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e-extra September 2021

Welcome to e-extra, a monthly overview of energy news from Australia and around the world.

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Households

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

NatHERS now offering ‘In Home’ energy assessments

A National Scorecard Initiative is being phased into the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). This will facilitate a consistent Australia-wide approach for assessing the energy performance of older homes.

Energy consumers to benefit next from Consumer Data Right

The Australian Government has released exposure draft legislation for households and businesses to easily and securely share their energy data. Proposed changes will expand the Consumer Data Right (CDR) to the energy sector, accelerating an economy-wide rollout.

BETA testing of energy bill clarity

The Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) has partnered with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to apply insights to the design of energy bills.

Transforming the grid with pole-mounted batteries

The Australian Government is supporting a trial of batteries mounted on power poles across Melbourne’s south east. The technology will help manage electricity from rooftop solar and periods of peak demand on the network.

CEFC and Metro shoot for the stars with new greener homes

Melbourne will be host to one of Australia’s most sustainable property developments. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has committed up to $54 million to the Northcote Place project, developed by Metro. The project will see homes paired with renewable energy, energy-efficient appliances and made ‘EV-ready’.

CEFC announces $87m for green homes for disability sector

The CEFC has announced investment in a specialist disability accommodation (SDA) platform. This will accelerate the development of sustainable housing solutions for people living with a disability.  

NSW Government gives green light to more batteries and improved internet coverage

Proposed new planning rules will cut red tape, making it easier for homeowners to install solar batteries and for telcos to improve their mobile and internet coverage. 

Flexible solar exports to ramp up in South Australia

SA Power Networks has been tinkering with approaches to the congestion challenge as part of its goal of doubling the amount of solar power capacity on its network by 2025. One of those tools is new fixed and flexible/dynamic exports.

Bang on target with $303 in electricity savings for SA households

The cost of electricity for the average SA household has fallen by $145 in the last 12 months, for another significant easing in cost-of-living pressures.

Victorians could save on default electricity offer price

Victorian small business and residential customers on a default electricity offer could see their annual bills reduced by at least 5%, under a proposal by the state energy regulator.

Powering the potential of neighbourhood batteries

The Victorian Government has awarded grants to jumpstart the roll-out of neighbourhood-scale batteries as the state works to halve emissions by 2030.

NT locals sign up to install batteries on homes and businesses

More than 40 Northern Territory organisations have applied to install batteries and solar PV systems on homes and businesses under the NT Government’s Home and Business Battery Scheme.

Tasmania’s campaign to ensure safety of solar energy systems

The maintenance of electrical installations in Tasmania, including solar energy systems, must be done by a licensed electrician. A statewide campaign to better inform property owners is currently underway, with more than 40,000 households to receive direct communication over the coming months.

WA public housing solar trial saves tenants hundreds

Public housing tenants have already saved up to $200 each within 6 months of the WA Government's Smart Energy for Social Housing trial.

Can solar panels offset the energy cost of working (and learning) from home?

In many areas, virtual learning and remote work are becoming the norm once again and this comes with a significant increase in residential energy consumption. Researchers say solar energy could prove effective in offsetting the costs of working and learning from home.

Business

Energy technologies including lighting solar, buildings and automation

BHP and Woodside Petroleum merger to create a global oil and gas giant

BHP and Woodside Petroleum have announced a $20 billion merger of their oil and gas businesses to form one of the world's biggest energy companies. Woodside has said the proposed merger would create the largest energy company listed on the ASX, with a global top 10 position in the LNG industry by production.

Fortescue to invest another $1 billion in renewables, green hydrogen

A record profit reported by Fortescue Metals Group will see the company ramp up its spending on new green energy projects. The company is preparing to tackle the substantial emissions footprints of its customers and set a dedicated Scope-3 emissions target.

Huge wind, solar and battery project proposed for central Queensland

The first stage of a massive renewable energy hub combining wind, solar and storage in central Queensland has been unveiled. Renewable energy developers RES and Energy Estate propose to supply heavy industry in the region, including the Boyne aluminium smelter.

3000 MW renewables for Whyalla 'green steel' plans

UK steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has flagged the potential investment of another 3000 MW of renewable energy projects in South Australia. This will support plans to turn his Whyalla Steelworks into an internationally competitive 'green steel' hub.

Sun Cable: World’s biggest solar and battery project gets bigger

The Sun Cable project, backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest, started out as a 10 GW solar project in 2019. Capacity has increased to 14 GW, with between 20 and 30 GWh of battery storage.

Boral targets 100% renewables by 2025, along with batteries and hydrogen

Australian concrete and building material supplier Boral aims to shift its electricity supply to 100% renewables by 2025. The plan is part of a broader commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

CBA supports wind farm to advance QLD towards renewable energy goal

CBA is one of 5 banks providing project finance to support the development of the 180 MW Dulacca Wind Farm, located in the Western Downs region of Queensland.

NAB extends offering of ESG derivatives to Australian business

NAB has launched specialist derivative products tied to environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets. These products will encourage Australian businesses to consider sustainability in their financial risk management.

Australian shopping centre set to become world’s most sustainable

A Melbourne shopping centre that generates more energy than it consumes aims to become a world leader in sustainable retail design. The centre is vying for an internationally recognised certification for its construction and ongoing operation.

$1m investment in regional solar on track

RACV’s $1 million investment in free solar energy systems for regional Victorians is on track. The program is reaching its halfway mark in the 2-year program of installations.

Jemena delivers industry-first Green Finance Framework

Energy infrastructure company, Jemena, has moved to satisfy investor demand for more sustainable options with the release of its Green Finance Framework. Funds raised from green instruments such as bonds, loans and promissory notes will be used to finance projects with a positive environmental impact.

Japanese eco-tourism resort installs ClearVue solar glass for greenhouse

187 of Perth-based ClearVue’s glazing panels will be integrated into the roof of a strawberry greenhouse in Japan. The solar facility is expected to generate around 8573 kWh of renewable energy a year.

Government

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

National

Legislation to unlock investment in offshore energy projects

The Australian Government has introduced legislation to unlock new investment in offshore electricity generation and transmission projects. The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 will establish a framework for the construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of offshore electricity projects.

Investing in Australia’s net zero future

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched its Investment Plan to support technological innovation to underpin Australia’s shift to net zero emissions.

Locking in fair electricity prices

The Australian Government’s Default Market Offer (DMO) price cap continues to deliver fair electricity prices for consumers. The DMO was introduced in 2019 for customers across NSW, South Australia and south-east Queensland who are on standing offer contracts.

2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan outlines energy reform

Infrastructure Australia has released its 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, a 15-year roadmap for energy sector’s transition to an affordable and more sustainable future. The plan sets out detailed recommendations to support a high-tech, low-cost, low-emissions energy system.

Review launched into delivering major long-term energy transmission projects

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) will review how the planning, investment and economic assessment processes for large-scale transmission infrastructure can support a renewable energy future.

New tools to fortify the future power system

The AEMC is calling for feedback on options to better incentivise provision of crucial system security services from the NEM, and lay the groundwork for supporting new technologies.

AEMC seeks views on governance of DER standards

The AEMC is looking at governance arrangements for setting technical standards for distributed energy resources (DER) in the NEM.

AER invites submissions on a standardised model for customer-requested services

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is beginning a program of work to develop standardised models for electricity distribution determinations. This will help progress and shape systems to deliver efficient regulation.

NCC 2022 public comment draft consultation now open

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has released draft National Construction Code provisions on energy efficient residential buildings for public consultation. The release of the public consultation draft is an important step towards more healthy and comfortable homes for Australian families.

Consultation on new Safeguard Crediting Mechanism

The Australian Government is inviting industry to have a say on the design of a new Safeguard Crediting Mechanism. The mechanism will help Australia’s largest energy using businesses adopt technologies to reduce energy costs and emissions while maintaining or increasing competitiveness.

Pilot program to help new member councils cut emissions

The Cities Power Partnership and Ironbark Sustainability have joined forces in a program to enable local governments to make evidence-based decisions when investing in emissions reduction projects.

CEFC named as responsible investment leader

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has been named a Responsible Investment Leader by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) in its landmark annual study.

NSW

Renewable energy investment boom beckons for New England REZ

Australia's largest Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) has been swamped with over 80 registrations of interest, totalling a massive 34 GW, from potential renewable energy projects.

NSW accelerates green gas with new hydrogen platform

The rollout of hydrogen hubs under the NSW Government’s Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program is set to be accelerated with a collaboration platform for potential hydrogen producers and users.

Proposed Port Kembla power station declared critical

A proposed $1.3 billion hydrogen-gas turbine power station in Port Kembla has been declared Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI), given its importance to renewable energy capacity in NSW.

Managing climate risks to assets and services

A new audit report has assessed how effectively the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and NSW Treasury have supported state agencies to manage climate risks to their assets and services. Impacts can include damage to transport, communications and energy infrastructure.

Certainty for community and industry on energy from waste

The NSW Government has released its Energy From Waste Infrastructure Plan. The plan outlines how the government will support innovative ways of managing waste, drive investment in the bush and provide certainty for communities.

Northern Beaches Council to install more electric vehicle charging stations

Northern Beaches Council in NSW will implement designated charging infrastructure across the peninsula for EVs following the endorsement of a new plan.

Queensland

Queensland releases infrastructure strategy

The Queensland Government has released a detailed program of its 4-year $52.2 billion infrastructure spend and a draft vision for the state’s infrastructure needs over the next two decades. Included in the strategy is a $2 billion fund for jobs in renewable energy and hydrogen and a 50% renewable energy target.

Port builds North Queensland’s hydrogen future

North Queensland could be shipping 120,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen to South Korea in the next decade. The Port of Townsville and Ark Energy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding towards this goal.

Queensland Government's first hydrogen cars hit the road

Five hydrogen vehicles are now in the Queensland Government fleet and will be available to frontline health staff, educators and community workers.

QLD-built electric buses to boost jobs from Burleigh to North Lakes

More zero emissions vehicles for Queensland roads has been supercharged with a plan to build 16 new electric buses on the Gold Coast. The $15.6 million deal with Keolis Downer will also create the state’s first 100% electric bus depot.

Tasmania

Renewables lead to update in Tasmania's energy security

The Tasmanian Government is updating its energy security settings to better reflect the increased availability of renewable energy resources in the state.

Taking Tasmania’s Hydrogen industry from potential to reality

The Tasmanian Government has approved up to $12.3 million from the $50 million Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Industry Development Funding Program. This will progress projects to stimulate local hydrogen demand.

Tasmania leading the way in climate action

Tasmania achieved 100% self-sufficiency in renewable electricity last year, and has reached its net zero emissions target in 6 of the past 7 years.

Energising Tassie careers

Round two of the Energising Tasmania Training Fund will help more Tasmanians build a career in the energy sector and support the state government’s clean energy plans. The fund has already seen 244 training places provided through the first round.

Victoria

Solar power boost for volunteer community groups

Volunteer community groups in Victoria will soon be saving thousands of dollars on energy costs by installing solar PV systems at no cost. The $9.2 million Solar on Public Buildings program is being rolled out across the state over the next 2 years with nearly 200 energy audits already conducted on selected sites.

Door-to-door solar sales now banned in Victoria

The Victorian Government’s crackdown on dodgy sales tactics is now in force with a ban on door-to-door sales across all Solar Victoria programs.

A renewable first for first peoples in Victoria

Victoria’s first solar farm wholly owned and operated by an Aboriginal Corporation has received one of 5 grants supporting community-led renewable energy generation across the Gippsland and Latrobe Valley regions.

Victoria's zoos now powered by 100% renewable energy

Victoria’s iconic zoos have become the first on mainland Australia to be powered by 100% renewable energy, with funding from the state government.

Western Australia

$750 million Climate Action Fund to drive WA's low-carbon future

The WA Government is creating a $750 million Climate Action Fund in its 2021-22 budget to develop climate-resilient communities. The fund includes $206 million for renewable energy initiatives including standalone power stations, wind turbine manufacturing and clean energy in schools.

$61.5m boost for WA’s renewable hydrogen industry

The WA Government will invest an additional $61.5 million to supercharge the state's growing renewable hydrogen industry. The industry will create 21st century jobs and move towards a low-carbon future.

WA investing in new and emerging industries for jobs of the future

The WA Government is funding $100 million to support the state's economic diversification and find opportunities in emerging industries. The fund will support sectors including battery manufacturing, green steel and cyber security.

Albany investment to advance new wave of renewable technology

The first commercial Ocean Wave Energy Market Demonstration Site in the southern hemisphere is a step closer. The WA Government has contributed $1.55 million towards a collaborative project to further develop renewable energy technologies in the Great Southern.

Innovation and research

Innovations-related images including labs, microscopes and renewable technologies

Australia

CEFC capital pushes into new frontiers

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has made investment commitments of $1.37 billion across 22 transactions in the 12 months to 30 June 2021. The total transaction value is $5 billion.

Free weather data for commercial building energy modelling

CSIRO has developed up-to-date weather data for use in building energy simulation software. The data models commercial building designs against expected weather conditions to test performance, including the effects of a changing climate.

New connections simulation tool to help streamline renewables

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is contributing $2.23 million to developing a cloud-based connections simulation tool for more efficient evaluation of new grid connections to electricity networks.

Farmers sought for electricity tariff talks

Expressions of interest are sought from Queensland and NSW farmers to participate in a research study aiming to better understand how they consider and choose electricity tariffs for their agricultural operations. The project is a collaboration between the Queensland Farmers’ Federation and the University of Queensland.

BP to take green hydrogen feasibility study in at clean energy hub

BP Australia is undertaking a feasibility study into the production of green hydrogen at its Kwinana site in Western Australia, in partnership with Macquarie Capital and with funding from the WA Government.

Monash launches toolbox to aid rollout of microgrid technology

Researchers at Monash University have applied lessons learned during the development of a solar PV-powered microgrid at its Clayton campus. They will produce an interactive toolbox to support uptake of the technology in commercial, industrial and community settings.

New salts raise the bar for lithium ion battery technology

Lithium ion battery materials currently in use are falling short on safety and performance, holding back the next generation of high-performance batteries. Researchers at Monash University have come up with alternative solutions to this challenge with advanced chemistry.

Waste-water for hydrogen production to develop a more sustainable energy source

Monash University researchers, together with national water utility companies, are looking at ways to produce hydrogen energy more sustainably through repurposing wastewater.

Scientists set new record with bifacial solar cells

Scientists at the Australian National University have produced a ‘true’ bifacial solar cell using laser processing, setting a new world record in the process.  Principal investigator Dr Kean Chern Fong said the bifacial solar cells easily beat the performance of single-sided silicon solar cells.

No more batteries: storing energy in big blocks

Startup Energy Vault is working on a unique energy storage method using big blocks that has seen it raise over $100 million in Series C funding.

Grand Finale of Innovation Games

The National Innovation Games Northern Territory series is powering up for the third and final event. The series brings together experts and leaders from industry and government to uncover and harness opportunities in renewable energy.

Energy giant launches report into Queensland green hydrogen supply chain

Japan's largest oil company has committed to a detailed study on the establishment of a commercial scale, CO2-free hydrogen supply chain between Japan and Queensland.

Convertible ebike is always ready for the rain

A new ebike known as the AllWeatherBike doesn't need any add-ons – its integrated roof can be pulled up in just 3 seconds in the event of rain.

Solar-powered refrigeration trucks will cut pollution from diesel engines

A provider of solar and battery power systems is set to outfit refrigeration trucks with solar paneled roofs that would cut emissions while cooling 1000 trailers full of food.

International

Improved density of new lithium battery promises massive range for EVs

A team in Germany has demonstrated a new lithium-metal battery with a density well beyond the significant 500 watt hours per kg benchmark. It can retain its performance across hundreds of cycles.

Self-powered Trailerduck takes weight off bicycle deliveries

The Trailerduck lets bikes haul much more cargo, by matching its power and steering to that of the bike towing it. A subsequent system may require no bike at all.

Volta Trucks starts real-world testing of its all-electric cargo truck

Volta Trucks’ 16-tonne cargo hauler has commenced real-world testing. A prototype built to production specifications is now undergoing on-road evaluations in the UK, ahead of full-scale production slated for 2022.

World-first hydrogen-electric compound helicopter

Hydrogen fuel cell innovator HyPoint has teamed up with Piasecki Aircraft on a headline project to build the world's first manned hydrogen helicopter.

ZUV electric cargo trike 3D-printed from recycled plastic waste

Looking to repurpose waste from our throw-away society, a social enterprise/industrial design studio has created an electric cargo trike concept with a chassis 3D-printed from supermarket plastic waste.

Will the Ola S1 be the most important motorcycle of the 21st century?

India's Ola Electric is mounting a huge assault on the motorcycle market. Ola's building the world's biggest motorcycle 'Futurefactory', capable of producing 10 million bikes a year.

Offshore solar to feature in hybrid marine energy demonstration plant

An offshore, ‘open ocean’ solar farm co-located with floating wind turbines will be developed off the Belgian coast. The project is part of a major European bid to demonstrate the large-scale, continuous power potential of hybrid offshore marine energy parks.

Ulstein’s X-Bow and hydrogen will be used in new box ship design

Hydrogen has taken a step forward in the container ship sector after Ulstein and Edge Navigation announced they are evaluating hydrogen fuel cells for a box ship concept.

Hydrogen-generated electricity is a good candidate for backing up wind and solar

A team at MITEI (MIT Energy Initiative) has found that hydrogen-generated electricity can be a cost-competitive option for backing up renewables. They report a methodology to estimate the cost of meeting the seasonal nature of variable renewable energy (VRE) resources.

Wild wind turbine generates 5 times more energy than competitors

A Norwegian company is developing a floating, multi-turbine technology that could generate 5 times the annual energy of the world’s largest, single wind turbine. The increased efficiency is due to an innovative design that reinvents the way wind farms look and perform.

New tool uses IoT to turn old buildings into data powerhouses, improves air quality

Iota Communications takes a holistic approach to monitoring the quality of commercial indoor environments. Data sets uncover critical insights that can increase operational efficiency, reduce energy costs and improve health and safety. 

High hopes for lowly pond scum

Pond scum generally isn't looked upon kindly. But the micro-algae that make up these floating green mats of slime could get newfound respect as renewable sources of fuel and other valued products.

Farmscraper -- hydroponic garden in the sky

The 51 floor Farmscraper, proposed for Shenzhen, China, would accommodate office space as well as hydroponic crops. The gardens could feed up to 40,000 people a year.

Reports and analysis

Logos of many goverment NGO energy aencies

Post 2025 energy market design

Energy Ministers have released the Energy Security Board’s (ESB) final advice for a post-2025 market design for the National Electricity Market (NEM).

AEMO: Reliability outlook positive as energy transition accelerates

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has published its annual reliability outlook, the 2021 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) report. The report observes multiple factors accelerating the transition of the NEM, including residential solar installation, coal plant retirements and growing hydrogen development interest.

Wholesale Markets Quarterly – Q2 2021

The new Wholesale Markets Quarterly - Q2 2021 report highlights wholesale electricity and gas market outcomes in Q2 2021 and in the financial year 2020–21.

AER reports on high wholesale electricity prices on 14 July 2021

The AER has published a report into high spot prices exceeding $5000 MWh in the NEM on 14 July 2021. On that day, the spot price in NSW was $5177/MWh for the 9am trading interval. Drivers were, expectedly, reduced supply and high demand.

ACCC Gas inquiry 2021 interim report

A supply shortfall in Australia’s east coast gas market is likely, especially in the southern states, the ACCC’s latest gas report reveals.

Quarterly Carbon Market report – June Quarter 2021

Australia’s carbon markets are on track to meet 2021 expectations estimated in the December 2020 Quarterly Carbon Market report. The Australian carbon credit unit (ACCU) outlook for future supply is positive with a record 47 projects registered under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) in the June 2021 quarter.

CO2 Utilisation Roadmap - research key to unlocking Australia's potential

Developed with government and industry, the CO2 Utilisation Roadmap explores the risks and opportunities associated with the scale-up of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) in Australia.

Australia sets new records for highest renewables share and lowest coal output

Australia’s clean energy transition continues apace with new records set for the highest share of renewable energy generation and the lowest output for coal generators.

Onslow WA has unlimited solar energy, but it's grappling with power supplies

A landmark trial taking place in Onslow WA could hold lessons for energy systems around the world, including the National Electricity Market on the east coast.

Australia's first green hydrogen plant in a remote power system

Hydrogen is tipped to be a game-changer in the rapidly transforming global energy sector. With the right strategy and investment, industry experts believe it could be Australia’s next big energy export.

Electric vehicle charging to be 'multi-billion dollar' industry in Australia

EV charging is poised to become a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia as the country catches up with the EV revolution, says JOLT Charge CEO Doug McNamee.

Making sustainability achievable and profitable in mining

Mining is moving steadily towards a goal of net zero carbon emissions, with players big and small rethinking their approach to sustainability.

Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying according to latest IPCC Report

Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report.

10 things you didn’t know about hydrogen fuel cells

As of 1 August 2021, there were 11,016 fuel cell vehicles in America. The fuel cell economy is just getting started, and it is still dependent on government and carmaker support to survive.

International

International-related images including flags, electric buses and French buildings

World's biggest wind turbine shows the disproportionate power of scale

China's MingYang Smart Energy has announced an offshore wind turbine even bigger than GE's monstrous Haliade-X. The MySE 16.0-242 is a 16 MW, 242-metre behemoth capable of powering 20,000 homes per unit over a 25-year service life.

World’s most powerful tidal turbine starts to export power to the grid

A tidal turbine weighing 680 tonnes and dubbed 'the world’s most powerful' has started grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, an archipelago located north of mainland Scotland.

World’s largest floating wind farm completed in Scotland

Now operational, the Kincardine Offshore Wind farm is expected to generate up to 218 GWh worth of electricity each year – enough to power the equivalent of approximately 55,000 Scottish households.

World’s biggest battery storage installation could quadruple in size

The US company behind what is now the biggest battery storage system in the world says the facility could grow by nearly 4 times the size as the market for storage expands along with the increase in renewables in the California grid.

How 2 European Coca-Cola manufacturing sites reached carbon neutral status

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) announced that 2 of its manufacturing sites have been certified as carbon neutral. Both sites already use 100% renewable electricity and have also made a number of changes to reduce their emissions.

Google invests in LevelTen Energy to drive clean energy future

As part of Google’s efforts to drive a transition to clean energy, the technology giant is investing in LevelTen Energy. LevelTen has raised $35 million in Series C funding.

AT&T to reduce a gigaton of CO2 emissions through Connected Climate Initiative

AT&T Communication has launched the Connected Climate Initiative, a collaborative effort to reduce emissions among businesses by a gigaton relative to 2018 levels by 2035.