Here’s a wrap-up of all the key news across solar and other renewables last week. Grab your coffee, here’s the industry must-knows for the week (06/11/2023 edition):
Australia’s main grid hits new renewable energy record
Australia’s main grid reached a new record for renewable energy production on Friday with a peak of 71.3 percent. The record was reached in the 30-minute trading period ending at midday (grid time, which is AEST), and beat the previous record set on Monday earlier this week by 0.5 percent. AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) said that rooftop solar supplied 44.23 percent of all generation at the time of the new peak, with utility scale solar contributing 18.19 percent and wind 6.22 percent. (Renew Economy)
Prediction: 2023 will finish a record year for small-scale solar
Solar and storage analyst Sunwiz is forecasting that 2023 will set a new record for small-scale solar in Australia. Despite installations this year lagging Australia’s biggest year to date, 2021, Sunwiz Managing Director, Warwick Johnston, tells PV Magazine Australia that multiple signs point to a strong Q4. (PV Magazine)
TAFE NSW adds eight new “microskills” targeting energy transition
TAFE NSW has launched eight new microskills related to renewables, with the NSW government citing the recently signed National Skills Agreement and the need to transform the state economy for the net-zero transition. The five-year National Skills Agreement (NSA) takes effect in January, with the federal government to invest $12.6 billion in the vocational and educational training sector, up to $3.8 billion of this in NSW. (AU Manufacturing)
Study: Climate change will affect solar power and grid stability across Australia
An increasingly important question is what impact will climate change have on weather-induced inconsistencies in solar generation? The newly published research is the first to quantify climate change’s impact on solar resource reliability in Australia over the next century. You can read the full study here. (UNSW)
• Regional climate model simulations predict decline in solar intensity over West Australia by 2099.
• Future solar resource reliability may increase in regions of Eastern Australia.
• A decline in intermittency is predicted in regions of Eastern Australia by 2099.
• West Australia may expect increase in future intermittency with decrease in resource reliability.
AER releases report on energy price peaks
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has released a report which analysed the trading periods between April and June 2023 where energy prices exceeded $5,000 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in the National Energy Market (NEM). There have been improved outcomes in wholesale energy markets, with average wholesale electricity prices significantly lower than the record highs seen in 2022. There has also been a reduction in the number of these high-price events, with 30-minute prices exceeding $5,000 per MWh 16 times over this period compared to 42 times over the same period in 2022. Read the full report here. (Energy Magazine)
CSIRO uses ‘falling’ ceramic particles used to store energy at extreme temperatures
Falling ceramic particles less than half a millimetre in size have been used by Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, to store energy in a concentrated solar thermal system. By placing tiny ceramic particles at the centre of a new concentrated solar thermal (CST) process. It says the novel concept increases temperatures in the process from 500°C to 800°C, and possibly over 1000°C. This, it says, holds promise for decarbonising heavy industry, which can require extreme heat for processing. It also overcomes some of the limitations of heat transfer fluids traditionally used in concentrated solar thermal (CST) technologies, the CSIRO says. (PV Magazine)
QLD Council to lead FOGO-to-energy study
A Southeast Queensland council will lead a study into the feasibility of converting FOGO (food organics and garden organics) into energy. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) last week announced a $300,000 grant to Logan City Council, in partnership with Queensland University, to investigate how food and garden waste can be converted to renewable energy. The $650,000 feasibility study will look at diverting household FOGO waste to produce biomethane gas, biochar and a pelletised fertiliser known as prill at Council’s award-winning Loganholme Wastewater Treatement Plant. (Government News)
South Australia’s big move into green hydrogen | Energy Insiders Podcast
State energy minister Tom Koutsantonis discusses green hydrogen plan, filling the “gap” on renewables, transmission, storage, and prices.
The power of putting First Nations first | Solar Insiders Podcast
How Beon Energy has left a lasting legacy and set a new benchmark for meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities. Plus, AEMO’s solar switch-off push.
Webinar: Now is the time for a smarter grid | Renew Economy
Australia is going through a major debate right now about the closure timings of the country’s big coal fired power stations. Harnessing consumer and distributed energy resources – solar, batteries, and EVs – are part of the solution.
Our photo of the week (from the Meralli archives) was taken mid-buid at the Chillamurra Solar Farm, the project that started it all for Meralli Solar. Located at Boggabilla, NSW and completed in 2017, this solar farm was groundbreaking, and we won an Innovation Award for it. Chillamurra Solar Farm’s generation capacity is capable of powering 2,500 homes on average.