The current update of renewable energy in Australia includes:

  • The true potential for the wind energy sector
  • How Australia’s greenhouse emissions continue to drop further
  • Tesla and its allies on the latest network fee 
  • Why Australian government is slow to embrace renewables than other states

New frameworks for the solar and wind sectors can generate a stronger discernable presence for Australia in the renewable energy sector.

As multiple states outpace the federal government in the initiatives for clean energy, objections to the newly proposed network fee pose a challenge to the administration. 

However, renewable energy measures keep expanding at the state and private levels. And groundbreaking innovations like the grid-scale battery from AGL continue to promise a far more efficient renewable landscape.

These developments must excite renewable energy enthusiasts belonging to the consumer section. They will also help local businesses willing to enter the renewable energy sector. 

So this weekly update will explore some groundbreaking developments in the renewable energy sector.

Let’s explore.

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The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 to boost renewables in Australia

The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 proposed using offshore wind for renewable energy in Australia. The country can now use its 16,000 mile-long coastline in the commonwealth waters and export clean energy to the Asian markets. 

The bill establishes the regulatory framework for surplus energy production using offshore wind. It will allow Australia to export solar rooftop solutions to Asian countries. 

Australia’s first offshore wind energy developing company, Star of the South, believes that the initiative can be a significant milestone in launching a new industry. Above all, it will create a massive job market in Australia. 

According to the initial numbers, Star of the South aims to harness offshore wind energy to produce 2.2 Gigawatts in the next four years.

Since Australian offshore wind offers a reliable power generation alternative, it has a definite advantage over onshore solar solutions. 

When combined, solar and offshore wind can produce enough power to run the entire country.

Most importantly, Australian residents are a driving force behind the nation’s commitment to renewable energy. 

More than 2 million homes have solar panels in Australia right now. According to statistics, 30% of Australian households have solar panels.

The main reason solar power has become popular among Australians is its efficiency. 

Solar power sources are readily available and require minimal maintenance, unlike other alternative energy sources. For instance, wind turbines require maintenance check-ups two or three times a year and costly repairs if damaged. 

The cost of renewable energy sources is decreasing steadily with time as well. As such, the prices of solar panels will continue to drop along with the technological advancements in the solar industry.

Solar power isn’t an option anymore; it’s the new way of living.

Australia further reduces greenhouse gas emissions

According to the recently published National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Quarterly Update, greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 2.1% in one year as Australia’s major portion of electricity came from renewable sources. In addition, the electricity sector showed a significant 4.5% drop in CO2 emissions, increasing the renewable electricity supplies by more than 10%. 

In reality, the emissions dropped to 1.9% due to other factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and travel bans. However, renewable energy generation and less coal and gas extraction also contributed to this drop. 

For instance, the updated inventory reports an 8.7% drop in fugitive emissions because of reduced gas flaring and low coal production.

As the renewable energy market continues to grow, it covers 24% of the electricity generation in Australia. 

Renewable energy includes solar photovoltaic sources and wind power. While the remaining electricity comes from coal and gas-powered plants, renewable energy is now making a positive difference in Australia.

Tesla and its allies oppose network fees in Australia

The major players in Australia’s renewable energy sector joined hands with Tesla to stand against the network fees proposed by the country. After rigorous revision, Tesla believes that the network fee measures introduced in July could nullify battery storage solutions.

The Australian Energy Market Commission will likely discuss the rules for commoners to understand the battery storage systems. 

The newly proposed rules classify the grid connection with the battery storage systems and how they will perform with renewable solutions like wind and solar energy systems.

New network fees could mean big battery and pumped hydro storage projects are no longer viable.

In general, renewable energy enthusiasts fully welcomed the new rules. However, they aren’t happy paying for transmission and distribution. 

According to this rule, energy storage installations like the Tesla Powerpack-powered Hornsdale Power Reserve must pay charges for transmission when they charge or discharge. As a result, Tesla and many others have stood up against the additional network charges. 

The opposition includes renowned names from the Australian market, like CleanCo- Hydro storage company, Fluence – battery provider, Neoen and Iberdrola – project developers, etc. 

Snowy Hydro (the government-owned company) also joins the opposition to take the matter to the courts. Moreover, Energy Australia, AGL, and Australian Energy Market Operator are equally concerned with the new network fee proposals.

Tesla believes that the new proposals could set back the feasibility of grid storage projects. As a result, no commercial outcome will force the investors on the back foot.

According to Neoen, managing the electrical storage economy is already demanding. The network fee will make it more difficult. So, they won’t encourage the storage systems to take up the challenge. 

Experts believe that Tesla and its allies are justified in their concerns. And why not? It’s already tough for most people to meet the economic aspects of renewable energy and storage systems. 

So new network fees would mean even lesser returns on storage systems, translating to low-profit margins for the companies.

The Australian Energy Market Commission will decide on the matter later this week. But, for now, companies and local investors wait anxiously and hope that the decision is fruitful for all. 

Australian government falls behind states in implementing renewable energy measures

The Australian government achieved the lowest ranking behind all the other states in the country and the Northern regions in implementing the initiatives for clean energy. Reports suggest that Tasmania, South Australia, and New South Wales are the leaders in shifting to renewable energy.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia’s federal government has made relatively slower progress in transforming its energy resources to clean energy and establishing renewable export industries. 

Nicky Ison, the energy transition manager at World Wide Fund for Nature, suggests that the rankings indicate Australian states and territorial governments as the ones leading the race in climate policy. 

According to her, the government has missed several opportunities like the COP26 climate summit, where it could have announced more initiatives towards clean energy in Australia. 

Moreover, the government’s ranking has dropped from seventh to eighth, as it continues to support traditional methods over more modern renewable technology.

In a nutshell, it’s quite evident that the states are taking far more effective measures for clean energy, so they’re considerably far ahead in the race. 

Source

The ranking system included multiple categories and areas like renewable energy zones, renewable energy targets, renewable export strategies, and renewable energy industrial precincts. 

The report suggested that Tasmania is by far the most productive state, scoring 61 out of 100 points for clean energy policies and a renewable energy target that competes with any region in the world. 

The state aims for a 200% output by 2040. Moreover, Tasmania aims to establish a new department to look after the climate policy. It will also monitor the growth of new industries to promote a clean and greener economy. 

The government has launched several incentives to promote solar energy. But still, it is yet to reach a comparable level against the efforts put in by different states.

Conclusion

This week in Australia’s renewable energy industry is eye-opening. The race to solar and renewable systems intensifies, but the federal government isn’t ready to pick up the pace. So as the companies await the verdict on network fees, the greenhouse gas emissions lower down to promote clean energy. 

All in all, it’s another busy week in the solar sector for Australia. However, the solar industry remains strong and optimistic!

Check out our weekly blog on Instyle Solar to stay updated with the latest news and trends in the Australian renewable energy sector. 

Let’s take steps to promote and facilitate renewable projects!

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