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Solar's China Syndrome?

Solar's China Syndrome?

A recent report by the International Energy Agency has highlighted the dominant role of China in the world’s solar supply chain. The transition underway in the global energy market will not be immune from this dominance. The IEA estimates one out of every seven panels produced internationally now comes from a single manufacturing site in China. As we have seen recently with Russia’s gas supplies, a supply chain dependency can be extremely disruptive. So, are there options to avoid this?

BY Australian Energy Council Aug 11 2022
Renewable applications of District Energy

Renewable applications of District Energy

District heating has been designed around efficiently capturing waste heat from thermal power stations. But what about when those power stations close in favour of renewable energy – is the district heating system stranded? Developments are emerging overseas that could give these systems a life in even a fully renewable power system.

BY Mitchell Cutting Jul 14 2022
German Energy: Necessity is the mother of (re)invention

German Energy: Necessity is the mother of (re)invention

The extent of the current energy challenges in Europe stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been starkly highlighted by measures being undertaken in Germany. To reduce its reliability on Russian gas Germany is readying around 10,000MW of non-gas generation reserve capacity, including coal plants that were slated for closure. We take a look at the measures and the potential impact of diverging from its coal phase-out strategy.

BY Carl Kitchen Jul 07 2022
Outlook highlights challenges and change

Outlook highlights challenges and change

The latest US Energy Information Administration (EIA) annual energy outlook provides a useful insight into the shifts in both the drivers of electricity consumption and the anticipated transition in the generation sources. In particular it highlights the ongoing important role that gas generation will play in the energy mix as renewables continue to grow.

BY Australian Energy Council Apr 21 2022
EU hydrogen blending: Is it the right mix?

EU hydrogen blending: Is it the right mix?

The European Commission’s hydrogen strategy aims to make widespread use of green hydrogen possible from 2030 onwards, while Britain’s gas grid is currently preparing to accept a blend of up to 20 per cent hydrogen. But a recent study claims that adding 20 per cent hydrogen in the European gas grid is “technically complex".

BY Justine Lovell Mar 17 2022
International electricity prices: How does Australia compare?

International electricity prices: How does Australia compare?

Retail household electricity prices in the National Electricity Market are the lowest they have been for eight years, but how do the prices stack-up internationally? New Australian Energy Council analysis compares the prices against the world’s 38 OECD countries.

Green steel deal

Green steel deal

With the world’s eyes on COP26, Australia may be looking in the wrong direction for the next major step on decarbonisation. Bilateral trade pacts centred around a US-EU alliance could be the way forward and may give Australia pause for thought on its own approach; but the picture may be more complicated.

Critical minerals and renewables: The supply challenges

Critical minerals and renewables: The supply challenges

The IEA's World Energy Outlook 2021 report is a crystal ball look at emerging trends and their potential impact on how energy systems evolve. While most of the focus is on the total share of energy markets by generation and fuel type, the report also carries insights into emerging energy security risks as the world moves to lower emissions grids - which it notes could be on a “bumpy” road.

BY Australian Energy Council Oct 28 2021
Emission targets: The state of play

Emission targets: The state of play

The Federal Cabinet recently met to consider the Government’s plan for a net zero emissions by 2050 target. This has proved challenging for the Coalition partners. The push for stronger interim targets has emerged in the lead up to the Glasgow Climate Summit and has been reinforced by other countries increasing their commitments. We look at some of the targets that have been set both domestically and internationally.

BY Australian Energy Council Oct 14 2021
UK’s winter of discontent

UK’s winter of discontent

Reports of the UK’s energy crisis reads more like something from dystopian fiction: spiralling gas prices, wholesale power price spikes, the collapse of energy retailers, industrial plants having to curtail operations and concerns about energy costs to homes as the UK enters winter. So how did it get to this?

BY Carl Kitchen Sep 30 2021
Eurovision: Would Germany’s coal exit law be a hit in Australia?

Eurovision: Would Germany’s coal exit law be a hit in Australia?

As the world head towards Glasgow, countries are being asked to review their level of climate ambition and whether they’re on track to get there. Well known for its coal use, Germany has developed a formal mechanism that will see all coal-fired generation phased out by 2038. So what, if anything, can Australia learn?

BY Rhys Thomas Sep 23 2021
Demand, coal recovers from COVID: IEA

Demand, coal recovers from COVID: IEA

The IEA's latest electricity market report shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a rebound in electricity demand in some regions. What may come as a surprise is an anticipated increase in coal-fired generation, which is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels in Asia Pacific over the next two years.

BY Carl Kitchen Jul 29 2021
European Union plans to get “Fit for 55”

European Union plans to get “Fit for 55”

The European Commission unveiled a suite of new environmental policies under its “Fit for 55” legislative package, highlighting the EU’s attempt to meet its 55 per cent net emissions reduction target for 2030. The package includes a range of policies but the carbon border adjustment mechanism - or CBAM - received the most media attention, including within Australia.

BY Rhys Thomas Jul 22 2021
Driving towards EVs: How are we travelling?

Driving towards EVs: How are we travelling?

In its Net Zero by 2050 paper the IEA envisions a world where by 2030 electric cars account for over 60 per cent of car sales, and by 2035, nearly all cars sold globally are electric. AEMO electricity consumption forecasts show where it sees electrification of transport occurring and highlights expected growth in EV usage.

BY Hamish Fitzsimmons Jun 10 2021
IEA: Net-zero by 2050 “narrow but still achievable”

IEA: Net-zero by 2050 “narrow but still achievable”

The IEA’s Roadmap for how the global energy sector can reach net-zero by 2050, warns the window for success is “narrow but still achievable”. It lays down recommendations for the type of policy action that is required if the world is to get there, and its blunt realism is confronting reading.

BY Rhys Thomas Jun 03 2021
Texan energy crisis: Lessons for Australian electricity markets

Texan energy crisis: Lessons for Australian electricity markets

In February Texas endured a winter storm that dragged temperatures well below freezing. Electricity generation plant and gas infrastructure proved unprepared for these temperatures and around a third of the state’s effective capacity went offline for some or all of this period, just as demand was spiking to a new winter record.

Every step counts: China’s marathon journey to become net-zero

Every step counts: China’s marathon journey to become net-zero

In 1971, when asked to assess the influence of the French Revolution, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai famously remarked that it is ‘too early to say’. So it is not surprising that after President Xi announced China’s aim to be net-zero by 2060, some commentators framed it as ‘the start of a marathon, not a sprint’. But is this assessment fair?

BY Rhys Thomas Apr 01 2021
New US modelling points to solar

New US modelling points to solar

New modelling is behind an assessment that finds renewable generation is likely to account for as much as 60 per cent of new capacity in the US grid in coming decades.

BY AEC Mar 25 2021
Capacity markets: The answer to extreme weather?

Capacity markets: The answer to extreme weather?

The fallout from the Texas blackouts has continued with the question of system reliability front and centre and, along with it, whether a mechanism like a capacity market could have led to a different outcome. We take a look at the US experience along with some of the issues it raises.

BY AEC Mar 04 2021
The best little blackout in Texas

The best little blackout in Texas

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. The major power outages from which it is just emerging, were triggered by a polar vortex and impacted around 4.5 million customers. There's been plenty of finger pointing with intermittent renewables being blamed, questions raised about Texas’s go-it-alone attitude and claims of poor preparations stemming from a deregulated energy market.

BY Carl Kitchen Feb 25 2021
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