energy.gov.au

energy-theme-default

e-extra May 2020

e-extra banner

COVID-19

Visit australia.gov.au for the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia.

Download the ‘COVIDSafe’ government app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This highly secure app enables public health workers to notify people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 more quickly and effectively.  

You can also download the ‘Coronavirus Australia’ government app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

Energy.gov.au has help for energy consumers and information on what governments and market bodies are doing in the energy sector. This includes links to all state and territory government online information.

Electricity and gas companies to co-operate on relief package

The ACCC has granted authorisation for Australian Energy Council and energy businesses to co-operate in providing financial relief to residential and business customers impacted by COVID-19.

Businesses doing their bit: The energy sector's response to coronavirus

Energy providers like Origin Energy, through expectations set by the AER, are making exceptions to assist customers experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns.

Tips for facility operations in response to COVID-19

Soon after the early signs of the pandemic, the people at Schneider Electric Buildings brainstormed on how commercial buildings managers can make the most of a difficult time.

COVID-19 live blog: Clean energy industry impact, stories, resources

As the COVID-19 situation changes on an almost hourly basis, RenewEconomy and its sister sites One Step Off The Grid and The Driven are keeping readers up to date on the impacts on the renewable energy industry in Australia and around the world.

High-level discussions on importance of clean energy in economic recovery

The IEA and the Danish government hosted a roundtable meeting in which government ministers and business leaders from around the world discussed the importance of making clean energy a central part of the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Global energy demand to plunge as result of the biggest shock since WWII

A new report from the IEA provides an almost real-time view of the COVID-19 pandemic’s extraordinary impact across all major fuels. The report indicates the drop in energy demand this year is set to dwarf the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. This will cause a record annual decline in carbon emissions of almost 8%.

International Energy Agency’s COVID-19 updates

The IEA has a new section analysing the impacts of COVID-19 on global energy markets, energy resilience and climate change.

Pandemic shutdown is accelerating the collapse of coal in the US, analyst says

Since the COVID-19 hit the US, coal mines across the country have begun shutting down, laying off workers and slowing production. Coal demand has fallen by as much as 40% from last year.

COVID-19 sparks relief efforts from the US energy sector

In the US, utilities and private companies are reaching out to help amidst the pandemic through various measures including donating money, providing medial equipment and offering virtual energy assessments.

Government policies and projects

CEFC welcomes launch of $300m Advancing Hydrogen Fund

The Australian Government has established funding to support hydrogen-powered projects. The $300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund will be administered by the CEFC.

Australia establishes first government-owned oil reserves in US deal

The Australian Government has built on an agreement with the US to store its crude oil in the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, forming the first government-owned oil reserves for domestic fuel security.

AEMO outlines plan to operate the power system with high levels of renewables

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released its Renewable Integration Study. This is the first stage of a multi-year plan to maintain system security in the National Electricity Market with a high share of renewable resources.

Default Market Offer continues to protect disengaged energy customers

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released its final determination for the Default Market Offer for 2020-21, which locks in cheaper electricity prices across southeast Queensland, South Australia and NSW.

ARENA funding to address emerging system strength challenges

The Australian Government has announced almost $500,000 in funding for transmission network operator Powerlink Queensland to investigate technical, commercial and regulatory solutions to address system strength challenges.

Scale Up program by EnergyLab will support renewable energy startups

ARENA is providing $480,000 in funding to help the Scale Up program by EnergyLab to provide more support to clean energy entrepreneurs. The funding will help to build on their existing support for companies in the pre-acceleration and acceleration stages.

Australia to join G20 panel on energy security

Australia has been invited to take part in a special G20 group appointed to help ensure a stable and sustainable energy market throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

ARENA told to strengthen processes as decision looms on future

ARENA has been told to improve its evaluation processes after an audit of the agency found it could not conclusively demonstrate it was directing funding to projects that needed the funding.

Energy Made Easy gets easier

The AER has launched its improved Energy Made Easy price comparator website, with new features to help more Australians find a better energy deal.

NSW amends laws to pave the way for rooftop solar and big batteries

The NSW Government has amended legislation to allow for larger-scale solar systems to be installed on homes and commercial buildings without council approval and to facilitate the installation of utility-scale batteries.

Retailers take promising steps as ACT Government considers petrol price cap

The ACT Government will 'assemble all of the available data' to determine whether it needs to take the unprecedented step of capping retail petrol prices in Canberra.

Businesses

Pilbara wind and solar export hub gets environmental green light

Plans for a massive renewable energy generation and export hub based in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have firmed up, after being recommended for approval by the state’s Environmental Protection Authority.

Australia’s largest solar farm set for construction in Queensland

Neoen Australia’s massive 400MW solar farm in Queensland’s Western Downs region willl go ahead after winning the backing of the state government-owned renewable energy generator, CleanCo.

Macquarie University signs 7-year contract with Snowy Hydro

Macquarie University has inked a deal with Snowy Hydro-owned Red Energy to switch to a 100% renewable electricity source for its North Ryde campus.

RayGen edges closer to ‘solar hydro’ success with new strategic partnerships

Australian 'solar hydro' technology hopeful RayGen has announced a raft of new strategic partnerships, as the company works towards developing a huge 100MW/1,000MWh solar plus storage project.

Major shopping centres to go green with roof solar partnership

Five major shopping centres in Australia, including four in Queensland, will soon have solar panels covering their entire roofs in the first phase of a partnership to deliver 15MW of renewable energy.

Geelong oil refinery $100m investment on ice as virus hits fuel demand

Viva Energy, owner of the Geelong oil refinery, is weighing whether to proceed with a $100 million investment in its future as COVID-19 wipes out fuel demand and guts refining profits.

Westpac abandons funding for thermal coal mining

Westpac says it will stop funding mining projects for coal to be used for power generation by 2030, as part of a broader commitment to reach a net-zero emissions business model by 2050.

Solar energy cuts emissions to help tropical marine institute protect oceans

An impressive $2.25 million solar system is set to deliver major savings at the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s headquarters near Townsville.

Keeping an eye on the energy efficiency ball is crucial

What happens to energy efficiency when people desert the CBD to work from home, and then send energy consumption through the roof with their domestic consumption?

6 ways to reduce overheads in the beauty business

If you’re the owner of a beauty or aesthetics business, one of your primary stressors right now is undoubtedly managing cash flow, and dealing with your ongoing overheads alongside massive losses incurred by your closure.

Households

Tesla Powerwall install kicks off NSW home battery scheme

A 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall installed alongside solar at a home in the NSW Hunter region has marked the first of up to 300,000 battery storage systems to be delivered via the state government’s interest-free loan scheme.

AGL sees dawn of the battery age in increased household demand

AGL Energy says it is witnessing more signs of what it has hailed as the ‘dawn of the battery age’ with a significant increase in interest from Australian households in battery storage.

Australians installed 22,661 home battery systems in 2019

Australian households invested in almost two-and-a-half 'Big Batteries' worth of home energy storage in 2019. Householders installed 22,661 systems over the year with a total capacity of 233MWh, taking further control over their energy supply.

The Brisbane home that shows 8.7 NaTHERS needn’t cost the earth

There's nothing particularly radical or expensive about this Brisbane home designed by dion seminara architecture. The high thermal-performance rating is owed to sensible design.

Research and innovation

Deakin Uni work on liquid electrolytes points to bigger, safer battery storage

Australian scientists have made a major advance in battery materials that could provide a pathway to energy storage devices with higher storage potential and increased performance, while also increasing their resistance to fire.

Transparent solar panel breakthrough puts the future of solar in clear view

Transparent solar panels developed by Australian researchers are on track to revolutionise the way PV is integrated into buildings. Recent efficiency improvements mean that two square metres of transparent solar cells can now match the output of a standard rooftop panel.

Scientists set new solar power efficiency record at almost 50%

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US have set a world-record in solar energy conversion efficiency. Their innovative solar cell converts light into electricity with almost 50% efficiency.

Don’t forget about biomass gasification of hydrogen

Electrolytic hydrogen from renewables has received a lot of media coverage recently, but another production method exists that seems left out of the common discourse surrounding hydrogen: biomass gasification.

Mining’s heavy haulers prime candidates for hydrogen conversion

Green hydrogen has been put forward along with EV battery-powered vehicles as a way to decarbonise transport in all its forms, where the sector contributes 22% of emissions. One large subsection of industrial transport has become a clear candidate: mine site vehicles.

The ultimate electric work truck? Bollinger unveils first electric Class 3 platform

Electric utes are coming, with both the Tesla Cybertruck and the Rivian R1T expected in 2021. And they will be joined by another contender looking to make an all-electric, hardworking utility truck a solid option for tradies and workers across a range of industries.

Tethered high altitude drones designed to replace wind turbines

Wind turbine towers have become a familiar sight in many parts of the world, but if Ampyx Power has its way, they could be replaced with futuristic fleets of tethered drones.

Capturing fugitive methane emissions

Three technologies that mitigate methane emissions, either by destroying the gas or capturing it, are gaining the attention of miners seeking to reduce their emissions.

Saving energy and lives: how a solar chimney can boost fire safety

A must-have in green building design, solar chimneys can slash energy costs up to 50%. Now research reveals they could also help save lives in a building fire.

Reports and analysis

Renewables accounted for almost 75% of new capacity globally in 2019

The renewable energy sector added 176GW of generating capacity globally in 2019. New renewable power accounted for 72% of all power expansion last year, according to IRENA.

Report says wind turbine market materials market to double by 2026

According to analysis by Frost and Sullivan, increasing global demand for renewable energy means the wind turbine materials market is likely to almost double, reaching $19.57 billion by 2026 from $10.76 billion in 2019.

Study finds on-site solar is key to cost competitive renewable hydrogen

An ARENA-backed study into the hydrogen market has found that the integration of hydrogen production facilities with on-site solar is key to producing cost-competitive renewable hydrogen.

International

World’s biggest solar farm will also be the cheapest, with stunning low bid

Abu Dhabi Power Corporation has laid claim to the 'world’s lowest tariff' for solar power, with competitive bids for the 2GW Al Dhafra project setting a price of roughly $A0.02/kWh.

Chinese coal miner starts on world's largest solar-powered hydrogen project

Chinese coal miner Baofeng Energy has announced that it has commenced construction of what it believes will be the world’s largest solar-powered hydrogen plant.

Europe's largest solar plant goes online

Europe’s largest photovoltaic plant, the Núñez de Balboa facility in Spain, has discharged its first MWh of clean energy into the Spanish electricity grid.

How Norway convinced drivers to switch to electric cars

Successive Norwegian governments have been offering financial incentives to electric car owners. This has led to more than 40% of new cars sold being electric, the highest share of new EV purchases in the world.