Wind energy steps in amid South Australia energy shortages
Early this week, wind energy met a record 83 percent of South Australia’s electricity needs amid fluctuations in demand and soaring electricity prices.
South Australian Energy Minister and Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said a combination of the planned outage of the Heywood power interconnector with Victoria, higher gas prices and harsh winter weather was to blame for price volatility in the state’s energy market.
The government has asked French utility Engie to restart its mothballed Pelican Point Power Station in Adelaide amid soaring electricity prices.
“Engie has brought additional generation at Pelican Point online after I approached them with the request. No amount has been paid to Engie to increase generation,” Koutsantonis said.
Opposition frontbencher Rob Lucas has blamed the South Australian government’s reliance on renewable energy for the surge in electricity prices. On Monday, wind energy generated 83 percent of the state's electricity, though Lucas blamed the “rush” into renewables without ensuring continued base load power for the price hike.
However, proponents of renewables say clean energy is not to blame for energy woes, arguing that South Australia’s history of paying above average electricity prices is the culprit.
Clean Energy Council Policy Manager Alicia Webb said: “It is clear that modern economies can run on increasingly higher levels of renewable energy, and it is clear from South Australia’s example that other mainland states can go much further with no loss of reliability.
“New technologies such as battery storage are falling in price, and will act as a perfect complement to smooth out the supply of renewable energy in the future.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.