Outlook for Australian Solar Market is Positive, says Citigroup
In a surprisingly optimistic forecast, Citigroup predicted that the Australian solar market would reach 14 GW by 2020. This would require a growth of 2.2 GW per year—with current capacity at 3.5 GW—to reach the predicted goal. This prediction includes both rooftop and utility-scale solar.
The biggest question mark for the prediction remains Australia’s Renewable Energy Target and how its potential scaling back could dramatically affect the solar market, though that ultimately remains to be seen.
“There is no commentary directly linked to the Australian forecasts—which are part of a global solar demand forecast—so it is unclear whether this takes into account any changes to the renewable energy targets,” CleanTechnica’s Giles Parkinson notes. “If the large scale RET stays in place, a large amount of utility-scale solar could be built in Australia—as Bloomberg New Energy Finance has predicted. Certainly, many companies such as US-based Recurrent Energy, Spain’s FRV and others have large pipelines of projects.”
The Australian market is certainly an attractive one due to its high-value natural resources. However, the scaling back of the RET could pull the rug out from under the rooftop solar industry, as subsidies and any form of aid would effectively vanish.
Still, some parts of Australia are fighting for renewable energy.
South Australia has committed to a lofty goal of using 50% renewable energy by 2025. This, and other smaller state initiatives, could help drive an industry that the federal government looks to scale back—and ultimately help make Citigroup’s prediction come true.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.