A new proposal by US solar and thermal storage technology company SolarReserve would see a 110MW Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant built near South Australia’s Port Augusta, 200 miles north of the provincial capital of Adelaide. The plant would supply Port Augusta and neighboring cities with reliable solar power and help them to distance themselves from the coal-powered plants that still supply most of the country with electricity.
Solar power is a great solution for the world’s increasing energy demand: it’s clean, reliable, and becoming more and more efficient and affordable as the technology improves. Photovoltaic panels are so widespread now that it’s difficult to find a suburban street without any rooftop PV panels glinting in the sun.
So a larger system, one that is capable of powering a higher amount of electricity consumption, will have a higher capacity, quoted in kW. There will be more panels needed to make more power and therefore they will take up more space on the roof.
The ACT government’s plans; the most ambitious in Australia, are to completely divest from fossil fuels and fully decarbonise the territory’s electricity system.
Canberra’s ambitious 100% renewable plan has very high support from Australians, according to researcher and campaigner Tom Swann.
According to the energy markets research firm Green Energy Markets (GEM), Australian utilities will need to sign 3,800 MW of contracts for new renewable energy by the end of 2016, in order to be in compliance with the renewable energy target.
Way back in the early days of the fossil energy industry, gas and coal was dug out of the ground and then fed via long pipelines or railroads to power stations to produce electricity. That’s where the “gas” in PG&E got its name — with gas. The gas was also fed directly in pipes into people’s homes – and fracked from under them too!
In the U.S., the biggest and most motivated state to push for clean energy is Hawaii. They recently announced they aim to reach using 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, by far the most demanding yet enthusiastically pro-solar goal in the country. However, across the Pacific Ocean, Australia is ready to compete for the same goal. According to Renew Economy, Australia could reach a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy as soon as 2040.
To reach this ambitious goal, Australia is looking to add 1.9 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic power, as well as 1.9GW of wind power capacity per year. Not in a few years, but every year.
From Renew Economy: “Andrew Blakers, director for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University, told the Australian Solar and Energy Storage conference in Melbourne that his conservative prediction was that Australia would reach 90 per cent renewables by 2040 – just through natural attrition.” At the rate Australia is adding solar and wind power in general (it cites that nearly 1GW of solar was added to rooftops last year alone), reaching 100 percent isn’t that crazy.Continue reading