The first round of the Australian Technology Competition (it used to be called the Australian Cleantech Competition) closed last week with 228 applicants, representing a 50 per cent increase on the previous year. According to John O’Brien, the competition organiser, the entrants have invested more than $300 million in their technologies and together employ more than 350 people.
“The guidance on commercialisation, funding and pitching, combined with connections across industry, finance and international markets has enabled many past Finalists to make a step change in their business”, explained John O’Brien, the competition organiser. Businesses of all sizes can enter into the competition, from small start-up businesses to larger, more established sized businesses. All applicants however must own valuable intellectual property and must not have more than 100 employees. enLighten, which won the competition in 2012, has since developed smart LED lighting solutions that can reduce energy usage by up to 93 per cent. They have also enjoyed a 600 per cent increase in sales since their win.
Energy services provider Energy Action says energy prices in NSW and Victoria have fallen to 7-year lows in the auctions it conducts to price service contracts. The latest super auction was one of the largest undertaken by Energy Action through Australia Energy Exchange, and resulted in 8 energy retailers bidding for a total electricity contract value of $107 million across 11 Australian businesses.
Energy Action Chief Executive Officer, Scott Wooldridge is pleased that Reverse auctions have intensified competition among energy retailers, which in turn has led to a 21% saving off the retail energy component of electricity contracts for businesses. “The continuing softening of the market, combined with competitive pricing in the super auction and retailers prepared to lock in long term contracts to the end of 2017, achieved excellent results for our customers at historically low prices.”
Michael Fuge will become CEO of global clean energy solutions provider Pacific Hydro in early July 2014, taking over from Rob Grant, who is standing down. Fuge joins from Genesis Energy Limited, New Zealand’s largest energy retailer, where he was chief operating officer since 2011. “This is an outstanding appointment. Michael has deep energy experience across exploration, production and distribution, having led large teams and complex, large-scale developments in New Zealand, as well as in diverse cultures including Oman and Brunei,” said Garry Weaven, chair of Pacific Hydro, in a statement.
Hawaii opens tender for 200MW of storage
Hawaiian Electric is seeking proposals for large-scale energy storage systems of up to 200MW to ease the integration of renewable energy sources, according to PV-Tech. Hawaii has high retail prices and soaring installations of solar PV – much like parts of Australia – and is seeking one or more projects that can store between 60MW and 200MW of energy for up to 30 minutes. The selected project, or projects, will be used to smooth out variations in electricity generated from renewable sources, which are mainly utility-scale solar and wind, and rooftop solar on the island of Oahu. It says it will consider various competing technologies, both mechanical – such as flywheels – and electrical – such as flow batteries.