Renewables Revolution Progress

Wind turbines over solar panels

Australia’s renewables revolution has made some remarkable progress, despite the Coalition government demonising renewables. Here are examples of this progress, including slogans for promoting climate action.

This page complements “promoting climate action using a vision, plans & progress”.

The ACT is now 100% renewables

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is has contracted to buy renewable electricity to cover 100% of its demand. This has saved Canberra households $4.3 million in 3 months in 2019. They are now moving to electrify transport and buildings.

ACT hits 100% renewables &
Saves households millions

Australian Capital Territory Reaches 100% Renewables
(Renew Economy: 1 Oct 2019)

Go All Electric at Home
100% Renewables Is Coming

The BZE “DIY Guide to Energy Efficient Homes”

*** Supplying equipment and solutions

Australia is making and supplying renewable energy equipment and solutions. 

Tritium: EV Charging

We’re Making & Exporting
Electric Vehicle Chargers
Renewables = New Jobs

Tritium is a Brisbane-based company that makes electric vehicle chargers. A German company is installing 600 of the Tritium chargers across Europe. NASA has installed 8 of the chargers at a base in California.

(Renew Economy: August 2018)

SEA Electric: Electric Trucks

SEA Electric is an Australian company that turns trucks and vans into all-electric vehicles. They have orders for their vehicles in the US. They have plans to be producing up to 2,400 vehicles a year in the Latrobe Valley by 2021.

SEA reveals its first all-electric cherry picker
(The Driven: 11 Oct 2019)

Electric Planes

Renewables Flying is Taking Off

MagniX is an Australian-based electric flight-propulsion technology innovator. They will provide propulsion units for:

  • A seaplane service in Canada that carries 500,000 passengers a year
  • A beautiful 9-seater electric plane: “Alice”.

How this electric aeroplane [Alice] could reshape regional air travel
(The Driven: 12 Nov 2018)

Sonnen: Battery manufacturing

We’re Making Batteries. Renewables = New Jobs.

Sonnen is producing lithium-ion home batteries in what was the Holden factory in Adelaide.

Sonnen begins exports to NZ
(Australian Manufacturing: 16 May 2019)

Safescape: Electric vehicles for mining

Safescape is an Australian company is producing an all-electric vehicle for use in mines. It’s based on a diesel Brazilian military vehicle.

Australian company unveils an electric vehicle for the mining industry
(The Driven: 7 May 2019)

*** Attracting energy-intensive industries

Australia’s potential to provide cheap renewable electricity can attract industries that use a lot of energy.

The Whyalla Steelworks

Whyalla: A Green Industrial Hub. Renewables = New Jobs.

In 2017,  Sanjeev Gupta rescued the collapsed Arrium steel and mining business in Whyalla, South Australia. He has plans to:

  • Power the steelworks with renewable electricity
  • Modernize the existing steel plant
  • Expand the steelworks into a world-scale plant, the biggest in the Western world
  • Build the Cultana solar farm
  • Build pumped hydro in an old iron ore mine in the Middleback Ranges
  • Build the Playford battery 100MW/100MWh

Gupta doubles down on green industrial plans for Whyalla, powered by cheap renewables.
(Renew Economy: 10 Dec 2018)

*** Exporting energy

A key part of the renewables revolution in Australia will be the export of this clean electricity. We could:

  • export electricity via undersea cable to Asia,
  • use the electricity to produce aluminium and then export it, or
  • similarly, make and export steel, hydrogen or ammonia.

Australian electricity generation

To put some of the following electrical generation projects in context, the largest coal generator in Australia is Eraring in NSW with a capacity of 2,880 MW.

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub: 15,000 MW

In 2017, an international consortium proposed:

  • The Asian Renewable Energy Hub:
  • A giant wind and solar power plant: 15,000 MW
  • Making green hydrogen for domestic and export markets
  • In the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
  • Investing of $30 billion

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub

Pilbara green hydrogen project grows to 15 GW wind and solar
(Renew Economy 12 July 2019)

Sun Cable Project: 10,000 MW

We can Power Singapore

  • Build an undersea cable from the Northern Territory to Singapore: 3,000 km
  • Invest $25 billion
  • Build the world’s largest solar farm 10,000 MW and storage
  • Near Tenant Creek:

Cannon-Brookes confirms investment in the world’s biggest solar project
(Renew Economy: 25 Sep 2019)

Kalbarri: Green Hydrogen: 5,000 MW

  • Murchison Station near Kalbarri
  • Combined wind and solar generation of 5,000MW
  • Produce green hydrogen

Massive 5,000 MW solar and wind project to fuel hydrogen expansion
(Renew Economy: 8 Oct 2019)

Hornsdale Tesla Battery in South Australia

(Renew Economy: 7 Dec 2018)

The South Australian Hornsdale battery:

  • Under 100 days to build it in 2017
  • Grid / consumer savings: $40-50 million in 2018
  • Cost $91 million
  • Stabilises the whole grid, e.g. responded in a tenth of a second to the loss of a coal unit in Queensland avoiding load shedding.
  • Still the biggest lithium-ion battery in the world (Nov 2019)
  • Capacity 100MW/129 MWh
  • Making money for the owners: 20% a year

There are now lots of other batteries either operating or planned.

*** Agriculture: Sundrop farms

  • Opened in 2016
  • Producing tomatoes and other vegetables
  • Near Port Augusta.
  • Generate electricity using a solar-thermal plant. Mirrors reflect sunlight onto a tower, to heat molten salts. The molten salts store the heat and can boil water to drive turbines and make electricity 24 hours a day.
  • Desalinate water
  • Grow hydroponic vegetables on degraded grazing land
  • Sell tomatoes to Coles

(For more info, search for Sundrop farms)

*** The mining industry is turning to renewables

In 2017, Alinta installed a 35 MW / 129 MWh battery at Newman in WA. This supplies the large Roy Hill iron-ore mine operated by Gina Rinehart. The battery has increased the reliability of electricity and will pay back the investment in 5 years.

(Renew Economy: 12 august 2019)

The South Australian Liberal government

(Renew Economy: 17 June 2019)

South Australia’s stunning renewable energy transition and what comes next
(Renew Economy: 5 Nov 2019)

South Australia is on track to reach 75% renewables by 2025, and 100% well before 2030. There are so many renewables projects happening in South Australia, e.g. more renewables, Whyalla Steelworks, the Tesla big battery, the Sundrop Farm and proposed green hydrogen and pumped-hydro storage.

The SA Liberal government recognises the value of renewable energy to their state and supports the expansion of renewables. This is so different from their colleagues in the federal Liberal Party.

Possible banner slogans:

  • Build more interstate grid connections

NSW Liberal government

NSW Energy Minister says that climate change is a risk to our way of life and that responding is prudent management for government and business.

NSW energy minister says renewables and storage will replace old coal generators
(Renew Economy: 14 Oct 2019)

Sydney’s 8,000 buses to go electric

NSW unveils plan to switch Sydney’s 8,000 buses to all-electric (The Driven: 28 Oct 2019)

The cost of renewables is low and falling fast

For cheap electricity – more renewables

For world-changing progress: The low and falling costs of renewables
Image: A graph of the renewables costs over time.

Yet to be included

I am sure there are many significant examples of progress that I still need to add. This is work in progress. Do let me know of examples. Some that occur to me follow.

  • Pumped hydro storage of electrical power
  • Fantastic homes that produce rather than use power
  • Brisbane designed and manufactured batteries – red-earth
  • Ray-Gen electricity generation
  • Vast-solar

Updated 2 November 2019

Code: Atomic