ISSUE 11 · September 2020 · www.energymagazine.com.au
THE RISING IMPACT OF wind in Australia
ACHIEVING RESILIENCE THROUGH A HARSH NEW REALITY
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ISSUE 11—SEPTEMBER 2020 WELCOME
ISSUE 11 · September 2020 · www.energymagazine.com.au
THE RISING IMPACT OF wind in Australia
ACHIEVING RESILIENCE THROUGH A HARSH NEW REALITY
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Cover highlights our feature on wind energy, which in 2019 overtook hydro power as the leading source of renewable energy in Australia.
Monkey Media Enterprises ABN: 36 426 734 954 204/23–25 Gipps St Collingwood VIC 3066 P: (03) 9988 4950 F: (03) 8456 6720 monkeymedia.com.au email@example.com energymagazine.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN: 2209-0541
Editor Laura Harvey Assistant Editor Imogen Hartmann Journalists Lauren Butler Eliza Booth Design Manager Alejandro Molano Designer Jacqueline Buckmaster National Media and Events Executives Rima Munafo Brett Thompson Marketing Associate Radhika Sud Publisher Chris Bland
s it possible to reflect on the last three months and think that almost nothing has changed, while simultaneously thinking tremendous change is upon us? In 2020, when anything goes, I think the answer is yes. I know I’m not alone in struggling with the monotony many of us have experienced since life in lockdown began. And as a resident of Melbourne, under stage 4 restrictions as I type this welcome, the weight of the events of this year can begin to bear down. But in amongst the challenges, and the feeling that we’ve been stuck in a holding pattern for six months, there are positive signs. And these are what we need to hold onto right now. In the world of energy, I still see stories every day that give me something to smile about. Many of these have been profiled in further detail in this issue. The release of the Integrated System Plan from AEMO has been long awaited, and has filled the industry with a sense of hope about the path forward. Importantly, there is a feeling that with this report, AEMO has stepped into the void left at the
federal level to develop a workable energy policy, taking matters into its own hands. After more than a decade of inertia, this can only be a good thing. The impact of wind energy on the Australian industry is continuing to grow, which is also pleasing to see. After a record-breaking 2019, the contribution of this generation type will continue to grow in 2020, with new farms approved, under construction, and getting closer to commissioning. And in this issue, we’re also taking a closer look at the role new technologies like microgrids and community batteries are having, and will continue to have, on our evolving industry in the years to come. So while at times it can be difficult to see past the despair of 2020, when you look a little deeper, the signs of progress are clear to see. So from one grateful industry observer, I send my thanks to you and every member of the Australian energy industry who continues to show up, keep the lights on, and drive the crucial transition of this sector. Laura Harvey Editor
We’re keen to hear your thoughts and feedback on this issue of Energy. Get in touch at email@example.com or feel free to give us a call on (03) 9988 4950.
September 2020 ISSUE 11
CONTENTS NEWS 4
Australian-ASEAN Power Link fast-tracked
AEMO releases 2020 Integrated System Plan
Australia’s biggest electrolyser arrives
The changing face of Energy
EACH ISSUE 1
64 FEATURES SCHEDULE
64 ADVERTISERS’ INDEX
10 INDUSTRY INSIGHT
10 Are we still in agreement?
ASSET INSPECTION & DRONES
20 Setting the standard for the renewable transition
30 Bringing high-tech drones to Queensland
22 The forgotten renewable energy
32 How drones and AI are changing solar farm management
12 The energy costs of staying at home 15 The urgent action we need to take on energy efficiency
DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT 18 Tips for running a successful webinar
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24 New technologies reducing oil and gas emissions
34 Smarter earthing testing reduces cost & improves safety
26 Bowen Basin pipeline: leading the energy recovery charge
36 DISASTER MANAGEMENT 36 A mindful approach to supporting staff wellbeing during COVID-19
42 Nuclear energy: still a dangerous distraction
45 Discover an internet-enabled correction service for high accuracy GNSS 46 Quality trenching equipment and customer service key toÂ success
39 Achieving resilience through a new harsh reality
48 A unique approach for testing protection systems
49 Save the date: gather with energy industry colleagues in 2021
50 The power of community batteries: bringing renewables to the masses
56 Unlocking microgrid opportunities in regional and remote Australia
60 The macro impacts of Australian microgrids
53 The rising power of wind in Australia
September 2020 ISSUE 11
AUSTRALIAN-ASEAN POWER LINK FAST-TRACKED
he Federal Government has granted Major Project Status to Sun Cable’s proposed Australian-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) in order to fast-track the project. The project is set to be Australia’s largest renewable energy infrastructure project and one of the world’s largest dispatchable renewable electricity systems, supported by the world’s largest battery and solar farm in the Barkly region near Tennant Creek. Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, said the project would create 1,500 Australian jobs during construction, 350 ongoing jobs in Australia, as well as indirectly supporting around 12,000 Australian jobs. It will also see the production of a new solar farm manufacturing facility. “This project draws on Australia’s world-class solar technology and our high-tech manufacturing capability to export renewable energy on an unprecedented scale,” Ms Andrews said. “Not only will this power link make Australia a world-leader, it will also create significant economic and employment opportunities here at home with about $8 billion of the $22 billion investment to be injected directly into Australia. “It’s a strong statement to all Australians that despite the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic we will come out the other side stronger and industry is still investing in
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opportunities that will drive our economic recovery and create much needed jobs.” Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said projects like this will help maintain Australia’s longstanding position as an energy exporting powerhouse. “Australia has long been a world leader in energy exports,” Mr Taylor said. “As technologies change, we can capitalise on our strengths in renewables to continue to lead the world in energy exports.” Sun Cable CEO, David Griffin, said, “Sun Cable is delighted that the AAPL has been granted Major Project Status. “It is a significant milestone for the AAPL, which will see Australia become a world leader in renewable electricity trade, generating approximately $2 billion worth of exports for Australia annually. “This project is helping to grow a new industry, utilising intercontinental HVDC submarine transmission systems, to supply renewable electricity to major load centres in the Indo-Pacific and support the region’s low-emissions goals,” Mr Griffin said. Major Project Status is the Commonwealth Government’s recognition of the strategic significance of a project to Australia. It provides companies with extra support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, including a single entry point for Commonwealth Government approvals, project support and coordination, and help with state and territory approvals.
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AEMO RELEASES 2020
INTEGRATED SYSTEM PLAN
he Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has published its 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP), highlighting the National Electricity Market (NEM) investments that will be crucial in securing grid stability. The 2020 ISP identified the optimal development path for the NEM that will both maximise consumer benefits and deliver $11 billion in net market benefits to 2040. AEMO’s Managing Director and CEO, Audrey Zibelman, said that the ISP undertakes a comprehensive review of the changes that are occurring in the electricity system and identifies the series of supply and network investments that can best meet consumer expectations of affordable and reliable electricity. “The ISP analysis confirms that as our coal plants retire, the least-cost transition of the NEM will be to a highly diverse portfolio consisting of distributed energy resources (DER) and variable renewable energy (VRE), supported by multiple dispatchable resources,” Ms Zibelman said. “To enable the expected rise in renewable energy, the ISP identifies strategic investments in transmission infrastructure and renewable energy zones (REZs), which when coupled with low-cost firming resources, will be the most costeffective way to add generation capacity and balance variable resources across the NEM. “In progressing these projects, it is critical that the cost of building transmission lines is tightly managed to ensure consumers derive these benefits.” The work of producing the Final 2020 ISP has also highlighted essential market and regulatory reform needed to ensure consumers reap the benefits of the future power system. “When implemented alongside market and regulatory reforms, the targeted transmission investments identified in the ISP will bring the right resources into the system in a timely fashion. “This will create a modern, efficient and resilient energy system that delivers $11 billion in net market benefits weighted across the different ISP scenarios over the next two decades,” Ms Zibelman said. “The work of the Energy Security Board and market bodies on essential reforms to attract investment and optimise markets for
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emerging energy resources remains critical to ensure the consumer benefits of the ISP are fully realised.” Through extensive consultation, which included the publication and review of the Draft 2020 ISP in December 2019, AEMO considered many possible operating environments, transition scenarios and sensitivities to rigorously test and identify significant change in the investments needed for the NEM to 2040. These are broadly classified as: » DER: expected to double or triple, providing 13 to 22 per cent of total underlying annual energy consumption » VRE: more than 26GW of new VRE is needed to replace coal-fired generation, with 63 per cent of coalfired generation set to retire » Dispatchable resources: 6-19GW of new dispatchable resources are needed to back up renewables, in the form of utility-scale pumped hydro, fast responding gas-fired generation, battery storage, demand response and aggregated DER participating as virtual power plants » Power system services: the growing need to actively manage power system services (voltage control, system strength, frequency control, inertia, ramping and dispatchability) » The transmission grid: strategically placed interconnectors and REZs, coupled with firming resources, to add capacity and balance variable resources across the NEM Over an 18-month period, AEMO consulted on and developed the ISP which includes the least-cost investments to optimise net market benefits and deliver low-cost, secure and reliable energy through a comprehensive range of plausible energy futures for the NEM. The 2020 ISP identified four categories of transmission projects – committed, actionable, actionable (with decision rules) and future ISP projects – permitted to be developed by the transmission network service provider through the Renewable Investment Test – Transmission (RIT-T) process. Previously committed ISP projects include South Australian system strength remediation, the Western Victorian Transmission Network Project, and QNI Minor, which is the addition of 150MW of capacity on the NSW-QLD interconnector.
2020 actionable ISP projects include: VNI Minor: a minor upgrade to the existing Victoria-NSW Interconnector (VNI), which is close to completing its regulatory approval process, with project completion expected in 2022-23 » Project EnergyConnect: a new 330kV double-circuit interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales, which is close to completing its regulatory approval process. The project completion is expected by 2024-25 » HumeLink: a 500kV transmission upgrade to reinforce the NSW southern shared network and increase transfer capacity between the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme and the region’s demand centres. This project commenced its regulatory approval process earlier this year, with project completion due by 2025–26 » Central-West Orana REZ Transmission Link: network augmentations to support the development of the Central-West Orana REZ. The project completion is due in 2024-25. »
Two further projects are deemed actionable with additional decision rules: » VNI West: a new high voltage alternating current (HVAC) interconnector between Victoria and NSW » Marinus Link: two new HVDC cables connecting Victoria and Tasmania, each with 750 MW of transfer capacity and associated alternating current transmission Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, welcomed the release of the document, saying the plan highlighted the critical role transmission would play. “To handle the seismic shift expected in electricity generation by 2040, we will need targeted investment in key transmission connections,” Mr Dillon said. “Around the world, we’re seeing countries embrace greater connectivity as part of managing the ever-increasing amounts of variable generation from renewables. “The ISP shows that a more connected future makes sense for Australian energy customers too.
“The sheer scale of the energy transition in the NEM is outlined in the ISP with a predicted 200 per cent increase in household solar and batteries and a 63 per cent drop in coal generation by 2040.” Mr Dillon said this jump in variable generation and closure of synchronous plants would need to be carefully managed to ensure a strong and reliable electricity system. “The ISP charts a path to managing the development of a more interconnected grid,” Mr Dillon said. “The priority for energy networks is ensuring these proposed developments are efficient and deliver customers a low-cost pathway to a more secure, affordable system. “Networks will continue to deliver an efficient, reliable and affordable grid for customers.” The Australian Energy Council’s (AEC) Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said, “The ISP is important in identifying strategic shifts in the energy market and ensures there is a national approach to system planning. “We welcome AEMO’s decision to consider multiple scenarios and allow for staged implementation of two major projects during the 2020s, making use of the proposed ‘decision rules’ structure. “This optionality will ensure flexibility and allow adjustment to be made based on market conditions. It helps the industry get ready in case they are ultimately needed but does not commit customer funds earlier than strictly necessary. “Whilst AEMO has provided a broad, national plan, the task now shifts to planning these projects in detail and justifying their cost-benefits before the regulator. This is an equally critical part of the process.” EY Energy Leader, Matt Rennie, said, “The Australian Energy Market Operator’s $25 billion Integrated System Plan to build up the power grid is a real milestone in energy policy and evidence AEMO is stepping up to the plate to be a real force in the design of the energy system through and post the transition. “Preparing for a decarbonised generation mix and a greater role for decentralised power through solar and batteries was always going to require investment in new transmission lines and distribution infrastructure to cope with these changes. We are entering a time of new beginnings in energy. “The important thing now is to press on, send the right signals, and allow competition and markets to bring the costs down and drive our inefficiencies.
“This needs to be the beginning of new transparent communication between AEMO as the system designer, the AER as an efficiency czar and the AEMC to ensure that the design of the regulatory framework provides the best possible economic architecture for smart and new investment.” Climate Council Chief Executive, Amanda McKenzie, argued that AEMO’s report shows that the current push for gas expansion from the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission is unnecessary and undesirable. “We can transition to a renewablepowered energy grid without the need for any new gas. New gas is expensive, polluting and a poor public investment,” Ms McKenzie said.
“Our recently released Clean Jobs Plan shows we can create 15,000 jobs in renewable energy, while setting Australia up for the future and tackling climate change. Clean energy is a no brainer. “The report also shows that despite gas industry claims, an ever-deeper penetration of renewable energy doesn’t rely on growth in gas. “Those scenarios where wind and solar provide more of Australia’s energy needs see the lowest need for all fossil fuels, including gas.”
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September 2020 ISSUE 11
AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST ELECTROLYSER ARRIVES
ustralia’s largest hydrogen electrolyser has been delivered for installation at Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA), located in the Tonsley Innovation District. The electrolyser’s arrival, a key component in the hydrogen production facility, marks an important milestone in the South Australian Government’s plans for renewable energy. South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said, “Hydrogen is a fuel with tremendous potential and the Marshall Government is getting in on the ground floor to ensure we can service local, national and international demand for zero carbon hydrogen. “The 1.25MW Siemens Proton Exchange Membrane electrolyser will remove carbon from South Australia’s gas supply by using renewable electricity and water to create zero carbon hydrogen gas. “Once operational, the electrolyser at HyP SA will be capable of producing up to 480kg of hydrogen per day, that will supply more than 700 properties in nearby Mitchell Park with a blend of up to five per cent renewable hydrogen delivered through the existing gas network. “HyP SA is an $11.4 million demonstration project delivered and funded by Adelaide-based Australian Gas Networks, part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) and supported by a $4.9 million grant from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund. “This exciting renewable hydrogen generation project showcases to the world how electrolysers can integrate gas and electricity networks to support whole-of-system energy stability, particularly as more renewable electricity generation capacity comes onto the grid. “It will additionally demonstrate the feasibility of blending hydrogen into the broader South Australian gas network and inform the South Australian Government’s planning on how we transition to a low carbon gas distribution network.” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said that the innovation taking place at HyP SA is an example of the State Government delivering on its plan to facilitate investment in hydrogen infrastructure and integrate hydrogen into the energy system, as set out in South Australia’s Hydrogen Action Plan. “The learnings from HyP SA will be shared with the $4.15 million state and federally co-funded Australian Hydrogen Centre
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to deliver a range of studies from blending small amounts of hydrogen to the full conversion of South Australia and producing energy in cleaner, smarter ways,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said. “The outcomes of this project are part of the State Government’s ambition to blend up to ten per cent renewable hydrogen in South Australia, with the ultimate goal of 100 per cent hydrogen conversion in towns, cities and states across Australia. “Importantly, there is no additional cost to customers who will receive the blended five per cent renewable gas as part of this project, and the change will not impact any arrangements they have with their existing natural gas retailer. “So, not only will customers taking part in this project play a part in a clean energy future, they will not notice any disruption or difference in the supply of their gas needs.” AGIG’s Chief Executive Officer, Ben Wilson, said that the delivery of Australia’s largest electrolyser to site at HyP SA was a significant milestone. “This project demonstrates Australia’s gas networks are hydrogen ready,” Mr Wilson said. HyP SA will be an Australian first to deliver renewable hydrogen made from water, sunshine and wind, to homes and businesses through the existing gas network. “Importantly, it meets widening community recognition of hydrogen’s benefits, and underlines South Australia’s status as a leader in this emerging industry with real potential to deliver jobs and growth for residential, commercial, industrial and export applications.” Mr Wilson added that innovative renewable hydrogen projects, such HyP SA, illustrate the ability of the nation’s gas networks to meet the decarbonisation challenge – a key in balancing the energy trilemma. “At AGIG, we are investing in the long-term interests of our customers and the environment. “This project paves the way for the commercial deployment of a hydrogen economy as we seek to deploy ten per cent renewable gas in our networks before shifting to the potential conversion of entire networks.” AGIG has already announced plans for a similar plant in Gladstone, Queensland and is developing detailed plans to introduce hydrogen into gas networks in both Victoria and South Australia through the Australian Hydrogen Centre.
FACE OF ENERGY Monkey Media, the publisher behind Energy, has been adapting to the changed world brought about by COVID-19. Top L-R: National Media and Events Executives, Brett Thompson and Rima Munafo. Bottom L-R: Energy Publisher, Chris Bland and Energy Editor, Laura Harvey.
he pandemic has seen a significant number of our subscriber base shift to working from home, while many others are involved on the frontline of essential projects. The demand for timely information has increased, and with the mainstream press providing constant updates on the broader situation, we have dedicated our resources to more analysis and reflection on the impacts on the energy sector. This has included an increased focus on digital newsletters, social content, videos, webinars and virtual conferences, all of which have received precedent levels of engagement since March. According to Energy Editor Laura Harvey, the sector has been particularly interested in "signs of hope" stories – news about major projects being sanctioned or moving ahead. Two project developments in particular have been really popular with Energy readers – the sanctioning of the Surat Gas Project, and Blue Energy’s plans to develop the Bowen Basin Gas Pipeline. “In addition, renewable energy is always a strong point of interest for our audience, and developments in the hydrogen space
are getting the most attention right now. Stories about energy storage, and in particular, community batteries, are also being widely read,” said Laura. "To me, this highlights the fact that the industry is ready and willing to focus on the main task at hand, which in energy, is keeping the lights on, and starting to bring about the kind of system-wide change we need to see to deliver the energy market of the future.” And while change is a constant when it comes to the energy industry and publishing alike, according to Energy Publisher and Monkey Media Managing Director Chris Bland, some things do stay the same. "While we will keep updating the platforms and methods of delivery, we have always focused on understanding the industry, and delivering the best content we can to the key players in that industry,” said Chris. “That part of our approach hasn’t changed, we’re just reaching our audience in more ways now than ever before.” This adaptation has led to a broader range of marketing services and options for companies looking to get their message to the industry, with custom EDMs, content marketing, lead generation and virtual
conferences and webinars among the most popular options. The changing situation has also seen some changes to the team, with Brett Thompson recently joining the team as National Media and Events Executive. Brett brings years of experience in similar roles, and joins long-standing National Media and Events Executive Rima Munafo. The two will work closely with Energy's commercial partners to help them develop new content and strategies to communicate with our audience. According to Chris, "I've worked with Brett for many years previously, and it's great to be back on the same team with him again. There are so many exciting new ways that we're able to help companies to get their message out and play a leading role in this sector.
“Brett and Rima both have a great passion for getting results for our partners, and I’m excited about what they’ll be able to achieve in the future.”
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ARE WE STILL IN AGREEMENT? by Chris Gilbert, Senior Economic Advisor, Energy Networks Australia
The Australian Energy Market Agreement was enacted in 2004, but since then, a lot has changed in the energy industry in Australia. Here, we take a closer look at the agreement and consider whether it is still an effective tool for bringing our states and territories together when it comes to energy policy.
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Does the AEMA still have authority and buy-in to support coordinated national policy? Current evidence suggests this may not be the case.
he Australian Energy Market Agreement (AEMA) was a landmark agreement enacted by all states and territories to signal that the future direction of the energy market would be pursued in a nationally consistent manner. Or at least, it was meant to be. Recent state-led developments appear to be stepping away from a national agenda, and the question must be asked – where does the Australian Energy Market Agreement and nationally agreed policy stand today? The Finkel Review in 2017 reflected that in recent times, “the commitment of governments to this national approach to energy policy has been tested”.1 Complicating things, the AEMA explicitly outlines that states can develop their own environmental, energy efficiency, demand management and greenhouse emissions policies. Finkel questioned whether it was time to reaffirm Australian governments’ commitment to a national, integrated approach to policy, eliciting the review’s favoured approach in recommendation 7.3: By mid-2018, COAG leaders should agree to a new Australian Energy Market Agreement that recommits all parties to: » Taking a nationally consistent approach to energy policy that recognises Australia’s commitment in Paris to reduce emissions and governments’ commitment to align efforts to meet this target with energy market frameworks. » Notifying the COAG Energy Council if they propose to take a unilateral action that falls within the scope of Australian Energy Market Agreement prior to taking the action. » Within 28 days of notification, the Energy Security Board will provide advice to the COAG Energy Council on the impacts of the proposed action taking into account the objectives of Australian Energy Market Agreement. COAG responded months later, stating that by mid-2018, the COAG Energy Council would propose a new AEMA to COAG to reaffirm Australian governments’ commitment to the NEM and a national, integrated approach to energy and emissions reduction policy. The silence has been deafening since, with no recommitment in sight. In December 2018 the ESB reported delays while prioritising the National Energy Guarantee, with progression to recommence in 2019. However, in February this year, work remained on hold. Meanwhile, states have been busy implementing their own fragmented policies and making inroads to progress their own
goals, and the Council of Australian Government framework itself has been overtaken by new COVID-19 inspired arrangements. Legislation in Victoria passed earlier this year that gave the state Energy Minister power to go it alone on local transmission planning and investment. The government said the reforms were necessary to “override the complex and outdated national regulatory regime, which causes excessive delays in delivering transmission projects and fails to properly account for the full benefits of investments”. Damning criticism of the national framework is not easy to reconcile with a recommitment to the AEMA. The NSW Government’s Electricity Strategy brings forward NSW priority renewable energy zones, which can influence the trajectory of national planning. While state-based policies can usefully progress issues and remove some roadblocks, uncoordinated state interventions pose questions for the future of the AEMA. AEMO’s recent Minimum operational demand thresholds in South Australia report, requested by the SA Government, details 31 recommendations to manage the influx of solar PV into the SA grid. SA-specific analysis for its unique solar PV circumstances seems sensible, but the process to this outcome has bypassed existing national standards and planning mechanisms and is another step away from the AEMA. There are numerous other derogations from national frameworks, and of course, the AEMA recognises that some policy areas lie with states. But does the AEMA still have authority and buy-in to support coordinated national policy? The three market institutions were enacted to oversee national policy implementation, but when policy is no longer national, the once clear roles and responsibilities of market institutions are put to the test. The national framework is fraying around the edges while the AEMA needle and thread sit idle. Due to the nature of our interconnected system, state-based policies often have implications for other states and the nation more broadly. Current events might indicate that snowballing state interventions are the new normal. Is it possible to get back on the national bandwagon? We’re at a turning point, and with the ESB’s future up in the air, how well cooperative federalism will work for the energy sector over the years ahead is far from clear.
Formally known as the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, June 2017.
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THE ENERGY COSTS OF STAYING AT HOME by Dr Kari Dahlgren, Dr Jathan Sadowski, Associate Professor Yolande Strengers, Dr Larissa Nicholls and Professor Sarah Pink, Digital Energy Futures Project, Monash University As we begin to adjust to the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we know things will not return exactly to the way they used to be. While we’re figuring out this new normal, we need to ask what aspects of our new lifestyles should stick around, and at what cost?
According to researchers from Monash University, we need to be careful to ensure a shift to working from home effectively captures sustainability benefits.
obody likes long video calls, for example, but the flexibility and speed of an e-commute may be difficult to give up. What’s more, there also seem to be important environmental benefits that come with working from home. The reduction in cars driving and planes flying has contributed to a significant drop in pollution around
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the world. Considering the dire predictions of climate disasters, these reductions are necessary. How do we capture and maintain these environmental benefits even as countries seek to reopen their economies? “If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future,” said Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency.
Replacing traffic jams with data centres will come with its own environmental cost.
But it’s not only a rebound in travel that we have to watch out for. Many of the digital technologies that allow us to stay connected, productive, comfortable and entertained at home are also energyintensive. Replacing traffic jams with data centres, or highways with networks, will come with its own environmental cost. It’s important to remember that digital does not always mean more sustainable.
Staying at home As part of a three-year Digital Energy Futures project, which is researching how current and future digital technology lifestyle trends are likely to impact energy demand, we developed six future scenarios that represent key industry predictions for the future, including one called The Stay at Home Life. The Stay at Home Life scenario presents a future that places the home at the centre of nearly all our activities: work, study, leisure, entertainment and shopping – thus resulting in increased investment in, and reliance upon, digital technologies for new and existing services. This version of our near-future life comes with significant energy implications, which are already apparent. While overall electricity usage has remained relatively stable during the pandemic, it has shifted drastically to residential use, with estimates as high as a 40 per cent increase in household electricity use. This will lead to bill shock and energy hardship for many.
Should the lifestyle and technology trends envisioned in this scenario continue and accelerate, energy usage is likely to increase significantly, and change the timing of energy peaks.
Energy costs of smart home upgrades The pandemic is already revealing that people invest in energyintensive household goods when preparing to spend more time at home (if they can afford to do so). Many white goods have seen demand surge in recent months, particularly freezers. Electronic and household goods stores JB Hi-Fi and the Good Guys have seen sales increase 20 per cent in the second half of the financial year. In the US, in the midst of summer, personal swimming pools are in high-demand, one of the most energyintensive luxuries available today. As people upgrade and invest in home technologies, they are also likely to be ‘smart’ – often by default. Things like smart fridges, smart lights, digital voice assistants, and remote-controlled thermostats are often celebrated for their energy-saving capabilities. They allow users to turn off appliances with apps, set automated routines – “Alexa, start my day” – and have the potential to be responsive to energy price signals and renewable energy sources. However, these devices also allow for new entertainment, comfort and conveniences that potentially increase or shift
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While a reduction in air travel has had a positive impact on carbon dioxide emissions globally, some studies suggest that data centres may in fact contribute more to carbon dioxide emissions than the airline industry.
energy demand in other areas, such as pre-cooling or -warming the home. They are often used simultaneously, adding to an increasing suite of digital home devices. In addition, while the devices themselves are usually more energy-efficient than their predecessors, the infrastructure required to make connected and smart things work, like the data centres filled with massive servers for storage and high-powered processors for computation, have created an energy pit.
If the digital acceleration continues, without sufficient gains in efficiency, renewables and sustainable materials, the energy needs of our digital lives may soon undermine any potential environmental gains from staying at home – and worse.
This scenario is not inevitable Whether or not the Stay at Home Life scenario will continue to accelerate and eventuate remains to be seen. But one thing is already clear: it will likely continue to increase residential The energy costs of data energy demand, and change the timing As we switch from in-person meetings, of current peaks. Our future research will or even from phone calls to video test industry scenarios like the Stay at Home teleconferencing, we are using significantly Life with a diverse set of Australian households, more data. The more high-definition and seamless to better understand how these visions might these videos become – let alone if we switch into unfold in different ways. From here, we will work with virtual reality and other immersive technologies – the our industry partners to innovate so-called “demand Lead author more our data and energy needs are likely to further management” programs, which seek to reduce or shift Dr Kari Dahlgren. increase in the future. energy consumption in homes through technologies, Data centres already use approximately 1-2 per cent of global campaigns and incentives. electricity, and some estimates have even suggested they Avoiding any significant environmental rebounds as we come contribute more to carbon dioxide emissions than the airline out of COVID-19 restrictions will require ensuring we do not offset industry. And as The MIT Technology Review reports, “training a energy savings in one sector like transportation with energy usage single (artificial intelligence) model can emit as much carbon as five in another like consumer electronics. We cannot assume that a cars in their lifetimes.” “smarter” world will fix our energy problems. But better planning Having an infinite supply of data at our disposal and a personal and understanding of people’s changing digital lifestyles can help AI to run our household sounds fantastic, but at what hidden cost? us imagine and realise more sustainable futures.
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THE URGENT ACTION WE NEED TO TAKE ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY Despite energy efficiency's tremendous potential, the world is struggling to capture its full benefits. Recognising this, the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency has issued ten recommendations to support governments in achieving more ambitious action on energy efficiency.
lobal energy efficiency is not improving quickly enough to offset strong energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions growth. In light of these worrying trends, there is a growing recognition by governments and leaders across the globe that efficiency efforts need to be stepped up. Convened by the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in response to the global slowdown of energy efficiency progress, the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency was established in June 2019 at the IEA’s Fourth Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Dublin, Ireland. The Commission has 23 members and is composed of national leaders, current and former ministers, top business executives and global thought leaders. With analytical support from the IEA, Global Commission members have examined how progress on energy efficiency can be rapidly accelerated through new and stronger policy action by governments across the globe. In the year since the Commission was launched, the world has changed in so many different ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a tragic loss of life, and has led to a global economic crisis from which all our countries are working hard to bounce back. We need transformative change. As a result, the Commission has developed this series of ten actionable recommendations to support governments in achieving more ambitious action on energy efficiency. The recommendations identify policies that can be implemented quickly to boost activity on energy efficiency globally; and focus on how to stimulate more action, more investment, and more jobs, especially in the COVID-19 recovery. 1. Prioritise cross-cutting energy efficiency action for its economic, social and environmental benefits A stronger policy focus on energy efficiency will enhance social and economic development, energy security and resilience, and decarbonisation, as well as supporting immediate job creation and economic stimulus. Capturing these benefits requires whole-of-government engagement, using narratives that highlight efficiency’s positive benefits and build support for stronger action. Efficiency cuts across all sectors and all government departments, from energy to environment, from finance to education, to health, buildings, industry and transport. A wholeof-government approach can ensure alignment of priorities and actions and, hence, greatly increases impact. There are many good examples of whole-of-government approaches strengthening impacts. Energy efficient cooling, for
example, is a cross -cutting issue of huge importance and is driven by all-of-government national action plans in both China and India, among others. In Japan, energy efficiency progress has been steered by an overarching framework, the Energy Conservation Act, which has been in place for 30 years and provides a comprehensive set of targets, regulations and incentives across all sectors, and is regularly updated. Building such cross-government support relies on the benefits of energy efficiency being made clear through the right metrics and effective narratives. Within any government, different narratives and benefits will resonate. Highlighting, through real data, energy efficiency’s positive impacts on energy security, energy access and lower consumer bills, can build support within various branches of government.
2. Act to unlock efficiency’s job creation potential Energy efficiency investment is a key strategy for immediate job creation, and the Commission believes it can, and should, be a central element of stimulus programs. Evidence shows welldesigned stimulus programs with efficiency considerations can rapidly support the existing workforce, create new jobs and boost economic activities in a range of key sectors. According to the forthcoming WEO Sustainable Recovery Report, energy efficiency actions can be utilised to quickly create millions of jobs, particularly in construction and manufacturing. Key opportunities include building retrofit and technology replacement programs. The Commission stated that governments can draw lessons from experiences from already established programs, drawing particular attention to our own National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) program. 3. Create greater demand for energy efficiency solutions A range of policies exists to drive demand for energy efficient products and services, yet market uptake is still far from where it needs to be. A focus on driving demand for efficiency technologies and services, and on removing barriers to their uptake, can greatly accelerate progress. Policies such as standards and labels can increase demand for more efficient choices by informing consumers and by moving markets towards more efficient options. Transition to more efficient options can also be accelerated by incentives for consumers to replace old, inefficient products with new, more efficient models. Well-designed policies build market scale for new technologies in ways that bring prices down and make more efficient options more affordable.
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4. Focus on finance in the wider context of scaling upÂ action Policies to get finance flowing can combine measures to increase demand with actions to remove barriers to investment and to enable appropriate finance and business models. This is critically important now as governments look at ways to channel public funds and leverage private capital at a time when private investment is likely to slow. Among the many initiatives and policies put in place to create flows of finance to efficiency actions, the most successful have avoided looking at finance in isolation, but rather treat it as part of the overall environment that centres on driving larger-scale activity. In the short-term, governments should consider where to focus public funds, such as towards vulnerable communities, social housing, health care, education and other priority sectors. Direct public financing, such as through grants, is likely to be particularly important in many sectors in the short term, and can be designed both to maximise immediate activity and to leverage additional private investment. In the context of economic stimulus, funding is probably better applied to expanding pre-existing mechanisms rather than commencing new ones from scratch. In the medium- to long-term, governments may prefer to shift away from direct grants and loans by offering technical and commercial derisking support to attract private sector capital. 5. Leverage digital innovation to enhance system-wide efficiency Many aspects of energy efficiency are being transformed by the new possibilities created by digital technologies. Digital technologies can reduce costs, overcome persistent barriers, create value, enable new business models, mobilise investment and boost the role of energy efficiency and demand response in energy systems. They also allow for a more modernised, rounded
concept of energy efficiency that considers system optimisiation, such as integrating variable renewable sources, rather than just looking at the end-use of energy. The IEA has created the Readiness for Digital Energy Efficiency policy framework, a set of critical policy considerations for harnessing digital technologies for energy efficiency. The framework is designed to ensure that the benefits of digital energy efficiency are realised through policies that address a range of issues: from balancing data accessibility with data privacy, to helping remove regulatory barriers to innovation. Consistent standards and measurement approaches are also important. Digital technologies enable better control of energy use, for instance through smart building management systems that optimise the buildingâ€™s conditions efficiently, enhancing comfort while lowering costs while also allowing for wider systems thinking, particularly in electricity grids.
6. The public sector should lead by example Governments should be trailblazers in all aspects of efficiency action and lead by example, positioning themselves as leaders in implementing best practice, using procurement to build scale for efficient technologies and fostering new business models for efficiency services. Investment in public sector efficiency improvements is a clear opportunity for maximising stimulus returns. These returns can be achieved through a variety of mechanisms. Bulk procurement can help target technologies become more affordable and accessible by achieving scale and wide-scale transformation. This has been done successfully in India, where more than 350 million LED lamps have been distributed. The economies of scale of the program have helped reduce the price of a LED lamp by a factor of ten.
7. Engage all parts of society Because energy efficiency requires a particular focus on implementation, it is important to engage relevant parts of society at the appropriate levels. Policies can be more successful if they recognise the relative strengths of different levels of government and empower them accordingly. By empowering cities and sub-national actors to innovate and develop their own ambitious efficiency initiatives, and by collaboration between national and local levels, governments can enable transformation from the bottom up. 8. Leverage behavioural insights for more effective policy Expected and actual behavioural responses to energy efficiency policy can often diverge. This is sometimes because policy design and implementation may resort to 'rules of thumb' about human behaviour, often based on standard economic theory rather than more subtle analysis of a given set of circumstances. Learnings from behavioural sciences can inform policy making by ensuring that energy policies are based on a sound understanding of the mechanisms guiding human behaviours. Behavioural insights are important for all policies designed to change individual, household and business behaviours that impact energy consumption and investment in energy efficiency; they can help identify behavioural barriers to policy effectiveness and help redesign policy actions accordingly. The COVID-19 crisis has brought about significant changes in lifestyles and work practices, as employees in service sectors work from home and avoid business travel, thereby causing immediate implications for energy consumption. Beyond the immediate crisis and societyâ€™s reflex reactions to it, longer-term changes in attitudes and beliefs may also affect peopleâ€™s consumption and mobility patterns, as well as perceptions of energy efficiency. Greater interest in climate change and air quality, as well as concerns raised over issues such as resilience, quality of life and job and energy security, all open up the possibility for new perceptions of the importance of energy efficiency.
9. Strengthen international collaboration The range of examples and learnings discussed here demonstrate clearly the value of international exchange and collaboration. International organisations can help countries to connect with each other for enhanced collaboration. The IEA convenes governments and stakeholders from around the world and facilitates sharing of best practice and data. Platforms such as the Clean Energy Ministerial and the IEA Technology Collaboration Programs serve to enable collaboration and exchange at many levels. Global platforms of commitment, such as the Three Percent Club, also serve an important role in highlighting the efficiency opportunity and encouraging international collaboration. The Global Alliance of Buildings and Construction has also been a strong driver of action and exchange. Among the largest economies, the G20 has been an important forum for energy efficiency collaboration in a number of areas. For example, in 2019, as part of its G20 presidency and as laid out in the Karuizawa Action Plan, Japan embarked on a global collaboration initiative to develop energy efficiency benchmarks for heavy industry as a means of supporting policy making. 10. Raise global energy efficiency ambition The Commission is strongly of the view that significant potential exists to enhance global energy efficiency, and collective ambition should therefore increase. Realising this ambition will entail action over a number of years that blends short- and longer-term perspectives. At this critical moment, governments have a sharp focus on economic stimulus and delivering tangible, widely-felt social and economic benefits. This can include a range of energy efficiency programs such as home retrofits that improve quality of life or action to reduce fuel poverty and enhance energy access, as seen in the IEAâ€™s Sustainable Recovery Plan. Governments can act as leaders by investing in efficient infrastructure, leveraging public procurement mechanisms to encourage manufacturing of efficient products, and incentivising actions and investments that help bring energy efficiency to scale. In order to reach the rapidly approaching goals of 2030 and 2050, the global community cannot afford investments in infrastructure that are not aligned with making progress toward those goals.
TIPS FOR RUNNING A The uptake of webinars and Virtual Conferences has exploded since COVID-19 hit and all trade shows and face-to-face meetings were banned, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.
he pandemic has highlighted that webinars aren’t just a substitute for live events – they have their own benefits when it comes to branding, customer engagement and quality lead generation. If you’re thinking about reaching potential customers with a webinar, here are five tips to help you better connect with your audience and for your event to run as smoothly as possible behind the scenes. 1. Audience: are you reaching your target market? The main purpose of any webinar or Virtual Conference is to provide information to your target market – the people you want to engage with your product or service. So the first thing you need to decide is whether you will be talking to your existing audience or if you want to reach new people. If you’re targeting your existing audience you can directly promote your webinar to them and offer educational and/or interesting content. If you want to reach a new market, the best way to find the most relevant people is through external marketing. This could include social media promotion or other channels like advertising in industry newsletters, allowing you to precisely track how many registrations it drives. Using social platforms like LinkedIn also allows you to identify a new audience based on factors such as job title and location, so you can find exactly who you want to attend your webinar. Monkey Media Managing Editor, Laura Harvey, said virtual events also tend to attract a lot more people than a live event. Monkey Media has run several Virtual Conferences in 2020, including Energy Storage, Digital Utilities, Disaster Management, Asset Management for Critical Infrastructure, Future of Infrastructure, Flow Technology and Smart Cities. “For example, at our Smart Cities Conference, we’d normally get around 300 people for a live event, but by making it a Virtual Conference, we had more than 1,100 people register,” Laura said. Once you’ve decided who your target audience is, it’s important to engage with them before and after the event to foster the relationship. Before the webinar, think about setting up an automated newsletter that sends them useful information on the topic. During the webinar ensure they can participate in the conversation using Q&A chat functions to send questions to speakers, or through poll questions.
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2. Content: what value is it offering? The content of the webinar or Virtual Conference is what will get people to register, so you need to be offering high-quality information and engaging speakers. Think about what your identified target audience and potential customers would want to learn about and create a program around their interests and pain points. Laura creates the programs for Monkey Media’s Virtual Conferences and said the choice of speakers can play a big part in the success. “You need to decide if you will use an internal speaker from your own company, external experts, or both. A mix is often good as it provides broader program appeal and can look less promotional,” she said. “The key with speaker selection is to first define the topics you want to address in your webinar, and then choose the speakers who are well-regarded and best placed to address these topics, internally or externally. “Speakers who have a high public profile, and who have their own broad networks that they can leverage to attract more delegates to your event are also beneficial.” There’s been a huge number of new webinars popping up lately, so like anything else there are good and bad ones. You want to make sure you’re not contributing to ‘webinar spam’. Don’t just do a webinar because everyone else is. You still need to have something useful to say. 3. Format: make it fit-for-purpose There is no set rule for how long a webinar or Virtual Conference should be, as the length of time should fit the content. If you’re turning a previously live event into a webinar, it’s important to not try to just jam in the existing content. For an event that was previously a one or two day conference, this could be compressed into a 3-4 hour webinar. This is what happened with Monkey Media’s Digital Utilities 2020 Conference, as the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions began less than a week out from the event. Monkey Media Managing Director, Chris Bland, said the decision was made to move it online on Friday, with the event starting the following Thursday. “This gave the production team only three work days to transform it into a completely Virtual Conference, including finding the best platform, and rejigging the program to work better in an www.energymagazine.com.au
SUCCESSFUL WEBINAR online format, including working with all the speakers to ensure their presentations still had the same impact when delivered online,” he said. “It was a steep learning curve and while it wasn’t perfect, we made sure to take the audience into account in terms of how they would be receiving the information presented.” Most people also have short attention spans, so Laura said that generally webinars should go for a few hours, or if there are only one or two speakers presenting on a niche topic, keep it down to 45 minutes to one hour. Take different time zones into account when choosing the optimal time, and make sure your speakers stick to their allocated times. Also, consider breaking up the event with a variety of presentation styles including panels and audience participation through Q&A sessions. Also, don’t forget to keep it visual – having powerpoint slides with illustrations or short videos is more interesting for viewers.
4. Technology: get it right People are forgiving when there are technical issues, but it only takes a minute or two of dead air before you lose someone’s attention, so it’s important to get the technical basics locked down. There are a number of webinar platform options available including GoToWebinar, On24, ClickMeeting and Zoom, with the choice depending on a number of factors, such as price and the specific features needed. Regardless of the platform, the key is to fine tune communication between the production team, speakers and the host to ensure that everything is seamless on screen, said Monkey Media’s Marketing Account Manager, Harry Johnston. Harry manages the technical components of all Monkey Media webinars through programs including the Zoom webinar platform and OBS Studio streaming software. “We have set up websites through Zapier that allow people to automatically download Zoom when they register for a Virtual Conference, and also have several add-on programs such as a virtual camera attachment, so we’re not just using the one program,” Harry said. “Since Digital Utilities, we’ve stepped up our production quality by using Adobe AfterEffects to custom-make our own graphics and animations to show who’s currently speaking and what’s coming up.”
While the webinar is running, it’s best to have a production team set up with different people managing different aspects, including one person to coordinate with the speakers and answer delegate questions that come through, and another to focus on the visuals and audio to ensure everything on screen is running smoothly. “There’s a lot of dialogue behind the scenes, so my best piece of advice for all webinars is to do a practice run at least the day before to troubleshoot any problems. This ensures the speakers are comfortable and know what they need to do, and allows you to test the sound quality, backgrounds, and that slides or visual aids work,” Harry said. Polls are also a great addition to a webinar or Virtual Conference, as they keep people engaged but can also be used as lead generation, where people can opt in to receive more information on certain companies presented.
5. Follow up: keep the conversation going Some companies produce their own webinars, while others work with an agency or publisher to run something more hybrid, either under their own brand, or co-branded. Sponsoring webinars and Virtual Conferences is another option, and can include brand recognition through logos in event promotion, speaking slots or video presentations in the program, information sent directly to these lists before or after the event, and more. These new contacts can opt in to receive more information about your product or service and if it’s a high-quality webinar, you will be associated with it and seen as an authority in the space. If you’re hosting your own webinar, you will already have the leads, but it’s critical to continue to keep in touch with them in a useful way and provide them with continued value. This could be in the form of adding these contacts to an automated nurture track so they can be sent related information. It’s this ongoing engagement that allows you to get the most out of the webinars, long after they are over. “Our conferences remain online after the live virtual event has concluded, so we continue to have people registering to watch our previous events on-demand, which extends the life of the webinar content we create,” Laura said.
If you’d like more information about Monkey Media running a webinar for your business, or sponsoring a future Virtual Conference, get in touch at email@example.com.
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SETTING THE STANDARD FOR THE RENEWABLE TRANSITION
The growing role of renewable energy in Australiaâ€™s energy market, and managing the transition, is a critical area of focus for many in the industry. The team at Standards Australia is also undertaking extensive work to ensure the industry has recognised standards to work within as we make the transition.
Standards Australia has formed a group working on standards for marine energy.
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Work is also being undertaken in developing battery standards.
ustainable energy remains a strong economic and environmental theme globally. The United Nations has set an ambitious 15-year plan that addresses the global challenges we face, including how to protect the planet through the use of renewables. While the sector is growing in Australia, one report outlines that renewable energy accounted for only six per cent of our nation’s primary energy consumption in 2017-181. Standards Australia continues to be a part of the broader conversation and is providing support in the ongoing development and implementation of sustainable options. This year has seen standards developed and working groups engaged to support three critical aspects of sustainable energy – battery storage, ocean energy and hydrogen. Making a splash At an early age, we learn the earth is 70 per cent water, and until now, this resource has gone widely underutilised. New technologies and innovative thinking have led to opportunities to harvest energy directly from the natural movement occurring in oceans. Ocean energy is a broad term that covers tidal energy, wave energy and ocean thermal energy. In Australia, we have significant ocean currents like those off the coast of Western Australia or Queensland. Having arguably the most significant ocean resources available by country, Australia is uniquely placed and has a strong role to play in ocean energy development. Standards Australia has formed the Australian Marine Energy Standards Mirror Committee to the International Electrotechnical Commission on Marine Energy Standards (IEC-TC114): EL-066 Marine Energy – wave, tidal and other water current converters. Ready H2 Go! Just over a year ago, Standards Australia established a technical committee to work towards adopting and developing standards to support the next wave of hydrogen technology. Eight standards to support hydrogen use and transportation in Australia have now been published as a first step in this ambitious work program. These standards aim to help propel the hydrogen industry to reach its potential. A recent report calculated global demand for hydrogen exported from Australia could be almost a million tonnes by 2030, adding up to $11 billion in GDP growth each year until 20502. The standards adopted include: » AS 16110.1:2020, Hydrogen generators using fuel processing technologies, Part 1: Safety (ISO 16110-1:2007, MOD)
EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS » » »
» » » »
AS ISO 16110.2:2020, Hydrogen generators using fuel processing technologies, Part 2: Test methods for performance AS ISO 14687:2020: Hydrogen fuel quality – Product specification AS 22734:2020: Hydrogen generators using water electrolysis – Industrial, commercial, and residential applications (ISO 22734:2019, MOD) SA TS 19883:2020: Safety of pressure swing adsorption systems for hydrogen separation and purification (ISO/TS 19883:2017, MOD) AS ISO 16111:2020: Transportable gas storage devices – Hydrogen absorbed in reversible metal hydride AS ISO 19881:2020: Gaseous hydrogen – Land vehicle fuel containers AS 19880.3:2020: Gaseous hydrogen – Fuelling stations, Part 3: Valves (ISO 198803:2018, MOD)
Hydrogen has the potential to transform energy use and change the way we power transport communities and businesses. The adoption of international standards not only intends to support the safety of users but can go a long way in facilitating international trade and enabling Australia to participate in the global hydrogen economy. Standards Australia will continue working with government, regulators and experts to support the successful use of this energy and other sustainable energy options on the horizon.
Growth in grids Last year there were over 22,000 small-scale batteries installed across Australia3. To support the growing market, Standards Australia published AS/NZS 5139:2019, Electrical installations – Safety of battery systems for use with power conversion equipment. Unlike other energy storage and generation, batteries offer more flexibility. They can respond faster, maintain grid stability by being used when needed, and can be installed and used in large and small proportions. Supporting this energy can go a long way to furthering sustainable energy options in both Australia and globally. This standard is a first for battery storage, developed with manufacturers, integrators, designers and installers of battery energy storage systems in mind. AS/NZS 5139:2019 intends to guide safety and installation of battery systems connected to power conversion equipment. Supporting sustainable energy Energy options are continually evolving, and Standards Australia is committed to proactively working to support and provide a foundation for these ongoing developments. The global appeal to address climate change is driving significant growth in renewable sources of power generation. While we are just beginning the journey in this sector, Standards Australia will continue to provide important updates.
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EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT
RENEWABLE ENERGY While solar and wind have led Australia’s renewable energy uptake, a shift away from landfill in the Federal Government’s waste management policy suggests it’s time to focus on the forgotten renewable – energy-from-waste.
hief Executive Officer of ResourceCo Energy, Henry Anning, said targets set by the National Waste Policy Action Plan, coupled with July’s announcement of a $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund, signal a significant shift in waste management policy. “Solar and wind renewables have previously held the focus of policymakers, but the move towards reuse and remanufacturing of waste here in Australia presents energy-from-waste in a new light,” he said. “Gas and coal combustion still dominate as the providers for industrial process heat, despite energy-from-waste offering a viable, cost effective and environmentally sound option for energyhungry manufacturers. “Energy recovery from residual waste is a proven and successful energy solution widely adopted across Europe and the UK, and it’s time Australian businesses recognised the opportunity to reduce their long-term energy costs, risk and emissions.” Managing Director of renewable energy engineering and advice firm, ITP Thermal, and author of ARENA’s Renewable Energy Options for Industrial Process Heat report, Dr Keith Lovegrove, said a greater focus on alternatives for heat supply, as well as long-term visionary decision-making, is required. “Australian industry accounts for 44 per cent of the nation’s end use energy, and 52 per cent of that is process heat, with an indicative value of $8 billion per year,” he said. “The level of industrial experience with renewable heat remains low, and we need to make it a priority to change this by removing barriers, including a low appetite for risk and short payback time expectations by the industry,” he said. “Australia can be very competitive in a low emissions world by taking advantage of both its raw materials and renewable energy resources.
“The material ResourceCo makes for example, can be used in boilers to make steam that can be used for process heat, but it can also provide for power generation.” Mr Anning said the fund’s unprecedented investment in transforming Australia’s approach to waste management and recycling will support innovation in the sector and provide confidence for industry investment. “Financial pressures in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic are causing large manufacturers to examine cost pressures associated with generating heat, looking for long-term cost-effective alternatives,” he said. “Some businesses have experienced price rises of up to 400 per cent in recent years, and with high gas prices likely to continue, it’s an obvious time for businesses to change tact. “We’re providing a unique alternative heat solution to gas, coal or electricity in the form of a 90 per cent renewable heat source, at the same time diverting resources that would otherwise be destined for landfill. “It’s about significant cost savings and responsible environmental management by partnering with large energy users to set-up the infrastructure and technology within their operations to utilise heat from recovered fuel. “We’re also delivering solutions for businesses with existing boilers using between 100,000 gigajoules and a petajoule of natural gas by installing between a five and 40MW recovered fuel boiler.” ResourceCo Energy manufactures processed engineered fuel (PEF) from commercial and industrial (C&I), and certain construction and demolition (C&D) materials. These are primarily waste timber materials and include non-recyclable plastics, cardboard, paper and textiles.
For more information about ResourceCo, head to www.resourceco.com.au
TOMORROWâ€™S SOLUTIONS. TODAY
EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT
NEW TECHNOLOGIES REDUCING
OIL AND GAS EMISSIONS
The global oil and gas industry is leading the way with new technologies to use natural gas to help reduce emissions and support the global shift to cleaner energy.
atural gas is already playing an essential role in reducing emissions, providing a stable baseload energy as Australia and the rest of the world transition to renewable energy. “Locally, natural gas is a cleaner fuel and can see the emissions intensity of electricity generation fall, particularly on the east coast. Gas-fired generators can be rapidly started, making them complementary with intermittent renewable energy,” APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville said. “Alongside the opportunity at home, exporting natural gas as LNG will allow our Asian trading partners to reduce the emissions from their economies. “Government statistics already tell us that Australia’s LNG exports have the potential to reduce emissions in importing nations by up to 164 million tonnes each year through the displacement of coal consumption.” APPEA’s new report, Industry Action on Emissions Reduction, outlines the initiatives and activities being undertaken by the industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encompassing the entire oil and gas exploration and production lifecycle.
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There is even more work being undertaken by the industry to further develop new technologies such as carbon capture and storage and investments in hydrogen. “A focus on innovation and technology, including carbon capture and storage and hydrogen as technologies, can achieve largescale abatement and provide a large-scale economic opportunity for Australia,” Mr McConville said. The ability to embrace new technologies in the industry will also provide economic opportunities. “Reducing global emissions, using natural gas to enable renewables and sustaining and growing a strong export industry are all vital to Australia’s economic future, especially in these tough economic times.” In July, the International Gas Union’s (IGU) Gas Technology and Innovation for a Sustainable Future report showed that utilising natural gas technologies – including carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and renewable gas – to their full economic potential could deliver a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions of up to 12 gigatonnes (GT) by 2040. This is the equivalent to nearly a third of global energy sector emissions in 2019.
Low emission natural gas
Powering Australia to a clean energy future. Natural gas Naturally part of every day. bright-r.com.au
Brighter is an initiative of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association. Authorised by S Browne, Melbourne.
BOWEN BASIN PIPELINE:
LEADING THE ENERGY RECOVERY CHARGE
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Australia has faced multiple challenges in 2020, from bushfires, droughts and floods to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Now another challenge is looming for Australiaâ€™s southern states, with experts predicting an east coast gas shortage in the next four years. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) says that unless more supply sources are developed, or a pipeline is established to increase capacity, Victoria and NSW could be headed for a gas supply shortfall by Winter 2024. Aiming to mitigate the impending shortage, Australian oil and gas exploration company Blue Energy has been promoting new gas pipeline infrastructure between Moranbah and Gladstone/Wallumbilla.
lue Energy said that the Bowen Basin southern gas pipeline project has the potential to unlock 15,000PJ of already discovered gas resources to alleviate the impacts of the east coast domestic gas shortage, help provide flexible and reliable electricity to the North Queensland grid, and also assist in Australiaâ€™s national economic recovery from the pandemic. With the company engaging in discussions with the Federal and Queensland Governments, more gas could soon be available to the southern states to both mitigate the predicted shortage and act as the ideal stabilisation fuel for our increasing renewable energy sources.
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A new gas pipeline connecting Moranbah and Gladstone/Wallumbilla could give Australia a much-needed economic boost post-COVID-19.
The approaching East Coast gas shortage East coast gas users, manufacturers, utilities and households require a reliable long-term supply of gas to reduce uncertainty and risk to their continuous operations, and to give investors confidence. Gas is not only used for electricity generation, but also for fertiliser production, glass making, plastics manufacturing, brick firing, mineral processing, hydrogen generation and transportation. Australia has the gas reserves to underpin more than 30 years of stable supply, given the appropriate pipeline infrastructure is put in place. Multiple Australian experts predict an east coast gas shortage will occur in the next four years unless more supply sources are developed and additional gas pipeline infrastructure is constructed. Findings released in 2019 in AEMO’s 2020 Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO), and the 2020 Victorian Gas Planning Report Update (VGPR Update) have predicted a projected shortfall during peak winter days in Victoria and New South Wales from 2024 onwards. This shortage in supply is forecast to be caused by several existing Bass Strait gas fields which are projected to possibly end production from 2023 to 2024. In addition, if these gas fields
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end production earlier than expected, Australia’s southern states are at risk of experiencing supply gaps by as early as 2023. Concerningly, the latest industry production data shows Bass Strait production has declined a further 18 per cent year on year, clearly demonstrating this rapid decline toward end of field life. Addressing the findings in the GSOO, AEMO Managing Director and CEO, Audrey Zibelman, said that despite new gas field projects proceeding, more needs to be done to ensure a reliable supply. “Supply from existing and committed southern gas developments is expected to reduce by more than 35 per cent over the next five years, despite the increase in newly committed gas projects over the last 12 months,” Ms Zibelman said. Massive CAPEX reductions by major global oil and gas producers, as a reaction to the dramatic oil price crash, also have the potential to jeopardise committed gas project delivery timing. “The risk of peak day shortfalls could be resolved by a wide range of different options, some of which are already being explored by industry and governments. “This could include the development of new LNG import terminals, pipeline expansions, or new supply that could result from the Victorian Government’s decision to lift the ban on onshore gas exploration from July 2021.”
GAS PIPELINES “We’ve been actively exploring the concept of starting to bring some of the 15,000PJ of gas that’s been discovered in the northern Bowen Basin into the East Coast market, and alleviate the pressure on gas users and manufacturers that they’ve been experiencing for the last five or six years due to supply issues and price. “Effectively, the basin is isolated from the southern market because there’s no connection from Moranbah down into Gladstone and Wallumbilla. There is an existing small diameter pipeline connection going up to Townsville, but it only goes one way at the moment, north, and it needs to come south as well. “We’ve been talking with the Federal Government and the State Government in terms of the merits of having a pipeline put in from Moranbah and Gladstone or Wallumbilla, and how that would be funded and prioritised, in terms of nation-building infrastructure for the country that will help rebuild and grow the manufacturing base, post COVID.”
Bowen Basin southern gas pipeline project The looming gas supply shortage for the east coast has highlighted the need for new gas resources and infrastructure, and Blue Energy believes that the development of the North Bowen Basin gas resource would be the quickest solution to the issue. Blue Energy said that the broader Northern Bowen Basin Gas Province has a discovered resource of approximately 15,000PJ of gas which, based on current market conditions and if fully developed, would be sufficient to support the East Coast domestic gas market for 30 years. All that would be required is the construction of a single, multi-user 500km pipeline from Moranbah to Gladstone/Wallumbilla, which would be capable of delivering up to 300TJ of gas per day to the domestic market. Discussing the Bowen Basin southern gas pipeline project with Energy magazine, Blue Energy Managing Director, John Phillips, said that the company was in active discussions with the Federal and Queensland Governments about the benefits of the pipeline project and how it can be funded. “More gas needs to be brought to market, as the ACCC has been saying for four years now, and more infrastructure needs to be put in place to bring that gas to market to reduce the price to end users,” Mr Phillips said. www.energymagazine.com.au
Gas paving the road for recovery and renewables With the pandemic putting a massive strain on the country’s economy, thoughts are turning to how Australia can repair the damage, support industries and create jobs. A recently leaked draft report from the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) suggests that expanding Australia’s domestic gas industry could support a strong manufacturing-led recovery, with an estimated 85,000-170,000 direct jobs created from the expansion. The final report has now been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office for consideration. A leaked copy of the NCCC’s final report was quoted as stating “One of the task force's primary recommendations is that the Commonwealth underwrite gas demand so new projects have a guaranteed buyer. Government would group together multiple smaller gas users and if they did not consume all the supply, the government would pay for it.” The NCCC report, as well as the GSOO report from AMEO, have highlighted the ongoing importance of gas pipeline infrastructure in Australia to secure supply and ensure affordable prices, not just to assist in Australia’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, but to also pave the way for an expanded renewable energy future. According to data released in the Federal Government’s 2020 Australian Energy Statistics, 21 per cent of Australia’s electricity in 2019 came from renewable energy, up from 19 per cent in the previous year, showing that renewables are expanding across the country, with gas-fired generation also growing to account for 21 per cent of Australia’s total generation. Mr Phillips said that while it’s clear that renewables continue to expand, it is equally important that there is a back-up energy source, like gas, to balance the intermittency of renewables, and continue to deliver reliable and secure energy. “Across the country, and indeed globally, you’re seeing a lot of increase in renewables, namely solar and wind, going into the electricity generation process,” Mr Phillips said. “Now, because of the obvious intermittent nature of solar and wind, you have to be able to call on some sort of reserve power when that solar energy, or wind energy isn’t available. “We think gas is the ideal symbiotic partner to renewable energy. So I think you’ll find as we get increases in solar and wind energy as part of the energy mix, you will also have to have increases in gas-fired fast start generation capacity.” With the Federal Government and the NCCC looking closely at the domestic gas market and how it can both support in the pandemic recovery, and back-up renewable energy generation, it’s more important than ever to develop gas infrastructure. As the east coast gas shortage continues to emerge, the Bowen Basin southern gas pipeline is emerging as a vital piece of infrastructure for the future energy security of the east coast.
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ASSET INSPECTION & DRONES
BRINGING HIGH-TECH DRONES TO QUEENSLAND The Queensland Government is building a $14.5 million commercial drone flight testing facility at Cloncurry Airport in the state’s north-west, bringing high-technology industry and more jobs to the region.
onstruction is underway on the facility, and is scheduled to be completed in midOctober. The flight test range is expected to be operational soon after. The project will provide a key missing element for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research and development. The ground facilities and airspace will create an authorised and safe environment for testing and trialling small to large unmanned aerial systems. It will be the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The facility will include a hangar, buildings to provide office space and house monitoring equipment, range control systems, a surveillance radar and amenities. This is the first stage of a world-class aerial drone test facility to attract investment and innovation in Queensland. QinetiQ Australia has been appointed to oversee construction of the facility. The common-user facility will be available for use by commercial users, industry and academia for a fee. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the facility was a key part of the government’s strategy to support a diverse economy in the North West and create more jobs for locals. “This facility is creating 65 jobs during construction and will bring ongoing benefits to the region. “It’s just one of 13 innovative diversification initiatives that tap into the potential of the North West, and further proof that by working together with local councils and the community, we can grow Queensland’s economy.” Minister for State Development and Minister responsible for the Queensland Drone Strategy Cameron Dick said “The Palaszczuk Government is creating more jobs in more industries, bringing worldclass, cutting-edge aerospace technology to the Queensland outback.
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Construction of Queensland’s new commercial drone flight testing facility at Cloncurry Airport is underway, and due for completion by October.
ASSET INSPECTION & DRONES
“Our government was the first in Australia to launch a drone strategy, and now we’re well on the way to becoming the nation’s drone technology capital. “We have secured the world’s largest aerospace group, The Boeing Company, to be the first to conduct trials at the facility, creating an exciting new aerospace industry for the region." Boeing Director of Phantom Works International Shane Arnott said the company is looking forward to using the flight facility in 2020 to safely and securely test the latest advances in unmanned systems technology. “The creation of what will be one of the world’s largest commercial unmanned flight test facilities is critical to establishing Australia as a global leader in autonomous technology,” Dr Arnott said. The Palaszczuk Government will invest $14.5 million in the first stage of the facility, which will be built on airport land and
include a hangar, operation room and surveillance radar and communications equipment. The facility will test small-to-medium sized drones weighing between 30-150 kilograms. Mr Dick said during the initial stages of operation drones will make test flights over short distances of up to 25km along a designated flight path away from built-up areas. Cr Greg Campbell, Mayor of Cloncurry, said the announcement is a major win for Cloncurry and the North West. “This will create a hub for aerospace R&D that will be a new high-tech industry for the region, to create jobs and boost the local and state economy,’ he said. The facility will also support the initiatives of the Palaszczuk Government’s North West Queensland Economic Diversification Strategy Implementation Plan 2019-2021, released this week.
QUEENSLAND’S DRONES STRATEGY The Queensland Government was the first in Australia to launch a strategy for unmanned aerial systems. The Queensland Drones Strategy builds upon Queensland’s strengths and leverages the state’s innovation success to take advantage of new and emerging opportunities, complementing the Advance Queensland initiative. Queensland’s vision is that the state becomes a world-leader in drone technology and application. The state’s drone industry has strong investment and jobs growth, supported by its world-leading research and development capability, and a highly skilled workforce. The strategy was developed in consultation with government, industry, academia and the general public, to ensure it supports the industry now and into the future. www.energymagazine.com.au
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ASSET INSPECTION & DRONES ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT
HOW DRONES AND AI
ARE CHANGING SOLAR
FARM MANAGEMENT Not only can AI-driven drone data management pinpoint faults down to an individual panel level, solar farm owners can also use this technology to identify trends in array performance and ramp up pre-emptive maintenance efforts.
ore and more solar farm managers have begun to use thermal aerial imaging to assess and track the performance of PV arrays at large solar parks. Traditional aerial thermal imaging techniques zero down on an array which is running at a relatively higher temperature to indicate the possibility of a faulty or declining panel.
The vertikalitiSOLAR reporting platform.
A thermal image from the vertikalitiSOLAR platform.
But this model does not provide solar farm owners with the complete picture. They still need to identify the individual panels in the PV array that are faulty or under-performing. And they still do not have any means to receive an early indication of PV panel degradation which would allow them to implement predictive maintenance programs effectively. Aerodyne Australia is closing the gaps found in conventional aerial inspections by offering a full-service analysis and assessment model driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Aerodyne’s cloud-based delivery platform vertikalitiSOLAR rapidly compares imagery
from multiple thermal mapping missions to assess and identify trends in PV panel and array performance, delivering exceptional reporting on just those panels where potential issues are being detected. Every PV array (or even each panel) can be managed within the vertikalitiSOLAR platform as an asset. For each asset, solar farm owners can assign a precise GIS location and upload useful maintenance documentation, such as historical inspection data and images, installation reports, maintenance reports and engineering and design data. This allows farm owners to create a ‘virtual twin’ for each array or panel, enabling unprecedented levels of desktop maintenance assessment. “There’s no mystery about why aerial inspection of solar arrays has become so popular,” Aerodyne Group COO, Rossi Jaafar, said. “Traditional methods of panel and array inspections are very time-consuming and expensive to sustain in a market where financial returns are still relatively low.”
Aerial PV array inspections can deliver critical information much faster and usually much more cheaply. But the challenge is that they produce a huge amount of data and imagery, which then has to be collated and analysed before it can be readily consumed for maintenance purposes. “The real game-changer,” according to Rossi, “is being able to capture highresolution visual and thermal imaging, that provides panel-level detail, and delivering this data in a way that client management and maintenance personnel can use readily and easily.” With an in-house thermographer on its analysis team, Aerodyne Australia can identify, classify and detect each anomaly clearly and consistently, as well as make assessments on the performance of the system. Once the data has been analysed and processed by Aerodyne’s experts, clients receive a clear and complete health report of the site via PDF, online maps, and field repair mobile app. They can then plan their next action for repair and maintenance.
For more information about Aerodyne Australia’s solar PV inspection services, call Rossi Jaafar on +614 7888 7469 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Critical Asset Inspection & Management 100,000KM 5000 3000 300,000 Powerline distance inspected
Total WTG towers inspected as of June 2020
Critical Asset Inspection & Management • Enterprise Intelligence & Analytics • Edge AI Processing • Turnkey Enterprise Application (Cloud & Mobility) • Integration with existing ERP installation
MW inspected as of June 2020
500% Reduction in
AMERICA Harjeet Johal +1.404.944.5459 email@example.com
AUSTRALIA, UK AND EUROPE Rossi Jaafar +1.667.888.7469 firstname.lastname@example.org
RUSSIA Artem Serebrennikov +7.903.726.2262 email@example.com
LATIN AMERICA Marco Sepulveda +56.99.5012.9649 firstname.lastname@example.org
Total assets inpected as of June 2020
Drone Technology Data Technology
ASIA & MIDDLE EAST Zulhusni Mokhti +6017.335.5454 email@example.com
JAPAN Akira Itoh +81 50 3637 5998 firstname.lastname@example.org
ASSET INSPECTION & DRONES ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT
SMARTER EARTHING TESTING REDUCES COST & IMPROVES SAFETY
With significant industry disruption, interstate and regional travel dramatically limited, and in some cases reduced capacity for revenue generation, asset owners are under more pressure than ever to reduce costs. In the case of critical infrastructure like power systems, it's imperative that routine maintenance and inspections are not disrupted, and so smarter and more efficient approaches need to be adopted.
n its 2016 revision, the principal standard for high voltage (HV) electrical assets in Australia, AS 2067, introduced substantial improvements to the way HV earthing systems are maintained. This standard is now well established, and compliance is a legal obligation in most instances. If deferring maintenance is not an option, businesses need to discover ways to improve efficiency. Section 8.7 of AS 2067:2016 requires a maintenance schedule to be implemented for earthing assets, which should consider (amongst other things) which test methods are most appropriate. The different test methods tend to fit into one of two categories: Performance tests are those that test the effective operation of the earthing system. The principal performance test is an earthing injection test, where the power line is configured to be representative of an earth fault (e.g. a single phase to earth fault) and a test current injected in that circuit. In this case, a 'real' (though small scale) earth fault is established, allowing measurements of touch and step voltages and current distribution to be taken. Satisfactory results on a performance test give the stakeholders
confidence that an actual full-scale fault would not produce touch and step voltages that constitute an unacceptable risk, and would not exceed insulation and current ratings on equipment. Performance tests are the only measure of risk associated with an asset. Since they are relatively expensive and require specialist expertise and equipment, they are usually scheduled infrequently typically every five to ten years. However, if an earthing system experiences a change that might negatively impact performance, it is unlikely to be detected until the next performance test, and therefore there could be a latent risk issue - the voltages produced during an earth fault might be unacceptably high. Condition tests are those that ascertain whether there has been any change in the condition of the earthing system, such as deterioration, inadvertent damage, or configuration change. Condition testing is less expensive and might be carried out every one to two years. Whilst it doesn't measure system performance, and cannot on its own indicate the safety compliance of an earthing system, it is often considered the most valuable testing, for two main reasons: 1. No change in condition implies no change in performance. If the previous performance test indicated safety
compliance, consistently positive routine condition test results provide confidence that the earthing system will perform effectively in the event of an earth fault. 2. Condition testing will identify risks more quickly. Because they are less expensive, the time between condition tests (and therefore maximum time that a latent issue might go undetected) can be much shorter than performance tests. Condition testing also has the advantage of being less complex. In fact, many asset owners are now having their in-house teams trained and equipped to carry out routine earthing condition testing themselves, which overcomes some of today's cost and travel challenges. Similarly, some electrical service providers are developing their capability in order to add to their existing service offerings. What does earthing condition testing look like? There are two aspects, often carried out together: Visual inspection and integrity testing. Visual inspection requires a trained eye and looks for signs of physical change in the earthing system elements. Integrity Testing assesses the electrical continuity of the earthing system elements, ensuring that everything that should be bonded is bonded effectively and that anything that should be separated is in fact separated. The test requires a test instrument suitable for the environment, typically a 4-wire, switched polarity DC continuity meter with sufficient AC and DC noise immunity, robustness, portability, and battery life. Such instruments are readily available, and in-house or online training courses in the test method are available.
ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT ASSET INSPECTION & DRONES
ABOUT SAFEARTH Safearth is Australia's largest and most experienced earthing team, and is also at the forefront internationally with leadership roles in developing IEEE standards and Cigre and CIRED technical brochures. Safearth provides: consulting services, including design, testing, audits, standards development, investigations and asset management; training in all aspects of earthing, including testing; instruments to equip your team to carry out testing; and also a range of software for design and analysis. The team at Safearth is available to help you develop a comprehensive and effective plan to introduce earthing testing into your portfolio today.
Learn more: safearth.com/energy/ email@example.com 1800 327 844
Safearthâ€™s cable management solutions are built to last.
Safearth has a long history in carrying out earthing testing. In fact, we invented some of the key methods that are commonly used today. As pioneers, we've developed our own equipment - designed and built specifically for the unique requirements of HV electrical environments. We still use
some third-party products where they are suitable, but where suitable products haven't been readily available, we've developed our own. This initially included test instruments, but has extended to specialist cable and cable management solutions, which have been designed strong, tough, and easy to use.
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The CS3 is the world's leading earthing integrity tester. Australian made, and the winner of an Engineers Australia Engineering Excellence Award, it's simply the best instrument available for earthing condition testing, and it is available in-store now.
A MINDFUL APPROACH TO SUPPORTING
STAFF WELLBEING DURING COVID-19
by Associate Professor Erin Smith, Edith Cowan University
As we enter our sixth month of managing and mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we hear from disaster management expert Erin Smith on how energy businesses can support their staff during the second wave of the pandemic.
he COVID-19 pandemic is presenting workplaces with unprecedented challenges. Depending on the organisation, staff may now be working remotely, operating under staggered rosters, or undertaking modified roles. Anxiety and worry about health is exacerbated by economic concerns related to financial stability and employment status. Not surprisingly, these combined stressors can negatively impact staff wellbeing. There are, however, a number of things that organisations can do to proactively support staff during these challenging times. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the key steps energy businesses can take to support their staff right now.
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Put health and wellbeing first Everyone deals with stress differently, so organisations should empower staff to make decisions around their own health and wellbeing that best suit them, whether that be work from home options or flexible schedules outside of normal hours. Organisations should also promote the importance of self-care, and embed psychological first aid options as routinely as physical first aid. Practice compassionate leadership Now – more than ever – it’s important for staff to feel like we are all in this together. Despite each individual employee having their own unique circumstances, as a workforce the organisation needs to come together as a collective.
A sense of unity and belonging will be important for wellbeing at this time. It is integral for leaders to demonstrate compassion and empathy – good leaders will be honest about how they are feeling.
Ways to practice compassionate leadership Look: Take time to check in with your team. Find out who within the team is vulnerable. Who has been tested? Who is isolating at home? Is anyone positive? How can you support these staff? Look for the unsaid. Have moods changed? Behaviours? How are people's energy levels? Listen: Embed time into the work week for discussing how people are travelling. It could be a weekly COVID Catch Up. Give everyone a chance to chat about how they are feeling. This could be online or face-to-face. Practice mindful listening. Give your staff space to be open and honest about how they feel, both mentally and physically. Ask them: how can we do better? Link: Everyone is going to be feeling a range of different emotions. Taking the time to acknowledge how someone else is feeling empowers us to respond with kindness. Consider getting a range of different speakers, mental health or alternative health professionals to speak to your staff or run wellbeing sessions. Research shows that mindfulness meditation and yoga can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, and can have a significant impact in the workplace. The cost of these activities can be offset by the reduction in absenteeism that will come from staff feeling connected and cared for. Be open and honest During times of uncertainty, providing accurate and honest information is an important ingredient for protecting mental health and wellbeing. It’s important that staff receive frequent, clear, and reliable information. Make sure that as new facts emerge from trusted public health sources, information is clearly and immediately provided to staff in language they understand. Connection is key – but avoid “death by Zoom” Connection is an important part of wellbeing. But staying connected has been challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic for many people, particularly for staff suddenly
finding themselves working from home. And especially for staff living alone. Regular team catch ups are an excellent starting point for maintaining a sense of connection and for helping build rapport. They also provide an opportunity for leaders to develop a better understanding of how staff are travelling. When these catch-ups are held regularly, they allow leaders to pick up on little changes among staff that may indicate that someone’s having a particularly hard time. But it’s a fine line! Some workplaces have gone from having no regular team meetings to staff suddenly finding their calendars are filled with a glut of online meetings. Beware of “death by Zoom”, as staff may become fatigued by the constant stream of well meaning online catch-ups and meetings.
Reach in When it comes to supporting wellbeing, it is not enough for organisations to simply say reach out if you’re not OK. Gone are the days of purely reactive approaches to supporting mental health. When people are in crisis they are less likely to ask for help. Organisations need to proactively “reach in” to staff to see how they are travelling. Ideally, these wellness check ins should occur regularly – at least every six months during non-crisis times, and more frequently during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic – so that conversations around mental health become normalised and embedded within the workplace culture. During COVID-19, organisations should be providing staff with regular opportunities to check in – whether that is with appropriately trained leaders, managers, consultants or colleagues – who encourage safe conversations and peer support. Other reach in techniques include ensuring that staff know where to find up-to-date and appropriate information; guidance and support for protecting their wellbeing and mental health; maintaining open channels of communication to hear how staff are feeling; and, importantly, listening and responding. Organisations could consider establishing a hotline or central contact point for staff – and developing in-house channels and hubs to respond promptly to staff questions and concerns.
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It’s important to remain connected to employees – but it’s a fine line to ensuring you avoid “death by Zoom”.
Future-proof your workforce In addition to the range of supports outlined above, the pandemic is also an opportunity for organisations to look for some silver linings. Look for the opportunities to empower staff and encourage them to take ownership and accountability for their own wellbeing – so they can come through the crisis potentially more resilient and with greater mental health literacy than before COVID-19. This will help future-proof your organisation for emerging crises when you have a workforce who are more aware of the importance of self-care, who are more connected, and more resilient.
Keep an eye on your own mental health And finally – it’s important for leaders and managers to not forget about their own wellbeing. It’s easy to get distracted by the broader needs of the organisation and staff during a crisis. But to support staff health and wellbeing, you need to take the time to check in with yourself. Leaders should maintain regular catch ups with trusted colleagues, mental health professionals or other support providers to ensure their own health. Talking openly about their own mental health with their staff can also be beneficial – both in building rapport and developing a sense of trust and connection – and in helping staff feel more comfortable in sharing their own experiences and difficulties.
Associate Professor Erin Smith has a PhD in Disaster and Emergency Response from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Erin also has a Master of Public Health and Master of Clinical Epidemiology. She is a Research Consultant for The Code 9 Foundation and an Emergency Services Response Volunteer for the Australian Red Cross. Erin is a member of the Board of Directors of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine.
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ACHIEVING RESILIENCE THROUGH A NEW
by Charlie Richardson, Utilities Lead, Accenture Australia & New Zealand and Tony Histon, Transmission & Distribution Lead, Accenture Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa As an essential service, energy providers need to be amongst the most resilient businesses in the world. With COVID-19 being the latest in a series of events that have severely tested our ability to operate in a â€œbusiness as usualâ€? environment, Charlie Richardson and Tony Histon share their thoughts on how the energy industry can prepare itself for and cope with the unexpected.
Accenture research has revealed only a quarter of utility executives feel their organisations are well prepared to deal with black swan events.
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he severity and frequency of extreme weather events, such as last summer’s devastating east coast bushfires, has placed increased pressure on utility companies to respond with greater network resilience and flexibility. Yet alarmingly, recent Accenture research has revealed only a quarter of utility executives feel their organisations are well prepared to deal with the operational and financial challenges that arise from such black swan events. A business strategy that focuses on reliability is no longer enough. Utilities must shift their focus from reliability to resilience. They must take the lead to overcome the new, harsh realities of severe weather and black swan events such severe cyber attacks and the ongoing COVID pandemic. The harsh reality We are living in a new, harsh reality. More frequent and severe weather events are increasing the scale of outages and impinging on restoration efforts. The proliferation of distributed generation – such as solar and wind – is causing fundamental changes to the electricity system, creating new requirements in the pursuit of a net-zero-emissions society.
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Extreme weather events, such as last summer’s devastating east coast bushfires, have placed increased pressure on utilities to respond with greater network resilience and flexibility.
Utilities are also battling to maintain insurance and financing at competitive rates; and evolving regulatory compacts are expanding the scope of many utilities’ responsibilities. Many regulated industries are called to take on leadership roles in the communities they serve offering affordable essential services during good times and bad. This, along with the steep costs of maintaining aged transmission and distribution assets, is putting utilities at a tipping point – and it’s only expected to get worse. Accenture’s recent survey revealed 92 per cent of utility executives expect extreme weather events to increase and worsen over the next decade. With extreme weather recognised as the new reality, companies must respond in new ways. Reliability, while a valuable and continually necessary foundation for utilities, is no longer effective enough to combat the new landscape – we must instead focus on a plan of resilience.
Reliability vs resilience Until now, most utility companies have focused on reliability: minimising the frequency and duration of outages by planning for an anticipated set of fault scenarios. Wide-spread issues resulting from disasters have often been considered
infrequent anomalies. Today, utilities need to design and operate for resilience: maintaining a sustainable business and effective service under the threat of more frequent major events. They must shift focus from developing reliability tactics, to developing a strategy for addressing wider issues and frameworks needed for a business focused on resilience. To start, it’s imperative that the C-level
take responsibility for developing a strategy focused on resilience. Once it’s created, it must be embedded company-wide, including within all governance, processes and structures. From there, all stakeholders – both internal and external – must be involved in regular dialogue, keeping informed and regularly engaged and updated as the strategy evolves. Once this is in place, utilities should also partner with meteorological experts to map potential future weather scenarios and develop a system to understand the impact of various events. This should also coincide with advanced analysis of a broad range of contingencies resulting from faults and demand fluctuations. Finally, utilities should engage in regular and open discussion with regulators to discuss means of measuring and incentivising resilience. Establishing these foundations will confirm the business has all the data, frameworks and tools to make decisions based on a strategy of resilience. Once this has been achieved, utilities can move on to the next step – building a more resilient network.
The resilience network Once the foundations of resiliency have been set, there are three broad areas for utilities to improve their network. Firstly, they must harden the network through traditional approaches. This includes the undergrounding of assets, pole replacements and developing flood defences. Utilities must also fortify their restoration effectiveness by strengthening the capability to reduce outage time to the www.energymagazine.com.au
minimum. Finally, and most importantly, utilities must develop greater system flexibility. Developing flexibility is vital – it is what will limit the impact of extreme events. Flexibility can be achieved with: » Systems that automatically reconfigure the network to use redundancy » Distributed energy resources that provide localised support » Customer programs that manage consumption, considering prevailing constraints and microgrids that at certain times may operate independently from the broader grid. Being flexible can allow a more cost effective and adaptable approach to responding to high impact events such as cyber attacks, extreme weather and bushfires. Flexibility also supports the wider agenda when it comes to greater active management of the network to provide cost-effective support for renewable generation, electric vehicles and customer or community-owned batteries.
events, which highlights the vulnerabilities of a business and, at worst, can cause irreversible damage. Resilience planning will also help utilities prepare for events such as the current global pandemic, which has shifted demand patterns, interrupted supply chains and changed safe working practices. Now, more than ever, its imperative utilities take the lead – championing strategies for resilience to deliver sustainable and effective customer services. Utilities must marry their resilience strategies with digital solutions that allow the flexibility needed to truly manage extreme events and mitigate potential damage. By using the three elements of resilience – the foundations, the network and emerging solutions – utilities will develop robust, effective strategies that will set the trajectory for growth.
System flexibility – with digital solutions A flexible approach to resilience should be supported by digital investments that strengthen the network and ensure restoration effectiveness. With a connected communication infrastructure that allows high-bandwidth and low latency communication, network flexibility can be utilised for control and visibility on the grid. We’ve already seen some utilities look into pervasive visibility and control, such as the Urban Futurability project by Enel in Sao Paulo. Their goal is to build a resilient, sustainable urban electricity system, which includes a network of about 5,000 grid sensors that feed information through the digital system, providing real-time data for all stakeholders. Another great example is in Europe, where grid flexibility improvements have been prioritised as a means of more effectively integrating distributed energy resources, addressing bottlenecks in the grid, lowering costs and reducing congestion. The goals may differ across Europe, but all agree increased resilience is vital for limiting the effects of extreme weather conditions, improving the ability to avoid outages, accelerating incident recovery and promoting renewable generation. Becoming an organisation focused on resilience will have its challenges – it is a formidable part of the journey for any utilities business. We simply cannot wait any longer; too many utilities are at the mercy of increasing extreme weather September 2020 ISSUE 11
NUCLEAR ENERGY: STILL A DANGEROUS DISTRACTION
by Josh Wilson MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for the Environment Despite our abundant renewable energy resources, the nuclear debate continues to gain attention here in Australia. Here, Josh Wilson, the Federal Shadow Assistant Minister for the Environment, outlines his case for why we should move on from nuclear, and focus our energy efforts on developing a true bipartisan energy policy that will see us through the next several decades.
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uclear technology is both achingly slow and extraordinarily expensive as a form of new energy generation. Those are its defining characteristics. They are the twin reasons for the worldwide decline in reliance on the technology. But there is a laundry list of other reasons too. In the fast-evolving and highly disruptive world of energy generation and energy distribution, nuclear technology has no unique competitive advantages. It has far and away www.energymagazine.com.au
the highest capital costs. It is incredibly time consuming and complicated to deliver. It delivers inflexible supply and is dependent on long-term offtake agreements. It involves acute management and cost uncertainties with respect to operational safety, decommissioning and waste storage. It creates public health risks and requires associated regulatory and safety measures. It carries difficult geopolitical implications. It has caused some of the most severe, costly and harmful industrial disasters. It has no social license.
That is some kind of prospectus right there, and, not surprisingly, nuclear technology is fundamentally uncommercial, “un-investable”, and uninsurable. Also not surprisingly, the only major commercial nuclear players (Areva, Westinghouse) have gone bankrupt, and global leaders in innovation and technology like South Korea have explored and then abandoned plans to move towards nuclear energy. As countries like France and the UK move to wind down their proportional use of nuclear power, they are stuck with the
difficult and expensive problem of having commissioned new plants at precisely the wrong time. Flamanville (France) and Hinkley C (UK) are years behind schedule, billions of pounds or euros over budget, and premised upon eye-watering per kw/h costs that taxpayers will bear for decades into the future. That’s why in 2018 the world added an additional 165GW of renewables and only 8GW in net nuclear capacity. The data contained in the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2019 is utterly compelling.
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Building new nuclear plants is among the most expensive energy technologies in the world.
In some cases the countries that still talk about increasing nuclear energy are intending to do so through governmentfunded programs in circumstances where the relationship between civilian and military programs is, worryingly, an enabling consideration, and the quality of regulation when it comes to health, safety and environmental protection is not what we would accept in Australia. Even the Morrison Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap acknowledges that the highly questionable prospect of so-called small modular reactors only merits the status of “monitor and consider” at the outside of the longterm (2030-2050+) time frame. You don’t need to be a cryptographer to read this as a meaningless sop to nuclear die hards. There are three furphies advanced about nuclear power that need to be addressed. The first says that we need to be able to have a proper conversation about nuclear energy. In last year’s inquiry into nuclear energy by the Parliamentary Committee for Energy and Environment, we experienced the cognitive dissonance of being told Australia needed to have such a conversation in the course of a nationally broadcast and Hansard-recorded conversation about nuclear power. One of the first to give evidence was Dr Ziggy Switkowski, who conducted the government review into nuclear energy in 2006. His key message: there is no basis for nuclear power in Australia. Interestingly, there was widespread agreement from those appearing before the Committee that the number one priority was the establishment of a bipartisan
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national energy policy to guide investment in low-cost and low-emission power. Yet government members of the Committee could not bear to see that recommendation in print, and the government is yet to formally reply to an offer by Labor to sit down and develop such a policy. And so we continue to wander in circles with higher costs and higher emissions and increasing investment uncertainty. The second furphy says that because we have significant reserves of uranium, it follows that we should develop nuclear energy. That is like saying we should develop a Mars rocket program because we have excellent star-watching conditions in central Australia. Anyone who makes this argument is a fool or takes their audience for fools. The third furphy says we can only test the viability of nuclear by lifting the legislative moratorium. That is wrong. Nuclear is not a marginal case. All the evidence and all the inquiries and all the international trends and data arrive at the same conclusion: it’s not what we need and it doesn’t make sense. The only thing to be achieved by lifting the moratorium is a great waste of money and resources through the extensive regulatory changes that would be required, the inevitable rent-seeking of the nuclear industry and its backers, and the substantial opportunity costs of having money and effort diverted towards this dead end. Truth be told, the opportunity costs are already gathering. While we circle the nuclear merry-go-round again to give the same old paint-chipped hobby horses a run, the big energy challenges have
been neglected. Labor continues to offer the hand of bipartisanship in pursuit of a national policy, as we did with the National Energy Guarantee, which died on the altar of Coalition infighting in 2018. In Australia we are fortunate to have missed the “nuclear moment”, if there was ever such a time, and that has been a matter of circumstances, responsible government and community common sense. We should consider ourselves very lucky. Blessed with hydrocarbons in the now passing age of coal and gas, we find ourselves blessed again with a distinctively rich combination of sun, wind, waves, and new energy metals. Remarkably we are the custodians of all it takes to be a renewable energy, storage and efficiency superpower. Other countries like India, which I visited last November, would love to be in our position, and should be the focus of our effort to share expertise in areas like household solar. Sadly, Australia is making awkward progress towards that potential because we don’t have a national energy policy, we have a government with a clear anti-renewable record, and we continue to undervalue the incredible achievements and learning rate of low- and zero-emission technology, with its potential to revitalise other sectors like manufacturing. At a time when we have real challenges in system design and transmission, liquid fuel security and low-emission transport solutions, storage technology planning and development, the ever present non-conversation about nuclear is a dangerous distraction.
ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT PRODUCT SHOWCASE
DISCOVER AN INTERNET-ENABLED CORRECTION SERVICE FOR HIGH ACCURACY GNSS Position Partners has just launched MiRTK, an alternative to ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio correction services used for accurate GNSS positioning in the construction, mining and geospatial industries.
Position Partners’ new MiRTK system.
ntelligent positioning solutions provider Position Partners has released MiRTK, a correction service for GNSS equipment that utilises the internet instead of UHF radio frequencies. MiRTK is compatible with all brands and models of GNSS from manufacturers including Topcon, Trimble, Leica Geosystems, Sokkia, Hemisphere and more. “Until now, users that rely on high precision GNSS for applications such as surveying and machine control had no option but to use UHF radios or a network RTK solution,” said Cameron Waters, Geospatial Business Manager at Position Partners. “Anyone that’s had to rely on UHF radio frequencies will have experienced problems, including interference, range limitations, costly licensing and severe penalties for breaching licensing laws. MiRTK offers an alternative that is refreshingly simple: no repeaters, no line of sight issues and no complex licensing,” he added. Designed for the geospatial, construction and mining sectors, MiRTK works with every make and model of GNSS equipment, via a small modem that slides onto the accessory slot of the tripod and connects to the base station via a single cable. Unlike UHF radios, MiRTK is not limited by range from the GNSS base station and does not require line of sight with the survey rover or machine. It is limited only by the Telstra network, so if a user is receiving emails on their phone, the MiRTK service will work. Another benefit according to Mr Waters is the ability to utilise a single correction protocol across all brands and types of GNSS
equipment on-site, dramatically reducing complexity and potential connectivity issues. “MiRTK uses NTRIP and a user selectable format such as RTCM3 or CMR, that can be used universally regardless of the brand or model of equipment,” he said. “Users enjoy full speed, full constellation connectivity without the complex radio settings, baud rates, bandwidth or scrambling problems that you get when trying to utilise different GNSS systems with UHF radios.” To set up the unit, users simply connect the modem to the base station, power the modem on, and MiRTK will work for up to 20 hours continuously without charge. Each unit can connect with up to ten devices, such as survey rovers or machine systems as standard, with unlimited potential to scale up connections as required. MiRTK offers the first Hardware as a Service (HaaS) for the geospatial sector, covering the hardware, data and warranty in either a 12-month or 24-month subscription. “The future of UHF is limited with lower bandwidth, higher density areas, increased governance, rising costs and little flexibility,” Mr Waters said. “MiRTK gives customers a new approach to receive reliable correction data in a simple and hassle-free way, while utilising their existing GNSS hardware. “Users can utilise their existing GNSS base station, survey rovers and machine control systems and get reliable correction data in a simple and hassle-free way.”
For more information and to buy online, visit positionpartners.com.au/mirtk or call 1300 867 266.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT
QUALITY TRENCHING EQUIPMENT AND CUSTOMER SERVICE KEY TO SUCCESS
The Schillers RTX1250 Ride-on Trencher in action.
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ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT PRODUCT SHOWCASE
For companies like Schillers Town & Country Electrical, having reliable equipment and a supplier that can provide after-sales support to regional areas is important to keep operations running. When it came time to upgrade an old trenching machine and expand its fleet with a new smaller trencher, these two factors played a key role in the company investing in a RTX1250 Ride-on Trencher and a RTX450 Ride-on Trencher from Vermeer.
ocated in Wagga Wagga in regional New South Wales and servicing the Riverina region, Schillers Town & Country Electrical has been installing pipelines for around ten years. The company installs tanks and troughs for stock water systems and poly-pipelines, and over the past three to four years it has been taking on bigger jobs where over 100km of trenching is required. Updating old equipment Bernard Schiller said the company decided to invest in a new trencher as its previous machine had worked up a lot of hours of use, so it was the right time to invest in new equipment. “At the time I was looking at bringing a second-hand machine over from the US. I had also looked at prices of other brands,” Mr Schiller said. “Then Kevin Gilbert from Vermeer in Albury managed to get in contact with me at the right time. I caught up with him and looked further into what they offered, and decided to go with a Vermeer machine because it was the best equipment that I could buy to fit in with my setup. “The conditions out here can be very hot and the RTX1250 has a very good cooling system, and I’m confident in putting someone else on the machine, rather than me being on it all the time. The increase in horsepower from my previous machine means that I’ve managed to get the trenching jobs done quicker.
“I've found Kevin to be very good throughout the process, and ever since I’ve had the machine. Overall, Vermeer’s customer support has been excellent – it’s what I need when something goes wrong and I need that support straightaway.”
Putting the equipment to work Not long after purchasing the RTX1250, Mr Schiller purchased a second smaller Vermeer trencher, the RTX450. “I had been thinking about trading in a smaller machine for a second-hand machine. I spoke to Kevin about it a number of times, and decided it’s an important part of our operation to have a smaller machine as well, so we decided to purchase a new one,” Mr Schiller said. Mr Schiller said both machines are still quite new and the team is getting used to them, but he has so far found them to be great additions to his fleet. “For me to be successful in this industry I need the best gear that I can buy, and as far as I’m concerned, I’ve got it.” Since receiving the RTX1250, Mr Schiller has been using it on a project to install stock water systems on big rural properties. “We’re working with Darling Irrigation on the project. Solar bores are being put in and then we’re installing the infrastructure, running poly-pipeline from those bores to tanks and troughs,” Mr Schiller said. Getting customer support when needed Mr Schiller said he is very happy with the customer service he has received from Vermeer since purchasing the RTX1250 and knowing that someone will be able to help with the machines at short notice is invaluable. “I feel confident knowing that Vermeer is there to support me if something goes wrong, and the fact that the machines are under warranty is important for me,” Mr Schiller said. “In the past I haven’t had that support, which I desperately needed, and now that I do it’s taken a lot of pressure off me knowing that they’re there, a phone call away, or a day away, to do something to the machine if need be. “I look forward to building more of a relationship with Vermeer.”
The Schillers RTX1250 Ride-on Trencher in action.
For more information about Vermeer’s range of trenching equipment, head to www.vermeer.com.au/equipment-range/trenching-equipment www.energymagazine.com.au
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE ENERGY PARTNER CONTENT
A UNIQUE APPROACH FOR
TESTING PROTECTION SYSTEMS
RelaySimTest is a software solution for system-based protection testing with OMICRON test equipment that takes a novel, future-oriented approach. The new software completely focuses on the correct behaviour of the protection system, made possible by simulating realistic events in the power system.
elaySimTest is a software which controls testing hardware such as the OMICRON CMC test sets. It takes the application of the protection system and feeds it to a power system simulation. To be able to map the different power systems for each protection system, RelaySimTest offers a fast and easy to use single-line editor. Based on the mapped power system, sequences of fault and breaker events can be defined. These sequences, or test steps, can simulate every scenario that the protection system is required to handle. The calculated process values are based on a highly realistic power system simulation, which simulates transient and non-transient effects such as DC-offset current during fault inception, capacitive load current of long lines, mutual coupling and much more. Simplifying distributed tests Since the protection system and its logic and coordination are usually distributed over several relays, it is necessary to inject currents and voltages synchronously to all relays on the system. This can imply the synchronous injection to relays which are distributed over long distances. In the past, this required a coordination of the injection via phone over all ends. The analysis of the protection system behaviour was only possible after the test when all the results were merged. RelaySimTest simplifies distributed tests by controlling multiple test sets simultaneously, either by direct connection or via an ordinary internet connection. To control test sets over the internet, all PCs grant remote access to their connected test sets over a cloud infrastructure secured via a password. The main application finds the remote device via their ID and takes control. The cloud infrastructure is offered by OMICRON worldwide, free of charge. This way the test is started by one application. All results are immediately present after execution so that further investigations can be started in case of a failed test, for example, by moving the fault position and re-executing straight away.
Set up of an end-to-end testing.
Iterative closed loop simulation Real-time closed loop simulations are already established in laboratories and at manufacturers, but they require expensive and heavy hardware that is not usable in the field. It is not possible to run these real-time simulators over distance for distributed relays. RelaySimTest utilises a unique solution, Iterative Closed Loop simulation. Instead of running the closed loop in real-time, the simulation runs in iterations. With every iteration, a new event gets added automatically to the sequence until the sequence is complete. This enables RelaySimTest to test every protection concept simply by placing a fault and observing the reactions of the protection system, even when the relays are distributed. Addressing countless use cases RelaySimTest has already proven its usefulness in many realworld field tests. A small sample of applications that are possible or have already worked particularly well include: » Busbar protection. Because RelaySimTest can control multiple test sets, it is possible to inject to all bay units simultaneously. » Three terminal lines. The possibility to run the test sets over a mobile internet connection reduced the field test time significantly. Also the preparation time was heavily reduced, because no separate calculation was required, as it was taken care of by the power system simulation integrated into RelaySimTest. » Power-swing blocking. » Series compensated lines. » Distribution networks with non-fault interrupting sectionalisers. In such ring-networks a main breaker interrupts the fault current. The sectionalisers isolate the fault and the system gets restored. » New testing procedures for modern protective relays with complex algorithms.
Distributed testing controlled by one PC.
For more information, head to www.omicronenergy.com/relaysimtest
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SAVE THE DATE:
GATHER WITH ENERGY INDUSTRY COLLEAGUES IN 2021
Energy Networks Australia has announced new dates for the Energy Networks Conference and Exhibition, which will now be held from 3 to 5 March 2021 in Brisbane. Planning is in full swing for this must-attend industry event.
he program is well developed, and has been refreshed to include new topics such as the Energy Technology Roadmap, network responses to COVID-19, and resilience initiatives to natural disasters such as bushfires. There will be 110 speakers, including domestic and international keynote speakers, on four plenary panels and sixteen concurrent sessions. » » » »
The four plenary themes are: Data to enable the energy transformation Greening gas – challenges and opportunities The energy future: who pays? Network report card: the customer journey
Concurrent session topics include: data transforming asset management, low emissions, post 2025, the gas evolution, big data, regulation, a smarter safer grid, battery storage, virtual & hybrid power plants, customer centric innovation, hydrogen, microgrids, decarbonising networks, pricing reform, electric vehicles, distributed energy resources and many more. There are four opportunities for networking at the event, including the welcome reception, poster session and happy hour drinks reception, the gala dinner, and the farewell reception. After working from home in 2020, the energy industry will be looking forward to meeting colleagues in person, rather than by video conference. The conference events will include two optional delegate tours to local technological businesses and research institutions, as well as the opportunity for networking over lunch at the Brookwater Country Club.
The exhibition hall will include seating areas with a central lounge for meeting other delegates, a hydrogen display, a university hub and a prominent area set aside for the poster series. The call for poster abstracts brought forward a rich array of submissions, of which 30 will be displayed. There is also an inaugural student poster competition, which attracted a great response from post-graduate students. The top six entries have been invited to join other poster presenters from across industry. The winner will be announced at the happy hour drinks reception. A new approach has been taken with sponsorship and the exhibition for this event, and the response from businesses working within the energy sector has been enthusiastic. To date there are eleven sponsors and more than 50 exhibitors who are looking forward to sharing their expertise with delegates at the event.
There are still sponsorship and exhibition opportunities available; and the March 2021 date gives your organisation more opportunity to gain exposure in event communications and media. A prospectus for sponsorship packages and exhibition options is available at EN2021.com.au. If you want your business to benefit, please contact Vanessa Caldwell on 0420 216 133 or EN2021@energynetworks.com.au
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THE POWER OF COMMUNITY BATTERIES:
TO THE MASSES One of the greatest challenges we often think of when it comes to solar and battery storage uptake is the fact that right now, these expensive technologies can be out of reach for many Australians. Community batteries, which are being trialled extensively around the country, might just be the answer to this challenge weâ€™ve all been looking for.
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ommunity batteries are a shared neighbourhood battery solution where solar energy can be stored and retrieved. They offer an alternative to individual households purchasing their own battery storage system, saving them thousands of dollars and improving the level of clean energy supply in the grid. Community batteries generally range in size from 100kW-1MW, and offer a number of benefits over individual battery systems. These include no upfront and installation costs, no maintenance costs, the potential to offer a range of different storage size options, and the flexibility to change storage sizes if photovoltaic (PV) system size increases, or consumption patterns change.
DISTRIBUTED ENERGY A community battery, like any valuable shared asset, also has the potential for wider community benefits such as: » Increased overall levels of storage in the system, reducing peak demand and placing downward pressure on wholesale prices » Improved ability to address targeted network voltage and capacity issues, some of which result from increased solar PV penetration, preventing the need for traditional investment solutions » Economies of scale, especially when coupled with the diversity benefits of storing energy for multiple customers, which could reduce costs by over 50 per cent compared to individual batteries » Improvements to customer equity by potentially providing an equitable solution for customers who are tenants or who live in apartments who don’t have, or can’t access solar – enabling energy trading.
Community batteries may also offer additional benefits over and above what residential and grid-scale energy storage systems provide. Depending on the operation of the storage, benefits include reduced energy costs, improved solar power self-consumption, reduced import and export peak load, and increased network hosting capacity for nondispatchable energy generation such as rooftop solar. Community interest in shared storage may in part reflect a broader enthusiasm from customers for a sharing economy. In Australia, there is widespread interest in community-scale storage, with several trial projects underway. There are also a number of community batteries already being developed, designed, or in use in Australia. Over the page is a small sample of some of the community battery projects currently underway around the country.
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A powerful partnership In Western Australia, Western Power has partnered with Synergy to install three community-scale batteries utilising Tesla technology: » Meadow Springs, Mandurah: first trial launched in October 2018 with a 105kW (420kWh) battery » Falcon, Mandurah: an extension of the Meadow Springs trial with a 116kW (464kWh) battery » Ellenbrook: a PowerBank trial launched in February 2020 with a 116kW (464kWh) battery The PowerBank community battery is an Australian-first trial to integrate bulk solar battery storage into the existing grid that also provides customers with a retail storage option. Western Power owns and maintains the battery, meaning customers don’t have to outlay the costs of purchasing a behindthe-meter battery. Customers will be allocated 6kWh or 8kWh of virtual storage costing $1.60 or $1.90 a day. Synergy CEO, Jason Waters, said the importance of Synergy and Western Power joining forces to develop the PowerBank was imperative, as it provides valuable learnings as to how battery storage technology can be beneficial to customers. “There is so much to learn about how to integrate battery storage technology into the sector, as we move away from the traditional centralised generation and network model, to a future that increasingly incorporates distributed energy resources, such as battery storage deployed at individual customer and community-scale levels,” Mr Waters said. “We know more of our customers want to know how they can benefit from battery storage technology in the future and want Synergy to partner with them directly to find solutions. “There is a natural link to their requirements, as they are already effectively selling their excess solar PV electricity output to Synergy through the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme and buying electricity from the grid when their solar panels are no longer generating. “We know those customers are seeking an alternative to store and use that excess energy to help them manage their household energy consumption more efficiently.” Western Power acting Chief Executive Officer, Dave Fyfe, said the investment in grid-connected community batteries, like the PowerBank trial, would continue as it delivered benefits beyond just battery storage.
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“Community batteries don’t only provide immediate, cost-effective solar storage options, they also have a collective benefit of smoothing out power supply to all customers in the area and opening up the capacity for more solar to be installed in the future,” Mr Fyfe said. Western Power has also identified other local government sites where community batteries could be installed in 2020.
Pole-mounted batteries in Melbourne United Energy is installing two polemounted batteries for the local community in Melbourne to share. This is part of its efforts to develop a flexible network that can respond to customer choices. By installing the batteries on the United Energy network, the utility will be able to sustain 99.99 per cent reliability for customers, support those with rooftop solar to get the most out of their investment, and enable customers to use these new technologies. Like household batteries and solar installation, United Energy’s pole batteries will charge at lower demand periods when spare electricity is available. Then, at peak demand times like early evening, it will discharge and assist powering the homes it’s connected to and reduce the likelihood of outages. Using battery technology, particularly in association with rooftop solar, is becoming more common in Victorian homes. However, the cost is not yet affordable for the majority of people. Pole-mounted batteries on the low voltage network will support up to 150 homes and businesses with stored energy. Two locations have been selected for the trial: Black Rock and Highett. These locations were selected based on a range of criteria including residential density, visual amenity, noise concerns and electricity demand. Both are in areas where there are constraints on the network. This means that on peak demand days there is a risk of outages because the network cannot physically move enough electricity to meet customer needs. Installing batteries to provide an alternative source of electricity for these areas can therefore help sustain reliable supplies while deferring more costly network investment.
battery for solar storage and peer-topeer trading. The project aims to test whether small and mid-size electricity retailers, like Enova, can reduce their risk in the electricity market and deliver further benefits to the community via strategic use of the battery. The battery will be located in regional NSW, with Enova currently in the process of determining the optimum location with the network. The aim is for the battery and the peer-to-peer trading platform to be live by the end of 2020. The battery will be about as big as a shipping container, and it will look a bit like a shipping container too.
Kalgoorlie’s solar future Kalgoorlie-Boulder will soon be home to the region’s first 464 kilowatt hour community battery, with construction kicking off in June 2020. Located on Dart Street, Western Power’s utility-grade battery will be integrated into the network, with the aim to improve power quality and ease the daytime and peaktime load periods. It will also enable homes and businesses in Kalgoorlie to continue integrating more rooftop solar and new technologies onto the grid. The rollout of community batteries is a key action of Western Australia’s Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, which was released in April 2020. The future is bright Early feedback from trials around Australia are reporting positive outcomes for community batteries. Users are pleased with the benefits, and the access to renewable energy and storage without the sizable price outlay from the outset. Utilities are also impressed with the results they’re seeing, which extend beyond happy customers and across to benefits for the grid, particularly in areas constrained on days of excess demand.
Peer-to-peer training in NSW Enova Community Energy, in partnership with Enosi Australia and the University of Newcastle, and with the support of Essential Energy, are jointly working together in a shared community battery project to be deployed in regional NSW. The project will involve a shared 2MWh www.energymagazine.com.au
THE RISING POWER OF WIND
IN AUSTRALIA With eight wind farms commissioned in 2019, adding 837MW of new generating capacity, for the first time in Australia wind energy overtook hydro power as the leading source of renewable energy. Over the course of the year, wind supplied 35.4 per cent of the country’s clean energy and 9.5 per cent of overall electricity – and this growth is not set to slow down anytime soon. Here, we take a look at the sector and some of the most exciting projects underway that will contribute to an expected 5,844MW boost in capacity.
he cumulative installed capacity of wind energy in Australia has been steadily growing, and has more than tripled since 2010. This is in part to it being one of the lowest-cost sources of new electricity supply in Australia, and with the cost of utility-scale wind energy expected to continue to fall, new wind farms are anticipated to deliver electricity at around $50-65/MWh in 2020 and below $50/ MWh in 2030. Another contributor to the rapid increase in installed capacity are technological advances in the sector, resulting in larger
and more efficient wind turbines that are able to make use of intelligent technology. Rotor diameters and hub heights have increased, enabling more energy to be captured per turbine. Furthermore, advancing technologies mean that fewer turbines are needed to capture the same amount of energy, and are giving wind farms increasingly sophisticated adaptive capability. As of the end of 2019, there was 6,279.4MW of installed capacity in Australia, with another 30 wind farms under construction or financially committed to, totalling a combined capacity of 5.5GW.
Image of the Silverton Wind Farm courtesy AGL.
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WIND Wind projects to get excited about Silverton Wind Farm, NSW AGL’s $450 million 200MW Silverton Wind Farm, located in north-western NSW, was the largest wind farm to be completed in 2019, and reached full production capacity in early 2020. It is the seventh biggest wind farm in Australia, and is expected to generate approximately 780,000MWh of clean, renewable electricity each year, enough to power approximately 136,000 average Australian homes, and to reduce CO2 emissions by 655,000 tonnes annually – the equivalent of taking 192,000 cars off the road annually. Construction began in May 2017 and was completed in 2019, with first generation in May 2018. The wind farm comprises 58 wind turbines each with 3.4MW 130m rotor wind turbines on 110m towers. They were constructed and commissioned with maximum output at night-time, and commissioning of the wind farm for daytime generation is being progressed with AEMO and TransGrid. Connection works for the project included a 25km transmission line from an existing 220kV substation in Broken Hill, operated by TransGrid, and a new 220KV wind farm substation. MacIntyre Wind Farm, QLD Acciona’s proposed $1.96 billion 1,026MW MacIntyre Wind Farm, located around 200km south-west of Brisbane, will be the largest onshore wind farm in Australia and one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Up to 180 turbines are proposed for construction, within 36,000 hectares of leased land predominantly used for sheep farming – which will be able to continue during the construction and operations phases of the wind farm. Acciona has reached an agreement with CleanCo, a Queensland Government energy operator, for it to become the independent owner and operator of a 100MW wind farm within the MacIntyre complex, which will be the state’s first publicly-owned new renewable energy generation in 20 years. Furthermore, CleanCo will acquire the annual production of 400MW from Acciona's facilities for ten years through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The project is still under development, with Acciona planning to submit a development application seeking a development permit for a Material Change of Use (MCU) to allow construction and operation of the wind farm to the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) in Q3 2020.
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All images courtesy AGL.
THE MACINTYRE WIND FARM PROPOSAL IN A SNAPSHOT Project configuration:
Number of turbines:
up to 180
Anticipated construction commencement: mid-2021 Anticipated construction duration:
equivalent of up to 700,000 homes annually
construction of a new 64km-high voltage overhead transmission line to connect to the Powerlink network at Tummaville
up to 285m
approximately 50km south-west of Warwick and approximately 10km south of Karara
Warradarge Wind Farm, WA Commissioning of Bright Energy Investment’s 180MW Warradarge Wind Farm, near Eneabba in WA’s Mid West region, was set to commence in August, with full production expected in Q4 of 2020. It will provide enough power to cover the average annual electricity needs of the equivalent of 148,500 homes. Construction included 51x3.6MW turbines, which are amongst the largest in the state with a tip height of 152m, 67m-long blades and a hub height of 84m above the ground. 117km of underground 33kV electrical cabling was also laid as part of the project. A 10km transmission line from the wind farm substation to the existing 330kV transmission line near Eneabba on the South West Interconnected System (SWIA) was constructed by Western Power and includes a new terminal station at Eneabba. Once production commences, the wind farm will represent a 30 per cent increase in large-scale renewable energy connected to the SWIS.
Murra Warra Wind Farm II, VIC The 434MW Murra Warra Wind Farm project is located in north-western Victoria, 25km north of Horsham. It is being constructed in two stages, with stage one – which consisted of 61 3.7MW turbines – completed and operational. Stage two will see 38 5.5MW turbines (the largest in Australia to date) constructed, adding 209MW in capacity. Once completed it will be one of the largest wind farms in Australia, generating enough energy to power 420,00 homes and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 1.7 million tonnes every year. In August 2020, the consortium comprising RES and Macquaries’s Green Investment Group announced Murra Warra Wind Farm II had sealed finance and a buyer, and construction can now begin. The project is expected to take two years to complete, and will be constructed under contract with General Electric International and its subcontractor Zenviron. RES will provide construction and operational asset management services under a long-term agreement. A long-term PPA for Murra Warra II has been arranged with Snowy Hydro through its Renewable Energy Procurement Program.
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UNLOCKING MICROGRID OPPORTUNITIES
IN REGIONAL AND REMOTE AUSTRALIA
Regional and Indigenous communities will benefit from more secure, affordable and reliable energy with the Federal Government supporting feasibility studies into microgrids around Australia.
he Government is backing 17 microgrid projects with over $19 million in grant funding under Round One of the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund. These projects are located across Australia, from very remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, to rural farming communities in Victoria. The studies will look at whether establishing a microgrid, or upgrading existing off-grid technologies, would better meet the electricity supply needs of regional and remote communities. Microgrids can help reduce electricity bills for regional and remote communities, as well as deliver benefits for the grid as a whole by saving hundreds of millions of dollars in network costs. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said initiatives such as this consolidate regional Australia as a great place to live, work and invest outside metropolitan areas. “Our regional and remote communities need an affordable energy supply they can rely on to ensure local businesses can grow and thrive, which means more jobs and more economic activity,” Mr McCormack said. “We need to be looking at options that will help lower cost of living pressures on families and businesses in not only the cities, but in the regions especially, as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the grants are an important step towards unlocking investment in microgrids and improving the technologies that will ensure energy reliability and affordability in regional Australia. “Microgrid technology is becoming increasingly cost effective, creating the opportunity for a reliable, low cost, off-grid supply to our regional communities and industries,” Mr Taylor said. “This funding will enable many communities to realise the potential of innovative technologies or distributed energy resources, like solar and batteries, or reduce their reliance on costly diesel generation. “Lower cost energy is crucial to creating jobs in regional communities.” A large number of successful projects under Round One of the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund will address energy supply in some of our most remote Indigenous communities. Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ken Wyatt said we need to look at new ways to ensure energy supply for remote communities. “Living remotely means that there’s already increases in costs, which can slow and dampen economic opportunity. Ultimately, we want to see affordable and reliable energy for families and businesses in remote Australia,” Mr Wyatt said.
ROUND ONE FUNDING RECIPIENTS The Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund - Microgrids is designed to support feasibility studies into more reliable, secure and cost-effective energy supply to regional and remote communities in Australia. The program will fund feasibility studies looking at microgrid technologies to replace, upgrade or supplement existing electricity supply arrangements in off-grid and fringe-of-grid communities located in regional and remote areas. The objective of the program is to support regional and remote communities to investigate whether replacing, upgrading or supplementing a microgrid or upgrading existing off-grid and fringe-of-grid supply with microgrid or related new energy technologies would be cost-effective.
ALINGA ENERGY CONSULTING, $473,670 Effective, responsible energy solutions for remote indigenous communities This project is focused on providing better energy outcomes for Indigenous communities, through studies that provide insights and strategies that can be replicated and adjusted to maximise impact. The team from Alinga will visit Indigenous communities in remote off-grid or fringe-of-grid areas of Australia to spend time gaining a deep understanding of Indigenous community energy circumstances and how microgrid technologies could replace, upgrade or supplement existing electricity supply arrangements. Feasibility assessments will have an emphasis on sustainable solutions that can be adequately maintained to provide long-term benefits, including affordable energy to some of our nation's most vulnerable people to support better educational, health and economic outcomes.
C.L.E.A.N. (COWRA) INCORPORATED, $1,031,556 Cowra Microgrid Detailed Feasibility Study
ATYENHENGE-ATHERRE ABORIGINAL CORPORATION, $303,371 Santa Teresa Microgrid Project The Santa Teresa Microgrid project is a partnership between Atyenhenge-Atherre Aboriginal Corporation and Arup. It is focused on understanding the technical and commercial feasibility of microgrid solutions for Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is a remote Aboriginal community of 600 residents, 87km south-east of Alice Springs, whose energy supply is currently provided by NT Power and Water Corporation (PWC). Electricity is delivered via overland powerlines and there have been consistent interruptions to power supply over several years. Community and PWC have expressed a strong interest and support for exploring alternative forms of delivering reliable, secure energy to Santa Teresa.
CENTRE FOR NEW ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES, $1,404,750 Charlton Zone Substation Microgrid Feasibility & Demonstration Project
together the energy needs of several large industrial regional
The project will compare the feasibility of islanding two regional Victorian towns exposed to supply vulnerabilities using a microgrid. The project will:
businesses into a single aggregated embedded network, and
The 1MW Cowra Solar and Battery Microgrid will bring
see the development of energy generation and dispatchable capacity. The structure will provide cost savings for the clients and increase their energy security with the addition of shared resources. This feasibility study will bring this microgrid project through to investment readiness. In time, it is envisaged the microgrid can expand to: »
Include biogas powered electricity generation
Add thermal networks to local heat customers
Expand to include more electricity customers in the Cowra community
Assess technical and social feasibility, and network impact » Demonstrate high DER concentration benefits » Develop a Microgrid Assessment Tool for other towns » Inform future regulation and policy Following deep community engagement, a multi-variant model will be developed to assess the microgrid's potential to: » » »
Deliver the energy reliability, affordability and security the communities seek Be viable against other solutions with view to costs, benefits, conversion risks and operation Help the towns ride through network faults from events such as extreme weather
DESERT KNOWLEDGE AUSTRALIA, $3,197,507 Alice Springs Modelling The project seeks to address barriers that are currently causing serious grid stability issues and limiting additional renewable energy from being added to the Alice Springs power system, with other NT systems likely to follow. The project focuses on conducting robust technical and economic analysis of Alice Springs, a small yet complex remote microgrid, as well as behavioural modelling to better understand consumer behaviour. This is complemented by the development of a novel multi-objective optimisation tool to best size batteries, expected to be part of the solution. Concluding this project will be the development of a Roadmap to 2030 report, identifying the necessary steps to reach a renewable energy fraction of 50 per cent by 2030. www.energymagazine.com.au
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ENER-G MANAGEMENT GROUP, $1,976,451 Yarrabah Microgrid
Ergon Energy Isolated Systems Diesel Off Microgrid Feasibility Study
This project will undertake a feasibility study to investigate microgrid technologies for the Yarrabah Community:
This feasibility study applies to the remote communities of Mapoon, Burketown, Birdsville and Windorah. The proposed studies will review viable options for the deployment of technology solutions to enable a higher penetration of customer and centralised solar PV, as well as develop a pathway to enable “diesel off” for significant periods of the day.
Extensive community engagement to identify options
Audit and scope load and demand profiles
Design and assess options
Identify projects that provide sustainable employment and attract funding
Make use of Distributed Energy Resources including small power generation systems such as PV, wind, WtE, biogas and microturbines, utilising battery storage and electric vehicles
The intention is to make Yarrabah a knowledge sharing showcase of a self-reliant, sustainable microgrid that can be rolled out to other communities.
IMPACT INVESTMENT PARTNERS, $519,954 Mutitjulu & Martu Community Microgrid Project: Feasibility Study A study is required to assess the viability of microgrids for the Mutitjulu township near Uluru, Northern Territory and three Martu community settlements in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Electricity in these communities is currently supplied by diesel generation sets and these systems are expensive to run, unreliable and deliver poor quality electricity due to fluctuations in frequency. This affects the performance and reliability of electrical equipment; essential services delivery such as sewerage and water supply; and household appliances. The study will perform technical and commercial feasibility, and undertake knowledge dissemination to remove barriers to microgrid investment in remote communities and to provide a reliable energy source.
ISLAND POWER CO, $315,504
ERGON ENERGY, $408,954
Enabling this transition would likely result in benefits including reliability improvements through greater power supply system resilience; reduction in the community's dependence on diesel generation; further enablement of community uptake of distributed renewable energy systems; and reduced electricity bills to the community through increased use of local distributed energy resources.
INNOVATING ENERGY, $3,000,000 PowerSmart Farm Electricity Generation using Agricultural Renewable Energy This project will test the feasibility of the InnovE PowerSmart farm electricity generation and technology solution in the dairy industry to build and support a business case for its wider adoption across agriculture in Australia. The solution uses an integrated set of proven technologies with a biogas anaerobic digester power generator at its core to: »
Generate and store electricity on-farm in regional and remote areas
Create a ‘hub and spoke’ model within a dairy network to build economies of scale
Build a wholesale and retail ‘Virtual Power Station Cooperative’ generating green energy for the region
Eliminate current waste and water contamination issues through the technology deployed
POWER AND WATER, $1,210,000
Indian Ocean Territories Renewable Energy Microgrid Feasibility Study
NT Microgrid Futures Project (SETuP 2.0)
The Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island are
This project will produce a suite of studies applicable to
Australia's most remote communities. The islands have
the portfolio of over 60 remote isolated grids operated by
some of the highest costs of power generation in Australia
Power and Water Corporation in the Northern Territory.
and experience critical ongoing issues with power reliability
The project will investigate methods of maintaining or
and security. The transition to renewable energy microgrids
improving microgrid reliability while supporting higher levels
in the islands could provide more reliable, secure and
of customer solar investment. Building on lessons from the
affordable power for strategic government assets and
successful SETuP Program, it will map a pathway to further
local communities. However, a significant knowledge gap
reduce diesel fuel and operational costs. Detailed studies
exists around the feasibility and viability of new renewable
will span isolated diesel and fringe-of-grid communities,
microgrids in the islands. This project will undertake technical
in regulated and non-regulated spheres. The project
feasibility and financial viability studies across the islands
benefits will include a set of detailed business cases for the
to close this knowledge gap and unlock investment into
selected communities, as well as a set of broadly applicable
renewable microgrids in these remote off-grid islands.
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QUEENSLAND FARMERS' FEDERATION, $654,807 The flow on benefits of microgrids for irrigated agriculture This project will assess whether microgrids can offer benefits to electricity consumers and networks such as more stable network energy flows, increased network utilisation, increased uptake of distributed energy systems and reduced costs in the rural and irrigation sector to provide a community-based source of affordable, low carbon energy within a geographical boundary. The project will establish and analyse four demonstration virtual microgrids in New South Wales and Queensland to test their suitability in different circumstances and models. The project includes community consultation and workshops, data collection and modelling to understand costs and benefits and provide guidance to industry and government.
REGIONAL POWER CORPORATION, $600,000 Exmouth Microgrid – 100% Renewable Energy Town Transition Horizon Power wants to explore the feasibility of transitioning the power generation in Exmouth, WA to 100 per cent renewable energy supply. This feasibility proposal spans over one year and comprises of: »
Deliberative Community Engagement in the conceptual design, co-ownership business models, and implementation of the new renewable energy ecosystem
Engineering concept feasibility and design for a new 100 per cent renewable generation ecosystem
Asset audits (generation) – to understand the condition of the assets and assessment of remaining asset life
Developed and tested customer asset ownership business models
Targeted customer service and products as an outcome of the community engagement
REGIONAL POWER CORPORATION, $1,402,128 Energy for all: Modernising microgrids for Aboriginal Western Australians Electricity services for Aboriginal people living in WA's remote communities are far behind the rest of Australia. Over 12,000 people in 160 Aboriginal communities have services with major safety and reliability issues, aging infrastructure, and no solar PV. Horizon Power will produce a plan for 13 Aboriginal communities to upgrade to utility standard electricity services including: » » »
Clean, lower cost solar-diesel hybrid generation Safe, utility-owned and operated distribution networks User pays retail, including prepayment billing, smart phone application » Local Aboriginal procurement and employment outcomes At closeout, Horizon Power will negotiate with the State Government to secure funding to undertake the works.
TOTALLY RENEWABLE YACKANDANDAH INC, $346,644 Yackandandah Islandable Microgrid Project Totally Renewable Yackandandah is an Australian thought leader in the community energy sector, winning acclaim for its clear renewable energy target, three existing microgrids, virtual power plant and solar penetrations exceeding 55 per cent. This project will analyse an important next step for Yackandandah – how to build in the requisite storage capacity to manage the excess of daytime solar generation to use each evening. In general, the project will draw together a technical feasibility study of both a 1-2MW battery storage and a 4-6MW pumped hydro energy storage facility, and then consider the financial viability of such in the local area network. This will be done with a clear eye on an islandable power supply for safety and resilience.
MyTown Microgrid: a community and data-driven feasibility
Developing commercial microgrid models for regional C&I businesses
MyTown Microgrid takes an innovative approach to microgrid feasibility using cutting edge IoT technology, combined with community engagement and business model co-design. The Latrobe Valley town of Heyfield will seek to answer if microgrids can deliver reliability, economic, emissions and community benefits by:
Yurika aims to advance the commercial viability of microgrids
locations, Yurika will evaluate the commercial and technical
Using multi-data source platforms to calculate demand, flexibility and supply » Undertaking community engagement and co-designing community centric business models » Wrapping technical, economic and regulatory analysis into fit-for-purpose decision support tools Ultimately the project seeks to develop tools to make it faster and cheaper for regional communities to deploy costeffective microgrids for optimal outcomes. www.energymagazine.com.au
for the commercial and industrial sector in regional Australia. Having assembled a portfolio of sites including airports, ports, industrial estates, state development areas and agricultural businesses in existing and developing regional feasibility of microgrids across a spectrum of potential use cases. Yurika will utilise its proven record of delivering and managing complex electricity infrastructure, embedded networks, metering and distributed energy solutions, complemented by partnering with University of New South Wales to leverage its extensive research experience in advanced microgrids.
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THE MACRO IMPACTS
OF AUSTRALIAN MICROGRIDS With Australiaâ€™s relatively small population being spread across large, remote geographical areas, a lot of pressure is put on the electricity grid to cover long distances. In response to this challenge, as well as an increase in the cost-competitiveness of renewable technologies, the industry is increasingly turning to microgrids as a solution.
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o, what is a microgrid? According to Energy Networks Australia, the term microgrid can have many different meanings in regards to size, purpose, load capability, sustainability and infrastructure in relation to the grid. Simply put though, a microgrid is an autonomous or local energy grid, with the control capability to operate separately to the traditional grid. There are several ways a microgrid can be powered, including solar or other renewable resources, batteries or distributed generators. Sizing also varies in microgrids, and can be defined by geographical coverage, consumers served, peak load or generation capacity. This is where the discrepancies in microgrid definitions come in, as there are also picogrids, nanogrids and macrogrids. Being a standalone system doesn’t always qualify a system as a microgrid – it could simply be a minigrid or remote grid. Microgrids often utilise existing grid infrastructure, but they also exist as separate physical structures. Although the template for what a microgrid is may be dynamic and varying, they are quickly becoming established as an essential and lucrative component of Australia’s energy network, with the remote microgrid market expected to increase to $20 billion by 2024. Microgrids servicing macro needs Offering solutions to principal energy industry challenges such as increasing electricity costs, the demands of servicing a large geographical area, and aging infrastructure, microgrids are becoming an increasingly important component of Australia’s energy network. With some remote communities, such as islands, typically lacking energy and water security, there is often a disproportionate reliance on electricity generated using fossil fuels like diesel, which can be costly and logistically intensive. Similarly, reliance on diesel fuel generation could potentially deter other social and economic development investment. This means that integrated energy solutions are vital for high renewable energy penetration in island markets. For Australia as a whole, and the communities in which they operate, microgrids provide more options for energy reliability and independence, as well as opportunities for distributing and storing renewable energy. The future of microgrids in Australia A rapid uptake of renewables, the increasingly high costs of extending a centralised generation network and soaring diesel prices make distributed energy systems like microgrids an appealing option for Australian energy.
MICROGRIDS The benefits of renewable microgrid solutions in Australia’s energy landscape can be categorised into five main categories: reliability, cost and convenience, renewable energy integration, efficiency, and boosting local economies.
Reliability is key With bushfire, flood and cyclone events becoming more frequent and severe, electricity supply challenges during and after these events are becoming more and more significant. Electricity dependence during these events also heightens the risk and consequences of physical or cyber attacks, highlighting the need for local energy solutions like microgrids. In 2009, during Victoria’s Black Saturday fires, power losses impinged severely on the community’s ability to respond. Following the immediate threat, the challenges continued throughout the aftermath, as power outages and loss of telecommunications hampered the recovery and clean up effort. Queensland residents experienced similar issues during and after Cyclone Larry (2006) and Cyclone Yasi (2011), where locals were without power for weeks. These lessons are also being learned around the world. In the United States, Connecticut and New Jersey have invested millions of dollars into microgrids after Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the mid-Atlantic coastline in 2012; and in the Japanese city of Sendai, an experimental microgrid maintained a supply of power and heating to a university and hospital for two days in 2011 following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Advances in technology have demonstrated how microgrids provide reliable power, even during extreme weather events. Cost and convenience Power outages, particularly in extreme weather events, can also be costly with supply interruptions often costing states hundreds of millions of dollars. In this regard, microgrids can preventably offset costs by assisting in maintaining a sustainable energy supply. Microgrids, unlike regional-scale grid infrastructure, can also be established quickly and cost-effectively. In 2018, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) made a submission to the Economics and Industry Standing Committee Inquiry, with the aim of informing the committee of microgrids’ potential as an affordable and reliable energy source, particularly in Western Australia. In the submission, ARENA stated that: “Renewable energy resources and microgrids can help offset the need for large-scale distribution network capital investment and operating costs, thereby reducing costs for industrial, commercial and household consumers, especially in remote areas and fringe of grid situations.”
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Integrating renewables Smaller scale and tailored microgrids can accommodate larger amounts of renewable energy. Australia’s renewable energy is currently expanding ten times faster than the world average per capita. Over the period 201921, Australia’s pipeline for new wind and solar PV systems is 6-7GW. Australia also has the highest solar uptake in the world, with rooftop PV up to 50 per cent a year. The rapid implementation of renewables contributes to a larger shift towards DER. With the energy landscape now consisting of household energy storage systems, electric vehicles, demand response and energy-efficient appliances, consumers are driving the demand for connected series of microgrids. Boosting local economies Microgrids can serve local regions by generating economic value and creating jobs – a pertinent issue in the postCOVID-19 climate. In March 2020, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) began lobbying the federal, state and territory governments to include renewable energy and energy storage in their COVID-19 response strategies – including microgrids. The CEC said, “Governments should accelerate and increase funding for the installation of microgrids, stand-alone power systems, community batteries and other programs for bushfire recovery and to build resilience for future summers.”
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The CEC proposed that implementing these measures would assist in stimulating the Australian economy, save jobs in the renewable energy industry, and protect households and businesses from high electricity costs.
Challenges still lay ahead Microgrid systems are still in their infancy in Australia and around the world, which means that along with the opportunities, challenges remain. Some of these key challenges include: » Financial investment – the design and construction of a microgrid still requires a significant financial investment » Energy storage risk – with an ever changing market, energy storage presents potential expense and risk » Complexity – microgrid design and operation is inherently complex, particularly in regard to unique location designs » Public information – information and research about microgrids is not adequately available in the public domain » Regulation – standard operating procedures, quality standards and OH&S standards pertaining to microgrids are insufficient » Local expertise – it can be difficult to locate the relevant technical expertise on a local level » Investor risk – microgrids are still a new technology and therefore performance or user behaviour ambiguity may be a deterrent for investors
The Australian Energy Council says that microgrid technologies present both opportunities and challenges for the energy sector, but that states like Western Australia are already demonstrating the energy system optimisation made possible by microgrids and associated technologies. In The Power of Microgrids, IEEE Smart Grid Chair Dr Massoud Amin, the “father of smart grids”, said he envisioned “a hybrid system with a central power backbone, sectionalised for reliability and resilience, with a cellular power network of microgrids overlaying it”. “Each individual microgrid, whether for a building, campus, or ‘smart’ city, would rely on local energy resources as much as possible to serve local citizens. “Each individual microgrid would coordinate with others and with the entire system.” Australia, with its vast land and regional communities, seems perfectly suited to adopt and pioneer microgrid technology. As well as being suitable for Australia’s urban sprawl, their use of renewable energy make them an appealing solution that is well in-line with the national target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. With funding, feasibility studies and demonstration initiatives quickly developing for microgrids, it’s clear that growing the number of microgrids in Australia’s energy network is already well underway, providing a promising outlook for the future.
INTEGRATING RENEWABLES: HORIZON POWER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA Western Australian Government-owned Horizon Power currently operates 38 systems in regional and remote communities, 34 of which are microgrids. This includes Horizon Power’s Onslow system, which is set to accommodate a microgrid that will be the nation’s largest and most advanced in terms of energy distribution. Horizon Power aims for the microgrid to supply more than 50 per cent of the energy needs with renewable power. Because huge geographical areas, such as Western Australia, present specific power supply challenges, Horizon Power uses a combination of energy sources, including diesel, gas and renewables. This combination strategy allows for renewable resources to reduce diesel use and emissions, while still maintaining reliability. Horizon Power’s high renewable energy penetration systems include: » » »
Kununurra (99 per cent) Denham (45 per cent) Marble Bar and Nullagine (both 34 per cent)
Western Australia’s remote communities of Sandstone (located approximately 660km north-east of Perth) and Carnarvon (900km north of Perth) are also serviced by Horizon Power microgrids. The Sandstone microgrid serves as an isolated power system – an 11kV distribution network and a peak load of 180kW. The microgrid has 34kW of solar PV installed by customers and Horizon purchases power – a contracted maximum demand of 192kW – from an independent power producer with an installed generation capacity of 456kW. Carnarvon has a service area of approximately 300 square km. Horizon supplies power to 6,500 customers connected to a network of 520km of powerlines and 8,600 power poles. In addition to operation and maintenance of the distribution system, Horizon Power operates two power stations with a total firm capacity of about 15MW. The network includes 120 customers with a total installed solar PV capacity of about 1.2MW.
PIONEERING WAVE ENERGY: CARNEGIE CLEAN ENERGY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA In a world-first, Carnegie Clean Energy is designing a $7.5 million renewable energy microgrid on Garden Island, using a combination of wave energy, solar PV, a desalination plant and energy storage technologies.
The project has been commissioned by a power purchase agreement between Carnegie Clean Energy and the Department of Defence, with approval to operate granted by Western Power, who will also be providing grid and network expertise and support.
The project will integrate 2MW of solar PV and a 2MW/0.5MWh battery storage system with Carnegie’s wave energy site directly offshore from the island.
The Garden Island Microgrid Project aims to provide a clear working demonstration that wave energy integrated microgrids can be a viable solution that meet specific island and coastal fringe-of-grid communities’ energy needs and challenges.
This combination will result in a microgrid with the capability to operate either autonomously or in conjunction with Western Australia’s South West Interconnected System, with functionality to switch between the two seamlessly through a control system.
The microgrid has been designed to demonstrate wave energy technology’s potential as a renewable energy solution in an effort to expedite its commercialisation as a renewable energy source.
DEMONSTRATING MICROGRID SOLUTIONS: VICTORIA In December 2017, the Victorian Government announced a $10 million Microgrid Demonstration Initiative (MDI) to promote the development and implementation of microgrid demonstration projects across the state. The grant program funding was designed to support several Victorian microgrid projects, totalling over $27 million in value, in an effort to address key microgrid sector challenges and contribute to the unlocking of the sector in Victoria. Battery storage and new technology solutions are included in the commercial demonstration projects to showcase the use of energy storage in different settings, while also incorporating other complementary technologies. Following the MDI announcement, a $3 million Latrobe Valley Microgrid Program (LVMP) was revealed in August 2018. The LVMP supports a single microgrid project in the Latrobe Valley totalling $15.5 million in value.
Other projects funded by the MDI and LVMP include: »
The Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) microgrid, in the Mallee region in north-west Victoria, was operated by SwitchDin and was awarded $210,000 towards its $330,742 total value. The BCG microgrid was the first MDI project to be completed. Primarily based on PV and batteries, the microgrid installed at BCG’s agricultural research facility is currently providing a working demonstration of the microgrid’s ability to lower energy costs and improve reliability for the region. Monash University in Melbourne is currently building an on-site microgrid at its Clayton campus in order to reduce demand and strain on the network during peak times, as well as stabilising the wider grid, making it more resilient.
Euroa Microgrid: Euroa Environment Group was awarded $680,000 towards a $1.6 million project to demonstrate economic opportunities for shared renewable energy and battery assets in communities Virtual Power Plant (VPP): Origin Energy was awarded $4.5 million to develop a $20 million cloud-based project to distribute power from up to 650 customers with solar PV and batteries during peak periods Community Energy Hubs: Ovida was awarded $980,000 for its $2 million project to install shared solar PV and battery systems at three of Melbourne’s multi-tenanted buildings to demonstrate how residential and commercial tenants can access and share renewable energy resources to reduce household energy costs Constrained Single-Wire Earth Return (SWER) Microgrid demonstration: Totally Renewable Yackandandah was awarded $380,389 towards a $767,014 project to establish a microgrid in Yackandandah, aiming to increase the number of houses with solar PV and batteries on a SWER powerline and include control technology to manage network security The Solar Partnering Around Regional Communities (SPARC) LVMP: Ovida WAS awarded $3 million towards a $15.5 million project. The SPARC microgrid project aims to out of behind-the-meter microgrids, based on solar and batteries, to reduce energy costs and support the transition of the Latrobe Valley to a low-emission economy
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November 2020 MAJOR FEATURES
EQUIPMENT & MACHINERY
Deadline: 16 October 2020
Grid integration and stabilisation Disruption Embedded networks Biofuels Electric vehicles IoT & cloud communication Demand management
Deadline: 23 April 2021
Deadline: 22 January 2021
Solar Domestic gas outlook Hydrogen and future fuels
Smart networks (big data, smart meters and smart grids) Consumer and industrial retail Security
EQUIPMENT & MACHINERY
Spatial & GIS
Deadline: 23 July 2021
Energy networks Storage and solar Safety and risk management Waste-to-energy
Wind Nuclear energy Gas pipelines Energy efficiency
Automation Asset management Industrial energy
Microgrids Disaster management Distributed generation
EQUIPMENT & MACHINERY
Transformers and substations Vegetation management
EQUIPMENT & MACHINERY
Asset inspection & drones/UAVs
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Program now released Go to www.en2021.com.au to find out how you can get involved
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