After two disastrous years, investment in large scale renewable energy finally rebounded in Australia in 2016, and actually went against the global trend with a 50 per cent increase.
Engie to invest in new large scale solar farms as it prepares to close Hazelwood, confirming the rapid shift from coal fired power to solar in Australia. Still, conservatives and fossil fuel lobbyists are continuing to attack renewables.
Two major forces stand opposed in 2017. One is the falling cost of solar, wind, storage and other smart controls – heralding an “unstoppable” energy transition away from centralised, polluting fossil fuel plants. The other is political.
Despite predictions that consumers – households and businesses – will be supplying half of all electricity needs within a few decades, the automatic reflex of the institutions that govern our electricity market remains to protect the incumbents. This needs to change.
We’ve read and reported on some remarkably misinformed analysis in recent weeks, including from country’s principal energy rule maker and government’s favourite energy consultant. But this one on solar and battery storage just about takes the biscuit.
GE technology chief says days of “relying solely on synchronous generation for everything are over”. In a direct challenge to those who say grid security can only be assured by spinning coal and gas turbines, the world’s biggest provider of energy equipment says wind and solar can do the job just as well.
Enova Energy decides to lift solar feed in tariff to 12c/kWh, good news for solar households, including those about to lose premium tariffs. The small community owned retailer is rattling the big boys in the energy market – not because of its size, but what it stands for.
The AEMC’s latest report again takes the breath away for the depth of its ignorance. In the case of wind and solar, it is becoming increasingly obvious that it has no idea about technology costs.
Modelling from government’s preferred advisor actually shows that a high renewables target could deliver lower costs to consumers than an EIS. That’s not what the public was told last week, but predictions that an EIS is cheaper were based on some ridiculous price assumptions.
AEMO’s latest report reinforces Alan Finkel’s assessment that Australia’s grid is not fit for 21st century, and needs rapid change. Its chairman compares fossil fuel plants to petrol cars, and struggles to accept the pace of technology change. You won’t find a fuel cap on an electric car.