The Australian Government has just announced a precipitous drop in the 2020 renewable energy target, from 41 to 33 terawatt hours, according to an article published today in ars technica. Although the government desire to make the cuts has been for some time, the actual amount has been uncertain, as it required parliamentary negotiation.
At the heart of the cuts is a prime minister who is openly hostile to climate science, but one of the oddities of this new announcement is that it apparently has singled out wind as a health and safety issue. (Abbott has been quoted as saying that coal, which causes both air pollution as well as carbon emissions, is “good for humanity.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-13/coal-is-good-for-humanity-pm-tony-abbott-says/5810244) Australia’s “bold new energy deal” (quotes intended to indicate sarcasm) will result in a “…new wind power commissioner appointed to hear public complaints and create a scientific committee that would look into the environmental and health impacts of turbines.” (http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/06/australia-slashes-its-renewable-energy-target-by-nearly-20/) I wonder how long the lines will be outside his office?
One irony of this craziness is that Australia has been a global leader in the development of remote microgrids, independent power systems that operate autonomously. This is, in part, because remote mining operations and communities require it. The publicly owned Hydro Tasmania utility has created a flagship hybrid renewable power plant on King Island, a demonstration of their dedication to renewables and clean power.
The good news about this craziness is that many of the territorial governments have stepped up to take the lead on renewables. The Australian Capital Territory announced last month that it is looking to support the installation of 50 MW of “next-gen” solar. This dedication is why HOMER Energy is choosing to hold its 3rd annual microgrid conference in the capital city of Canberra, October 14-15, 2015. ACT Territorial Minister of the Environment Simon Corbell will kick off the event and be available for meeting with event sponsors the morning of the 14th of October.
So dive in and register today at Microgrid 2015: Economically Integrating Storage and Renewables for Resilience, Grid Stability, and Remote Power. The Australians who actually understand this stuff have decades of experience at it. Learn about cutting edge case studies in adding solar and storage to the grid, and about the lessons learned from decades of experience in hybrid remote power systems. I look forward to meeting you there!