Welcome to e-extra, a monthly overview of energy news from Australia and around the world.
The 6th print edition of Your Home - Australia’s guide to sustainable homes - is now available in both softcover and hardcover. A team of building experts, scientific editors and graphic designers have collaborated to produce this fully updated edition.
Victorians can now access the $3500 battery Solar Homes rebate when they bundle their new rooftop solar with battery storage. More than 4000 Victorians have already accessed the rebate.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has released its draft report finding customers that remain on ‘standing’ offers are paying too much when they stay with their retailers’ standard offer.
Consumer savings are at the heart of a world-first energy efficiency scheme in NSW. Households and businesses will receive discounts if they buy or install equipment that uses less energy during peak times.
The Australian Government has committed $19.2 million to implement reforms to the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).
The Australian Energy Market Commission has released a directions paper with recommendations for accelerating the rollout of smart meters for households and small businesses.
A report from Rewiring Australia shows that households could vastly reduce their energy bills through electrification, and cut domestic emissions by around one third by 2030.
New research has found Australia could save $40 billion a year (about $5000 per household) by 2030 if all residents moved to electric appliances and vehicles. Switching to electric vehicles, stovetops and heaters will soon be far cheaper than staying with fossil fuels.
Major reforms will be introduced in the National Electricity Market this month, improving market efficiency, competition and consumer benefits. The reforms include 5 minute settlements (5MS), wholesale demand response and 2-day retail switching.
The Australian Government has awarded $30 million to support early works on Australian Industrial Power’s (AIP) Port Kembla gas-fired power station as it progresses to Final Investment Decision.
The Australian Energy Market Operator has developed a new early warning system to give advance notice of too much rooftop solar in the grid and that some installations may need to be shutdown.
The AEMC has announced draft measures for incentive payments to market participants who help control system frequency and keep the power grid stable. This is expected to reduce costs to consumers and help prevent blackouts.
The AEMC has acted to curb the rising risk of wholesale customers receiving inequitable payments during periods of low operational demand. A rule change will stop wholesale customers who have not provided a useful service to the NEM from receiving payments for having net negative demand.
The Australian Energy Regulator has commenced consultation on developing Export Tariff Guidelines to get more small-scale solar into the grid and support the growth of batteries and EVs. It includes the ability for network energy businesses to propose 2-way tariff pricing.
The Australian Government has developed an Emissions Reduction Fund method to credit abatement from new carbon capture and storage projects. For the first time globally, a national government will award large-scale CCS projects with tradeable high-integrity units.
The ACT Government will invest an additional $63 million over 4 years in responding to climate change and environmental protection. The investment will focus on emissions reductions and healthy habitats in bushland, suburbs and waterways.
The ACT will be the first jurisdiction in Australia with an electric fire truck. The ACT Emergency Services Agency has signed an agreement with Rosenbauer to deliver a plug-in hybrid electric fire truck next year.
The Northern Territory Government has released its Darwin-Katherine Electricity System Plan. The plan provides a pathway to generate 50% renewable energy by 2030 in the Darwin-Katherine Electricity System.
CSIRO has partnered with the Northern Territory Government, industry, and engineering companies to develop a business case for a large-scale low emissions Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Hub.
The NSW Government has approved stage one of Energy Connect, a $1.8 billion transmission line that would link NSW and South Australia’s energy networks for the first time.
NSW Government’s Electric Vehicle Charging Masterplan is an online resource for EV-charging providers to explore the potential of the network. It will include data on electricity supply, traffic volumes and projected demand for chargers over the next 10 years.
NSW is set to attract more than $37 billion in investment while slashing emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. The updated projections and objectives are part of the Net Zero: Stage 1 Implementation Update.
The NSW Government has released its Energy From Waste Infrastructure Plan. It outlines how the government will support innovative ways of managing waste, drive investment into the bush and provide certainty for communities.
The Queensland Government and Fortescue Future Industries are partnering to build one of the world’s largest hydrogen-equipment manufacturing facilities. In its initial stage, the $114 million investment will create 120 jobs in construction and 53 in operations.
Renewable hydrogen will be produced on the Darling Downs in less than 2 years with the Queensland Government announcing plans for a demonstration facility near Chinchilla.
The Queensland Government and Rio Tinto have signed a statement of cooperation to seize the opportunities presented by clean energy and make Central Queensland an industrial and renewable energy powerhouse.
The Australian Government plans to 'unlock' the gas resources in the North Bowen and Galilee basins under a new 'strategic' basin plan. The plan includes $20.7 million of investment and will leverage more than $400 million in research funding and critical infrastructure upgrades.
A $23 million boost to Queensland’s renewable energy sector workforce has begun with a sod-turning at the Pinkenba Renewable Energy Training Facility. The state-of-the-art facility will help prepare the workforce for rapidly growing interest in renewable energy and hydrogen.
Construction has commenced in the first Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ). It will connect the Kaban Green Power Hub to the electricity grid and create 250 jobs.
The Australian Government has announced funding for 3 new projects as part of the Townsville City Deal. This includes $12 million for infrastructure at northern Australia's first manufacturing, processing and technology estate powered by locally-generated renewable energy.
South Australia’s transition to 100% net renewables is another step closer with 50 wind turbines at Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park installed. Completion of the turbines at the $500 million hybrid wind and solar project will increase the state’s wind generation capacity by 210 MW.
Renascor Resources Ltd has been granted major project status for its $209 million Siviour project. It will be the first in-country integrated graphite mine and battery anode material operation outside of China.
The Tasmanian Government has welcomed the Australian Government’s additional $150 million for clean hydrogen hubs taking total investment to $464 million. Bell Bay is a prime location for a hydrogen hub as an advanced manufacturing zone with water availability and deep water port access.
The Victorian Government is partnering with the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) on a mentoring program for licensed electrical inspectors (LEI) working in solar. The pilot program will advance technical knowledge and support for LEIs and aim to increase the number of those in the field.
Victorian farmers are saving on their energy costs and reducing their emissions on-farm, thanks to a Victorian Government grant program supporting investments in more energy-efficient technology.
Six regional Victorian councils and Barwon Water are taking steps to transform food, garden and commercial organic waste into renewable energy and agricultural products.
The Victorian Government has awarded a Melbourne-based company the franchise to operate a third of the metropolitan bus network. Kinetic, which operates SkyBus and runs local bus routes across Australia and New Zealand, has been awarded the $2.3 billion contract from 31 January 2022 until June 2031.
The WA Government has joined an industry-focused CRC that supports the decarbonisation of Australia's energy networks through low carbon fuels, including hydrogen and biomethane.
The Agnew Hybrid Renewable project has taken out top honours at the WA Government’s Resources Sector Awards for Excellence in Perth. The partnership project between Gold Fields Australia and EDL provides a blueprint for remote operations and communities to transition to renewables.
A major agreement could see 51 local governments make the switch to source 100% renewable energy. The agreement will be Australia’s largest ever local government collaboration to purchase clean energy.
Thousands of Australians most impacted by COVID-19 will receive help from energy businesses to better manage their energy bills and access support programs. Energy Charter signatories have committed more than $1.5 million over the next 12 months to deliver a range of programs across the country.
Sun Cable has been expanded to 20 GW for the solar component of the Northern Territory proposal, with 36-42 GWh of battery storage. Indonesia has granted a sub-sea survey permit to facilitate the passage of more than 4,000 km of cable – destined for Singapore – through Indonesian waters.
Edify Energy’s project is the first development application to be formally approved by the Townsville City Council for the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct. The precinct will co-locate clean energy generation with industrial and manufacturing facilities across more than 2000 hectares near Townsville.
Fortescue Future Industries and Incitec Pivot have unveiled a proposed 50,000 tonne a year green hydrogen and ammonia facility near Brisbane. It promises to be the first of its scale in Australia.
ACE Power comes to the market with a portfolio of 10 projects and the backing of a global financier. The pipeline includes 9 solar plants and 1 wind farm in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia, worth a combined 1.3 GW.
Spanish energy giant Iberdrola has announced a significant expansion of its Australian renewables portfolio with the purchase of a 190 MW solar project in NSW.
Rio Tinto has approved a new solar farm and battery storage at Weipa in Queensland. The project will triple the local electricity network’s solar generation capacity with construction expected to be completed by late 2022.
Fortescue Metals Group has revealed plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 from the operations of its customers, including steel makers. The company is looking to boost hydrogen and green energy production to cut its carbon footprint.
The Minerals Council of Australia has confirmed the industry’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement.
CBA has this unveiled its Property Sustainability Upgrade Loan to assist businesses in lessening the environmental impact of their commercial properties. Businesses can increase their Commercial Property Investment Loan by up to 20% to complete sustainable upgrades to their properties.
Kilara Capital and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation have invested in the Series B round of Australian digital energy platform company, Wattwatchers. Deploying 50,000 devices in over 20 countries worldwide, Wattwatchers play a key role in enabling smart homes and the use of distributed energy resources.
Innovation and research
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is supporting microgrid pilot projects across regional Australia. The 6-year program aims to improve the reliability of electricity supply and demonstrate solutions to technical, regulatory and commercial barriers to microgrids.
A $5 million investment in battery technology producer 3ME Technology by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will enable miners to replace diesel engines with cutting-edge battery electric systems. This will reduce their emissions and support safer, more efficient mine operations.
ARENA has announced up to $2.17 million in funding to Stanwell Corporation Ltd to complete a feasibility study for a proposed hydrogen export project located in Gladstone.
An Australian company has developed a battery technology that may have applications ranging from smartphones to spacecraft radiation shields. Li-S Energy Ltd has applied boron nitride nanotubes in lithium-sulfur batteries to increase energy density and extend endurance beyond that of conventional lithium-ion batteries.
Tesla and Neoen were given the green light to continue testing the Victorian Big Battery (VBB) after regulators investigated the fire involving 2 Tesla Megapacks. Neoen plans to have the VBB ready by summer.
Flux Federation is developing advanced energy billing software capable of supporting potentially unlimited consumer energy technologies. These range from EVs to rooftop solar, household batteries, smart homes and vehicle-to-grid platforms.
Volvo has been field testing in southern California, and is now reporting that the ECR25 Electric compact excavator and L25 Electric compact wheel loader will go on sale in North America from next year.
ABB has launched an all-in-one EV charger called the Terra 360, which it says is the fastest EV charger on the market. The modular charger can simultaneously charge up to 4 vehicles with dynamic power distribution, meaning less waiting time for drivers.
The US state of Michigan has unveiled a first of its kind wireless charging infrastructure. The Office of Future Mobility and Electrification aims to deploy an electrified roadway system that would make it possible for vehicles to charge while driving.
A newly developed architecture places 2 promising battery innovations within the 1 device to form an all-solid-state unit. It's safe, long-lasting and has the potential to store large amounts of energy.
Engineers at the University of Cincinnati are developing new ways to convert greenhouse gases to fuel to address climate change and get astronauts home from Mars.
Futuristic electric thrusters emitting a cool blue glow will guide the Psyche spacecraft through deep space to a metal-rich asteroid. The efficient and quiet power of electric propulsion will power the craft all the way to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Reports and analysis
The 2021 AES has been released covering all energy used and traded in Australia. The data shows renewables continued to increase as a share of total generation in calendar year 2020. Renewables are now at 24%, up from 21% the previous year.
Consumer spending on electricity network services is at its lowest in 10 years, according to a new report by the Australian Energy Regulator. Consumers also continue to experience fewer network outages.
The ACCC will publish additional and more relevant information about pricing in the east coast gas market. This will help improve the negotiating power of commercial and industrial (C&I) gas users seeking longer-term supply contracts.
AEMO has released a report showing 2 years of industry collaboration has improved the security of Western Australia’s South West Integrated System (SWIS). However, further actions are needed as the power system transformation accelerates.
New analysis by Deloitte Access Economics finds that investing in low-emission and energy efficiency retrofits to low-income homes would generate tens of thousands of jobs and add billions of dollars to our economy.
Researchers from Australia and New Zealand have compared 3 types of electric car: battery EVs, plug-in hybrid EVs, and fuel cell EVs. They found battery EVs (cars that solely run on electricity) are currently the greenest option.
The UK Hydrogen Strategy is aiming to produce 5 GW of low-carbon power from hydrogen by 2030. This is equivalent to the amount of gas used by three million UK households.
British company Xlinks has unveiled plans to build 10.5 GW worth of wind and solar power in Morocco and link it to Great Britain via 3800 km-long HVDC subsea cables.
Italian energy giant Enel has pledged to triple its renewable energy generation to 145 GW by 2030 and fast-track its phase out of coal generation by 2027. Enel, which owns several solar assets in Australia, will also seek to build 20 TWh (terawatt-hour) of battery energy storage and 20 GW of demand response by 2030.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has successfully switched on a pilot Tesla battery system at the mammoth 1 GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
GE Renewable Energy has announced that the prototype of its most powerful wind turbine has started operating in the Netherlands. The company has become the first in the industry to run a turbine at 14 MW.
The International Chamber of Shipping has submitted plans to the UN regulator, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), detailing urgent government measures needed for the industry to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.