Wind Energy Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels in Australia
In Australia, the world's biggest exporter of coal, energy from wind is now cheaper than fossil fuels, including coal and gas, according to recent findings from Bloomberg.
Electricity generated from a new wind farm can be supplied for A$80 per megawatt hour, whereas energy from a new coal-fired plant will run at about A$143 or A$116 from a new station powered by natural gas. However, coal-fired power stations built in the 1970s and 1980s can still produce cheaper power. Not to mention, Australia's price on carbon emissions has played an integral role in the shift.
The price on carbon (A$23 a metric ton of CO2 emitted as of last year) continues to rise, making it harder for fossil fuel-powered plants to compete. Meanwhile, the cost of wind generation has fallen by 10 percent since 2011 with the help of lower equipment expenses, and the cost of solar has dropped by 29 percent.
“The fact that wind power is now cheaper than coal and gas in a country with some of the world’s best fossil fuel resources shows that clean energy is a game changer which promises to turn the economics of power systems on its head,” Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement.
By 2020, the country plans to get at least 20 percent of its power from renewable energy. As of 2011, renewables accounted for nearly ten percent of Australia's electricity production.
Wind power is well on its way to comprising the majority of Australia's renewable energy portfolio in the decades to come, especially after just completing construction of the Western Hemisphere's largest wind farm, the Macarthur Project, with the help of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world's largest turbine maker.
With a weak demand for energy in the country, such investments will play a critical role in reaching renewable energy targets.
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.