The Power and the Politics Slowing Western Australia's Energy Transition
SEN Events was delighted to have Peter Milne, journalist, energy industry analyst and commentator through his online publication Boiling Cold (https://www.boilingcold.com.au) . He addressed an enthusiastic audience on a squally Monday night.
Peter gave an overview of the SW Power System and examined the current realities and future challenges in power delivery, decarbonisation and the interplay with the political issues impacting and holding back investment and development.
Sustainable Energy Now hosted three senior energy executives to answer this question. Together, they represented the entire spectrum of the energy industry with combined experience in utilities; commercial project development; system planning and engineering; and leading-edge renewables development.
Geoff Glazier, Managing Partner at Merz, Richard Winter, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Solar River Project and Rod Hayes, Chairman of Balance Group, gave their views and answered audience questions in an open, challenging, and positive session moderated by Sustainable Energy Now. It was revealed that there were no commercial sized Renewable Energy (“RE”) projects in development or construction in the SWIS (Southwest Interconnected System), the equivalent in Perth of the NEM in Eastern Australia..
In addition to the shocking status, the biggest take away from the discussion was that there is an absence of a commercial structure that supports new energy. So, even though there are investors and funds available, being unable to forecast how much energy would be allowed to be input to the system stops any investment.
How can you enter an energy provision contract with Aldi, for example, if you do not know how much energy you are going to be allowed to sell to Aldi in future years? If you do not know how much energy you will be able to sell, how do you know how much revenue you will generate? It is impossible.
What has brought about the current situation?
The much anticipated launch event for the Sustainable Energy Now (SEN) Jobs Report 2020 was held on Monday 14 September at RIFF.
Two panels comprising 8 industry leaders discussed the findings of the report, the future of the SWIS grid and new jobs rich, sunrise industries powered by renewables and storage, highlighting:
* 55,000 energy jobs on the SWIS grid over the decade 2020 - 2030.
* A 90% renewables and energy powered SWIS grid by 2030.
Dr Lex Fullarton is well credentialed in taxation law, and considers what is likely to happen to future motor vehicle fuel excises with an increase in the number of electric vehicles on Australia roads, the impact of rising self-generated electricity from renewable energy sources, and how that energy might be used to power electric vehicles in the future. He refers to his own case study of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) owned by the solar farm project, where he found that unless motor vehicles are charged from independent electricity sources, such as dispersed, embedded solar pv installations, little is saved in the way of greenhouse gas emissions. The case study demonstrates the 'triple bottom line' of economic, social and environmentally sustainable industry.
by Hon. Bill Johnson, MLA, Minister for Energy, Government of Western Australia.
Early this month, Energy Minister Bill Johnston released the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, produced by the McGowan Government's Energy Transformation Taskforce.
2 September 2019
Demand response can be put simply as a technology-enabled economic balancing method for grid based power systems.
Demand response is used by network operators to reduce the demand for electricity at particular times to help keep the grid stable. It has particular relevance in renewable energy power systems with intermittent generation and allows the system to cope with supply fluctuations without increasing the need for investment in more costly capacity.
At this panel presentation, we gained insights from 3 different perspectives: one from a retailer, Amanda Energy, one from the market operator AEMO, and one from a generator and consumer at the domestic level, Ian Porter.
2 December 2019
In this presentation Mark and Martin explored the potential applications of geothermal energy for heating and cooling; whether geothermal heating of water is already competitive against gas; and whether geothermal generation can provide baseload power and match demand. We heard about who is using it and where, and what is in store for the Australian geothermal industry?
Mark and Martin have worked extensively in the geothermal and groundwater industries, and have taken on the role of geothermal educators for a variety of audiences.
Mark outlined the key benefits and challenges of geothermal electricity generation, gave a brief history of geothermal exploration in Australia and discussed how geothermally generated electricity could fit into the Australian energy mix. Note that ARENA reported that geothermal electricity can provide one of the lowest Levelised Costs of Energy in the right circumstances.
Martin outlined the geothermal resources that exist in Australia and the role that direct utilisation of geothermal energy and Ground Source Heat Pumps can play for Australia’s energy future. The presentation will include an overview of the Perth’s geothermal projects (including pool heating).
14 October 2019
Mike Kilcullen , Chief Operating Officer at Starling Energy, presented the project that won the Energy Innovation of the Year” award in the Australian Institute of Energy, 2019 WA Energy Awards.
The project was originally launched as the Dunsborough Community Energy Project last year during the pilot phase, but will now be implemented across the whole of WA as the Plico Energy project.
In a highly interactive session, with a very engaged audience, Mike gave an overview of the model, the benefits of signing up, and who would benefit most. In summary the project will:
Monday 10 June.
Architecture Maximizing Solar Design: Big Picture Implications for Addressing Climate Change
A long time advocate for progressing sustainable practices within the building industry and beyond, Garry presented an insight into his journey advocating for change in land development, building design, retrofit and embedding innovation into practice.
Despite a myriad of initiatives in design support, changes in energy efficiency compliance in development and building licenses as well as exhaustive public education programs going for over 50 years now, to date, little has been achieved.
Despite the general inertia in the industry, Garry put forward a plan, while stressing the urgency, calling for a total systems change of thinking to maximize the potential for Green House Gas savings. Conservation of resources in this sector, with far more targeted scientific and innovative strategies, is needed, to deliver the outcomes.
That the built environment constitutes the significant part of the GHG emissions footprint, the presentation stressed the reason for prioritising the building industry for restructuring, towards climate sensitive objectives.
Garry Baverstock was awarded the Order of Australia in 2006 for his ground breaking work in eco-architecture and in recognition of his significant contribution to Australian society.
Further information can be found via Garry's website http://ecotect-architects.com/
29 April 2019
Transforming the SWIS : Julius Susanto on the new AEMO modelling tools.
Aware that the WA South West Interconnected System (SWIS) is increasingly accommodating a higher ratio of non-synchronous generators due to rapid and unprecedented uptake of solar PV and other distributed energy resources, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) took the decision to develop their own proprietary in-house modelling tools to identify where shortfalls in system security may lie and the needed system resources to offset system security risks in this area.
Here is the recording of the presentation.
23 March 2019
Jay Weatherill, ex premier of South Australia joined Sustainable Energy Now, BDO and Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) for a discussion around energy transition, the role of government, challenges WA faces and the deal with Tesla.
Jay provided some interesting insights to the series of circumstances that led to the lights going out in South Australia, and gave a candid account of the "story" that was told in the media. He reflected that the move to renewable energy is inexorable and unstoppable, and being driven outside government by entities such as industry super funds.
Jay pointed out that there are some advantages to the transition process in Western Australia, such as the fact that WA has ownership of some of the critical generation assets and the network, and that this state has a gas reservation policy. He also flagged some possibilities for the WA market, going forward.
There was much to take away from the conversation.
the QandA that followed:
18 March 2019
Dr Rob Phillips presented the findings of The Kimberley Clean Energy Roadmap, commissioned by The Wilderness Society (WA), Environs Kimberley and the Lock the Gate Alliance. The study modelled and mapped a comprehensive, fully-costed Renewable Energy (RE) roadmap for the Kimberley.
Dr Phillips described the project and demonstrated that RE can provide a cleaner and cheaper energy future across the West Kimberley while providing much needed long term jobs. The presentation also discussed implementation and employment issues, demonstrating how a roll-out of RE across the Kimberley could result in 184 direct long term jobs for the Kimberley region and State of WA, including local indigenous employment opportunities. A link to the PowerPoint presentation is available here link.
A copy of the full report the Kimberley Clean Energy Roadmap is available here Report. A hard copy is available at the SEN Presents which are held every 6 weeks, as advertised on our Events Calendar page, or send an email to [email protected]
Eloise Burnett, Manager Offshore Wind, Programmes and Innovations at the UK Carbon Trust, gave a very insightful presentation.
The Carbon Trust is helping the move towards a sustainable, low carbon economy by innovating and developing the offshore wind renewable energy industry, and has. The Trust has been at the forefront of the offshore wind industry for the past decade, working closely with government, developers, supply chain, and innovators to inform policy, support technology designers, identify opportunities to reduce the cost of energy, and deliver innovation programmes to achieve cost reduction.
Eloise provided insights on the UK experience and the learnings relevant to Western Australia.
The final SEN Presents for the year featured number of key influencers in the Western Australian Energy sector come together for a lively panel discussion on the topic:
Western Australian Electricity Sector:
Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward.
Our panelists included:
Mark Paterson General Manager of Horizon Power's Consumer Energy Division
Jason Froud Policy Manager with Synergy
Seán Mc Goldrick Exec Manager Asset Management at Western Power
Cameron Parrotte Exec General Manager at Australian Energy Market Operator WA
We were very appreciative of the calibre of the discussion, and the frankness of the responses. It was a most valuable and entertaining night.
Richard Harris of the WA Independent Power Association (WAIPA) provided a highly relevant presentation about the current energy market, and the challenges ahead. He spoke of the need for a Renewable Energy Target, the need for a national approach, and for emissions reduction.
A copy of his presentation can be obtained by contacting the Events Team [email protected].
SEN Presents Electric Vehicles holding their own
3 September 2018
The Electric Targa South West Tour was launched in May this year, which was Australia's first dedicated tarmac Electric Vehicle category for Road Registered users. Florian Popp and other local enthusiasts discussed their drive experience on closed, Rally stage roads in the pristine South West Forrests. THhe results were impressive. Following the presentation, we had the opportunity to inspect 2 Tesla EVs,
A key message of the night is that the advent of electric cars, requires considered and pragmatic technical action by our state government and utilities, and SEN is an important conduit for such like minded industry partners.
Holding a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, a Master of Engineering Science and a Graduate Diploma Technology Management (Deakin) Laurie Curro came to speak to our April SEN Presents at short notice. With more than 35 years’ experience working in the Power Transmission and Distribution industry, with particular interest in distribution and power system planning, distribution design, distribution reliability power quality, system operations and maintenance and smart grid planning, Laurie provided some fascinating insights into the work at Horizon Power.
As General Manager Power System Services, Laurie presented a fascinating overview of why Microgrids are important and spoke about 2 innovative projects underway in regional WA:
- The Onslow Distributed Energy resource Project
- Trials in Carnarvon leading up to Onslow.
Laurie held our attention to the end, and was generous in his responses to audience questions.
A great night!