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.
It has been quite the fortnight in the energy space with some pretty big ticket items making their way into the headlines, all the way from climate emergencies to net 100% renewables. There are 6 articles for this fortnight to help you unwind the stress of the end of financial year.
South Australia’s stunning aim to be net 100 percent renewables by 2030
Huge news out of South Australia, who have put forward their plan to generate the equivalent of 100% of their electricity requirements from renewable energy by 2030. Credit must be given to the Marshall Government for carrying the torch on renewables, especially given the contrast with their federal counterparts. With an upcoming government tender for grid scale storage and a proposed interconnector with NSW, things are looking rosy for renewables in SA.
Australia leads the G20 nations’ pack in aid for coal-fired power
A report has been released putting the total support to coal consumption for Australia at approximately US$870 million. This figure isn’t all that surprising given coal is one of Australia’s largest exports but it does beg the question, can that money be put to better use elsewhere. It’s no secret that in the medium to long term coal will disappear from the global energy mix. Further it is regretful that Australia isn’t doing everything it can to ensure we are at the forefront of the low carbon transition and that the transition does not come at the cost of coal workers livelihoods.
Clean energy found to be a ‘pathway to prosperity’ for Northern Territory
A report came out late last week highlighting the available opportunities for renewable powered manufacturing and minerals processing in the NT. As a nation that is notorious for extracting ore, shipping it off and buying back the end product, it is fantastic to see industry talking about the return of manufacturing in Australia. It is also part of a recurring trend, with Sun Metals in Townsville expanding their zinc refinery on the back of a solar farm and Sanjeev Gupta and Liberty looking at rebooting the Whyalla steelworks with power generated through renewables. Fingers crossed that those up the chain have the foresight to actively pursue ‘value adding’ opportunities in Australia.
Demand response battle pits old power against new, with consumers in the middle
In typical fashion, with the successful commercial demonstration of this technology, there’s a battle between the incumbent electricity retailers to keep demand management between them and their customers, and demand management solution providers looking to gain market share. This isn’t really surprising, retailers stand to lose the most and are eager to protect their client base and ensure they capture any profits generated through demand response. We think that the opportunity for demand response presents too good of an offer for the competition to be shut out and that competition presents a good thing for the end user. Some of our clients have been handsomely rewarded for participating in demand response programs and the broader consumer shares these benefits as it is far cheaper to turn down equipment for a fraction of the time compared to building new peaking plants.
Twice defeated, Queensland government “finally” calls for solar industry roundtable
Another victory for common sense with Queensland’s Court of Appeals upholding the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the new rules that would effectively remove the role of labourers in manual handling of solar panels and require electricians to do this. This is something the industry is watching very closely, as the viability of a significant number of projects in Queensland will come into question if these rules change. I suspect this will not be the last time these changes make their way into the headlines.
City of Sydney officially declares ‘climate emergency’
Lord Mayor Clover Moore and the City of Sydney have come out swinging and formally declared a ‘climate emergency’. Predictably, the move was appluaded by environmental group and the City of Sydney have been leaders in the low carbon and renewable space for some time. Unfortunately, there is very little City of Sydney can do outside of its locality and it falls to the states/feds for meaningful action… something that we’ve been waiting years, if not decades, for.