More wind and solar means early closure of coal plants is more likely

ITK has updated its price and new supply estimates as we do each quarter, and the results are not good news for the incumbent coal generators.

The main conclusions are that, rather than slowing down, there has actually been about 3.5GW of utility-scale wind and solar projects getting the final go-ahead so far in 2020. These projects have been driven by the Queensland government, the ACT government, Snowy Hydro and also by large PPAs, typically with US-based technology companies such as Amazon.

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Neoen, Tesla win contract to build Australia’s biggest battery in Victoria

French renewable energy developer Neoen has won a contract held by the Victoria government to the build the biggest battery in Australia in Geelong, providing essential services to the Victoria grid.

The 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery will be more than twice the size of the 150MW/194MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve, which was until recently the biggest battery in the world, and was recently expanded to add new synthetic inertia and other key grid services to South Australia.

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Queensland utility teams with BoM to boost solar and wind forecasting

Queensland government-owned utility Powerlink has announced a “strategic partnership” with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, in a bid to better inform the planning and decision-making of the transmission network service provider (TNSP) with an increasingly solar and wind based grid.

Powerlink CEO Paul Simshauser said on Wednesday that the “industry-first” partnership would see the TNSP work with the Bureau over the next three years to access specialised knowledge and data, and deliver targeted research, particularly around solar forecasts.

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A $90 Million Solar Farm Makes University of Queensland 100% Renewable

The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia has laid claim to a renewable energy first. Not just first in the state of Queensland, or the nation of Australia—but reportedly first in the world. Since the opening of the US$90 million (AU$ 125 million) 64MW Warwick Solar Farm, UQ is held to be the first major university in the world to draw all the power required for its daily operations from renewable energy sources alone. 

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Trial of sheep grazing under solar panels shows early positive results

A trial of sheep grazing on a solar farm in the central-west of New South Wales is hoping to shed light on the impact of sheep around solar panels.

The issue of grazing near and under panels has been debated over the years, with some producers concerned over the use of prime agricultural land for solar farms.

On a property west of Parkes, 120 merino wethers have been grazing on the Parkes Solar Farm as part of a bloodline trial.

Head of the trial committee Graeme Ostini said the trial started in mid-2019 as part of other trials being run across the country.

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Coal regions advised to look to renewables for jobs growth as IEA report highlights falling demand

Demand for Australian thermal coal has peaked, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), and renewables will deliver 80 per cent of the world’s energy needs in the next few years.

In its annual report on the World Energy Outlook the IEA said demand for oil was likely to rebound but that was not the case for thermal coal. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has been saved by its mineral exports, especially iron ore and coal.

Exports are worth $70 billion and they have doubled in the past decade. But the IEA’s report said the global economic slump caused by the pandemic would cause a fall in demand for energy, with oil and coal the hardest hit.

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Solar Is the Cheapest Electricity in History

In a new report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says solar is now the cheapest form of electricity for utility companies to build. That’s thanks to risk-reducing financial policies around the world, the agency says, and it applies to locations with both the most favorable policies and the easiest access to financing. The report underlines how important these policies are to encouraging development of renewables and other environmentally forward technologies.

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