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Giles Parkinson

Modelling from government advisor shows high RET may be cheapest option

December 16, 2016
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Modelling from the federal government’s preferred energy market advisor reveals that a high renewable energy target offers the cheapest avenue for consumers to reach the country’s modest emissions reduction targets for 2030. The latest modelling from Frontier Economics, a long-time critic of the RET, are based on a cost of large-scale solar plants that assumes […]

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NSW & QLD stand against reforms that could help keep prices down for consumers

December 16, 2016
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The Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales are standing in the way of reforms that the Australian Energy Regulator says will help put a lid on network costs and keep prices down for consumers. Queensland, which retains its networks, and New South Wales, which will retain most of its while it leases some, […]

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Rooftop Solar Subsidy to be reduced on 1 January 2017

December 12, 2016
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An Australia-wide, upfront subsidy for rooftop solar systems is set to be reduced within a few weeks when the “deeming period” for solar systems declines from 15 years to 14 years on January 1. The long-standing rebate for the purchase of rooftop solar systems is based on the estimated output of a system over 15 […]

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A Change in market rules will help reduce wholesale energy prices

December 4, 2016
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While the Coalition and the fossil fuel lobby has tried to use blackouts in South Australia as an excuse to go slow on renewables and abolish state-based targets, others are pushing for a rethink about electricity market rules and operations so the grid can embrace 21st technology and practices. A new report has highlighted how […]

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NSW Minister pushing for households to share energy with other households

November 30, 2016
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New South Wales parliamentary secretary Adam Marshall wants to slash the development fees for large-scale renewable energy projects in the state. The Young National Party MLA told the North Coast Energy Forum in Coffs Harbour last week that in the case of one 300MW solar project slated for his electorate, fees are 10 to 20 […]

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Battery storage take-up in Australia to snowball forward

November 23, 2016
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A NSW-based community solar and battery storage bulk buy program has been so successful that the promoters believe the battery storage sector may be in the early stages of mass-market uptake. The campaign, led by Suncrowd, has attracted thousands of people at roadshows in regional towns in New South Wales in the last few months, […]

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Climate conspiracy gets hold of Senate as Coalition attacks coal opponents

November 23, 2016
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Australia’s federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has attacked “latte-sipping” opponents of coal mining in a day at Parliament that also featured vigorous debate questioning climate science in the Senate. Asked during question time by Greens MP Adam Bandt about a US government report that warned of a 1.5m rise in sea levels by 2050 if greenhouse […]

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IEA questions Australia’s commitment to coal

November 22, 2016
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The International Energy Agency has questioned Australia’s commitment to extract thermal coal from huge new reserves in Queensland, in the face of what describes as “increasingly questionable” economics. In its latest World Energy Outlook, the conservative Paris-based organisation said thermal coal demand in China had peaked three years ago and was declining, leaving the fate […]

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The network value of solar isn’t that valuable says Victoria regulator

November 17, 2016
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In the second phase of a report commissioned by the state Labor government, Victoria’s pricing regulator has concluded that the value to the network of rooftop solar is not as much as many might expect – and even then is subject to time and location. The 176-page report released by the Essential Services Commission on […]

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New report exposes myth around Australia’s “cheap energy”

November 15, 2016

Australia’s wholesale electricity prices  have hardly budged in the last few decades, thanks largely to the impact of renewable energy, a new report has shown. The report, the latest of Hugh Saddler’s monthly reports from Pitt & Sherry and The Australia Institute, suggests renewables have acted to help bring down wholesale prices from where they […]

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What a Trump presidency means for the global energy market

November 11, 2016
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What does a Trump presidency mean for the global energy market? The reality is that we simply don’t know. Nevertheless, it doesn’t look good. And on any conventional assessment, it is a disaster on many levels – particularly for the efforts to address climate change and for the clean energy industry in the US. Trump […]

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Oz Minerals to use solar power to run a $1 billion copper mine in South Australia

November 4, 2016
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Australian copper miner Oz Minerals is looking to solar power to help run a $1 billion copper mine it plans to build in South Australia, in what would be the biggest commitment to renewables by a mining company in Australia. Managing director Andrew Cole says the company could use solar power to help run the proposed […]

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Tesla founder plans to lead global push to 100 percent renewable energy

November 2, 2016
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On Friday, in Los Angeles, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the latest elements of his plan to lead a global push to 100 per cent renewable energy: a solar roof shingle and the second generation of his home and utility scale battery storage offerings. While revealed with a lot less fanfare and a […]

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Proposed tariff would keep solar households connected to the grid

October 30, 2016
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Australia’s main network lobby hopes to encourage more than one million households with solar and storage to stay connected to the main networks, rather than quit the grid, with the proposal of a new tariff for stand-alone power systems. A new report commissioned by the Energy Networks Association predicts that by 2050 some 10 per […]

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Half a million solar panels installed every day in 2015: IEA

October 25, 2016
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An average of half a million solar panels a day were installed globally in 2015 and more than four wind turbines every hour, as renewables overtook coal for the first time and became the largest single source of installed capacity in the world. The International Energy Agency – in its medium-term outlook report for renewables – expects […]

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Newcastle NSW – world’s largest coal port – to get 5MW solar farm

October 19, 2016
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The council of the former “coal city” of Newcastle, NSW, is seeking expressions of interest for a 5MW solar farm to be built on a closed landfill site as part. The tender, released on Tuesday, is part of Newcastle Council’s plan to cut its emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 and source 30 per […]

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Solar, wind & battery storage power plant in QLD gets ARENA funding

October 18, 2016
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A project combining solar PV, wind energy and battery storage, and which could be one of the biggest power stations in Queensland, has received financial backing from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The Kennedy Energy Park – being built by Australia’s Windlab and Japan’s Eurus Energy near Hughenden in north Queensland – will receive $18 […]

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Queensland’s three ‘credible’ paths to 50% renewables by 2030

October 12, 2016
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Queensland has three “credible” pathways to achieve its target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, a state government appointed panel has found, and each of them will create jobs, boost the economy, and be “cost neutral” to consumers. In a direct smackdown to the “scare-mongering” of the federal Coalition government, the report says adding […]

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JinkoSolar head predicts new era of growth for Aussie solar

September 30, 2016
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Leading global solar module maker JinkoSolar says the Australian solar market is set for renewed growth in coming years as households add and expand systems to take advantage of battery storage, and the large-scale solar sector takes off. In an interview with RenewEconomy last week, JinkoSolar chairman, Xiande Li, said the company expects the expiry […]

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Could solar towers (with storage) replace Victoria’s ageing coal plants?

September 29, 2016
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Analysts are scrambling to identify the possible impacts of the closure of Australia’s most polluting power station, and the withdrawal of more than 1500MW of coal-fired capacity from the Victorian grid. According to some, however, the impending closure of Hazelwood in Victoria could provide the impetus for the construction of the first large-scale solar tower and […]

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Community groups dismayed as market rules lag behind modernising grid

September 28, 2016
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Consumer groups have cried foul over the latest ruling by the main policy maker in Australia’s energy markets, describing it as yet another roadblock to a transition to a clean affordable grid, and the shift to locally generated solar, battery storage and shared energy. The Australian Energy Markets Commission on Thursday announced it would reject […]

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One reason why solar is more expensive in the USA than Australia: Larger installer profits

September 23, 2016
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According to the data, average margin for a rooftop solar installation in the United States market is 40 per cent. In Australia, some installers are struggling to get into double figures. For Australian consumers, this means some of the cheapest prices for installed rooftop solar in the world – a fact more than 1.5 million homes […]

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Reflow’s ZCell residential battery installations to start next month

September 22, 2016
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The first batch of residential battery storage systems from Australian company Redflow is due to be delivered to customers next month, after a shipment of the ZCell units arrived in Australia on Sunday. The Brisbane-based company has experienced a series of delays, including an unexpected departure delay at the port of Los Angeles, but deliveries […]

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100% renewables cheaper than grid connection for Kangaroo island: ISF

September 19, 2016

South Australia’s Kangaroo Island would likely find it cheaper to go 100 per cent renewable, with its own resources, rather than stay connected to the main grid, according to a detailed study led by the Institute of Sustainable Futures. The study shows that the direct and indirect costs of going it alone with the island’s wind, solar […]

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SolarReserve unviels plans for six ‘solar tower’ plants in SA

September 16, 2016
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US company SolarReserve has unveiled plans to build six large solar tower power plants with molten salt storage in South Australia, but warns that this won’t happen unless it can get a contract and finance for the first project, near Port Augusta. Kevin Smith, the CEO of the Santa Monica-based power company, unveiled the plans […]

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Australia hits 5 gigawatts of installed solar PV

September 14, 2016

Australia has officially passed the 5 gigawatt mark on rooftop solar, according to new Clean Energy Regulator data that shows 1.58 million homes and businesses now have a total of 5.1GW of solar PV on their homes. The figure of 5.1GW equates to 5,100MW (megawatts) or 5,105,116kW kilowatts). The average size of installations in Australia […]

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SA government opens tender to bring new (renewable) competitors into energy market

September 13, 2016

The South Australian government has announced a new energy tender designed to introduce new competition in the market and remove the stranglehold of the existing gas generators, renewing hope that Australia’s first large-scale solar towers with storage can be built in the state. The government will relaunch a tender for 75 per cent of its […]

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Survey reveals Australians’ (sometimes incorrect) beliefs about rooftop solar

September 8, 2016
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A survey has found that nearly one half of Australian households – both those with solar panels and those considering it – expect a pay-back on their investment within 5 years, and about 19 per cent of those with solar expected a payback within 3 years. The survey conducted by Colmar Brunton for the Australian government’s […]

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ARENA board proposes compromise on funding cuts to maintain critical research commitments

September 7, 2016
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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency board is believed to have proposed a compromise on its funding position, in a bid to continue its support of critical research and early stage renewable energy and battery storage development. The Coalition government is seeking to strip $1 billion in funds from ARENA, which was created by Labor in […]

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New electricity market rule a mixed bag for distributed battery storage

September 6, 2016

Australia’s main energy market policy maker has okayed a rule change that could accelerate the use of battery storage for grid stability, as more renewables enter the market. The Australian Energy Market Commission said late last week it would allow “unbundling” of ancillary services for the grid – which provide fast-acting balancing responses following a […]

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Enphase says orders for AC Battery up to 70,000 units as NSW Solar Bonus Scheme closure approaches

September 5, 2016
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Enphase Energy says orders for its first battery storage offering have jumped to more than 70,000 units, led by New South Wales households responding to the end of premium feed-in tariffs for their solar installations. US-based Enphase has chosen Australia as the launch-pad for its first battery storage offering, a 1.2kWh modular lithium-ion unit that […]

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