Who wants renewable energy?The Australian people overwhelmingly want renewables, businesses are taking to renewables, universities, cities, regional councils, airport operators, most state and territory governments; it seems everyone wants renewable energy other than the political far right, the fossil fuel industry and a few climate science denying shock-jocks and journalists employed by the Murdoch empire.
The organisation that controls the National Electricity Market, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the 'Big 3' energy companies, leaders of industry like Sanjeev Gupta, all recognise that renewable energy is our future.
The few individuals and groups who are trying to keep the dying coal industry alive bring to mind the story of King Canute ordering the tide to not come in.
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
While there is some opinion on this page, 90% is fact, and the opinion is based on facts.
Less than a month after I started on this page 350.org published a report on Heroes building Australia's low-carbon economy; a different angle on much the same subject as this page.
According to a fact-check done by
The Conversation back in March 2016, 16.5% of Australian householders had gone to the expense of installing solar power.
This was probably the highest percentage in the world.
The overall result of the poll was 69% support, 14% opposed and 17% undecided.
There was strong support for the renewables target even among Liberal/National party voters: 60% support, 25% opposed, 15% undecided. Support from other parties (with the unsurprising exception of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) was significantly higher at 77-79%.
This poll emphasised what I have noted on another page, that South Australia's transition toward renewable energy has been a great success.
3,300 MW of wind power capacity under construction in Australia. At the end of 2017 there was 4,800 MW of installed wind capacity in Australia, of which more than half had been built in the previous seven years.
Wikipedia stated that "As of March 2018, Australia had over 7,803 MW of installed photovoltaic (PV) solar power, of which 1,651 MW were installed in the preceding 12 months."
To put this in perspective the Liddell coal-fired power station due for closure in 2022 had a capacity of 2,000 MW, of which 1,680 MW was classed as reliable.
And the boom in renewable energy will only gain pace in future with an
article in The Guardian, 2018/08/30, written by Katherine Murphy, forecasting that renewables will halve wholesale energy prices over the coming four years.
Household rooftop solar
|Clements Gap Wind Farm|
The Guardian on 2018/08/30 reported that:
"The latest renewable energy index compiled by Green Energy Markets confirms analysis by the Energy Security Board that wholesale electricity prices are on the way down because of an addition of 7,200 megawatts of extra large-scale supply from renewable energy."I've written on the cost of wind power and some recent power price agreements in Australia elsewhere on this site.
elsewhere on this page the Australian people overwhelmingly want more renewable energy, not more coal-fired power. Most also want action on climate change; even among those who aren't convinced about climate change there are many in favour of more renewable energy.
There is absolutely no need for more base load power. Coal power, like nuclear, is base load; that is, it is well suited for providing a continuous rate of generation, it is not at all well suited for filling in the gaps when renewable energy is unavailable.
As the amount of renewable energy in Australia increases, and it is increasing very quickly, there will be a continued need for peaking power which coal cannot provide, at least until we get significant amounts of energy storage such as pumped hydro, batteries and hydrogen.
The coal industry is dying, the sooner its Australian supporters accept that fact the better for them, for Australia and for the world.
I've shown on another page that in the 35 years from the building of the Liddell power station to the building of the Kogan Creek power station the reduction in emissions intensity in Australia's coal-fired power stations has only been 11%.
The USA Competitive Enterprise Institute, and other investigators, have shown that the economics of carbon capture and storage do not stack up.
So I'll waste no more time on the clean coal fantasy.
In the quote below AEMO's representative is writing about what is expected to happen as the coal-fired power stations reach the ends of their economic lives.
The plan stated:
"Within the plan period, under AEMO’s Neutral ISP planning scenario, the analysis projects the lowest cost replacement (based on forecasted costs) for this retiring capacity and energy will be a portfolio of resources, including solar (28 GW), wind (10.5 GW) and storage (17 GW and 90 GWh), complemented by 500 MW of flexible gas plant and transmission investment. This portfolio in total can produce 90 TWh (net) of energy per annum, more than offsetting the energy lost from retiring coal fired generation."Note that, not only is there no coal in the mix, there is also very little gas (500 MW is 0.5 GW).
South Australia and Western Australia were looking into creating a renewable energy export industry by using electricity to produce hydrogen and either shipping that overseas as a gas or as ammonia. They have recognised that there is huge potential in this.
TasmaniaTasmania, at close to 100% hydro and wind power has long led among the states in renewable energy due to it's hydro power. In 2018 the Tasmanian government is intending to make the island state "the battery of the nation" by developing wind power and pumped hydro energy storage.
Steve Davy, CEO of Hydro Tasmania stated "Tasmania is uniquely placed to help lead Australia through its challenging transition towards cleaner sources of energy. Battery of the Nation offers a future that’s clean, reliable and affordable."
Fourteen pumped hydro opportunities have been identified with a total of well over 2,500 MW.
The renewable energy had been developed by a series of Labor governments. These were replaced by a Liberal government in March 2018, but surprisingly, the new Liberal government have shown themselves to be positively inclined toward renewables. The Guardian reported on 2018/07/25 that Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said that "the state was on track to have 75% of its electricity from renewables by 2025".
The state's adoption of renewable energy, particularly wind power, has been a huge success (in spite of claims to the contrary by opponents of renewable energy; there have been no power failures directly attributable to the variable nature of renewable energy).
In its budget of September 2018 the SA government confirmed $180 million to be spent over four years for energy storage schemes.
Most of this is for the roll-out of
small-scale battery storage in 40,000 homes but $50 million has been allocated to “facilitate development of new storage technologies to address intermittency within the state’s electricity system” and $30 million has been allocated to demand response.
All of this will make the installation of more renewable energy easier.
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT has limited potential for generating its own solar or wind power so it has contracted for most of the needed power to be generated in South Australia or Victoria.
"Victoria has become the first state in Australia to have its renewable energy target written into law, after the Labor Andrews government’s Renewable Energy (Jobs & Investment) Bill was passed by Parliament on Friday.The emphasis above is mine. Note that the Liberal opposition who usually, outside of SA, oppose renewable energy opposed the targets.
QueenslandAn article in the Australian Financial Review on 2018/01/16 written by Mark Ludlow reported:
"The Palaszczuk government said a strong response to its 400 megawatt "reverse auction" for renewable energy projects showed Queensland was on track to reach its ambitious renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030."The emphasis was mine. Ludlow went on to say that there were growing doubts that the state was going to achieve its target.
Giles Parkinson reported in
Renew Economy 2018/08/30 that the Queensland government had created a new renewables generation company called CleanCo.
It is to take over 1,000 MW of clean energy assets and will "have some $250 million to invest in new generation, likely wind and solar".
New South Wales
"Regional households in New South Wales will be able to slash their power bills after the state government announced $85 million for clean energy programs. The funding includes a $30 million program to enable communities across the state to build their own local clean energy projects.NSW has a renewable energy target of 100% by 2050, which is so far off into the future as to be quite meaningless.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 2018/08/31 about a Renewable Hydrogen Conference which drew more than 300 national and international delegates. Premier Mark McGowan said:
"This Government is pushing for innovation, diversification and bold new ways to develop clean energies, grow exports and drive new job opportunities across regional WA.The SMH article questions whether WA can corner the market in the 'renewable hydrogen revolution'.
Premier McGowan is right that there is an export industry in renewable energy waiting for someone to take it up, but I think he'll find that WA will be competing with SA in seeing who can get there first.
While most of the action around clean energy export relates to hydrogen or ammonia, there is also a proposal for a huge wind/solar farm in the Pilbara region of WA to export power via a pair of undersea cables to Java.
Northern TerritoryThe NT Roadmap to Renewables documents a target of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. My own impression is that up to the time of writing the NT has been remarkably slow to take up renewable energy.
Adelaide City CouncilAdelaide: "The City of Adelaide aspires to be the world’s first carbon neutral city and an international leader in environmental change."
There is also 1 MW of solar panels on the roof of the Goyder Pavillion at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds.
Melbourne City CouncilMelbourne: "The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) marks the first time in Australia that a group of local governments, cultural institutions, universities and corporations have collectively purchased renewable energy from a newly built facility." They have produced a guide to help other organisations to buy off-site renewable electricity.
Other participants in the MREP include:
Sydney City CouncilThe City of Sydney "has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the entire local area to 70% below 2006 levels by 2030. This includes a target of 50% of electricity demand from renewable sources."
Brisbane City CouncilBrisbane City Council "has achieved full carbon neutral status, making it Australia’s largest 100% carbon neutral organisation."
Perth City CouncilPerth City Council does have clean energy aspirations but they seem a bit wishy-washy compared to the other state capitals; however the port of Perth, Freemantle has a target of carbon neutrality for corporate emissions by 2020.
Hobart City CouncilThe City of Hobart "reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 75% from 2000 to 2010". It seems now to be concentrating on reducing energy consumption more than carbon emissions.
Darabin City Council implimented a Climate Emergency Plan in 2017.
City and country councils for renewablesThe Cities Power Partnership "is a free, national program that brings together Australian towns and cities making the switch to clean energy". At the time of writing it included:
Fossil Free CouncilsGo Fossil Free listed 45 councils that had passed divestment motions in Australia as of 2018/09/20. The total of the investments held by these councils was over $7 billion and the number of Australians living within the council districts was more than 2.6 million.
Totally Renewable YackandandahARENA has a page on Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY), a citizens' initiated drive to develop a town powered by 100% renewable energy. It all started back in 2014 and by the time of writing (September 2018) the people of Yackandandah are well on the way to achieving their aim. TRY has its own Web page.
Back in June of 2016 the Climate Council listed nine towns that were aiming at 100% renewable energy (including Yackandandah). There would be more by now.
Steel works, energy companyThe British billionaire who saved the Whyalla, SA steelworks, Sanjeev Gupta, has plans to spend US$1 billion nationwide on renewable energy in Australia. For details see the article by Rebecca Puddy on ABC on-line news. Quoting from Ms Puddy's article:
... [Mr] Gupta said the investment by his company, SIMEC ZEN Energy, formed part of his firm belief there was a great future for energy-intensive industries through a transition to more renewable energy.Mr Gupta was reported to have launched a 1 GW (1,000 MW) renewable plan in August 2018.
Yalumba in SA's Barossa Valley installed 1.39 MW of solar power.
Petaluma in the Adelaide Hills installed 82 kW of solar power.
The Lead reported on 2016/12/08 that "wineries with systems in excess of 100 kW include D’Arenberg, Seppeltsfield, Peter Lehmann, Angove, Torbreck, Wirra Wirra, Jim Barry and Gemtree. Many smaller wineries are installing smaller systems."
And that's just a part of what's happened in SA, there are many others in Australia's many wine regions.
Metal smelterKorean zinc refiner Sun Metals officially opened a 125 MW solar farm on their site south of Townsville, Queensland in August 2018.
Telstra-lead consortium contracts for wind powerA Telstra media release dated 2017/12/20 detailed a power purchase agreement made between a consortium of large energy users including ANZ, Coca-Cola Amatil, Telstra and the University of Melbourne and the 226 MW first stage of the Murra Warra Wind Farm. "Under the agreements the consortium members ... secured long-term supply and price security. In return, Murra Warra Wind Farm secured contracting certainty over output from the first stage of the project and can commence construction."
Businesses in generalKathryn Diss of ABC on-line reported 2017/09/28 on research from consultancy firm Sunwiz:
"SunWiz has found business solar installations have jumped 60 per cent during the past 18 months to 40,736 systems. It's accelerated significantly in recent years and continues to be a popular investment for businesses wanting to take care of their electricity prices," the company's managing director Warwick Johnston said."In addition a number of businesses have contracted to buy power from various wind farms.
Adelaide AirportThe photo on the right shows the 1.17 MW solar power installation at Adelaide Airport.
Brisbane AirportBrisbane Airport committed to a 6 MW, $11 million solar power installation in September 2017.
Sydney Airport"Sydney Airport has decided to turn to wind energy to reduce its electricity costs and lower emissions, and has signed a contract with Origin Energy that will result in three-quarters of its electricity supply coming from the Crudine Ridge wind farm in central west NSW." More in an article in Renew Economy by Giles Parkinson.
Darwin AirportOn 2016/08/05 Darwin Airport announced that its 4 MW solar power system had been energised.
Also in the Northern TerritoryMinister for resources and northern Australia, Matt Canavan, said on 2018/09/06 that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund would extend a $150 million loan to:
Karratha AirportWestern Australia's second largest airport, Karratha Airport, is to install 1 MW of solar power with the support of ARENA.
'How the mining industry is using solar power' discussing a number of mining companies that are developing solar power at remote mine sites in Australia.
ARENA have a Net page on renewable energy in relation to mining providing economic and other data.
Kidston is a combined solar and pumped storage hydro project proposed and, as of the time of writing, June 2018, partly built by Genex Power at the exhausted Kidston Mine in northern Queensland, Australia. I've written more on Kidston in a comparison with the proposed Snowy 2 project.
The company associated with the visionary Sanjeev Gupta, GFG Alliance, announced a 120 MW/600 MWh pumped hydro storage in a disused mining pit of the Iron Duchess Mine in the Middleback Ranges.
ARENA have a Net page about the 10.6 MW solar PV power plant at the DeGrussa Copper Mine in WA.
Monash University, one of the biggest in Australia, announced plans to become Australia's first 100% renewable energy powered university on 2017/10/09. At the time it announced a $135 million investment toward achieving this aim. This was not a new thing for the university, they started the process as early as 2005.
As I was getting close to finishing this page I came across a piece published in Energy Matters on 2018/08/29.
"One of South Australia’s biggest rooftop solar arrays will soon provide 20 per cent of Flinders University’s energy needs. The project will see nearly 6,000 solar panels installed on buildings at Flinders’ Bedford Park Campus. The 1.8 MW rooftop system will cost $4.895 million, and will pay itself off in seven years. The university expects the solar array to generate energy for 25 years."
A organisation named 100% Renewables have a Net page titled "Universities demonstrating sustainable energy leadership" provides information on many Australian universities in relation to reducing emissions.
Universities installing more than 1 MW of renewable powerThese are the universities mentioned at the 100% Renewables Web site that have installed 1 MW or more, a substantial amount, of renewable energy.
The following is a listing the universities mentioned in the 100% Renewables page:
External pagesAGL: Renewables; Committed to helping shape a sustainable energy future for Australia. "We're proud to be the largest ASX-listed investor in renewable energy generation in the country."
Australian Farmers for Climate Action on Facebook
Australian National University Australia’s renewable energy industry is delivering rapid and deep emissions cuts; Ken Baldwin, Andrew Blakers and Matthew Stocks; 2018/09/10; pdf;
ARENA: the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Australia Institute provides the facts on Wind Enegy, Climate and Health
CEFC: Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
"Coal is no longer cheaper – and we'll prove it": Sanjeev Gupta, the British billionaire who saved the Whyalla steel industry knows that the future lies with renewables.
The Conversation factcheck, 2017/08/14, concluded that while power from existing coal-fired power stations is cheaper than new-built wind power, "as things stand today – wind power would be cheaper than coal as a new-build source of electricity." Prices for wind and particularly solar PV power continue to fall.
Deloitte Insights: Global renewable energy trends; Solar and wind move from mainstream to preferred. "Technological innovation, cost efficiencies, and increasing consumer demand are driving renewables–particularly wind and solar–to be preferred energy sources. We examine seven trends that are driving this transformation."
Energy Australia: "Right now, EnergyAustralia has the rights to more than 490 megawatts of electricity generated by wind farms in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia."
Guide to green energy and renewable sources, Choose Energy, USA; written by Caitlin Cosper, 2019/09/05. The page contains some interesting graphs and statistics on renewable energy in the USA.
Heroes building Australia's low-carbon economy, by 350 Australia, September 2018. "Despite a lack of federal government leadership, the low-carbon economy is thriving. The stories featured in this report have been chosen by a selection committee incorporating feedback from stakeholders in the low-carbon economy – businesses, community groups, NGOs, researchers, academics, investors and individual experts."
Hydrogen: CSIRO's National Hydrogen Roadmap sketches the opportunities in using hydrogen as a medium for the storing, transporting and consumption of energy.
Origin Energy: 6 Ways Origin is Tackling Climate Change.
Renew Economy home page
Renew Economy: Can Angus Taylor stop the renewables and storage revolution?
SunWiz; an Australian solar consultancy
100 percent Renewables: Universities demonstrating sustainable energy leadership.
Zen Energy: 5 Ways Renewable Energy Benefits All Australians. It's clean, it improves public health, it can reduce future energy prices, can help households gain energy independence and creates more jobs.
CORENA; a fund providing interest-free loans to install solar power or energy saving measures for deserving organisations. The organisations pay off the loans from their financial savings, with the money going back into the fund.
reported that "Big firms voice lack of faith in ‘cumbersome’ and ‘impractical’ Emissions Reduction Fund", while Environment Minister Melissa Price wanted to continue with it.
On this siteAustralia's energy future
End of coal: why the coal industry has a very limited future.
Ethics: a subject that Energy Minister Taylor would do well to learn about.
Greenhouse/climate change: the greatest threat currently facing mankind.
Power to Gas (P2G, renewable energy used to produced hydrogen gas) in Australia.
Killer coal: how the burning of coal kills millions of people world-wide each year.
Selfishness or altruism?: self or all?
Taylor: Australia's gobsmackingly dishonest Energy Minister, Angus Taylor
Wind power opposition: almost universally dishonest.
Big Three power retailers
Clean coal is an illusion
Coal supporters are out of touch with reality
Lower power prices
Rise of renewables
South Australians love renewables
Who are adopting renewables
Australian Energy Market Operator