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e-extra June 2021

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

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Government

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National

Budget 2021-22 announcements

The 2021–22 Budget builds on initiatives to guarantee reliable and affordable energy. The measures will stimulate jobs and reduce emissions without imposing new costs on households, businesses or the economy.

Locking in Australia's fuel security

The Australian Government's fuel security package in the 2021-22 Budget will help secure Australia’s sovereign fuel stocks, maintain jobs and protect from higher fuel prices. The package will protect 1250 jobs across two refineries in Queensland and Victoria.

$412 million of new investment in carbon capture projects

Six companies have been awarded a share in the Australian Government’s $50 million Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) Development Fund. The combined projects will create close to 470 direct jobs and deliver $412 million of investment.

Australia to co-chair IEA Ministerial Meeting 2022

The Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, has been appointed as a Co-Vice Chair for the International Energy Agency (IEA) Ministerial Meeting 2022. The meeting will be held in Paris in the first quarter of 2022.

Project EnergyConnect to boost supply and lower prices

The Australian Government will invest up to $295 million through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to help finance Project EnergyConnect, a 330 kilovolt transmission line connecting South Australia to NSW.

CEC and AEMO lead grid connections reform

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Clean Energy Council (CEC) have jointly launched the Connections Reform Initiative. This will further improve the connection process for renewable and hybrid projects in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

New AEMC rule to increase transparency of emerging power system security risks

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has announced a new rule to better identify emerging risks to power system security. The aim is to change how the market operator and network service providers assess risks that could lead to cascading outages or major supply disruptions.

Recycling and resource recovery industry to turn trash into treasure

The CEFC has identified an investment pipeline of up to $7.8 billion across Australia’s waste, bioenergy, recycling and resource recovery sectors.  

Daniel Westerman appointed CEO of AEMO

The Board of AEMO has announced the appointment of Mr Daniel Westerman as CEO and Managing Director. An Australian, Mr Westerman joined AEMO on 17 May from National Grid, a London-listed international electricity and gas utility.

Special Adviser on Low Emissions Technology joins Twitter

Dr Alan Finkel, Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Low Emissions Technology, has joined the Twitter community. Dr Finkel was appointed in December 2020 to spearhead the government’s efforts to accelerate the development and commercialisation of low emissions technologies. Follow Dr Finkel on Twitter to get the latest updates on his important work.

ACT

Two years of free registration for zero emissions vehicles

Newly purchased zero-emissions vehicles can now receive two years of free registration in the ACT as the territory targets net zero emissions by 2045.

New project helps Canberrans ‘Make the Move’ to clean transport

The ACT Government is giving businesses the tools to transition to zero-emissions transport. The ‘Make the Move’ project will run a six-week program for workplaces to enable employees to trial zero-emissions travel for work purposes.

Electric buses on track with call for new leased fleet

The ACT Government has released a tender for leasing the territory’s first 34 electric buses. Procurement will be assessed on the ability to deliver buses with enhanced accessibility, lower emissions and charging infrastructure.

ACT Government’s zero emissions vehicle program wins Australasian award

The ACT Government has won the 2021 Fleet Environment Award, awarded by the Australasian Fleet Management Association. The award recognises outstanding achievement running a green fleet.

NSW

New gas power planet for Hunter Valley

The Australian Government is constructing a 660 MW open cycle gas turbine at Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley. The Hunter Power Project will create up to 600 new jobs during peak construction and 1200 indirect jobs across NSW.

Renewable gas certification scheme is launched

NSW has launched Australia's first renewable gas certification scheme that unlocks a voluntary market for customers to buy renewable gases like biomethane. The scheme is at the pilot stage and aims to make renewable gas available to a small number of customers in early 2022.

Registrations of interest open for Australia's largest REZ

The New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) is one step closer to completion with registrations of interest open to energy infrastructure projects. The NSW Government has committed $78.9 million to support its development with up to 8,000 MW of new capacity expected.

Charging ahead with local manufacturing

The first locally manufactured electric buses will roll out in Sydney later this year, as the NSW Government charges ahead with its plan to electrify the bus fleet by 2030.

New bus operator to electrify fleet

The NSW Government has appointed Keolis Downer as operator of a new fleet of electric buses and permanent on-demand services for Sydney’s lower north shore and northern beaches.

Safety is key in new EV training

Specialised training to support the introduction of electric buses in Australia will form the basis of a new partnership between TAFE NSW and Volvo Bus Australia. Short courses are being developed for mechanics to upskill and work safely with industry-leading bus technology.

Queensland

FNQ wind farm to boost Northern Qld REZ

Around 350 jobs and more than $370 million in renewable energy infrastructure as part of the state’s first major investment in the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

Darling Downs to be supercharged in big battery first

Connection of Queensland's largest battery storage system to the transmission network is nearing completion at Wandoan. The $120 million project is the first to connect a large-scale battery directly to the state’s grid and will have capacity to power up to 57,000 homes each year.

Hydro to pump north Queensland jobs

More than 900 construction jobs will be created in north Queensland with the state’s first pumped hydro storage project in almost 40 years reaching financial close.

Electric truck to supercharge storm recovery

Queensland’s storm recovery and network maintenance has been supercharged with Energex taking delivery of the state’s first fully electric bucket truck.

Queensland Parliament charges for electric future

The Queensland Government has taken steps to ensure the People’s House is fit for a low-emissions transport future with three new chargers installed by publicly-owned CS Energy at Parliament House.

South Australia

Renewable hydrogen delivered to 700 homes in Australian first

Renewable hydrogen has been delivered to 700 homes when Australia’s largest electrolyser was switched on at Hydrogen Park. The move will see customers receive a blend of 5% renewable hydrogen and natural gas delivered through the existing gas network.

More than 350,000 solar panels installed under SA Water project

367,769 solar panels have been installed across South Australia as part of SA Water's Zero Cost Energy Future project. The $300 million solar project included installation at 33 water treatment plants and pump stations across the state.

South Australia to build country’s first all-electric hospital

The SA Government has announced that the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide will be the first all-electric hospital in Australia. It will not be connected to the state’s gas infrastructure.

Roseworthy solar project powers up

The SA Government and University of Adelaide have launched the $7 million Roseworthy Solar and Energy Storage project. It’s expected to generate around 42% of the campus’s energy needs.

Victoria

Innovative solar hydro tech to power regional Victoria

The Australian Government is supporting tech company RayGen to construct an innovative ‘solar hydro’ power plant in Mildura. The government is funding $15 million of the $30 million project.

New rules for energy retailers to protect households

The Victorian Government will phase in a ban on door-to-door sales of energy products and introduce penalties of up to $1 million for energy retailers that wrongfully disconnect vulnerable Victorians.

Solar rebates now open for small business

Rebates of up to $3500 are now available for Victorian small businesses to install a rooftop solar system under the state government’s Solar for Business Program.

Battery a 'game changer' for Yackandandah

A tiny country town has just received a 274 kWh battery, with help from government grants. The battery's stored solar energy will be available to about 40 homes around the town for use any time day or night.

Western Australia

Western Australia's biggest wind farm officially opens

The WA Government has officially opened the Yandin Wind Farm, a joint venture between Alinta Energy and RATCH-Australia. At full power, the wind farm can generate over 1 GW of capacity, enough to power 200,000 homes.

Survey shines a light on solar industry experiences

WA’s electrical safety regulator is seeking feedback from customers with solar power systems on their properties. The five-minute survey aims to improve understanding of the community’s experience with the solar industry.

Energy Transformation Taskforce successfully concludes

The WA Government's Energy Transformation Taskforce has delivered the Energy Transformation Strategy to respond to unprecedented changes in WA's energy sector.

Business

Energy technologies including lighting solar, buildings and automation

2021 Energy Management Leadership Awards now open

The Clean Energy Ministerial’s 2021 Energy Management Leadership Awards program is accepting submissions. The global contest aims to raise awareness of ISO 50001-certified energy management systems and encourages entry from any organisation holding a current ISO 50001 certificate from an accredited body.

Lightsource bp to create 600MW solar hub that will be one of biggest on grid

Lightsource bp, the joint venture that carries much of the global oil giant’s rapidly expanding solar footprint, plans to create a 600 MW solar hub in NSW. It would be the biggest in the state and one of the biggest in the country.

Endua launches to build next gen of clean energy storage, powered by hydrogen

New Australian clean energy storage start-up Endua will build hydrogen-powered energy storage, aimed at delivering sustainable, reliable and affordable power at a moment’s notice. The start-up has been backed with a $5 million investment by CSIRO.

Kaban Green Power Hub build kicks off

Neoen has given wind turbine manufacturer and principal contractor Vestas notice to proceed, signalling the start of construction of its $373 million Kaban Green Power Hub in far north Queensland.

EnergyAustralia gives green light to hydrogen/gas power plant at Tallawarra

EnergyAustralia has announced the expansion of its Tallawarra power station in the Illawarra is proceeding, following an agreement with the NSW Government.

Adani Group secures position as largest solar company in the world

The Adani Group has secured its position as the world’s largest solar company, following the announcement that Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) has acquired SB Energy Holdings Ltd. This will see AGEL achieve a total renewable energy capacity of 24.3 GW.

Transgrid launches commercial arm Lumea to reduce emissions and accelerate energy transition

TransGrid has launched its commercial arm under the new name Lumea, to respond to the need to reduce emissions and enable more renewable energy projects to join the NEM.

Powercor proposes faster renewable energy connections

Powercor has unveiled plans to connect renewable energy projects to the grid faster in Victoria, and proposed the connection of as many as 20 big batteries across the state.

Mallacoota powered by Gippsland’s first community battery

AusNet Services has finished installing Gippsland’s first community battery in Mallacoota, making the town an Australian pioneer of grid-connected energy storage system inclusion in its local network.

ANU commits to 'below zero' carbon emissions by 2030

The ANU has committed to removing more CO2 from the atmosphere than it puts in by 2030. The university also has a target to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Bioenergy facility to divert organic waste to clean energy for meat processor

A bioenergy facility is being developed on a DON Smallgoods meat processing site in Castlemaine, in central Victoria. The facility will divert organic waste from landfill, capturing potentially harmful emissions and generating clean energy.

Households

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

New guide launched on integrating home energy

The AEMC has released The New Energy Guide, an online and print resource on energy options for homes and businesses including solar, batteries and other technologies.

Consultation on residential space heaters

The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program is seeking feedback on a product profile on Residential Space Heaters in Australia and New Zealand. The information will assist development of a space heating energy rating labelling scheme and supporting tools.

Concession holders to be given free solar systems

The SA Government's Switch for Solar trial program is giving 1000 eligible households the chance to have a free solar system installed in exchange for their energy concession and Cost of Living Concession (COLC) payments over a period of ten years.

Social housing residents offered free batteries without the need for solar

In a world-first trial, 20 Housing SA residents will be given a free home battery without needing to have a solar system installed. If successful, the trial could be extended to properties that are otherwise unable to host solar.

Construction commences on 100% renewable neighbourhood

Construction on the first 53 terrace homes at Carseldine Village, a net-zero emissions neighbourhood, is underway. All homes will come with solar PV, battery storage systems, heat pump hot water systems, WiFi air conditioning and will be EV-charger ready.

Ecolour paint improves air quality at SA’s first 10-star NatHERS rated house

A sustainably designed and built home in Woodforde, South Australia, features zero VOC paint from Ecolour to improve indoor air quality. The house is designed to achieve very high energy efficiency, thermal comfort, air tightness, and creative heat recovery ventilation, all enhanced by home automation technologies.

At last, Aussie property hunters value energy-efficient homes

Australian property-hunters are increasingly valuing energy efficient homes, with close to 75% of recent buyers saying an energy rating was important to them, according to a report by REA Group.

Reports and analysis

Logos of many goverment NGO energy aencies

Australia's electricity generation statistics published

The latest official estimates of Australia’s electricity generation in 2019-20 and calendar year 2020 have been published.

Australian hydrogen market study

A new CEFC market study shows green hydrogen is approaching cost-competitiveness in several sectors including heavy trucking, buses and remote power. Green hydrogen has the potential to become commercially viable across other transportation sectors as early as 2030. 

Mild summer leads to low wholesale electricity prices

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) reports that less demand driven by mild summer conditions, an increase in low cost renewable generation and more energy production from rooftop solar, led to low wholesale electricity prices in the first quarter of 2021.

Project EDGE builds momentum towards DER marketplace demonstration

AEMO has released its report on Phase 1 of a trial to develop a two-way market for distributed energy resources (DER). Project Energy Demand and Generation Exchange (EDGE) will run an off-market platform for eligible customers in north-east Victoria to integrate DER into the electricity system and markets.

Modelling distributed PV to improve power system security

A new AEMO report summarises key findings on how solar PV systems behave when there is a fault or disturbances and will incorporate this into power system security analysis.

AEMC weighs up views on solar, new energy integration

Analysis of stakeholder feedback is underway to inform the AEMC’s final determination to make room on the grid for more solar and pave the way for new technology like home batteries and EVs.

CSIRO report confirms renewables still cheapest new-build power in Australia

Solar PV and wind continue to be the cheapest sources of new electricity generation capacity in Australia, even when the integration costs of renewables are included, according to the CSIRO.

Australian solar installations through the roof

In 2020, over 362,000 rooftop solar PV installations were issued with small-scale renewable energy scheme certificates (STCs) around Australia, according to Clean Energy Regulator data. This is an increase of 28% over 2019 installations.

New wind and solar registrations double in Victoria

AEMO has reported that investment in wind and solar farms continued at record levels in Victoria in 2020, with 1146 MW of new renewable projects registered for connection into the NEM.

Renewable energy saves money on farm power consumption

Energy consumption on farms has been increasing over the past decade costing the industry an estimated $56 billion a year. Farmers are looking to renewable technologies to reduce costs.

Report examines SA's success in transitioning to renewables

South Australia offers lessons in transitioning to a low emissions grid, according to report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). The state had 13% of grid demand provided by rooftop solar in 2020, the largest proportion of any state.

Australia EV sales quadruple in May, as Porsche drivers go electric

Full battery EV sales grew fourfold in May compared to the same time last year, with models such as Nissan Leaf outselling the previous month.

Canberra tops list of world's most sustainable cities

A study by UK price comparison site Uswitch has named Canberra as the world's most sustainable city. Rankings were based on criteria including energy, transport infrastructure, affordability, air quality, carbon emissions and percentage of green space available.

IEA releases global energy roadmap towards net-zero emissions by 2050

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released the first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net-zero global energy system by 2050. ‘Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector’ examines uncertainties on the path to a renewable economy such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture and behavioural change.

IEA reports global energy investments to recover in 2021 but not enough in clean energy

A new report from the IEA has found global energy investment is set to rebound by nearly 10% in 2021 to $US1.9 trillion, reversing most of last year’s drop caused by COVID-19. However, spending on clean energy needs to rapidly accelerate to meet climate goals.

Environmental concerns around Bitcoin mining

While it may surprise, the Bitcoin network annually consumes energy in the amount of 60% of Australia's total annual energy use. Bill Gates has criticised it as using 'more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind'.

Heat pumps may cause dangerous water pollution, report warns

Heat pumps are widely regarded as a silver bullet to the problem of decarbonising heating systems. A new report from the German government suggests refrigerants in many units may have serious environmental impacts, particularly on water.

Innovation and research

Innovations-related images including labs, microscopes and renewable technologies

CSIRO research highlights Australia's minerals key to its renewable energy powerhouse potential

New research has found Australia's mining and manufacturing sectors can work together to turn critical minerals resources such as lithium and silicon into high purity materials and products for renewable energy.

Australia's first low-carbon alumina production trial

The Australian Government is backing a trial to investigate using renewable energy to process bauxite into alumina. Alcoa Australia will trial mechanical vapour compression (MVR) technology to electrify the production of steam and heat at its Wagerup plant in Western Australia.

Brisbane’s GMG says new aluminium battery can charge 20 to 60 times faster

Brisbane-based Graphene Manufacturing Group says its graphene aluminium-ion batteries can charge as much as 60-times faster than the best lithium-ion batteries. Their batteries are also longer-lasting and much safer, with a lower environmental impact than traditional batteries.

US invests in hydrogen turbine research

The US Department of Energy has announced eight university-led projects will receive nearly $US6.2 million to advance hydrogen as a fuel for turbine-based electricity generation.

International

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IRENA members welcome new framework on Just and Inclusive Energy Transition

Over 50 International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) member countries have gathered for the first meeting of the Collaborative Framework for Just and Inclusive Energy Transitions. Its aim is to address the socioeconomic implications of energy transitions beyond technology choices.

US to open California coast to wind power

The US Government is set to open California's Pacific coast to offshore wind farms, adding to the approval of the nation's biggest wind project to date off Massachusetts.

Vermont to use Tesla Powerwalls and Autobidder software to displace fossil fuels

Green Mountain Power, an electric distribution company in the US state of Vermont, plans to use its network of residential Powerwall batteries and Tesla’s Autobidder software to help keep the state’s grid balanced.

MingYang launches China’s first floating offshore wind tower and turbine

Chinese wind turbine manufacturer MingYang Smart Energy has launched the country’s first floating offshore wind tower and 5.5 MW turbine.

China sees rapid decline in used EV sales

Second-hand EV sales in China are in decline with fast-evolving improvements in driving range and battery energy density making early models obsolete. Falling battery prices, subsidies, and automaker discounts on new models are also contributing to the change.

Lamborghini plans to electrify entire range by 2024

Lamborghini has announced plans to produce only hybrid electric supercars by 2024, becoming the latest sports car producer to shift away from polluting internal combustion engines. The Italian supercar company announced it was investing €1.5 billion in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.