ELS Fortnightly News Wrap Up #10

Each fortnight, the team at ELS publish a news digest covering energy and sustainability. We read for our own pleasure but to save you time we identify a handful of pertinent articles from Australia and around the globe and add our own commentary. It used to be an internal memo but we kept being asked to share it, so here it is. This is our tenth edition of our News Wrap Up so thank you to all our viewers for your continued support.

This last fortnight has seen all sorts happening, from grant funding and project announcements galore, to regulators coming out to say things might be going pear shaped. We’ve avoided the beat up of what happened at the UN conferences because there has been more than enough about it across all news outlets, and in the spirit of the long weekend, we want to leave you with more of the good stuff to ease you into the break.

Horizon first utility to pull down power lines and replace with renewable micro grids
A long overdue development in the distribution space, with Horizon in WA removing a series of poles and wires to be replaced with renewable and diesel micro grids. This will see significant improvements in power quality (and availability) for end users, and cost savings for all consumers across the grid. Let’s hope the AEMC gets a move on and enables this to happen in the NEM regions!

‘Tipping point’: Energy regulator says electricity grid won’t cope with more solar
Quite the eye catching headline, but as with most matters on energy in Australia, poor planning is coming back to haunt regulators. Regulators are pushing for pricing structures that provide incentives for customers with solar or storage to operate in ways that is useful to the grid. It remains to be seen if this can be done properly and if the losers from this change will evaporate the political will for this.

Two huge renewable hydrogen projects planned for Queensland
With two announcements for feasibility assessments of large electrolysers in Queensland, it’s all aboard the hydrogen bandwagon. If the projects end up progressing they will be significant developments given the scale of production but also because the projects would be meeting industrial hydrogen demand with ‘green’ hydrogen thus displacing natural gas. This is definitely a space to be watching!

For mining CEOs, pressure to cut carbon footprint ‘growing every day’
This is quite an interesting space and seems to be evolving surprisingly fast, but in essence, miners are having to take more and more responsibility over the emissions associated from using their products. Two of the more interesting points brought up are a ‘social license’ and the ability to attract talented workers. As we’ve seen with certain mining companies (Adani), social license is incredibly important and can derail a project before it is even underway. We eagerly await the announcement of the first initiative (beyond signing an MoU) from one of the major miners.

NSW reveals grants shortlist for nearly 3GW of renewables and storage capacity
NSW has been playing catchup with the other states on the renewables policy front so it is fantastic to finally see some signs of life. It is also great to see NSW being proactive about securing dispatchable power ahead of Liddell’s closure, but this is the same Government who have said that coal is absolutely here to stay for decades so who knows where we will end. Of note is the diversity of the projects, which include compressed air storage, virtual power plants, concentrating solar thermal, pumped hydro, biogas and batteries. It will be very interesting to see which storage technology wins out in the long run but the list of projects that get up (and the associated pricing) could be a good indicator of how things are going.

Pubs clinch state-wide renewable energy deal to cut electricity bills
Another feel good beer story carrying on from last fortnight with the maker of Tooheys getting involved in a renewable PPA that also encompasses more than 300 pubs across NSW. This is exciting given the sheer number of sites to be aggregated and the pricing clearly shows there is only one way to go for contracting moving forward, and its renewable! Either way, there are now a number of renewable beers (not that kind of renewable) to quench your long weekend thirst

ELS Fortnightly News Wrap Up #9