SolarReserve to put Australian Investment Plans on Hold
One of the U.S.’ biggest solar companies, SolarReserve, is putting its Australian investment plans on hold.
Kevin Smith, the company’s CEO, expressed several concerns about moves made by the Australian government that are unfriendly toward renewable energy companies.
Smith cited a “drift” in policy and the planned repeal of the carbon tax. His biggest concern, though, was the appointment of Dick Warburton to lead a review of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET).
The RET is designed to ensure that by 2020, 20 percent of Australia’s electricity will come from renewable sources. Smith’s concern is that Warburton, who has expressed skepticism about carbon emissions’ role in global warming, will cause Australia to not meet that goal.
"That policy change pretty much took the life out of the renewable energy sector as far as large-scale projects for utility applications [are concerned]," Smith told Australia’s ABC News.
"It's pretty clear that the policy in Australia is now being centered around big coal. The coal industry clearly has rallied to move policy away from renewable energies because they view renewable energy as a threat and want to move back to convention coal."
This comes shortly after the release of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Market 2030 outlook report, in which the projection for solar in Australia is highly positive. The report projects that roughly $55 million will be spent in new electrical energy generation over the next decade. However, the report also notes the deployment of large-scale renewables will be affected by the government’s shift in policy, such as the changing of the RET.
The BNEF reported in May that reducing the RET could lead to a AUD 12 billion drop in investment fund and the loss of a potential 6,600 renewable energy jobs each year. If the RET is scrapped altogether, investment losses could total in the range of AUD 21 billion and potential job loss could reach 11,100 per year.
The report also projected growth in renewable energy for the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Smith is deeply concerned about Australia’s future in renewable energy. "Other markets around the world are advancing. Australia is going to get left behind,” he said.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.