The last module on Australia’s first 100MW solar plant has been installed. But the completion of the Nyngan solar plant highlights the huge missed opportunity for big solar in Australia.
AGL Energy has announced a corporate restructure that will give its nascent New Energy division – including solar, storage and electric vehicles – equal billing with its incumbent wholesale and retail operations.
Energy White Paper dammed by Professor Ross Garnaut for promoting coal at expense of solar, and shaping tariffs in a way that will simply encourage consumers to quit the grid.
Tony Abbott’s Direct Action plan to address Australia’s modest emission reduction targets finally hit the road this week. If the analysts are right, it will prove nothing more than the emperor has no clothes.
The anticipated gas shortage in Australia turned out to be a mirage. So, too, did the golden age of gas, as the removal of carbon pricing, the slowdown of renewables, and the surge in gas prices gave the advantage back to coal.
The Senate wind inquiry has been told of extraordinary damage to brain and physical function of humans, kelpies and ewes. The men taking these claims seriously are being asked by Tony Abbott to help seal the fate of Australia’s renewable energy industry.
The Abbott government is fabricating new arguments in an attempt to dodge any agreement on renewables. The industry, meanwhile, will be dependent on Labor delivering on a longer-term energy vision.
The Abbott government’s energy white paper focuses on the old favourites – gas, coal and nuclear, and ignores climate. Wind energy gets a single mention, while rooftop solar is dammed for “cross subsidies”. But it does acknowledge that battery storage will create a “paradigm shift” that will require energy utilities to change their business models.
Battery storage could make peaking gas plants – currently an essential tool for meeting variations in peak demand – virtually redundant. It’s just one of a number of changes predicts as storage costs fall in coming years, with network upgrades, home and business use and electric vehicles also likely to boom.
Fossil fuel industry in Australia wants to slow down deployment of wind and solar PV. And they are in no hurry to deploy solar towers with storage either – technology that will hasten the redundancy of the current coal fleet.
In a major new report, Citigroup says the slump in oil and gas prices may provide some road humps for wind and solar, but renewables will win out because of economics, energy security and environment issues. And it’s the cheapest way to substitute coal-fired power.