e-extra March 2021

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



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


Accelerating carbon capture technologies

Carbon capture projects will get a boost through the Australian Government’s $50 million Carbon Capture, Use and Storage Development Fund.

Future Fuels Fund opening

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will administer $16.5 million in grants to support EV fast-charging stations across capital cities and regional centres.

Energy investment a key theme of 2021 Infrastructure Priority List

Infrastructure Australia has added a record number of new investment opportunities to the Infrastructure Priority List in the wake of COVID-19. High priority has been given to investment in new sources of energy, renewable energy zones and infrastructure for hydrogen export.

Electricity distributors take charge in EV trial

ARENA has announced funding to trial smart EV-charging in people’s homes. The project will allow electric network operators to remotely control charging in order to minimise loads on the grid.

Relectrify - repurposed EV batteries to reduce tech costs

ARENA has announced $1.49 million in funding to Melbourne-based start-up Relectrify to install 20 commercial-scale repurposed batteries from EVs at commercial and industrial sites across the country.


New service to help ACT businesses switch to zero-emission vehicles

The ACT Government will establish a new service to provide advice to Canberra businesses and community organisations in moving their transport fleets to zero-emissions vehicles.

Second-hand EVs and charging infrastructure added to ACT sustainability scheme

The ACT Government's Sustainable Household Scheme will expand to support Canberrans purchasing second-hand EVs and home EV-charging infrastructure.

Six battery providers powering Next Gen program

Six eligible battery installers are now part of the ACT Government’s Next Generation Energy Storage (Next Gen) program, providing more options for consumers.


NSW to invest $750m in green technology up to 2030

NSW will spend $750 million over 9 years as it aims to cut carbon emissions by over a third. The Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program will research green energy technologies, set up low carbon industries and refit existing ones.

NSW appoints Renewable Energy Sector Board

The NSW Government will draw upon the expertise of the state’s energy experts, establishing a board of sector representatives to advise on job creation and manufacturing opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

56 NSW buildings receive funding for free NABERS Energy and Carbon Neutral ratings

In November 2020, NABERS launched a pilot project in NSW offering free Energy and Carbon Neutral ratings. The pilot has seen considerable uptake and committed funding to 56 buildings across all eligible building sectors.

Green light for more solar in strata

The NSW Government's changes to the Strata Schemes Management Act made it easier to install renewable energy into strata buildings. The government will now consult with key stakeholders on any other barriers to the uptake of sustainability infrastructure in apartment complexes.

Simble smart monitoring for 10 on-farm energy productivity pilots

The Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity has contracted Simble Solutions to deploy its monitoring products and services to 10 agricultural sites as part of a project funded by the NSW Government.

Northern Beaches Council makes the green electricity switch

Northern Beaches Council has made the switch to 100% renewables, cutting an estimated $1.9 million from its bills over the next 7 years and shaving 9 years off its commitment to swap to green alternatives.

Northern Territory

First step of renewable hydrogen trial in Tennant Creek

A major step in the development of an off-grid renewable hydrogen project trial is set to begin in Tennant Creek. The joint project is trialing technology that captures water from the atmosphere in arid environments to develop renewable hydrogen.


Ministerial Energy Council to guide Queensland’s renewable energy take-off

The Queensland Government has announced the establishment of a Ministerial Energy Council to bring together industry, consumers and unions as the state ramps up its bid to achieve 50% renewables by 2030.

South Australia

New SA solar pilot offers big savings to concession holders

The SA Government's Switch to Solar pilot program will give 1000 eligible South Australians a free solar system in lieu of receiving annual Energy and Cost of Living concession payments.


Boosting the security of Victoria's energy grid

The Australian Government is supporting the integration of more renewable energy into Victoria’s energy grid with a $160 million investment towards construction of Neoen’s Victorian Big Battery.

Big incentives for solar remain despite tariff reduction, says energy regulator

Victoria’s energy regulator, the Essential Services Commission, says the environmental and cost benefits of rooftop solar panels remain strong incentives for renewable energy, despite a reduction in the feed-in-tariff rate.

Gippsland town volunteers for micro-grid trial to reduce dependence on main grid

The small town of Heyfield, Victoria, will be the guinea pig for a micro-grid technology trial that will reduce dependence on the main grid with increased reliance on local renewable energy. The trial will be funded with $1.8 million from the Australian Government’s Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund.

Reports and analysis

Logos of many goverment NGO energy aencies

Generator connection records broken in the NEM

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has announced generator connection records were broken in the National Electricity Market (NEM) last year. More than 40 projects totaling nearly 4900MW completed registration or began exporting to the grid during 2020.

Plotting next steps in distributed energy transformation

The ARENA-commissioned State of DER Technology Integration report has provided a snapshot of progress integrating distributed energy resources (DER) into the electricity network. The report shows improvements are needed in the way consumer-owned assets connect with each other and the grid.

Consumers’ solar and batteries help stabilise grid during minimum demand record in SA

AEMO’s latest Virtual Power Plant (VPP) Knowledge Sharing Report shows that VPPs can play a role in providing network-stability services and reducing the threat from minimum demand to power system security.

Wholesale electricity and gas prices fell in Q4 2020

Wholesale electricity and gas prices in 2020 dropped to their lowest levels since 2015, according to the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) latest Wholesale Markets Quarterly Report. The report also reveals a record amount of wind and large scale solar generation with more than 3700MW of renewable capacity entering the market.

Release of ACCC Gas Inquiry report

Gas prices offered by producers and retailers in the domestic market fell significantly over the first half of 2020 according to the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Gas Inquiry report.

Report on insulation installations to support industry-led roadmap

The Energy Efficiency Council and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council have developed a research report to support an industry-led roadmap for quality control and safety in the insulation of Australian buildings.

Network Innovation Report 2021 released

Energy Networks Australia has released a report highlighting the significant research and development undertaken by networks across Australia.

Victoria seeks solace in solar

Victoria is rebuilding its economy with a major focus on solar in 2021. Two thousand landlords have taken up the option to put solar on their investment properties, choosing to pay for them in full despite provision to split costs with tenants.

UITP Australia New Zealand publishes report on zero emissions buses

A new report captures the key findings and recommendations from the UITP Australia New Zealand Zero Emissions Bus (ZEB) Forum, including plans of public transport authorities to transition their bus fleets to zero emissions.

Australia’s eBike fever set to continue in 2021

The COVID pandemic led to an Australian boom in cycling last year. While demand for all types of bikes was up 110% since 2018, eBike sales have jumped nationally by over 130%.

Aussies retailers leading the charge on renewable energy

The REenergise 2020 Corporate Renewable Snapshot found that retailers had almost double the clean energy commitments of any other industry with 1146MW of wind and solar – enough to power 533,021 homes.

IEA report shows effects of COVID-19 on global emissions

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released data showing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global carbon emissions. The 5.8% drop in energy-related emissions is the largest annual percentage decline since World War II, however the number masks wide regional variations.

Green hydrogen transition will be 'shockingly fast' report says

The green hydrogen transition has been widely viewed as an important but slow process to take place over many decades. However a new report from energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie says the change is coming and it’s going to happen fast.


Energy technologies including lighting solar, buildings and automation

Comm Bank announces Green Loan

Commonwealth Bank has announced a Green Loan that will make it easier for home loan customers to purchase and install renewable technology. The scheme offers a low fixed rate loan for eligible customers to fund up to $20,000 in renewables repaid over 10 years.

Gransolar plans 300MW of big battery projects across SA, Victoria and NSW

Spanish renewable energy giant Gransolar is developing 13 large-scale batteries across South Australia, Victoria and NSW with a collective capacity of 300MW and 1 to 2 hours of storage each. The first are expected to be completed at the end of 2021, with the rest coming online in the first half of 2022.

APA set to unlock Australia's first hydrogen-ready transmission pipeline

APA Group has announced a landmark hydrogen pilot project to enable the proposed conversion of 43km of Parmelia Gas Pipeline in WA into Australia’s first 100% hydrogen-ready transmission pipeline.

Visy injects $2bn into Australian green manufacturing

Visy executive chairman, Anthony Pratt, has pledged an additional $2 billion investment into Australian manufacturing over the next 10 years.

Coca-Cola Amatil commits to 100% renewables by 2025

Australian beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola Amatil has become the latest Australian corporate to make a commitment to sourcing all of its energy from renewables, announcing a switch to 100% renewables by 2025 and zero net emissions by 2040.

Worksafe Victoria building gets 5.5 Stars

NABERS has awarded WorkSafe’s Victoria headquarters with a 5.5 Star Base Building Energy Rating, recognising it as Geelong’s healthiest office building. The $150 million commercial office is also the second building in the world to achieve a Platinum Core & Shell WELL Building Standard rating.

Australia’s first solar panel recycling facility to be established in Adelaide

Australia’s first dedicated solar panel recycling company will develop its first processing facility in the industrial Adelaide suburb of Lonsdale. The plan is to recycle tens of thousands of panels a year.

Entrepreneurs use old laptop batteries to help meet energy needs of poverty-stricken families

A Queensland social enterprise is turning electronic trash into a global treasure, repurposing old laptop batteries to create a solar-powered solution for poverty-stricken families across the world.

Buildings need EV chargers

Property owners are starting to wake up to the demand for EV-charging stations and it’s partly in response to tenant expectations. But while developers and building owners now recognise the value of installing EV-charging infrastructure into their buildings, they often don’t know where to start.

Turning your industrial footprint green

Sustainable products and ethical supply chains have often been an afterthought for consumers and major companies. With a greater focus on environmental and socially ethical practices, what does this mean for the world of industrial property?


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

New standards will help power system handle more home solar

Compulsory new standards are on the way for household energy technologies that connect to the power system. The standards will ensure household energy systems won’t ‘trip’ or disconnect when there are voltage disturbances on the network.

Empowering Australian consumers with information on energy efficiency

Standards Australia has published a revised series of standards to help consumers select energy-efficient dishwashers, clothes washing machines and dryers.

Rooftop solar installs head for more than 3.5GW in 2021 after record start to year

After a slow down in January, Australia’s rooftop solar market is back in business, charting its second-best month ever for February with installations 27% ahead of the same time last year.

Grant awarded to accelerate UPowr’s solar and battery platform for scale

Sydney clean-tech company UPowr has welcomed new funding that will accelerate the development of a digital residential solar and battery installation platform. The platform generates personalised quotes for homeowners, providing insights at installation as well as ongoing system performance.

A win for life-support customers looking to find a better energy deal

Customers on life-support equipment will soon find it easier and cheaper to shop around for better energy deals. This is thanks to rule changes that will allow the re-use of certain medical documents when switching energy suppliers.

Adelaide's first 10-star energy efficient home

SUHO Studio have achieved the maximum rating of 10 through thermal comfort, materials, insulation, minimum energy consumption, building orientation, glazing and shading devices built for the Australian climate.

How to be a bills 'loyalty tax' avoider

The ‘loyalty tax’ is the extra amount of money you have to pay for your household bills if you don’t switch or upgrade your plans or policies on a regular basis. On electricity bills, the latest evidence puts the extra cost at almost $200 a year for an average household.

The blueprint for an ‘impossible’ sustainable affordable off-grid house

Newtown resident Laura Ryan jokes that her inner city house renovation/rebuild has been labelled ‘impossible’ by architects and other experts alike. But the project is now due for completion this year.

Climate-conscious Katherine Scott is selling her dream family home for one that is energy efficient

When Katherine Scott and her husband moved to a new housing estate in regional Victoria, climate change was far from their minds. Several years and 3 children later, they have sold up for something more sustainable and energy efficient.

Innovation and research

Innovations-related images including labs, microscopes and renewable technologies

Living bricks can generate energy in the home and wean humanity off fossil fuels

A European research consortium has created a prototype that could revolutionise housing and replace fossil fuels. The base of the prototype is a wall of ‘living bricks’ containing microbes that use liquid waste to generate energy.

Radiative cooling and solar heating - no electricity needed

Radiative heating and cooling uses a system of 2 mirrors and a thermally insulated box. The mirrors absorb incoming sunlight, turning solar power from visible and near-infrared waves into heat. With no need for electricity or fuel.

Powerpaste: Gray goop provides storage for clean hydrogen energy

Researchers in Germany have devised Powerpaste packs for the storage of clean hydrogen energy at a density 10 times greater than that of a lithium battery. Vehicles using a powertrains of this paste will have a range comparable to or even greater than gasoline.

Karma Automotive seeks to make self-fuelling hydrogen-powered cars

Karma Automotive, a luxury EV company, is working on the early stages of a powertrain for hydrogen-powered cars that would produce their own fuel. They will test these vehicles in both the US and Denmark.

Salt battery helps EVs go the distance

Using salt as a key ingredient, Chinese and British researchers have designed a new type of rechargeable battery that could accelerate the shift to greener electric transport.

Zero emissions refrigerated road freight trailers roll out

In the US, hybridisation and electrification are accelerating not only in passenger cars and trucks, but also refrigerated trailers, traditionally powered by diesel engines. Companies have begun to transition fleet equipment to green alternatives.

KLM flight first powered by synthetic fuel

A KLM airlines flight powered with synthetic fuel has carried passengers from Amsterdam to Madrid in a world first.

The hype, high hopes and sobering reality of the future of car travel

There's been lots of hype about car travel and the promise of greener and cheaper ways to get around. What stage are these concepts at and what challenges hold them back?

Wave energy meets green hydrogen

AW-Energy Oy intends to combine its WaveRoller wave energy technology with HydrogenHub to create a green hydrogen production process for the commercial market.


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Iberdrola to spend €150bn trebling its growing wind and solar empire

Iberdrola, the Spanish renewable energy colossus that now owns Australian wind farm operator Infigen, will spend €150 billion growing its renewables capacity almost threefold to 95GW by 2030.

Shell bets on rapid hydrogen growth, biofuels and power trading

Energy giant Shell is expanding its shift away from oil instead of following the direction of its competition. Biofuel and hydrogen growth have both taken their place in the spotlight as Shell sees their potential in the immediate future.

Ford commits heavily to EV development

The US auto giant plans a $22 billion investment in EVs through 2025. This amount nearly doubles the company's previously announced commitment.

Volvo to sell only pure electric cars by 2030

Volvo has joined a growing number of global car manufacturers to embrace the transition to EVs, announcing that it will sell only fully electric cars by 2030.

Amazon’s headquarters to Be LEED Platinum rated and run on renewable energy

Amazon's headquarters will include an all-electric central heating and cooling system that will run on 100% renewable energy from a solar farm. The headquarters — dubbed the Helix for its DNA-like shape — will include two walkable paths of landscaped terrain that will spiral up the outside of the building.

Austal Philippines delivers the largest high-speed ferry ever constructed in any Austal shipyard

Austal Philippines has successfully delivered a 109m high-speed catamaran ferry capable of transporting 1,200 passengers at up to 40 knots. The ferry is the largest to be constructed at any of Austal’s shipyards worldwide.

Transit centre recycles heat for big savings

An energy audit revealed an opportunity to capture exhaust heat from the Vancouver Transit Centre's air exchange system. This heat could be used to support the building’s space heating requirements, thereby reducing natural gas consumption.

How Kenya is harnessing the immense heat from the Earth

In the volcanic region of East Africa's Great Rift Valley, tectonic shifts are tearing the continent apart – and releasing unimaginable quantities of clean energy.