Category Archives: Renewables

Crescent Dunes solar with storage is now on-line

The large scale Crescent Dunes solar tower with its thermal storage has successfully generated electricity at its full 110 MW capacity.  Now Crescent Dunes will begin full commercial operation to supply power for Nevada – day or night.

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Renewable energy will renew our economy

Malcolm Turnbull’s advocacy of a climate of innovation is long overdue, especially with the increasing risk of stranded assets from continuing investment in fossil fuels. Australian researchers in CSIRO and the universities have already contributed to innovations in solar energy and other technologies of the future, but these have mostly been taken up overseas.

Meanwhile we have largely failed to invest in renewable energy technology in Australia despite having the largest potential per capita of any country. Australian governments need to provide financial incentives to exploit these technologies, which include solar, wind, wave and tidal, and especially energy storage technologies that can allow us to export renewable energy via hydrogen, renewable ammonia manufacture, high voltage DC cables, or other technologies.  A rapid transition to non-polluting highly efficient technologies is long overdue. It will form the basis of a renewed economy both at home and for export earnings.

Barrie Pittock, Brighton East (Climate Scientist)
Letters to the Age: 3 Jan 2016

Key Words: Climate Change, transformation
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South Australia is pushing beyond 50% renewables

South Australia is pushing towards 50 per cent wind and solar – which it expects to reach in 2016, and beyond towards100 per cent renewables.

Just a few years ago it was thought impossible for more than 10 per cent variable wind and solar to be absorbed, even into Europe’s large grid. Now 70 per cent can be absorbed without storage.

Now it is. Work done on King Island by Hydro Tasmania, and in Alice Springs by CAT Projects and ARENA show that high levels of variable renewables can be easily absorbed into a local grid, and these lessons are important for a state like South Australia.

South Australia has always relied on the interconnector with Victoria, and never more heavily than when there was no wind and solar in the market.

Renew Economy: 17 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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Victoria should keep Alcoa with cheap solar electricity

In the new low-carbon economy,  Alcoa is exactly the sort of industry that should stay here (The Age, 16/12).  But it should be powered by a resource Australia has plenty of – sunshine. Here is an opportunity to move Australian industry into the new fossil-free age by powering Alcoa with electricity from a solar plant in the state’s north.

A concentrated solar thermal plant with molten salt heat storage could supply 24-hour electricity to Alcoa in Portland. Such plants have been built in Spain and the US and local energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions has shown they would be feasible here.

Certainly the up-front cost would be higher, but if Australia is to [take advantage of] the new age of clean energy this is just the sort of innovative venture we should support.

In the longer term, because of our plentiful solar and wind resources, Australia could become a world energy superpower. But not unless we start now.

Keith Burrows, Fairfield
Letter to Editor: The Age: 17 Dec 2015–road-to–somewhere-20151216-gloz0f.html

Key Words: Climate Change, OzPolitics
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Europe’s biggest solar farm opens in France, cheaper than new nuclear

This week Europe’s largest solar PV plant was finally brought online.  The Cestas solar farm, which is 300MW and covers a 250-hectare site near to the French city of Bordeaux, was connected to the grid earlier this month and has already begun producing solar power at a price cheaper than that offered by new nuclear plants.

Renew Economy: Ian Clover: 4 December 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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Nuclear priced out of Australia’s future energy equation

Australia’s official economic forecaster has finally admitted that the cost of nuclear energy is more than double other clean energy alternatives, suggesting it would likely play no role in a decarbonised grid based around lowest costs.

The Australian Power Generation Technology Report is a 362-page collaborative effort from more than 40 organisations, including the CSIRO, ARENA, the federal government’s Department of Industry and Science and the Office of the Chief Economist.

The report clearly shows that solar and wind will be the cheapest low carbon technologies in Australia.

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New large solar power stations for Australia

Australia will get up to 10 new large solar power stations.

They could be similar to the largest solar farm in Australia, in Nyngan, NSW (see photo).  Nyngan is now fully operational and has been sending 102 MW of electricity to the national grid.

The new stations will result from an unprecedented $350 million tie-up between two major government renewable energy agencies.  (1) The Australian Renewable Energy Agency ARENA will offer grants of up to $30 million as part of its $100 million programme.  (2) The Clean Energy Finance Corporation CEFC will roll out a $250 million large-scale solar financing programme.

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