Welcome to e-extra, a monthly overview of energy news from Australia and around the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Victorian Government has awarded grants to jumpstart the roll-out of neighbourhood-scale batteries as the state works to halve emissions by 2030.
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.
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.
Public housing tenants have already saved up to $200 each within 6 months of the WA Government's Smart Energy for Social Housing trial.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched its Investment Plan to support technological innovation to underpin Australia’s shift to net zero emissions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The AEMC is looking at governance arrangements for setting technical standards for distributed energy resources (DER) in the NEM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in NSW will implement designated charging infrastructure across the peninsula for EVs following the endorsement of a new plan.
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.
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.
Five hydrogen vehicles are now in the Queensland Government fleet and will be available to frontline health staff, educators and community workers.
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.
The Tasmanian Government is updating its energy security settings to better reflect the increased availability of renewable energy resources in the state.
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 achieved 100% self-sufficiency in renewable electricity last year, and has reached its net zero emissions target in 6 of the past 7 years.
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.
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.
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.
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 iconic zoos have become the first on mainland Australia to be powered by 100% renewable energy, with funding from the state government.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Monash University researchers, together with national water utility companies, are looking at ways to produce hydrogen energy more sustainably through repurposing wastewater.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’ 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.
Hydrogen fuel cell innovator HyPoint has teamed up with Piasecki Aircraft on a headline project to build the world's first manned hydrogen helicopter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Energy Ministers have released the Energy Security Board’s (ESB) final advice for a post-2025 market design for the National Electricity Market (NEM).
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.
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.
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.
A supply shortfall in Australia’s east coast gas market is likely, especially in the southern states, the ACCC’s latest gas report reveals.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
Mining is moving steadily towards a goal of net zero carbon emissions, with players big and small rethinking their approach to sustainability.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Communication has launched the Connected Climate Initiative, a collaborative effort to reduce emissions among businesses by a gigaton relative to 2018 levels by 2035.