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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
$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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Victorian Government is establishing 7 new Community Power Hubs and providing grants for community groups to install renewable energy and undertake energy audits.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rigorous due diligence can save solar project developers millions. A proper quality-assurance regime can help protect against underperforming solar PV systems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 is considering opening 5 Superchargers to the general public, possibly confirming comments made about Supercharger accessibility by Tesla CEO Elon Musk last December.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new alliance formed between European renewable energy developer Statkraft and international development charity SolarAid aims to curb energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.