Solar, wind, storage investment falls down in Australia as threats on designers expand

Aug 19, 2020 04:18 PM ET
  • A brand-new evaluation by the Clean Energy Council discloses a significant fall in the number of large-scale renewable resource projects committed in the second quarter of 2020, with simply 3 projects standing for 410 MW of new ability reaching financial close-- the most affordable degree given that 2017.
Solar, wind, storage investment falls down in Australia as threats on designers expand
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New financial investment in large-scale solar, wind and storage projects in Australia remained to drop in the 2nd quarter of the year as Australia's seasonal grid issues and plan unpredictability remained to threaten investor confidence. At $600 million, investment in economically fully commited projects was at its lowest level in the last 3 years, a new evaluation by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) discloses.

Investment in Q2 2020 was as a result down considerably on the historical standard, with a 46% fall from the previous quarter and also 52% lower than the quarterly average for 2019. Only three projects reached economic close throughout this duration, including Australia's biggest solar project to date, Neoen's Western Downs Solar Farm, and also one utility-scale battery. There were no brand-new wind projects. "This fall in investment mirrors the growing dangers being positioned on renewable resource programmers throughout the country," states CEC Chief Executive, Kane Thornton.

The key chauffeurs associate with the difficulties connected with the grid connection procedure, uncertain federal government policy interventions and underinvestment in network capacity developing blockage as well as restrictions, the CEC locates. These are the same factors recognized in earlier news, studies, as well as reports that have actually continued to deteriorate renewable resource investment problems in Australia.

Grid problems

The nation's slow-to-adapt transmission network, which is keeping back a massive pipeline of renewable resource projects, has actually once again been identified as a major challenge to renewable energy investment. Problems in completing grid link procedures as well as getting Generator Performance Standards (GPS) have postponed a variety of large-scale solar and also wind projects throughout Australia, weakening their economic stability. Extra technical demands such as the setup of simultaneous condensers as well as harmonic filters together with a project have led to extra expenses for some developers.

" At the moment, projects are experiencing considerable and frequently unforeseen hold-ups with the grid connection process, which is having a huge impact on the business regards to these projects as well as enhancing threats for financiers," Thorton claims. "Network blockage as well as system-wide difficulties are adding to unanticipated changes including to technical needs, creating uncertainty regarding next steps as well as timing of resolution for project designers."

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has actually recognized the concerns associated with grid connection, as well as the Clean Energy Council is functioning closely with AEMO to boost the processes. "AEMO's 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP) has actually provided a clear roadmap for advancement of the energy system. To provide this, we require to deal with the current grid link difficulties in order to construct investor self-confidence for new tidy power generation," Thorton adds.

Last month, AEMO launched its 20-year blueprint describing exactly how an optimum nationwide power market should aim to deliver the best outcomes for consumers as well as $11 billion in internet market advantages in what is described as "the most significant and fastest transformational change in the world". A diverse portfolio of distributed power resources as well as large-scale solar and also wind generation sustained primarily by pumped hydro and also batteries would certainly guarantee the least-cost change as the nation's coal plants retire and also see durations in which almost 90% of demand is satisfied by eco-friendly generation. Sufficient financial investment in transmission facilities will certainly be instrumental in making this a reality, AEMO located.

Yet despite continuous warnings, very little has been done to date to enhance the grid and also pave the way for brand-new renewable resource projects to sign up with the marketplace. Instead, the circumstance in some parts of the grid has swiftly deteriorated putting a growing variety of projects in jeopardy.

" This is weighing on self-confidence for new financial investment in the industry, each time when we require more clean power financial investment to boost work and regional advancement and also make sure adequate new generation is in place before old coal generators retire," Thorton claims.

He took place to note that Australia has a huge chance to utilize renewable resource as part of a nation-building Covid-19 economic reaction, however that "this requires a lot needed regulative reform, reasonable energy policy, quick renovations to grid connection processes as well as investment in the transmission foundation and also energy storage."

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