Senec Australia's MD, Ian Parkinson, has a long-term vision that sees households, businesses and whole communities empowered to take back energy control from the corporate petrochem companies. Ian is determined to make Senec a key part of the energy market in Australia and New Zealand.
In his presentation, Ian said that most homes won't be able to get completely off the grid mostly due to our excessively high consumption of power. A 10kw battery system is around $16,500 installed and prices are unlikely to come down any time soon because demand outstrips supply. This is not only because of the demand from the housing industry but extremely high demand from the world-wide auto industry. An example is that Norway will soon be a 100% electric vehicle country.
Ian also brought an actual battery for us to view. Even though the price is currently high, demand is strong.
SEN is a 100% volunteer-run organisation. Thanks to a grant from Volunteering WA (and Lotterywest) we celebrated National Volunteer Week with a special party with lots of nice food and a presentation of gift baskets to volunteers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty working with Politicians to provide information about Renewable Energy Policy, advancing the technical capabilities (through SIREN - see http://www.sen.asn.au/modelling_overview), and general assistance progressing the adoption of renewable energy in WA.
The various Team Leaders gave an update of the extensive work they have been doing and expect to do during the coming year.
Our speaker, Professor Bill Grace, generated quite a bit of excitement and discussion around the implications of the growth of rooftop solar and storage. Bill offered several scenarios based on very low technology costs resulting in a high uptake of ‘behind the meter’ household and commercial solar PV and battery storage. Under these assumptions, utility-scale renewables might play a less important role as we transition to 100% renewables. Bill presented scenarios for a 100% renewable transition by 2030, 2040 and 2050. The 2030 scenario shows a relatively quick transition from fossil fuel generation with a mix of domestic and utility-scale renewables. However, in the models presented, private solar generation and storage would eclipse large scale renewables by 2050 because of their rapidly falling costs. This could impact the economics for investors in utility-scale renewables.
While these scenarios paint a different picture to SEN's own modelling, the similarities highlight the need for Government to provide leadership in the transition to renewables. Government intervention is needed to ensure an optimal mix of technologies on the grid, and plan appropriately for grid security and reliability. To see Professor Bill Grace’s presentation click here.
Our December 2016 SEN Presents was a call to WA Politicians that WA can “Cut emissions by half by end of term of Government”. Our experts, Angus King and Ben Rose, showed that 85% reduction in emissions is feasible by 2030 and how the SWIS can close all coal and replace it with wind and solar PV with no increase in cost of electricity!
Click here to see the presentation
Zero Carbon Australia Renewable Energy Superpower Report - Thursday 27 October at UWA
We were pleased to present something different this month!
The topic was Zero Carbon Australia Renewable Energy Superpower Report and it is the Perth Launch by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE).
SEN AGM and Presentation by Professor Ray Wills was held on Monday 12 September 2016
Professor Ray Wills gave us an amazing preview into the adoption of smarter technologies ̶ including cleantech, automation, robotics and 3D printing ̶ in homes, businesses and industry in every city, and connected through social media and smart devices including wearables, is changing the world and the way we interact with family, friends and customers, and much faster than (almost) anyone imagined.
He showed us how quickly will we respond, and change how we live and work in the cities we live in and what this means for future business growth and rapidly changing community expectations. Our renewed, smart cities will be looking amazing by 2040! We hope to have a link to his presentation soon. To see Professor Wills'presentation: click here
Our August 1st SEN Presents revisited large scale solar.
Daniel Thompson, Director of Development, Australia, SolarReserve, gave us an excellent presentation on the latest in concentrating solar power (CSP), its present deployment and future prospects.
He discussed: About SolarReserve, a leading global developer of utility-scale solar power projects; CSP technology; The operating CSP facility at Crescent Dunes, Tonopah, Nevada, USA; The Aurora project – a SolarReserve proposal for CSP at Port Augusta, South Australia; International developments and the progression down the cost curve.
You can read the edited presentation on CSP here. It has great explanations, diagrams and photos.
SEN Presents June 2016 – The Potential of Tidal Power in the Kimberley
Our June 20th SEN Presents explored a largely forgotten resource in Australia, tidal power. The tides of the Kimberley, together with HVDC transmission lines, could potentially supply all of Australia’s electricity needs.
Ivan Quail, SEN Committee member, presented the findings of his study on possibilities of harnessing tidal power from the Kimberley. His study was based on a 1962 report by John Lewis, now in his nineties and present as a special guest at this meeting, which explored in detail the prospects for harnessing tidal energy along the Kimberley coastline. However, this report and subsequent submissions to government on the topic have essentially been ignored so far. Ivan showed that there were bays and inlets all along the Kimberley coast where tidal differences could be up to 14 m. Thus there would be plenty of scope for installing tidal fences or barrages to effectively capture tidal energy. New HVDC transmission line technology could effectively transfer this electricity across the entire country. Costs of establishing tidal energy facilities would only involve initial capital costs and limited subsequent maintenance, making it only one third of the cost of nuclear energy, for example. However, detailed planning and costings are yet to be done. Nevertheless, this presentation served as a reminder that a potentially viable renewable energy resource, additional to solar, wind, wave and geothermal, is available in WA and awaiting detailed official consideration.
Also, after Ivan’s presentation, Eamonn Darcy of Sun Brilliance Group gave an update on the recently held 3rd International Workshop on NILM (Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring = electricity disaggregation = energy efficiency through appliance specific feedback). He explained the latest developments in software permitting monitoring of changes in the voltage and current going into a facility, without attaching meters to individual appliances, and deducing what appliances are used in the facility as well as their individual energy consumption. This simplifies fault detection and therefore permits timely fault remediation. This is a rapidly evolving field with good prospects for increasing energy use efficiency, in both industry and households.
This SEN Presents on 2nd May attracted our biggest audience ever, of about 125, due to widespread public interest in this rapidly emerging technology. Rooftop solar PV is in the process of disrupting traditional centralized electricity distribution systems and addition of battery storage systems threatens further such disruption.
Our first speaker, Masoud Abshar of Magellan Power, provided background on battery storage, for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. His company has been supplying high reliability DC and AC power systems and associated equipment to industry since 1992, including energy storage devices. More recently, they have moved into residential energy storage systems. However, he pointed out that we are only at the base of a potential adoption curve for home energy storage, as there are several factors that would determine the extent of adoption, such as costs and future policies affecting the existing grid. He also pointed out that development of appropriate software to manage efficient use of an energy storage system was crucial.
Then, Craig Donohue of Clean NRG, gave practical insight into the logistics and economics of installing battery systems at residential and commercial level. He stated that simply replacing a grid connection with energy storage was at present not economic, although of course new energy storage options are a boon for those off-grid. He emphasized the need to fully understand the customer’s needs and expectations before recommending a particular energy storage system. He then described the procedure for installing fit-for-purpose energy storage systems.
Steve wins WA Volunteer of the Year Award
We are very proud to announce that Steve Gates, one of SEN's founders, former Chairman and current Technical Team Leader, won the WA Volunteer of the Year Award at a gala dinner at the Hyatt Hotel on 11 May. This is an amazing honour for Steve's work in sustainable energy and engineering. Read more here or here on our FB .
A panel of speakers discussed community-based approaches to Promoting Suburban Solar, followed by questions and comments from the audience of more than 70.
Compulsory New Build Solar: Dan Loden, Engineer and City of Vincent Councillor, firstly provided the background to the rapid world-wide expansion of rooftop solar PV and how it is changing traditional centralized energy distribution systems. City of Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins then lead us through the process of how he induced the Nedlands council to adopt compulsory new build solar.
Community Solar Campaign Trial: Julie McMinn explained this trial being run in Town of Cambridge schools. This is a “switch your thinking” initiative which Julie is looking to expand into other local councils.
Finally, Claire Spencer, who proposed and organized this presentation, encouraged the audience to approach their local councils to institute new build solar and generally promote greater use of renewable energy in their jurisdictions.
SEN Presents 2 March 2016: Beta Launch of SIREN Toolkit
Angus King, Ben Rose and Steve Gates presented the modelling procedure for evaluation of renewable energy options for WA’s SWIS electricity grid to a specifically invited audience of specialists and others with likely direct interests. The SIREN model permits quantification of wind and solar resources for any location using freely available global databases. This information is fed into an Excel-based Powerbalance sheet which can evaluate renewable and non-renewable options for electricity generation feeding into a grid. Options can be costed and relative carbon emissions calculated. For SWIS, a system using 85% renewable energy (a combination of wind, solar PV, ‘behind the meter’ batteries and open cycle gas turbines) would produce electricity slightly cheaper than using the current non-sustainable coal and gas resources.
After presentations a workshop allowing participants to themselves explore the toolkit was held and feedback to improve the procedure solicited. After incorporation of suggested improvements a public release of the SIREN Toolkit will be held later this year.
A well attended seminar.
Our first SEN Presents for 2016 seemed a bit unusual but this interesting topic complimented SEN's new modelling programme SIREN (Beta Launch on 2 March). While SIREN provides costed technical options for promoting renewables, our Key Speaker, Greg Morrison, talked knowledgeably about social organization methods of transition to sustainable societies facing climate challenges, which incorporates transition to renewable energy.
In addition, SEN's Vice Chair Samuel Begg gave a preview of SENs plans and strategies for the year. An exciting time for renewable energy, the SEN Technical Team continues to grow it's reputation as an independent research organisation. Samuel expounded the aims of our teams and the key discussion points, outlining their part in SEN's greater goals.
New Wave Power. At our October presentation Shawn Ryan co-inventor and Executive Director of Bombora Wave Power, described an interesting and novel invention that uses a bank of flexible cells or bags to turn differential wave pressures into large air flows. The air flow is pushed through an air turbine which converts the energy into electrical power. This all occurs close to shore on the seabed. Shawn, also described the next stage of development as a small scale prototype (~ 1.5 MW). It is being developed locally in Perth and has global potential and global interest.
SIREN model: Angus King gave us an introduction to the powerful SEN developed tool. SIREN is a modelling tool or simulator that can forecast the effectiveness, cost, production shortfalls or excess relative to grid demand, and applicability of renewable energy scenarios within the grid. It provides outputs at the hourly intervals or averages over longer time periods for up to one year at a time. It has a great potential to test the 'fit' of renewable farms; answer the concerns of fluctuating generation; and provides a credible basis by which to lobby for scenarios like 100% RE by 2030. The tool's outputs have been verified to correlate well with 2014 generation data. Further refinements and validation are in progress from Angus and the Tech Team with a probable public release in the coming months. Something to follow or get involved in.
A new committee has been elected - enabling a bright and exciting future for SEN. Welcome and support our new committee.
Rod Mitchell, National Coordinator, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Australia), described the CCL approach to reversing global warming, and its call for a revenue-neutral carbon price - specifically a Fee and Dividend that returns all of the revenue levied on the Carbon content of fossil fuels to households. CCL develops a relationship with whoever is in power.
Ecocentric Energy is a technology innovator in the energy sector operating in WA. In conjunction with their business partners CSIRO and IBM, they have developed the NRGi energy analytical tool that can seamlessly, in real-time, assess the energy efficiency of every electrical device down to a circuit level. This saves money and emissions.
Our ECO MAY SEN Presents showcased how waste food and liquid waste can be diverted from landfill to make clean, renewable energy.
Founded in 1916, Richgro is a family-run WA-based national business that manufactures premium garden products. It is currently run by 3rd generation Geoff Richards. Geoff will talk about how the company became involved with waste-to-energy and is now poised to divert a variety of food waste from local supermarkets and liquid waste from breweries, soft-drink and milk companies.
Biogass Renewables was commissioned to work in partnership with Richgro for the design, commission and delivery of the food waste-to-energy anaerobic digestion. Joseph Oliver is the Engineer in charge and he will talk about the technical aspects of the system, which is capable of diverting 35,000 – 50,000 tonnes/annum of food waste for heat and power generation to the grid and to off-set Richgro’s power demand.
Here are the presentations graciously lent to our readers for perusal:
Can electrical vehicles save the existing electricity grid from obsolescence / death spiral?
As electric vehicle sales continue to increase, how will our south-west grid cope with the increased demand? At our March SEN Presents, experts in the field will discuss how high electric vehicle uptake could actually be a real asset for our grid.
Professor Bill Grace is Adjunct Professor from the Australian Urban Design Research Centre, UWA. He will present the findings of his report "Solar strategy needed to avoid electricity death spiral".
Dr Christopher Jones is Vice President of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association. Chris will share what is happening with electrical vehicles in WA and present the latest information from high uptake countries like Norway and Pacific North America. He will also discuss how electric vehicles affect the local grid.
And a presentation about the exciting RAC electric recharge stations coming to the South West.
Here are the presentations graciously lent to our readers ...
Your best New Year REsolution yet…..
....is being a clean energy champion in 2015!
The world is changing, and 2015 could be our year! The largest of the polluting countries (China, USA) are finally starting to take climate change seriously; a positive new direction, given later this year the globe’s leaders will gather in Paris to hopefully agree to a serious emissions reduction drive.
In Australia, a big change to the RET is in the wind (boom boom) and it is now or never for the fight for renewables. Fracking, coal and uranium are all starting to unravel overseas and it is time to finish those industries for good and get sustainable energy now!
Our first SEN Presents for 2015 takes a look into what other “clean energy champions” are doing and how our partnerships will wage war on dirty industries in this critical year.
No Fracking WAy
CCWA Coal Campaign
CCWA Uranium-Free Campaign
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Is biomass for jet fuel the future of air travel? Find out how the industry is going and what could stand in the way of success.
Kevin Goss (Kevin Goss Consulting) and John McGrath (representing Future Farm Industries CRC) will talk about the directions of aviation biofuel. They will look at the specifics of the wood production and conversion supply chain.
Costa Tsesmelis has been working on a WA Biomass-to-Liquids project. He will talk about this project and maximising Bio-Jet Aviation Kerosene from Mallee Woodchips. This project is a Fischer Tropsch process rather than the Pyrolysis route being developed by the Airbus consortium.
The Western Australian community’s uptake of rooftop solar PV has been a great success story in many ways, going from a fringe technology to over 350MW of capacity in just a few short years. But are more perils than certainty ahead for the industry and its hundreds of thousands of additional potential customers? Or has this and related technology now developed so much momentum that it will “power on” despite softening support by some political parties?
SEN is delighted to present two accomplished and substantial experts in the power industry:
Ken Brown FIE Aust , CPEng has over 40 years’ experience in the power industry, including over 20 years as the General Manager System Management at Western Power, where he had responsibility for managing and operating the South West Interconnected System. Only recently retired from Western Power, Ken will give an overview of the issues with respect to the increasing uptake of renewables and how they may affect the operation of power systems. In 2010, Engineers Australia awarded him the National Professional Electrical Engineer of the Year.
Mike Laughton-Smith PSM has almost 30 years in the electricity utility industry, much of it in the service of mining and remote communities in WA. He worked in regional power delivery for the public service firstly with Western Power, and later with Horizon Power. At Horizon his work included delivery of world-first solar hybrid power stations at Marble Bar and Nullagine. He will talk about the challenges and opportunities for WA electricity network development to support the inevitable shift to renewable energy. He is currently the CEO of Balance Energy Solutions and the Chair of the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia. In 2011 he was awarded the Australian Public Service Medal in recognition of his work supplying reliable electricity to remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley and Pilbara.
We will also have an "action" related to solar power on the night, so come along and be a part of a movement of people who are demanding sustainable energy now!