Renewables and energy efficiency are hot news. Here are some issues getting major media coverage.
Solar stars: Figures recently released on the growth of solar power generation worldwide have led experts to predict that 2016 is on track to deliver a sixth record year.
Wiki-Solar, which monitors the world’s large-scale photo-voltaic power plants, says Asia now accounts for almost 50 per cent of global capacity; largely due to projects in China and India.
Australia’s largest operating solar PV farm is the 102 megawatt (MW) Nyngan facility in New South Wales, which officially opened last year. It will produce enough energy to power more than 30,000 homes.
Other large Australian projects at various stages include the solar power element of Port Augusta’s Renewable Energy Park which will feature up to 1.6 million solar panels. A much larger facility is planned for Bulli Creek, Queensland. This solar farm will have a 2000MW capacity.
As well, the company which supplies many of Australia’s large-scale solar projects says that power outputs have been higher than it expected. Conservative estimates were given to ensure solid funding from equity investors. These encouraging results should make it easier for large-scale projects to get funding.
ERS says this proves solar’s future is assured and technical developments in large-scale solar projects will filter down to consumers in ever cheaper and more efficient technology.
Batteries included: A global battery storage revolution has been predicted by
research and consulting firm GlobalData.
Its latest market report predicts the installed capacity of global battery energy storage systems (BESS) will grow from 1.5 GW in 2015 to 14GW in 2020.
“Climate change concerns, government initiatives including renewable portfolio standards, and consumer efforts are resulting in increased deployment of solar and wind resources,” says GlobalData’s Analyst Swati Gupta.
“However, the variability of solar and wind power makes it hard for electricity providers to integrate them into the electricity grid. To achieve this, BESS are being installed into electricity grids to make the power supply from renewable energy sources smoother and more reliable.”
The US currently has the largest BESS market, valued at over $750 million in 2015. It is expected to continue to lead through 2020, with its market value reaching an estimated $1.7 billion by 2020.
ERS says battery storage is seen as the best option by many countries facing a future of unstable electricity markets.
Stand on your own two feet: International insurers with more than $A2 trillion in assets under management have urged the upcoming G20 leaders’ summit to commit to phasing out fossil fuel subsides by 2020.
The G20 leaders from the world’s 20 most powerful economies meet in China next month.
Insurance companies Aviva, Aegon NV and MS Amlin have signed a joint statement, along with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and Open Energi, warning governments of the risks of continuing to fund the production of oil, coal and gas.
At present G20 governments spend $444 billion a year supporting fossil fuel production, despite pledging every year since 2009 to phase out subsidies to help prevent climate change.
The insurers want a specific timeline for rapidly phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
Energy Rating Systems says alternative energy options are gathering force on the world stage and major economies must adjust to accommodate them.