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Alinta gets regulatory approval for W.A.’s biggest wind farm

Alinta gets regulatory approval for W.A.’s biggest wind farm

By Giles Parkinson – RenewEconomy – 23 May 2019

Alinta Energy has won regulatory approval for the 212MW Yandin project 150kms north of Perth, which will be the biggest wind farm in Western Australia and one of the most efficient in the country.

The Economic Regulatory Authority on Wednesday said the project had been approved to proceed, and would likely begin construction in July. It received no submissions against the proposal to construct 51 Vestas turbines, each with a capacity of 4.2MW and standing 180 metres high. It is located near the Brand Highway near the town of Dandaragan.

The wind farm is predicted to have a “capacity factor” of around 50 per cent, putting it among the most efficient in the country, and at 212MW it will beat the 207MW Collgar wind farm near Merredin as the biggest in the state.

It also continues the rush of new development in the past two years since the demise of the former conservative government and a three-year investment drought for large scale renewables.

Construction will be undertaken by Decmil, which won the contract in April.

“We’re pleased to receive the generation licence from the Economic Regulation Authority,” a spokesman for Alinta said in an emailed statement. “It’s obviously another step in the right direction.

“The project is on track, and with construction plans and the appointment of contractors firmed up, we’ll become more active at the site from July.

“We’ll also engage with the local community to update them on our plans and seek their feedback.”

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff is a Clean Energy Council Member and only uses CEC accredited installers. We fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program and we are supporting clients in their applications to the new scheme starting July 1st 2019.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

Tesla’s trumpeted solar shingles are a flop

By James Temple – MIT Technology Review – 15 May 2019

Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity is looking worse and worse. And its $1 billion solar gigafactory in Buffalo, New York, which the state built, subsidized, and equipped for SolarCity, seems to be primarily operating as a Panasonic plant.

The news: The overwhelming majority of the solar cells produced at the facility are now being sold overseas rather than being used in Tesla’s “Solar Roof” photovoltaic product, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday, citing a letter to US customs officials from Panasonic, Tesla’s partner on the plant.

That product was designed to resemble rooftop shingles with solar cells embedded inside, an effort to differentiate the offering in the commodity solar panel business. But the line appears to have been a flop. California’s utilities have connected only 21 such systems, according to state data obtained by the news service. And just “a few” were installed in the Northeast, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous former employee.

In the more than two years since Tesla acquired SolarCity, its overall solar installations have plummeted by more than 76%.

A Tesla spokesperson told Reuters it’s “actively installing” the Solar Roof product in eight states but declined to discuss its purchases from Panasonic or provide overall installation numbers.

The background: Tesla bought SolarCity for $2.6 billion in late 2016, in a deal that was heavily criticized because of SolarCity’s huge debt load and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk’s connections to the company. He had been the chairman of SolarCity and is a cousin of the cofounders, Peter and Lyndon Rive, both of whom have since left.

Soon after, Tesla unveiled the Solar Roof line, a marked shift from the business model of SolarCity, which primarily sold and installed rooftop solar panels produced by Chinese manufacturers. Tesla also struck a deal to buy custom solar cells for its products from Panasonic, which in turn agreed to invested $250 million into the gigafactory and set up its own production line there.

The subcontract also provided a way to help Tesla achieve hiring commitments required as part of the state’s $750 million in subsidies. But it still appears likely to fall short of the nearly 1,500 employees required by 2020, which would trigger financial penalties and has already prompted sharp criticisms of the deal by some state legislators.

Solar struggles: Tesla has been struggling to get production up and running, and gain ground in a solar space dominated by low-cost panels produced overseas, primarily in China.

Last year, Tesla ended its months-old retail partnership with Home Depot, and shuttered a number of solar installation facilities. It’s reportedly cut thousands of workers in its solar division since the acquisition. The team also faced difficulties with the appearance and performance of the Solar Roof tiles.

A Bloomberg article late last year said Tesla was operating just one production line at the Buffalo factory, rather than the multiple lines that were supposed to be running at that stage.

The piece also noted that Panasonic’s production is distinct from Tesla, set up on the other side of the building, despite Tesla’s portrayal of the deal as a close collaboration. While Panasonic has been making Solar Roof cells, Tesla “took issue with their aesthetics and cost” and had turned to a Chinese supplier as well, Bloomberg reported, citing several sources.

It’s unclear precisely how many solar cells, roof tiles, or panels Tesla is now producing itself or acquiring from Panasonic. But it’s likely a small fraction of the one gigawatt of solar capacity a year that the company initially boasted the factory would produce (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2016: SolarCity’s Gigafactory”).

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Warren Buffett-backed BYD in Australian electric car deal

Written by Simon Evans / Financial Review / 15 May 2019

Chinese electric car company BYD Co, in which Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holds a stake of 25 per cent, has signed a deal with an Adelaide-based group to produce an electric car for the Australian market from late 2020.

BYD Co has signed a memorandum of understanding with EVANT to produce three different right-hand-drive passenger vehicles, including a mid-sized sports utility vehicle and a large SUV.

EVANT is backed by investment fund Fusion Capital and transport group Nexport.

Fusion is a large investor in Brabham Automotive, which is separately building the $1.8 million Brabham BT62 supercars in a northern Adelaide factory under the leadership of David Brabham. Mr Brabham’s father was the late three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jack Brabham, who was dominant in the sport in the early 1960s.

EVANT director Christian Reynolds, a former Tesla engineer who was an operations executive for the United States electric vehicle pioneer led by Elon Musk earlier in his career, said the eventual plan was to manufacture the vehicles in Adelaide.

But the initial production would happen in China, with those vehicles then brought to Adelaide for modifications and upgrades for the local market.

“We’ve been on this journey for three years,” Mr Reynolds said.

He said the new electric car would be sold under a new brand, which would be unveiled in the next couple of months. “It will be a new brand to the Australian market,” he said.

Mr Reynolds said it would be pitched at the premium end of the vehicle market because of the advanced technology and quality build and would have a range of up to 650 kilometres  between charges.

“We’re looking at the premium space.” But he emphasised the price tag would be ”dramatically below” the prices at which  Tesla models sold for in Australia.

The BYD Co and EVANT tie-up comes as British billionaire Sanjeev Guptaaims to become the first commercial electric vehicle manufacturer in Australia.

Mr Gupta, whose GFG Alliance has been working closely with the UK’s Gordon Murray Design for the past 18 months on its electric vehicle strategy, is in the final stages of deciding which prototype vehicles it will use to launch into the Australian marketplace.

Mr Gupta said on April 29 he aimed to have a production run of between 10,000 and 20,000 in Australia and was leaning toward a ”smart car” for metropolitan users.

Gordon Murray Design is based in Shalford near Surrey in the UK and specialises in low-volume production runs, utilising lightweight materials and technology used in Formula One cars. Mr Murray is a former McLaren Racing technical director.

One of Fusion Capital’s directors is Mat Fitch, owner of Precision Components, a big supplier of automotive components to Holden when it was a vehicle maker in Australia. Precision Components has been diversifying since car manufacturing ended in Australia after Ford, Holden and Toyota all shut their plants in 2016 and 2017.

BYD Co is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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Exxon predicted in 1982 exactly how high global carbon emissions would be today

Written by Kyla Mandel / Think Progress / 14 May 2019

CO2 in the atmosphere has reached unprecedented levels.

The concentration of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere reached an unprecedented level this month. Researchers at the fossil fuel giant Exxon saw it coming decades ago.

Measurements taken on May 3 at the world’s oldest measuring station, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, recorded “humanity’s first day ever with more than 415 parts per million [ppm] CO2 in the air,” according to the United Nation’s climate change Twitter account. As of May 12, levels have remained steady at 415 ppm.

Never before in human history has there been so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The last time scientists believe it may have been this high was 2.5 to 5 million years ago during the Pliocene epoch, when sea levels were 25 meters higher than today and global temperatures were warmer by 2-3 degrees Celsius.


CO2 CONCENTRATION IN THE ATMOSPHERE OVER THE PAST 800,000 YEARS ACCORDING TO ICE CORE DATA (PRE-1958) AND MAUNA LOA DATA (POST-1958). (CREDIT: SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY AT UC SAN DIEGO).

Unlike back then, however, the record carbon dioxide emissions being recorded now are the result of humans burning fossil fuels, which releases harmful heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere. And scientists at Exxon predicted this decades ago.

According to an internal 1982 document from Exxon Research and Engineering Company — obtained by InsideClimate News as part of its 2015 investigation into what Exxon knew about the impact of fossil fuels on climate change — the company was modeling out the concentration of carbon emissions several years into the future.

According to a graph displaying the “growth of atmospheric CO2 and average global temperature increase” over time, the company expected that, by 2020, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would reach roughly 400 to 420 ppm. This month’s measurement of 415 ppm is right within the expected curve Exxon projected under its “21st Century Study-High Growth scenario.”


IN 1982, EXXON SCIENTIST PROJECTED CARBON DIOXIDE CONCENTRATIONS IN THE ATMOSPHERE. (CREDIT: EXXON VIA INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS)

Not only did Exxon predict the rise in emissions, it also understood how severe the consequences would be.

“Considerable uncertainty also surrounds the possible impact on society of such a warming trend, should it occur,” the internal document stated. “At the low end of the predicted temperature range there could be some impact on agricultural growth and rainfall patterns which could be beneficial in some regions and detrimental in others.”

“At the high end, some scientists suggest there could be considerable adverse impact including the flooding of some coastal land masses as a result of a rise in sea level due to melting of the Antarctic ice sheet,” it continued, stating this would only take place centuries after temperatures warmed by 3 degrees Celsius.

Despite this knowledge, the company chose not to change or adapt its business model. Instead, it chose to invest heavily in disinformation campaigns that promoted climate science denial, failing to disclose its knowledge that the majority of the world’s fossil fuel reserves must remain untapped in order to avert catastrophic climate change.

The world is already experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change. As the very first line of the U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment asserts, “The impacts of climate change are already being felt in communities across the country.”

From more intense flooding, drought, heat waves, wildfires, and hurricanes, the world is becoming increasingly aware of what life in a warming world will look like. In 2018, the United States alone experienced 14 different climate and weather-related disasters, each costing over a billion dollars.

The record carbon emissions recorded this month indicate things will most likely continue to get worse; carbon remains in the atmosphere for a long time, meaning it continues to warm the world long after it is emitted. “This is a grim reminder of the perilous path we are on,” climate scientist Michael Mann said.

Mann was one of three scientists to first release what is known as the famous “hockey stick” graph in 1999. The graph, illustrating temperature increase over time, takes the shape of a hockey stick due to the sharp increase after the Industrial Revolution. Twenty years after the graph was released, CO2 levels were roughly 366 ppm. Today, Mann told ThinkProgress over email, they’re increasing by about 3 ppm each year.

“If you do the math, we’ll cross 450 ppm — which likely locks in dangerous planetary warming of more than 2C/3.5F — in just over a decade,” he said. “That means we have to act dramatically, now, to lower global carbon emissions (by about 5-10% a year) if we are to avert catastrophic climate change impacts.”

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff only uses CEC accredited installers and we fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

W.A. to fund solar farms in six remote indigenous communities

Written by Sophie Vorrath / One Step Off The Grid / 10 May 2019

Up to 4MW of solar will be installed across six remote indigenous communities in Western Australia, as part of an $11.6 million plan to slash the use of heavy-polluting and heavily subsidised diesel fuel.

The “low-cost and reliable renewable energy solution” was announced by the Labor McGowan government as part of its budget this week, to install an average of 400-600kW in each community, starting next year.

It’s a win-win for the Labor government, considering the project will slash the cost of providing power to the 100 per cent diesel fuelled towns, while also cutting the cost of the government subsidy paid to the state-owned Horizon Power.

The program is being rolled out alongside Horizon Power’s solar incentive project which encourages eligible remote communities to invest in their own roof-top solar on community buildings, with Horizon Power contributing 30 per cent of the cost.

Energy minister Bill Johnston said the roll-out of solar farms would also foster community development through local jobs, training and investment opportunities.

State Aboriginal affairs minister Ben Wyatt – who is also state Treasurer – said it would reduce power bills for community buildings and improve energy reliability at times when it can be hard to access diesel.

The communities set to get the solar power stations are spread throughout the state’s vast Kimberley region, and the include northernmost settlement in Western Australia, Kalumburu.

The government said on Thursday that construction was scheduled for Warmun and Kalumburu in 2020 and in Ardyaloon, Beagle Bay, Djarindjin/Lombadina and Bidyadanga in 2021.

Horizon says it intends to release a Request for Tender for the construction of the east Kimberley systems in May 2019.

“The program follows on from the launch of the McGowan Government’s Energy Transformation Strategy, which aims to deliver cleaner, affordable and more reliable energy,” Johnston said.

But the W.A. Greens say the lack of funds actually allocated to driving the transition to renewables in the state budget tells a different story.

“The only commitment … made to assisting the transition to renewables is two specific solar projects,” Greens WA climate and energy spokesperson Tim Clifford said.

“And though they are important and valid projects, the spend is nothing compared to more than $41 million dollars that is just being given to the fossil fuel industry and related infrastructure.

“Rather than endorse the recently rescinded EPA guidelines to make big polluters offset emissions, the McGowan government is gifting hundreds of thousands of dollars to the sequestration project; to a company that has paid just $50 million in tax from an $8 billion profit,” Clifford said, in reference to Chevron.

“Spending three times as much on the big polluters of our planet, rather than clean energy, clearly shows were the state government’s priorities lie.”

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Ikea to begin the sale of solar modules in Sweden

Written by Emiliano Bellini / PV Magazine / 9 May 2019

By 2025, the furniture giant plans to offer solar panels worldwide at its stores. The company is in negotiation with potential partners and a supplier for the sale of PV panels in Sweden, which is planned to start in the autumn.

Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, will begin the sale of its “Solstrale” PV modules in its domestic market after the summer.

The Swedish multinational said it intends to benefit from the lessons learnt from its sales of solar panels in Germany – where it has encountered problems with a consumer watchdog – and from ItalyBelgium, Holland and Poland.

“The positive development of recent years, not least with simplified regulations and better profitability, has meant that the conditions for investing in solar panels in Sweden today are very good,” said Jonas Carlehed, sustainability manager for Ikea Group in Sweden.

The Swedish government has improved regulations for solar in the past two years and has increased the budget for rooftop PV rebates several times.

Ikea said it is in negotiations with potential suppliers and partners for the Solstrale offer in Sweden. Finding the right partner may help the retailer avoid issues such as those encountered in Germany, where consumer association Verbraucherzentrale NRW said Ikea’s advertising campaign to promote its solar offer was misleading as it did not sufficiently outline the different roles played by Ikea and its partner Solarcentury Microgen (Germany) GmbH.

Ambitious plans

In its statement, Ikea added it is planning to expand Solstrale sales to all its markets by 2025. “We want to help our customers to produce their own renewable energy at home which is good both for the climate and the wallet,” the company said.

Ikea also sells PV modules in Switzerland and the U.K.

In a recent interview with Signe Antvorskov Krag – global development leader for Ikea’s Home Solar business – pv magazine editor Becky Beetz discussed the flat-pack furniture retailer’s PV business model.

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Federal Election 2019: Charging an electric car with solar panels could take up to five days

Written by Lanai Scarr / The West Australian / 10 May 2019

Labor’s plans to have Australians charge their electric vehicles via solar panels on their rooftops could see some cars take up to five days to fully charge.

The West Australian can reveal an analysis of some of the electric vehicles available on the market and how long they would take to charge if a familyrelied solely on a 5kW solar panel system – the typical set up for a standard household.

A Hyundai Ioniq, which has the smallest battery available on the market, would take 1.4 days to charge, assuming a 5kW home solar system that produced 20 kWh of electricity without any battery storage.

A Nissan Leaf would take two days to fully charge and a Tesla Model S would take five days.

A family could charge a vehicle in six hours overnight using home solar, but only if they installed a home EV charging station ($1500), a 10kW solar panel system (between $10,000 and $14,000) and a $30,000 home battery system (2 x 18 kWh batteries).

In a transport strategy document released by the Queensland Labor government in March it encouraged charging via a home solar set up.

“Operating costs are 65 per cent lower than traditional cars, potentially making EVs a more affordable transport option in the long-term,” the document stated.

“Charging using a home solar system would reduce (operating costs) to almost zero.”

Bill Shorten last night did not deny home solar charging was part of his plan to achieve Labor’s target of 50 per cent of all new vehicles to be electric by 2030.

Premier Mark McGowan also would not rule out support for home solar-only charging when approached by The West Australian.


Labor want to encourage people to use solar powered roof panels to charge their electric vehicles.Picture: Supplied

Mr Shorten has previously claimed electric vehicles would take just 8-10 minutes to charge.

“Oh, it can take … it depends on what your original charge is, but it can take … 8 to 10 minutes depending on your charge, it can take longer … ” Mr Shorten told Sydney radio Kyle and Jackie O last month.

However even using a specialized home charging unit from the electricity grid, a full charge at home would take a minimum of two hours.

The Coalition would like to see natural take up of electric vehicles increase to up to 18 per cent of new car sales by 2030.

Chief Executive of the Australian Automobile Association, Michael Bradley, said it was important whoever won government that they supported motorists.

“Any transition to widespread use of electric vehicles can only be successful if a wide range of complementary transport, emissions and energy policies are put in place,” Mr Bradley said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor last night said Labor had not done its homework on its signature policies.

“It is impractical to expect Australian families to charge their EV’s off their rooftop solar,” Mr Taylor said.

“Australians would either need to leave their vehicles at home all day to charge, or invest in an expensive battery and solar set up. This is yet another example of Labor not doing their homework on their reckless policies.”

A Labor spokeswoman said: “The Liberals don’t believe in climate change, that’s why they resort to spreading lies and running hopeless scare campaigns.”

Energy Stuff provides a full range of new smart solar systems which can include battery ready inverters or systems with integrated battery storage. All our systems come with smart energy management to provide real time monitoring and energy efficiencies. Finance options are available, simply ask our knowledgeable staff for details.

For further information call 1300 656 205 or go to our website at

https://ongrid.energystuff.com.au/new-solar-system/

Musk’s radical rethink of electric transport, and the value of Tesla and its cars

Written by Giles Parkinson / The Driven / 6 May 2019

Three figures stood out late last week when Tesla CEO Elon Musk invited us to rethink the future of electric transport, and the worth of Tesla cars and the company itself.

Musk has already turned the trillion-dollar automotive industry on its head, and served notice to the multi-trillion fossil fuel suppliers by making EV driving the ultimate experience on the way to kicking fossil fuels out of the economy.

Now he is inviting us to imagine a world of shared autonomy – where fleets of robo-taxis could soon become the default mode of transport, particularly in big cities. And, he suggests (along with likes of Stanford’s Tony Seba) this could within just a few years.

Autonomy, Musk says, and particularly Tesla’s proprietary self driving chip, is so far ahead of the rest of the crowd that it could make the company worth $US500 billion ($A711 billion) – more than 10 times its current value of $US42 billion.

And it could even make individual Tesla cars worth significantly more than what the customers paid for them, on the basis that they could serve part time or full time in those autonomous fleets.

In fact, Musk suggested in a closed-door investor call late last week, as self-driving capabilities are added via software, the value of any Tesla could rise by a half order of magnitude, or five times, CNBC reported. The net present value of a single Tesla car, Musk said last week could be $US200,000.

Skeptical analysts scoffed at the idea, saying Musk is overpromising again, because he doesn’t deliver on his promised timelines. This has been the default position of naysayers and the self interested short-sellers – as it has been since the day Tesla stock first jumped into the stratosphere, daring to challenge the powerful incumbents, a move some say is still doomed to fail.

But consider this. One of the big take-outs of Tesla’s autonomy day – held (quite deliberately) just two days before the company’s big quarterly loss announcement and a week before its $3 billion fund raising – was just how far Tesla is ahead of its rivals on some aspects of self-driving and full autonomy.

It is impossible for anyone to gauge just who will win this race, but everyone acknowledges now that the race is on – and like every other technology development, it will happen quicker than anyone thinks, not withstanding the considerable legal, regulatory and ethical problems that will arise.

But as for costs and efficiency, analysts at Morgan Stanley noted that the Tesla “chips” installed in its cars create a “neural network” and machine learning from an un-matched data base that in turn will enable it deliver self-driving capabilities at maybe 1/200th of the price of most of its rivals.

What’s that figure again? 1/200th. (One two hundredth).

“We believe Tesla has at least comparable full self driving technology at between 1/100th and 1/200th the cost of many peers demonstrating exquisite, Lidar-encrusted robot taxis,” the Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a report.

“To be clear, we estimate Tesla’s vision based sensor and compute hardware solution costs around $1k/car vs. other L5 autonomous prototypes with $100k to $200k of hardware cost per unit or more.”

Tesla expects to have one million such cars on the road and ready to take part in a robo-fleet as early as next year. It’s not clear where that will happen. Musk says “somewhere in the world”, but Morgan Stanley notes there is a lot of work to be done before Musk can get his robo-fleet operating on the streets.

For one,  Musk claims Tesla self driving is twice as safe as human driving. Great, but for regulators to give approval, for insurers to come on board and force the hand of governments and consumers, self driving is going to have to be a lot safer than that.

Even a few accidents with robo-cars will create an extraordinary amount of media and legal pressure, so Tesla – or any other company, for that matter – will have to deliver on what it promises to be a significant improvement. It will need to be near faultless.

The reaction of the Morgan Stanley analysts when they went on a self-driving excursion in a Tesla was interesting.

  1. “The biggest differentiator, in our view, is that Tesla conducted a complete, fully autonomous 20 minute test drive including on-highway and off-highway suburban streets without Lidar.
  2. “Was it perfect? No. Did the driver have to manually intervene/disengage autopilot? On our drive, yes – one time when the car was about to miss a right-hand turn on a ramp. Did I feel safe? Yes. Would I want to fall asleep behind the wheel while in autopilot? Not yet.”

Still, this is a reminder of just how quickly transport will change over the next decade. Musk is confident enough to predict that Tesla will be making cars without steering wheels or pedals within a few years.

Even now, if you lease one of Tesla cars – a popular form of purchase – you will not be able to buy it. Tesla will be buying it, to add to its own proprietary fleet. If you do buy it, then the options for sharing and putting it into the autonomous fleet will vary (see blow).

Musk insists that Lidar – favoured by the likes of GM’s Cruise and the Google spin-off Waymo – will be dumped by the other car makers as they consider their costs. Tesla cars use cameras rather than lasers.

“It is financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla,” Musk said, comparing the purchase of an electric vehicle without self driving capability to that of buying a horse when vehicles first took hold.

Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? But what if he is right? Stanford University’s Tony Seba has long predicted the radical re-shaping of electric transport, and autonomy and shared, or common ownership.

Seba says that by 2025, all new cars sold in major markets will be electric. He has suggested that by 2030, individuals (particularly those in cities), may not even own a car, because shared ownership and full autonomy will deliver such cheap and convenient travel.

Musk will likely be first to deliver that scenario at the costs anticipated, just as he opened up the EV market place and allowed governments to imagine cities freed of their vehicle pollution.

Still, investors are not getting too far ahead of themselves just yet.

The Morgan Stanley analysts noted they had been criticised over their $10 billion valuation of GM’s Cruise division as being too low. At the same time, “we have long received investor pushback for being too aggressive for ascribing a value of Tesla’s automated fleet network business greater than $0.”

Time will tell.

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff only uses CEC accredited installers and we fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

Renewable energy leaders welcome $75m cash injection Labor promise for sector

Written by Ashleigh McMillan / The Curier / 3 May 2019

Renewable energy leaders have welcomed a funding promise for training in the sector, as Ballarat hits ‘critical mass’ with wind energy.

Labor leader Bill Shorten promised on Thursday to put $75 million towards building Australia’s renewable energy sector, which he said will create 70,000 jobs.

National director of the Australian Wind Alliance Andrew Bray said if it goes ahead, the program would be a real “boost for getting younger people involved in the renewable sector”.

“It means you can have jobs in places that were previously dependent almost solely on agriculture,” he said. “Jobs in agriculture go up and down, depending on the seasons and commodity prices, but these are long-term jobs and they’ve meant that young people can stay in local towns.

“Part of the issue for rural and regional Australia has been keeping young people, and having the jobs for them to stay around.”

Ballarat is now directly tied to renewable energy – not only for the hundreds of wind turbines dotting hills around the region – but for a training centre now being created in the city by Federation University.

The $12.5 million Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre, the first of its kind in Victoria, will train apprentices in the installation and maintenance of wind turbines, solar panels, and domestic batteries, as well as site safety.

Labor has said they will put $45 million towards apprenticeship incentives through which employers could get up to $8000 for taking on a trainee.

The apprentices themselves would get $2000 to help with education costs.

Mr Bray said programs like those at FedUni will be working on the “latest, up-to-date technology” and will work closely with industry, while also having the possibility of a dependable job nearby once they complete study.

“In Ballarat, it’s reaching a real critical mass, there’s now hundreds of turbines around that need technicians to service them.”

If successful at the May 18 election, a Shorten government would also put $20 million towards upgrading TAFE facilities, so equipment at the sites such as batteries and solar panels are industry standard.

A further $10 million would go into a clean energy training fund so workers can be trained and upskilled for renewable industries.

Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff only uses CEC accredited installers and we fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program.

For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au

South Australia solar farms switch off as prices fall below zero

Written by Giles Parkinson / RenewEconomy / 2 May 2019

The two biggest solar farms in South Australia were switched off for long periods this week as wholesale market prices fell below zero – the result, apparently, of new “zero price clauses” in power purchase contracts.

As RenewEconomy reported on Tuesday, and updated on Wednesday, wholesale prices in South Australia fell below zero for extended periods on Tuesday (nearly six hours), and on Wednesday (nearly four hours).

This was the result of high wind and solar output, as well as relatively low demand, and export limits (down to 50MW) on the main link to Victoria because of maintenance works, which meant that excess renewable production could not be traded interstate.

As Dylan McConnell, from the Climate and Energy College in Melbourne, points out, and illustrates with the graph above from the OpenNem resource, the state’s two biggest solar farms both switched off power on Wednesday.

The Bungala One and the semi-complete Bungala 2 projects cut output from around 1030am, ahead of the anticipated zero pricing event, while the newly-complete Tailem Bend solar farm cut power off on both Tuesday and Wednesday from around 11am as the prices hit zero. Both projects were offline for nearly six hours on Wednesday.

Both the 220MW Bungala projects and the 95MW Tailem Bend projects have long term power purchase agreements with Orign Energy and Snowy Hydro respectively.

But a new feature of PPAs being signed in Australia these days is a “zero price” clause that means that the off-taker will not pay for the output of the solar farm at the contracted price if the market price falls into negative territory. This is considered a major risk in states like South Australia, and Queensland.

This is because the off-taker does not want to pay twice – once for the contracted price to the solar plant owner, and secondly the market price for the output. As a result, the solar farm is switched off.

In the case of Tailem Bend, that must have been frustrating because the solar farm only reached full commercial operations, and permission to operate at full capacity, on April 29, the day before the zero pricing events.

The first 110MW stage of the Bungala solar farm was completed last year, but the second 110MW stage has been working slowly through its permissions. It only reached its next stage of permissions, which allows output of around 30MW, in recent weeks, but also had to switch off when prices fell below zero and to lows of minus $120/MWh.

In any case, negative prices should not be a long term phenomenon, even if the growth of rooftop solar matches periods of minimum demand, an event that the market operator says could start to occur within a few years.

The addition of more battery storage and pumped hydro will be able to soak up the excess wind and solar output, and act as a “solar sponge”, even when the links to other states are constrained. Certainly, more solar farms will be looking for storage of one to two hours to soak up the output in such events. Being switched off is not part of the business model.

For the moment, installations like the Tesla big battery operated by Neoen at Hornsdale have been having a party this week, getting paid to top up when the prices go negative, and then selling into the grid when prices rise again. As some industry analysts have noted. this is a great opportunities for household solar and “visual power plants”, as well as charging electric vehicles.

Energy Stuff provides a full range of new smart solar systems which can include battery ready inverters or systems with integrated battery storage. All our systems come with smart energy management to provide real time monitoring and energy efficiencies. Finance options are available, simply ask our knowledgeable staff for details.

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