Baseload solar

Prof Andrew Blakers

From Stars to the Sun

Professor Andrew Blakers is a professor engineering at the Australian National University. He works in the area of photovoltaics. His original goal was to be an astronomer studying Maths and Physics but while bushwalking  he was struck by so many places under threat - and that was as far back as the 70s!

He believes Australia receives thousands of times more solar energy than all the fossil fuels combined so why not be involved in solar and wind? He is a member of ARENA but fears the organisation, with the present political situation may lose the capacity to award grants. 

An interesting account of Andrew's life and work can be accessed on the ABC's Conversation Hour (13/6) and more details on the usual BZE podcast which mentions sliver, PERC technologies and silicon with its non-toxic properties. 

He has no doubt that Australia could become 100% renewable before long - and that is not just "pie in the sky"!

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: Wind and solar PV have won the race – it’s too late for other clean energy technologies

More articels at The Conversation

Chris Cooper

SunCrowd - the home battery movement from SunCrowd on Vimeo.

SunCrowd is Australia’s first bulk-buy for solar storage solutions. Let’s use our bulk purchasing power to make batteries affordable!  Join the movement at www.suncrowd.com.au

 

An entrepreneur in renewable energy

Chris Cooper is Chief Energy Officer and co-founder of SunCrowd, who are helping communities run local bulk-buy campaigns to make rooftop solar and storage easy and affordable. Chris Cooper became a keen clean energy student whilst at high school studying Economics and Geography and he was encouraged by gaining a Winston Churchill Fellowship scholarship which took him overseas to U.K., U.S. and Europe.  He favoured working for a practical change rather than joining academia and to concentrate in a local area.  To achieve this, he co-founded SunCrowd mainly situated in Shellharbour, Nowra and recently launched in SunCrowd Newcastle, NSW, although he has received calls from places as far afield as Alice Springs, Broken Hill and Melbourne. He finds people are keen for information on dispatch and storage of power.

Specialising on local communities seems to resonate with Germany where ownership of power has been returned to local communities. And of course in Australia with the development of rooftop solar despite the drop in feed-in tariffs. At the same time he has found problems in achieving grants and government funding and has found ARENA rather bureaucratic compared with the US which has provided millions in Government grants. ARENA seems to favour large organisations such as AGL.  Hopefully he says his submissions will change this but there is certainly room for that considering the present Prime Minister speaks regularly of "innovation"!

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Glen Morris

Glen Morris talks about the recent Solar 2016 conference and release of the Battery installation guide by the Energy Storage Council.

Glen Morris is Vice President of Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council and well-known in the industry as an expert on solar systems and battery storage. Glen said he has been interested  in electronics and energy since aged 13, has been and still is a teacher of renewable energy courses throughout Australia. He mentioned that the Australian Solar Council is now unbelievably 55 years old and the oldest in the world. Listeners would be , as this writer was, amazed to hear this fact considering the state of play in this country for the last few decades. 

With the Energy Storage Council he said that because there are no installation standards for the large range of newer battery technologies (such as Lithium), there was a need for the Australian Battery Guide to fill in the gap. This battery guide is not only an installer guide, but also a consumer guide for householder (and they are seeking feedback on it). Of course with the cost of solar products falling and the subsequent rise in availability there is a need for prospective buyers to have information on risk factors and reliability available  - and naturally  concerning storage so that one does not have to find the time to wash the dishes and the washing at midday or, as the previous Prime Minister used to remind everyone that "the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow"!

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Check out Glen's other podcasts:

Glen Morris VP Australian Solar Council

Nigel Morris & Solar Supercharge

Beyond Zero talks to Nigel Morris, who is celebrating 23 years in solar energy, about the upcoming Solar Citizens Solar Supercharge conference. He is a wonderful advocate for the solar industry and consumer, has worked with Solar Citizens on a number of projects, also a prolific blogger.  He is currently CEO of retail solar company RoofJuice

John Farrell ILSR Rooftop Revolution

John Farrell is Senior Researcher for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) in Minneapolis, USA. He talks about the 5GW rooftop solar revolution potential on public buildings in the US. This is more than the total installed capacity of rooftop solar in Australia!  

Thank you to Paul Szuster, the expert interviewer for today. Paul Szuster is an energy engineer and analyst. He is the Director of TrueDemand, a consultancy delivering energy efficiency, solar, off grid solutions and energy market analysis. He is also Consultant at CME, an economics firm focussed on Australia's energy and utility industries. His most recent publication, penned with CME director Bruce Mountain, is an article in the current issue of IEEE's (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) Power and Energy magazine called Solar, solar everywhere examining the economics of rooftop solar PV in Australia.

In June 2015, ILSR released its Public Rooftop Revolution report, which described how cities across the nation put the shine on municipal rooftops with more than 5,000 MW of solar. That 5,000 MW is as much as one-quarter of all solar installed in the U.S. to date — and many cities could install solar little or no upfront cash. The energy savings would allow cities to redirect millions to other public goods.

Living Green: Power in Renewables

Dr. Jenny Riesz, Newcastle Herald, Sept. 8, 2013

THE Australian Energy Market Operator released a landmark study last month, showing that Australia could reliably supply 100 per cent of its power needs from renewable energy.

AEMO is the organisation responsible for "keeping the lights on" for the entire east coast of Australia, so its assessment is comprehensive and conservative. This means its determination that 100 per cent renewable energy is feasible carries a hefty credibility.

Repower Port Augusta Part 3

As the parliamentary select committee into repowering Port Augusta prepares to visit Gemasolar in Spain, we are building up community knowledge and desire to see Australia's first big solar thermal power plant in South Australia. This is part 3 of Beyond Zero's series into the Repower Port Augusta campaign.

Vivien and Beth talk to Dan van Holst Pellekaan - MP for Port Augusta, Terry Mc Bride - BZE activist in Adelaide and Dr Karl Kruzelnicki.

See BZE's and Repower Port Augusta's submissions to the SA Select Committee on the Port Augusta Power Stations here.

Don't waste solar energy on coal

Port Augusta is the ideal location in South Australia for a solar thermal power plant, due to its very good direct annual solar radiation and its proximity to a strong piece of grid infrastructure that services the old lignite burning power plants that are located there, owned by Alinta.

There has been a campaign for some time to repower Port Augusta, after the town was named as one of 12 key power generation sites in the Zero Carbon Australia stationary energy plan.

This campaign has garnered a lot of support and gained a great deal of momentum.

But now we're at a turning point where we may get a type solar thermal plant that is of little use in promoting a shift away from fossil fuels.  A plant that will not create an inspiring vision, nor support greater understanding and learning-by-doing that will shift us from a 19th century fossil fuel economy, to a 21st century renewable-powered, cleantech economy.

The plant being proposed is a cheaper option being proposed by electricity company Alinta. But buyer beware - you get what you pay for.

Coal train bound from Leigh Creek mine to Port Augusta

Port Augusta Solar Update and the Climate and Health Alliance

Dan van Holst Pelekaan is the South Australian MP who represents Port Augusta. He’s engaged with his community and talks about the long term bi- partisan policies needed to lead Australia down the path of big solar power.

His select committee will investigate BZE’s proposition of a Concentrated Solar Thermal plant at Port August to replace the coal fired plant.

Fiona Armstrong is Convenor of the Climate and Health Alliance. She is into more than urging extra emergency beds for victims of heat waves, cyclones, and floods.

Medical professionals see the value of prevention. They are trusted communicators as we reframe the climate crisis as a threat to our health and build resilience. Health must be central to discussions of preventing the worst of climate change as well as adapting to the change that’s already locked in.

Fiona reports how the health sector is urging exceptional courage from our business, political and civic leaders. We have failed to curb emissions growth and must protect the health of people in vulnerable communities.

Solar research funding is just passing the buck

December 13 2012

Martin Ferguson's announcement this morning for $83 million for solar energy research is a diversion from actually building large solar, according to Matthew Wright from the climate and energy think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

“While Australia is limiting its large-scale solar energy sector to research, other countries are going ahead and building it – and learning more in the process,” Wright said.

“If Martin Ferguson really supported large scale solar energy, he would have us build it now.

“China has just announced that, from almost nothing today, they will build three thousand megawatts of solar thermal capacity in the next three years. That's what we should be doing, too.” 

Beyond Zero Emissions are pushing for Australia's first large solar-thermal plants to be built at Port Augusta, to replace the two coal power stations there, in coalition with union, community and environmental groups and the Port Augusta council. 

Image: Abengoa solar thermal plant, Spain

The group has written a technical report on how it can be done, building on the 2010 Zero Carbon Australia plan which outlined a feasible plan to power all of Australia on 100% renewable energy. 

“Port Augusta would have to be one of the world's best locations for solar thermal energy: it has the grid connection, the skilled workforce, and a world-class solar resource.

“Building solar thermal plants, that store heat energy to operate at night, is the key piece of the puzzle to replace baseload coal and gas with clean and reliable renewable energy.

“24 hour solar power is what Australians want, and we've shown that it can be built.”

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