Solar power and battery storage closing the gap in Australia
Although it only accounts for about two percent of Australia’s energy output, rooftop solar panel businesses throughout country are reaping the benefits.
Australia leads the world in solar panels on the roof of homes, and recently, homes and companies have been generating and storing their own power instead of relying completely on electricity from the grid. And as Energy Digital's sister site Business Review Australia has also written, the solar power craze has even helped overshadow the current power asset auction currently taking place.
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Expensive upgrades to the grid eight years ago caused the price of electricity to increase considerably, which initially created the demand for solar power as rooftop-panel prices decreased.
The market for solar energy has continued to grow ever since, and many expect it to expand even more once Tesla Motors’ new battery that can store much higher amounts of solar energy falls to a price more average homes can afford.
In part of a world-wide shift, over $3 trillion has been invested in small-scale solar and battery storage across the globe. In a recent forecast by Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), rooftop solar capacity is expected to overtake coal capacity by 2030, while rooftop solar is believed to provide 100 per cent of grid demand in South Australia during certain times within the next 10 years.
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By 2040, solar power and battery storage will make up over half of Australia’s electricity, and will reduce the need for fossil fuels. Battery storage will allow homes with solar panels to store electricity for later use, which will reduce its consumption during peak hours of the day and possibly cut energy costs.
Global interest in power storage is continuing to grow, as the Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects solar power to reach $3.7 trillion in investments by 2040. Early next year, Tesla intends to bring its new batteries to Australia to join Germany as its first markets outside of the U.S.
But while the ability to store solar energy is a huge opportunity in the market, it also has hurdles such as the cost and size of the systems necessary to maintain a reliable power source.
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The rooftop solar market is also so heavily influenced by government regulation, and the time frame for companies like Tesla to get its prices low enough for the common household, may make it best suited for large businesses that use energy during the day.
With energy demand increasing with rising population, regulators finding ways to give grid operators more flexibility in how and when to charge customers and power companies even using the storage batteries itself, it’s hard to believe solar power will be taking over any time too soon.
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.