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Clean energy insights - Australians progressing clean technology

International Solar Alliance: Australian Support

During an introductory call on 15 June, Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell, and International Solar Alliance (ISA) Director General Upendra Tripathy, discussed the importance of the ISA, especially in the context of the bilateral relationship.

In addition to providing a seconded officer to the ISA, High Commissioner O’Farrell announced Australian funding for the expansion of the ISA Cares program into Pacific island ISA member states.

Co-founded in 2015 by India and France, the ISA focusses on aggregating solar demand between member states, building capacity, facilitating research and development in solar energy, and reducing the cost of finance for solar energy.

Indigenous knowledge in Nature Based Solutions

DFAT is highlighting the use of Indigenous knowledge in Nature Based Solutions for climate change.

We have engaged a local Indigenous production studio to produce a documentary on the positive environmental and community impacts from harnessing traditional Indigenous knowledge to address climate change, and how we are sharing this knowledge with the world.

The documentary, to be screened around the globe, will take an in-depth look at the role of Indigenous knowledge in fire management, coastal reef management and regenerative agriculture.

Australia-Germany Hydrogen partnership

Germany released its National Hydrogen Strategy in June 2020, outlining its plan to import significant amounts of hydrogen from partner countries with two billion euros designated for international partnerships. Australia is partnering with Germany to develop a feasibility study on hydrogen produced from renewables which will be led by the University of NSW on the Australian side. More information can be found at: www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/taylor/media-releases/positioning-australia-future-hydrogen-export-powerhouse

Perth: transforming WA’s energy grid

The installation of community batteries across Perth suburbs and regional WA is transforming the state’s electricity grid and helping to meet changing energy demands. Western Australians have embraced rooftop solar: almost one in three homes in WA has installed solar panels, and this is expected to climb to one in two houses over the next decade. While this brings benefits of lower electricity bills and reduced carbon emissions, the high levels of generation from rooftop solar risked eroding the security and reliability of the state’s existing power infrastructure. In response, State Government-owned Western Power has installed twelve community batteries across regional and metropolitan areas of the state. Community batteries provide network benefits for all customers with a grid connection and offers residents with solar panels the potential of a virtual storage option. Eligible homes with solar panels can automatically transfer any excess power to the battery and can draw on this energy as needed during peak periods.

Hobart: unlocking Tasmania’s hydropower potential

With significant hydro, wind and solar assets, the Tasmanian Government has set a new target of renewable energy generation equivalent to 200 per cent of current energy needs from renewable sources by 2040. The Government is investing in two projects to achieve this target: Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation (BOTN) to unlock latent capacity in the state’s existing hydropower system; and Project Marinus to allow Tasmania to sell excess energy into the National Energy Market. The state hopes that together, the two projects will unlock significant investment in Tasmania’s renewable energy sector, contributing over $7 billion to the economy and supporting over 3000 jobs.

Tasmania State Office Deputy Director, Justine Townsend, at Hydro Tasmania’s Meadowbank Power Station.

Sydney: second Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) for NSW

In July, the NSW Government announced a second REZ in the New England region to deliver 8GW of capacity. This follows the first round in March, where calls for proposals for a 3GW REZ in the state’s Central West resulted in significant interest from investors with 113 registrations totalling 27GW. NSW established three REZs as part of the state’s efforts to deliver affordable energy and hit net-zero emissions by 2050. The REZ are expected to unlock a significant pipeline of large-scale renewable energy and storage projects, while supporting up to $23 billion of private sector investment in regional NSW and up to 2,000 construction jobs each year.

Melbourne: keeping energy demand in check

In Victoria, GreenSync is exploring how an integrated demand management solution can shave peaks in energy demand and reduce network constraints in the Mornington Peninsula region. Smart meters, battery storage and air conditioner controllers were tested for their potential contribution to avoiding significant network upgrade needs.

Darwin: world’s largest multitech solar demonstration facility

Launched in 2008 in Alice Springs, the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre, is the largest multitechnology solar demonstration facility in the world. It currently houses over 40 installations from different manufacturers and showcases live demonstrations of photovoltaic technologies spanning many types, ages, makes, models and configurations. The arid region’s typically sunny and cloud-free skies provide favourable weather conditions for the site, which generates approximately 420,000 kilowatt hours annually, supplying 42 per cent of the precinct’s power, a well-proven testing ground for remote micro grid solutions for remote Indigenous communities and mine sites.

Renewable energy engineers Sam Mitchell and Ashleigh Atkins from Ekistica manage the DKA Solar Centre on behalf of Desert Knowledge Australia. Image courtesy of Desert Knowledge Australia

Brisbane: unlocking North Queensland’s renewable energy sector

Queensland is investing in CopperString 2.0, a $1.5 billion transmission line project that will connect Mount Isa and the North West Minerals Province to Townsville and a planned Clean Energy Hub. The project will help unlock North Queensland’s renewable energy sector and deliver opportunities for new industrial facilities and large agricultural and renewable energy projects in the state’s north. Scheduled to commence construction in January 2021, the CopperString 2.0 project is a 1,100-kilometre high-voltage overhead electricity transmission line that will signify Australia’s largest geographical expansion of the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Adelaide: world’s largest virtual power plant

Not content to have the world’s largest battery, South Australia now has the world’s largest virtual power plant. The South Australian Government is developing a network of potentially 50,000 home solar PV and Powerwall battery systems across the state. Initial priority was given to 100 public housing tenants and phase one with 1100 households is complete. The project is lowering energy prices, increasing grid stability, providing protection during grid outage, increasing customers’ visibility of their energy use and supporting the transition to a renewables-based economy.

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