Tag Archives: Finance

Tesla’s Elon Musk in Talks with Government to Fix SA’s Energy Crisis.

In a further development from last week’s claim he could fix the South Australia’s energy crisis possibly using his own money with a battery farm “If not completed within 100 days” with his own products, Tesla founder Elon Musk has over the weekend spoken to both the South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill and the Prime Mr Malcolm Turnbull.

On Friday, the Tesla founder said energy storage could solve the state’s current electricity problems with the use of a battery farm, and this gained further traction when co-founder of software firm Atlassian Mike Cannon-Brookes said on twitter that if Mr musk could guarantee 100MW in 10 days he could “make the $ happen” and followed by offering “mates rates”.

A spokesperson for the premier told the ABC that Mr Weatherill was in discussions with Mr Musk and with Mr Cannon-Brooks regarding power matter for the state.

He said Mr Weatherill was keen to discuss the matter and was “certainly not ruling it out”.

In the past, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly said that the State’s blackouts have been caused by an overly hasty transition from coal to the “less reliable” renewable energy sources, and that these supply problems could be solved with battery storage technology.

Both Mr Turnbull and Mr Musk spoke for some time early on Sunday afternoon, with the Prime Minister taking to Twitter to thank Mr Musk for “a great in depth discussion” in “delivering affordable and reliable electricity”.

And Mr Musk responding in kind with “You’re most welcome. Very exciting to discuss the future of electricity. Renewables + storage arguably biggest disruption since DC to AC.”

Australia has always been considered the world’s top market for rooftop solar, with South Australia using more renewable power than anywhere else in the country. After storms collapsed electricity infrastructure, fierce debates have raged over the state’s energy policy.

Earlier in the week, Tesla had rolled out the second version of its very popular version of its home battery system, the Powerwall II, there Mr Lyndon Rive, who is Tesla’s Vice President for energy products and Mr Musk’s cousin, credited the new Gigafactory with making the company’s 100MW offer possible.

“Because of the big factory that we’ve built that is now operational, that’s caused a boost in production and made it cost effective,” Rive said. He added, “We are very confident that this tech can stabilize the grid.”

Mr Cannon-Brookes has also spent the weekend “working hard” on the proposal and further tweeted on Sunday night that he had met with Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel who is reviewing the energy system.

“It’s been an incredible 48 hours,” he told Fairfax Media in a statement.

“It’s evident that there is popular support for an alternative approach to solving the nation’s electricity challenges. The idea of using storage to time shift renewable energy rather than further investing in fossil fuels is huge. This would be a world first technology, unreplicated anywhere else, and will put South Australia on the map.

“It’s inspiring to see when Aussies come together using our
collective ingenuity and smarts, we can make sh*t happen.”

Mike Cannon-Brookes

“This stuff is space age. It’s mind blowing to think that approaching the problem with forward thinking techniques – using technology and innovation – could be a (relatively) speedy solution for South Australia, improving thousands of people’s lives. It’s inspiring to see when Aussies come together using our collective ingenuity and smarts, we can make sh*t happen.

“I’ve been working hard over the weekend figuring things out and understanding the complexities of the situation: does it solve the problem; is it economically viable; what are the other blockers? I’m excited to see what unfolds this week.”

Talks Continue

And we will continue to watch this space.

Australia’s new solar capital? Collinsville poised for a rebrand

Solar provides rays of hope for Collinsville in north Queensland as companies vie to take advantage of 300 days a year of perfect sunshine.

Source: Australia’s new solar capital? Collinsville poised for a rebrand

Summer heat broke 205 records and more extreme weather is to come, Climate Council of Australia reports – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The summer of 2016/17 has been dubbed the ‘angry summer’ by climate scientists who’ve been investigating just how extreme things got.

Source: Summer heat broke 205 records and more extreme weather is to come, Climate Council of Australia reports – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Stronger Climate Change Act for Victoria Passed into Law

In a move set to please many across the state, Victoria’s recently strengthened “Climate Change Plan” is now the Climate Change Act and has successfully passed into law in Parliament today.

The act is now a significant reform that leads the way to a much cleaner Victoria, with less pollution and better prepared for the impacts of global warming, Environment Victoria said today.

“Finally Victoria has a Climate Change Act capable of setting Victoria on the path to zero climate pollution,” said Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham.

The Bill creates a new Climate Change Act which will:

  • * Establish a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050;
  • * Require five-yearly interim emissions targets from 2020 onwards;
  • * Improve accountability and transparency on efforts to cut emissions;
  • * Ensure all arms of government are factoring climate change impacts and emissions reductions into their decision-making and policy setting.

Mr Wakeham today said:

“The new Climate Change Act provides a framework for action to reduce climate pollution across the economy, and encourages immediate and long term planning to prepare for the impacts of global warming.

“We have long been calling for a stronger Climate Change Act, and we congratulate the Andrews Government on their commitment to reducing pollution and standing up for a safe future for Victoria.

“Victoria is already experiencing the effects of global warming with damaging impacts across the state. This legislation is a critical intervention in Victoria’s efforts to address the climate crisis.

“As we experience more extreme weather events, we will need our political representatives to come together with ambitious actions to halt global warming and its impacts.

 “We welcome the commitment shown for the legislation by each of The Greens, The Sex Party and Jobs for the West in voting in support of a stronger Climate Change Act.

 “Unfortunately the Victorian Coalition continued their reckless opposition to any measure that reduces pollution or prepares Victoria for a safe, clean future. A poll of Victorians released just today shows that 4 out of 5 Victorians support the Climate Change Act’s zero emissions target for 2050.

“In opposing the Act and this target the Coalition is demonstrating how out of touch they are with the concerns of the Victorian community on this issue.

“In fact by voting against the Climate Change Act and announcing their opposition to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target, the Coalition is doing everything they can to sabotage the solutions to global warming.  Only a tiny minority of Victorians oppose reducing pollution in our economy – unfortunately many of them seem to reside in the Liberal party room.”

Forget what you’ve heard about coal. Electricity prices are going up regardless

I’ll give it to you cold. Electricity prices are going up.

Source: Forget what you’ve heard about coal. Electricity prices are going up regardless

Call ASM Money for all your Renewable Energy and Business Finance Needs 1300 080 163.

CSIRO says Australia can get to 100 per cent renewable energy : Renew Economy

CSIRO says no technical barriers to 100% renewables, and levels of up to 30% should be considered “trivial” as other energy experts reject conservative attachment to “baseload” fossil fuels.…

Source: CSIRO says Australia can get to 100 per cent renewable energy : Renew Economy

EnergyAustralia signs up for Victoria’s first large-scale solar farm : Renew Economy

EnergyAustralia signs third PPA in 3 months, this time a 13-year deal for all the electricity generated by Victoria’s 60MW Gannawarra Solar Farm.

Source: EnergyAustralia signs up for Victoria’s first large-scale solar farm : Renew Economy

Labor’s policy dance likely means more gas, not renewables

The designers of the scheme Labor has embraced to meet climate targets admit it is designed to promote gas, not wind or solar – even with a 50% emission reduction target.

Source: Labor’s policy dance likely means more gas, not renewables

Neoen to go ahead with 130MW of Solar in Australia with ARENA and CEFC backing.

After last Septembers approval of up to 12 large-scale-solar photovoltaic (PV) projects by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). French renewable energy firm Neoen has confirmed they will go ahead with the development of 130MW of large-scale-solar across three separate projects in NSW

Project Name Size (MW) DC Est Project Cost $ Nearest Town
Parkes Solar Farm 66 $114 million Parkes, NSW
Griffith Solar Farm 36 $62.2 million Griffith, NSW
Dubbo Solar Farm 28 $51.8 million Dubbo NSW


The ongoing projects have achieved financial support of an estimated $166 million in funding from both the ARENA’s ground breaking large-scale-solar competitive round from 2016($16 – $20 million), and financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) ($150 million).

This competitive round has driven costs down and investment up” said Ivor Frischknecht, CEO of ARENA

The plants will cost around $2 per watt of capacity, one third cheaper than AGL’s plants in Nyngan and Broken Hill, which cost $2.8 per watt in 2014 and were competitive at the time.”  He said.

Lead by Gloria Chan of the CEFC large-scale solar program, these three projects will increase the state’s large-scale solar capacity by more than half, said Gloria Chan.

“While we have seen increasing investment in renewable energy in Australia, there is still a large investment gap that the CEFC is working to close so we can meet the Renewable Energy Target,” Chan said.

“The CEFC has a significant pipeline of solar projects and we are looking forward to confirming additional financing commitments as soon as transactions are finalised. When fully deployed, our large-scale solar program will represent the largest lending commitment to the large-scale solar sector in Australia to date.”

Neoen Australian managing director Franck Woitiez said his company is hoping for 1GW of renewable energy assets in Australia. The projects will create about 250 jobs during construction and will produce enough renewable energy to power 41,000 homes.

“With long-term debt from the CEFC, and the support from ARENA, Neoen continues to invest in the future of the Australian energy mix, and delivers on its promises of building sustainable, competitive and renewable electricity,” Mr Woitiez said.

The Neoen solar farms at Parkes and Griffiths have also secured commitment by way of PPA agreements with Engie for the sale of the energy generated by these solar farms, with the Dubbo project progressing on a merchant basis.

“This is the first large-scale solar PPA signed by ENGIE in Australia, adding to its existing renewable energy offtake of the 46MW Canunda windfarm and representing another large energy player ramping up its involvement in Australia’s renewable energy sector,” it says in the press release by ARENA.


ARENA was established by the Australian Government to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. Through the provision of funding coupled with deep commercial and technical expertise, ARENA provides the support needed to accelerate the development of promising new solutions towards commercialisation. ARENA invests in renewable energy projects across the innovation chain and is committed to sharing knowledge and lessons learned from its portfolio of projects and information about renewable energy. ARENA always looks for at least matched funding from the projects it supports and to date has committed $1.1 billion in funding to more than 270 projects. For more information, visit www.arena.gov.au.

About Neoen

Neoen is an independent power producer, generating electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind or biomass). Neoen develops, finances, builds and operates plants and is active in France, Portugal, Australia, Mexico, Egypt, Mozambique, Jamaica, Zambia, Jordan and El Salvador. With a current operating base of 1000 MW, Neoen seeks to achieve installed power of over 3,000MW by 2020. In Australia, Neoen owns and operates the South Australian Hornsdale Wind Farm (309MW) and the Western Australian DeGrussa Solar and Storage plant (10.6MW).

Founded in 2008, the company is a subsidiary of Impala SAS (www.impala-sas.com), a diversified investment group with over 6,000 employees and a global presence, of Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, and of private equity firm Omnes Capital (www.omnescapital.com). www.neoen.com.

About CEFC

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation invests, applying commercial rigour, to increase the flow of finance into the clean energy sector. Our mission is to accelerate Australia’s transformation towards a more competitive economy in a carbon constrained world, by acting as a catalyst to increase investment in emissions reduction. We do this through an investment strategy focused on cleaner power solutions, including large and small-scale solar, wind and bioenergy; and a better built environment, with investments to drive more energy efficient property, vehicles, infrastructure, and industry. The CEFC also invests with co-financiers to develop new sources of capital for the clean energy sector, including climate bonds, equity funds, aggregation facilities and other financial solutions. The CEFC operates under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012. For more information, visit cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au.


ENGIE develops its businesses (power, natural gas, energy services) around a model based on responsible growth to take on the major challenges of energy’s transition to a low-carbon economy: access to sustainable energy, climate-change mitigation and adaptation and the rational use of resources. The Group provides individuals, cities and businesses with highly efficient and innovative solutions largely based on its expertise in four key sectors: renewable energy, energy efficiency, liquefied natural gas and digital technology. In Australia, the company operates 3,550MW (gross) of renewable, gas-fired and brown coalfired plants in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Its retail business, Simply Energy, services more than 600,000 customer accounts in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. For further information visit http://www.gdfsuezau.com/

By Greg Ferrett

With renewable energy now less expensive than coal to generate of power in more than 60 countries (Business Insider – 20 April 2016) it makes me wonder why we are investing so much money developing expensive coal cleaning and emissions storage technologies.


With all the hype, and plenty of emotion, around both sides of the debate I thought might try and put this into perspective.

Coal, no matter how much we dislike it, still generates most of the power we use in Australia. In the 2016 update the Office of the Chief Economist stated Coal was used to generate 63% of our electricity, Gas 21% and renewable sources about 16%

Replacing all coal with renewable energy sources is our goal.

We need, however, to come to terms with the fact we will continue to burn coal, the dirtiest and most polluting of all fossil fuels, for some time into the future. Coal, when burned, produces poisonous gasses and enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. In the short-term we still need to do something about the poison we are putting into the environment.

What is coal?

Coal is a fossil fuel composed primarily of carbons and hydrocarbons. I suppose it is a bit like a solid version of oil. Extracts from coal is used to make plastics, tar and fertilisers. One of coal’s derivatives, a solidified carbon called coke, burns so hot it is one of the only things industry can use to melt iron ore and create steel. But most coal, however, goes into power production. Power companies and businesses with power plants burn coal to make the steam that turns turbines and generates electricity.

When coal burns, it releases carbon dioxide and other emissions in flue gas. Some clean coal technologies purify the coal before it burns. One type of coal preparation, coal washing, removes unwanted minerals by mixing crushed coal with a liquid and allowing the impurities to separate and settle.

Other systems control the coal burn to minimise emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates. Wet scrubbers, or flue gas desulfurization systems, remove sulphur dioxide, a major cause of acid rain, by spraying flue gas with limestone and water. The mixture reacts with the sulphur dioxide to form synthetic gypsum, a component of plasterboard used in building.

Low-NOx (nitrogen oxide) burners reduce the creation of nitrogen oxides, a cause of ground-level ozone, by restricting oxygen and manipulating the combustion process. Electrostatic precipitators remove particulates that aggravate asthma and cause respiratory ailments by charging particles with an electrical field and then capturing them on collection plates.

Gasification avoids burning coal altogether. With integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) systems, steam and hot pressurised air or oxygen combine with coal in a reaction that forces carbon molecules apart. The resulting syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, is then cleaned and burned in a gas turbine to make electricity. The heat energy from the gas turbine also powers a steam turbine. Since IGCC power plants create two forms of energy, they have the potential to reach a fuel efficiency of 50 percent [source: ­U.S. Department of Energy].

Where do the emissions go?

Carbon capture and storage, perhaps the most promising clean coal technology, catches and stores carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants. Since CO2 contributes to global warming, reducing CO2 release into the atmosphere is critical. In order to discover the most efficient and economical means of carbon capture, researchers have developed several technologies.

Flue-gas separation removes CO2 with a solvent, strips off the CO2 with steam, and condenses the steam into a concentrated stream. Flue gas separation renders commercially usable CO2, which helps offset its price.

oxy-fuel combustion, burns the fuel in pure or enriched oxygen to create a flue gas composed primarily of CO2 and water sidestepping the energy-intensive process of separating the CO2 from other flue gasses.

pre-combustion capture, removes the CO2 before it’s burned as a part of a gasification process.

After capture, secure containers store the collected CO2 to prevent or stall its re-entry into the atmosphere. I suppose this is a bit like how we need to store radioactive material for thousands of years – just with CO2 it is probably only hundreds of years. Currently there are two storage options being researched, geologic and oceanic, which will have to contain the CO2 until peak emissions subside hundreds of years from now. Geologic storage involves injecting CO2 into the earth. Ocean storage, a technology still in its early stages, involves injecting liquid CO2 into waters 500 to 3,000 meters deep, where it dissolves under pressure.

Why bother?

So back to the original questions. “With renewable energy now less expensive than coal to generate power why we are investing so much money into developing expensive coal cleaning and emissions storage technologies?” I suspect, as the cost of renewable energy generation continues to fall and the cost of energy production and storage of emissions from coal increases market forces will naturally make coal redundant for power generation.

The key reason to invest in the technology today, as I see it, is to keep emissions from coal manageable while renewable alternatives take over.

Of course, you never know, they may come up with a way to burn coal without emissions. I suspect not.

We can still keep global warming below 2℃ – but the hard work is about to start

We can still keep global warming below 2℃ – but the hard work is about to start

Pep Canadell, CSIRO; Corinne Le Quéré, University of East Anglia, and Glen Peters, Center for International Climate and Environment Research – Oslo

Last year we found that the growth in global fossil fuel emissions have stalled over the past three years. But does this mean we are on track to keep global warming below 2℃, as agreed under the 2015 Paris Agreement?

In our study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change today, we looked at how global and national energy sectors are progressing towards global climate targets.

We found that we can still keep global warming below 2℃ largely thanks to increasing use of clean energy, a global decline in coal use, improvements in energy efficiency, and a consequent stalling of emissions from fossil fuels over the past three years.

Nations need to accelerate deployment of existing technologies to lock in and build on the gains of the last three years. More challenging, is the needed investment to develop new technologies and behaviours necessary to get to net-zero global emissions by mid-century.

World moving away from fossil fuels

We looked at several key measures, including carbon emissions from fossil fuels, the carbon intensity of the energy system (how much carbon is produced for each unit of energy) and the amount of carbon emitted to produce one dollar of wealth.

The world share of energy from fossil fuels is starting to decline. There has been no growth in coal consumption and strong growth in energy from wind, biomass, solar and hydro power. The emerging trend is therefore towards lower carbon emissions from energy production.

Energy efficiency has also improved globally in recent years, reversing the trends of the 2000s. These improvements are reducing the amount of carbon emissions to produce new wealth.

From all these changes, global fossil fuel emissions have not grown over the past three years. Remarkably, this has occurred while the global economy has continued to grow.

As the global economy grows, it is using less energy to produce each unit of wealth as economies become more efficient and shift towards services.

These promising results show that, globally, we are broadly in the right starting position to keep warming below 2℃.

But modelling suggests that stringent climate policy will only slightly accelerate this historical trend of improvements in energy intensity. And to keep warming below 2℃ will require deep and sustained reductions in the carbon intensity of how energy is produced.

Looking at the carbon intensity of energy (how much carbon is produced for each unit of energy) shows that current emissions (black line) are in the right spot to keep warming below 2℃ (blue, red and yellow lines). However we’ll need much more work to close the mitigation gap (brown line). Peters et al 2016, Author provided

China leading the charge

We also looked at the countries that will have the greatest global impact.

The slowdown in global emissions in the past three years is due in large part to the reduced growth in coal consumption in China. Fossil fuel emissions in China grew at 10% per year over most of the 2000s, but have not grown since 2013. This signals a possible peak in emissions more than a decade earlier than predicted.

China is showing a significant decline in the share of fossil fuels in its energy sector. This has been driven by the decline in coal and the growth of renewable energies. The carbon intensity of fossil fuels has also been falling, for instance by burning coal more efficiently.

The United States has also reduced emissions in the last decade, with significant declines in coal consumption, particularly in the last few years. These declines have several causes, including a weaker economy in the last decade and continued improvements in energy efficiency, which have led to lower energy demand.

Emissions in the US have further declined due to a decline in carbon intensity of fossil fuels driven by the shift from coal to natural gas and the growth in renewables.

Emissions have declined in the European Union for several decades, most notably in the past 10 years as a weaker economy, along with continual improvements in energy efficiency, has led to declines in emissions. These declines are speeding up with the growing share of renewables in the energy sector.

India has sustained an emissions growth of 5-6% per year and is expected to continue growing, with little change in the underlying drivers of emissions growth.

Australia’s fossil fuel emissions have been stable or declining since 2009 as a result of the combined decline in the energy intensity of the economy and the carbon intensity of energy. However, fossil fuel emissions have grown since 2015.

The devil is in the detail

There is one big “but” in our analysis. We found that current fossil fuel trends are consistent with keeping warming below 2℃ because the future climate scenarios we use – assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – allow for relatively large amounts of fossil fuels use in the future.

These scenarios assume that large amounts of the carbon emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels will be removed using carbon capture and storage (CCS).

CCS is also widely used together with bioenergy to produce a technology that in effect removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In this process, plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, burning these plants produces bioenergy, and the resulting CO₂ emissions are captured and stored underground. The plants grow again and the cycle is repeated.

Most scenarios rely on large-scale deployment of CCS, in the order of thousands of CCS facilities by 2030, to keep warming under 2℃. At present, just a few tens of facilities are being planned. There is also a lack of commitment to CCS in most pledges under the Paris Agreement for 2030.

Although many of the current indicators are consistent with limiting warming to 2℃, there is now an urgent need for deployment of CCS to avoid the divergence from those pathways. That is unless technological alternatives can be deployed to cover the mitigation gap that is quickly emerging.

Many emissions scenarios also include removing large amounts of CO₂ from the atmosphere. Although bioenergy with CCS is the preferred technology in those scenarios, there is an equally urgent need to invest in the research and development of alternative negative emission technologies, potentially with a smaller environmental footprint.

Turning the slowdown into a decline

It is significant that emissions growth has slowed in the last three years. This is necessary to move onto an emission pathway consistent with keeping global average temperatures below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels.

The short-term challenge is to lock in this slowdown from declining coal use, switching coal for gas, and the increasing share of clean energy. This will reduce the risk of emissions rebounding if the global economy grows more strongly in the short term.

However, our research shows that for emissions to move onto a downward trend at the required speed will require emission reductions in a broader range of sectors and more rapid deployment of existing low-carbon technologies.

Ultimately, reaching zero emissions this century will require a rapid program of research and development to support a wide range of low-carbon technologies, including systems to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Pep Canadell, CSIRO Scientist, and Executive Director of the Global Carbon Project, CSIRO; Corinne Le Quéré, Professor, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, and Glen Peters, Senior Researcher, Center for International Climate and Environment Research – Oslo

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.