would boost jobs by about 400,000 for several years. The measures would cut carbon emissions by an amount equal to 9 months of all current US emissions.

Rooftop solar ruled a must for new buildings in Berlin

Germany’s capital has passed a law requiring all new buildings to install rooftop solar PV systems. Currently, solar PV only covers around 0.7% of Berlin’s electricity consumption.

Kazakhstan plans massive 45 GW renewable project to power green hydrogen

German renewable energy company Svevind Energy is to partner with the Kazakh Invest National Company to build a mammoth 45 GW renewable energy projected intended to produce green hydrogen.

Statkraft donates £2m to curb energy poverty in Africa

A new alliance formed between European renewable energy developer Statkraft and international development charity SolarAid aims to curb energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.