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Giles Parkinson

Finkel modelling ignores new technologies, cheaper renewables

June 14, 2017
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The Australian public – and the Coalition party room – are being told that the cheapest and most effective way to address emissions is to allow coal-fired power stations to remain in the system beyond their 50-year asset life. According to the Finkel Review’s recommended policy mechanism, the Clean Energy Target, allows for coal-fired generation […]

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Incredible new lows in cost of battery storage and large scale solar

May 23, 2017
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Arizona has set a new low price for large-scale solar power in the US, but more importantly has also smashed expectations of the combined cost of large-scale solar and battery storage. Arizona utility Tucson Electric Power (TEP) this week announced it would buy solar energy from a new 100MW solar plant at the historically low price […]

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Subsidies are not the answer to battery storage market

May 23, 2017
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The Clean Energy Council has called for urgent energy urgent market reform – and not subsidies – to unlock Australia’s energy storage market, in a new report that joins the growing chorus for Australia’s policy makers to finally respond to the challenges and opportunities of new technologies. Related PostsAustralian renewables head for a “boom-time” 2017 […]

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Solar saved NSW consumers almost $1 billion in latest heatwave

May 19, 2017
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Rooftop solar on homes and businesses across New South Wales likely reduced the market price of wholesale electricity by nearly $1 billion during a February heatwave, a new analysis has found. The analysis by Marija Petkovic, of consulting firm Energy Synapse, says that without rooftop solar the total cost of market prices would have been […]

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Solar is so cheap it now cools the air outside too

May 17, 2017
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Rooftop solar power is becoming so cheap, and will become so abundant, that we will reach the situation where the kilowatt-hours of use (i.e. the production) are effectively free, the head of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has said. Related PostsDeutsche Bank predicts continued growth for global solar market (24 Apr, 2017) “Mobile solar” plants […]

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RET very much in reach with record $7.5bn renewables spend

May 9, 2017
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Australia is experiencing its biggest ever investment spree in large-scale renewable energy, according to two new sets of data, putting the 2020 renewable energy target well within reach. The Clean Energy Council confirmed on Wednesday that new figures put the value of large scale wind and solar projects, and one solitary biomass plant, beginning construction […]

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Dropping solar and wind costs means renewable exports could replace gas and coal

April 26, 2017
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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency set to announce that hydrogen projects will become one of its new investment priorities in the coming year, just as the country is being urged to maintain its status as a major energy exporter. The government is being told that “green fuel” exports – powered by wind and solar – […]

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Coalition governments holding back renewable energy

April 18, 2017
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New South Wales might be Australia’s only mainland state or territory with a Coalition government and energy minister, but that hasn’t stopped it from having high renewables and emissions reduction ambitions of its own. Its Climate Change Fund Strategic Plan – unveiled as part of the NSW 2050 zero emissions target last October – openly […]

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Victoria beats South Australia tender with 100+ proposals

April 7, 2017

Victoria’s battery storage tender has attracted some 110 proposals, outstripping even the extraordinary response to the rival tender in South Australia. Officials confirmed the tender numbers last week, with more than two-thirds of the proposals being considered “credible”. The call for expressions of interest was for a 20MW/80MWh battery storage array to be built in western […]

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Victoria’s Hazelwood shuts down for good

April 1, 2017
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Victoria’s Hazelwood brown coal power station shut down the last of its 8 units at 4pm on Wednesday, the latest and the most powerful symbol of the vast and rapid change in our energy system. Just one day after Hazelwood closed, a new $1 billion solar PV and battery storage plant was being unveiled for […]

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Victoria’s pricing regulator sees network value in rooftop solar

March 26, 2017

Victoria’s pricing regulator has recognised there is network value in rooftop solar, but says it is difficult to measure it without the development of a grid services market. Since being commissioned by the Victorian government to investigate a “fair value” of rooftop solar, the state’s Essential Services Commission has recognised benefits for climate change and […]

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SA Government looks for one hour of battery storage to be built

March 25, 2017
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The South Australian government is looking for only one hour of battery storage to be built from its up-coming tender, a stipulation that potentially rules out some technologies from applying. According to the expressions of interest documents, the tender calls for 100MW/100MWh of battery storage, effectively meaning 100MW of capacity with one hour storage – […]

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Malcolm Turnbull announces $2 billion on 2GW pumped hydro scheme

March 16, 2017
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Malcolm Turnbull has announced federal government plans to spend $2 billion on a 2GW pumped hydro scheme in New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains, in what could be the most significant intervention in Australia’s energy markets in half a century. The proposal – which is subject to a feasibility study and funding agreements from Snowy Hydro’s […]

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SA to spend $500 million on Australia’s largest battery storage and gas power plant

March 15, 2017
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South Australia has announced plans to install the nation’s biggest battery storage installation, as part of a state government response to the series of blackouts and what it says are the failures of the National Electricity Market. The $500 million scheme includes plans for a new battery storage installation of at least 100MW, a new […]

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Tesla founder predicts imminent end of the fossil fuel era

March 14, 2017
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US EV and battery maker Tesla has suggested that the inflection point grid-scale battery storage is not 20 years away – as some politicians and industry groups would argue – but within sight at just 100 days away. That, at least, was the time it would take to Tesla build a 100MW battery storage facility in […]

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Australian Energy Market Operator warns of looming domestic gas supply crisis

March 12, 2017
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The Australian Energy Market Operator has warned of a looming domestic gas supply crisis, and noted that shortages over the 2018/19 summer would present huge opportunities for new technologies such as battery storage and demand management. The warning of shortages, which are expected to impact electricity markets the worst in the states on NSW and SA, […]

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LG Chem: solar and battery storage beating grid power in most Australian states

March 10, 2017
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South Korean battery storage maker LG Chem has claimed that solar and battery storage is already beating grid power in most Australian states. According to Jamie Allen, the marketing head in Australia for LG Chem, a 5kW rooftop solar system and a 10kWh battery storage device (such as LG Chem’s own 9.8kWh offering) can be […]

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Coal, the biggest risk to grid security, not solar or wind

March 9, 2017
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A new study has found that the biggest threat to network stability in Australia’s electricity grid comes not from an increase in renewables, but from the control settings on the dominant fleet of “synchronous generators” – namely the country’s coal and gas fleet. The significant new study – submitted to government authorities, network operators and […]

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Coalition’s “clean coal” plan to power heavyweights Gina and Clive in Galilee basin

March 1, 2017
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A 2009 proposal from businessman Clive Palmer that would be used to help provide electricity to Galilee coal mines planned by Palmer himself, Gina Rinehart, and Indian group Adani, has been revealed as the so-called “clean coal” power generator being promoted by the federal government. Waratah Coal, the company owned by Palmer’s Mineralogy, confirmed to […]

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Neoen aims to reach 1GW wind and solar by 2020

March 1, 2017

French renewables company Neoen has revealed plans to install a total 1GW of large-scale wind and solar in Australia, after completing finance for the 109MW Hornsdale 3 wind farm in South Australia. Hornsdale 3, which is currently under constructions, last year signed an off-take agreement with the ACT government to provide electricity at a fixed […]

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Solar power market heading for big 2017, as costs drop sharply

February 24, 2017
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A new report has predicted that solar power is headed for a “huge year” in Australia in 2017, on the back of a boom in the large-scale market and a home solar and storage market that is expected to treble. The Climate Council’s State of Solar 2016, published last week, confirms solar is now the […]

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Australia can reach 100 per cent renewable energy says CSIRO

February 24, 2017
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The nation’s chief scientific body has advised there are no technical barriers to prevent Australia from achieving 100 per cent renewables on its electricity grid, and that levels of around 30 per cent were just “trivial”. The comments were made by CSIRO lead energy research scientist Paul Graham at the Senate select committee into the […]

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Victorian government to build Australia’s first grid scale battery storage facility

February 22, 2017
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Victoria’s Labor government is calling for expressions of interest to build a 20MW battery storage array, in what would likely be Australia’s first grid scale battery storage facility. The 20MW battery storage facility is being earmarked for western Victoria, where the Australian Energy Market Operator has identified opportunities to improve grid stability, and where many […]

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US-based solar tower and storage developer surprised of Australia’s “new coal” pursuits

February 21, 2017
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US-based solar tower and storage developer SolarReserve has expressed surprise that Australia’s federal government is pursuing “new coal” plants, saying that solar towers with storage beats coal on just about all fronts. Tom Georgis, the company’s head of international development, says solar towers and storage can match and beat coal on capability – providing baseload […]

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Rooftop solar saved the day, but households got paid a pittance

February 18, 2017
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Solar power played a major role in reducing stress on grids in Queensland and New South Wales during the massive heatwave late last week, but were solar households fairly rewarded for their contribution? As we reported last week, coal and gas dependent Queensland has recorded more than 40 more high priced events in 2017 than […]

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The PM has battery storage added to his solar system at his Point Piper mansion

February 17, 2017
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Amid the threat of summer power blackouts in the NSW, it has emerged that Australian Prime Mininster Malcolm Turnbull has added battery storage to the solar system at his harbourside mansion in Sydney’s Point Piper. Related PostsIs Tesla’s Powerwall 2 the cheapest lithium battery for homes? (4 Nov, 2016) Victorian Government backs multiple time-of-use tariffs […]

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Fossil fuel generators, not renewables should be blamed for high energy prices

February 9, 2017
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The Australian Energy Regulator has been investigating more than half a dozen “high priced” events on the National Electricity Market, and some of the reports it has already completed make astonishing reading. Take the events of last November 18 in New South Wales, when the spot price of electricity jumped to more than $11,700/MWh in […]

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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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