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Business envoy

Trailblazing decarbonisation


Austrade is working with business clients as Australia is fast becoming the hub for world-class clean energy investment and exports.

Supercharging the grid with the world’s biggest battery

Australian businesses are paving the way for a transition to clean energy by augmenting electricity networks through renewables, and giant batteries are a major component of the transition. The Australian Energy Market Operator predicts that by 2040, Australia will require 5-21 GW of new dispatchable resources to support the transition to renewables. These dispatchable resources include utility-scale pumped hydro or battery storage, distributed batteries participating as a virtual power plant and demand side participation/consumer response.

French tech company Neoen has led the charge in Australia through large-scale energy storage ventures like the Hornsdale Power Reserve (aka Tesla big battery). The best is yet to come, with a battery four times Hornsdale’s size set for development just outside Geelong, Victoria. The $300 million battery will store up to 600 MW of power and is one of a number of Neoen’s clean energy investments in Australia.

The battery will be the largest in the world and provide much-needed stability for the Victorian electricity sector which is vulnerable to periods of extreme demand. In its proposal to the Victorian Government, the company committed to quickly deploy large scale energy storage systems to add security and reduce prices for Australian consumers. Energy storage reduces spot price volatility and protects the grid from network disturbances.

Neoen is one of many French companies recognising the value proposition of investing in Australia. Neoen is one of the largest renewable energy developers in Australia, with some $2 billion in assets. Austrade has helped Neoen enter the Australian market to become one of the country’s leading renewable energy developers, and to expand its portfolio into hydrogen.

In May, Neoen announced a $500 million solar farm project in Chinchilla, Queensland. Construction is expected to commence in July, generating 300 jobs. Under agreements with the State Government, approximately 320 MW of output will then be purchased by Queensland’s new publicly owned generator, CleanCo. Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the solar farm would maintain Queensland’s progress towards its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

Neoen’s investments have unquestionably played a significant role in Australia already achieving its 2020 Renewable Energy Target (33,000 gigawatt hours). The new national target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030. States like Victoria and Queensland have committed to 50 per cent decarbonisation targets, showing battery storage opportunities will only continue to grow in potential around the country. Dispatchable energy is a key prospect for investors seeking growth opportunities in a stable jurisdiction.

Power to the people

Power Ledger, the 2018 winner of Sir Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge, is rapidly scaling to international markets through Austrade’s global networks. The blockchain-for-energy scale-up from Perth is seeking to revolutionise the power balance between consumers and centralised authorities beyond Australian borders.

The company’s blockchain trading platform allows everyday consumers to trade energy online, bringing “humanity to the energy system” by transacting energy, trading environmental commodities and investing in renewables.

 “Instead of faceless traders hedging their positions, Citizen Utilities return profits to communities, incentivise community investments in generating assets, and allow the sharing or gifting of energy”

Power Ledger said in its 2019 White Paper.

Business people on a building site.
Power Ledger Executive Chairman and Co-founder Dr Jemma Green at the launch of the Knutsford East Village development (WA) connecting 36 households through blockchain technology. Credit: Power Ledger.

The benefits to consumers are numerous, including enhanced consumer choice of clean energy source, trading with neighbours, receiving more money for excess power and lower power bills.

In its January update, the company confirmed it had secured several international commercial projects for other products beyond the core peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading offering.

Power Ledger says there is a booming global market for distributed energy resources. In 2019 Power Ledger expanded its “global foothold” in the energy market, announcing 15 new projects across Australia, Asia, Europe and the US.

In April, the company revealed the world’s biggest ‘choose your own energy source’ project in France, in partnership with green energy retailer ekWateur. More than 220,000 electricity meters across France will gain access to Power Ledger’s blockchain-enabled product ‘Vision’. Vision certifies the origin and source of renewable energy and allows households to choose their own energy mix and track it in thirty-minute intervals.

Travelling to the US as part of Austrade’s 2019 Landing Pads program, the company spoke to numerous contacts including former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in San Francisco and the Blockchain Congressional at the Caucus Global Blockchain Business Council Demo Day on Capitol Hill. The Landing Pads program provides market-ready scaleups with an operational base for their expansion goals, where scaleups participate in an immersive program in one of Austrade’s five Landing Pad cities: Singapore, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Berlin and Shanghai.

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