Global Wind Day: Clean Energy Council celebrates Australia
Marking the annual event ‘Global Wind Day’, which celebrates wind energy and its development, Clean Energy Council has praised Australia’s progress.
Noting that wind energy is among the cheapest and most feasible renewable energy sources currently available, Kane Thornton, CEO of Clean Energy Council (CEC) stated that the COVID-19 pandemic should represent an acceleration of interest for the country.
Highlighting that significant progress has already been made in the South as the country weans itself off of fossil fuels like coal, Thornton impressed that the energy transition was far from over.
“Wind energy presents an enormous opportunity for Australia as we transition from carbon-emitting fossil fuel
“There’s undoubtedly more that can be done with the right transmission line infrastructure investment. Now, we see Western Australia taking up the challenge and harnessing its clean energy resources with wind,” he said.
With the net contribution of renewable energy sources accounting for 23.5% (33 TWh) of Australia’s power in 2019, CEC estimates that 8.5% was accounted for by wind - double the amount recorded in 2014 - and 35% of renewable generation.
In addition, 2019 represented a particularly fertile year for wind power, which added a further 837 MW of new capacity. Currently, there are 28 new projects either under development or financially-backed.
Thornton stated that the benefits of renewable energy lie not just in its environmental virtues, but also its ability to improve the welfare of communities with cheaper, more reliable power that can grant a measure of independence.
“The growth in wind farm development comes at a critical time for our regional and rural economies, as they’ve been battered by long-term drought and, over the last year, fire,” he continues.
“Not only are there enormous benefits for our environment as we lower our carbon emissions, but renewable energy can solidify communities, improve energy reliability and help save money on electricity.”
Unlocking Tasmania’s energy potential
CEC also simultaneously announced that Marinus Link, an interconnector between the island of Tasmania and the Australian mainland, has been granted approval.
Part of a set of 15 projects (collective value: AU$72bn), Marinus Link will enable Tasmania to harness its vast wind and hydroelectric potential by providing a method of export to the mainland.
Augmenting the already accelerated renewable energy development of Southern Australia, the project could play a significant part in driving energy prices down for consumers and be a harbinger for a net-zero carbon economy by 2035.
A.study conducted prior to planning Marinus Link found that $2.9bn of value could be unlocked under current conditions, but with the potential to unlock an additional $5.7bn through further renewable energy investments.
“There are hundreds of large-scale wind and solar projects that have been identified with planning approval and are well placed to proceed quickly,” concluded Thornton.
“By accelerating approvals, $50bn of investment could be added to our economy, while more than 30,000 MW of capacity and more than 50,000 new jobs in constructing these projects, along with many more indirect jobs, would cement Australia’s position as a clean energy superpower.”
Octopus Renewables buys Eclipse Power
The deal, which was completed with funds managed by Octopus, furthers Octopus’ involvement in the electricity distribution sector, having worked with Eclipse since 2018. It will allow Eclipse to continue the expansion of its team, while also investing in its systems, technology, and pipeline, with the ambition of making it one of UK’s leading IDNOs.
Eclipse has secured a portfolio of more than 10,000 connections across residential, industrial, commercial, battery storage and electric vehicle charging customers. Given the focus on electrification of heat, transport and industry in the UK, Eclipse is expected to play an important role in facilitating the UK’s energy transition.
Octopus Renewables is the largest investor of utility scale solar power in Europe, as well as a leading investor in onshore wind and biomass, managing a global portfolio valued at more than £3.5 billion. Institutional investor Nest partnered with the company in March.
Peter Dias, Investment Director, Octopus Renewables, said: “Having worked with Eclipse since 2018 and seeing their exciting growth, we’re thrilled to be able to make this acquisition and support the team to maintain this momentum.
“The acquisition of Eclipse is part of our strategy to identify and back great management teams that are supporting the energy transition. With ongoing support and investment, our investee businesses will have access to the expertise, business networks and financing to be able to scale faster and help contribute towards the UK’s net-zero goals.
“High-quality management of the distribution networks is going to be critical for the UK, and we are very pleased to be directly supporting the decarbonisation of heat, transport, and industry through this acquisition of Eclipse.”
Gary Gay, Managing Director, Eclipse, added Octopus shares a clear understanding of the important role that electricity distribution networks will play in the UK’s drive towards net-zero, and importance of a customer-focussed approach for building future smart distribution networks.
“With that, we are excited to now be part of the Octopus Group, with this investment helping us to reach the next stage of our growth journey and contribute to a greener, more efficient electricity network in the UK.”
Global renewables updates
ReNew Power recently won a 200MW/ac Interstate Transmission System (ISTS) solar generation project in an auction conducted by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company. ReNew Power expects to sign a 25-Year Power Purchase Agreement with the utility by the third fiscal quarter of 2022 to supply clean energy to Maharashtra at a tariff of Rs 2.43/ kWh (~US$0.033).
Natel Energy, a supplier of sustainable hydropower solutions, has announced a $20M funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and supported by Chevron Technology Ventures.
The company will use the funding to deploy its Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT), which enables cost-effective production of distributed reliable renewable energy.
Duke Energy Florida plans to invest an estimated $1 billion in 10 new solar power plants across Florida, including the construction of four new sites, which will begin in early 2022 and will take approximately 9 to 12 months to complete. Construction of all 10 sites is projected to be finished by late 2024.
LG Electronics has made public its commitment to transition completely to renewable energy by 2050 as a key component of its sustainability strategy.