Rooftop PV Capacity in the SWIS – January 2021 Edition

black solar panels on brown roof

Now that 2020 is finally behind us, let’s dig into the data and pull out the latest estimates for rooftop PV capacity in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), Western Australia’s largest electricity grid.

Here are the headline numbers:

Rooftop PV Capacity (MWp)01/01/202001/01/2021Change
Total small-scale capacity1,281.21,576.6295.4
Total large-scale (>100 kW) capacity25.429.23.8
Total rooftop PV capacity1,306.61,605.8299.2

Despite COVID-19, there was robust growth in small-scale (mainly residential) rooftop PV installations in 2020, with over 295 MW installed compared with 240 MW in 2019 (a 23% year-over-year growth).

Meanwhile, large-scale installations slowed down significantly from 13.1 MW in 2019 to just 3.8 MW in 2020.

The aggregate rooftop PV capacity of 1,605.8 MW has now overtaken the combined capacity of the coal-fired power stations in the SWIS (Bluewaters, Collie and Muja C/D have a combined maximum capacity of 1,566.9 MW).

The cumulative rooftop PV capacity in the SWIS since 2007 is shown in the graph below:

As can be seen from the graph above, rooftop PV capacity growth has accelerated in the past few years. It remains to be seen whether installations will continue to grow at the same pace with the reduction in the feed-in tariff in November 2020. The answers to the following questions will likely determine whether there will be continued growth or saturation in the demand for new rooftop PV systems:

  • How sensitive are prospective buyers to the implied investment returns / payback period on new PV systems?
  • Will owners of older existing systems with expired grandfathered feed-in tariffs begin to upgrade to larger systems?
  • Will there be an uptake in battery energy storage systems to take advantage of falling prices and higher feed-in tariffs during peak times?
  • Will new housing developments / construction include rooftop PV as a standard feature?
  • Will an uptake in electric vehicle purchases incentivise owners to install larger rooftop PV systems for charging (and possible vehicle-to-grid) purposes?

Data sources and notes

All of the data used in this analysis is sourced from the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) website:

The postcode data for small- and large-scale installations is filtered for postcodes in the SWIS. Large-scale ground-mounted installations are also removed from the data set (e.g. Merredin solar farm or Greenough River solar farm). The coarseness of the postcodes at the edges of the SWIS may introduce some error into the statistics, but the volume of installations in these areas are small relative to the total number of installations.

The small-scale postcode data was extracted on 25 January 2021, and it appears that the data set for December 2020 is not yet fully complete (showing only 2,295 installations for December 2020 compared with a monthly average of 3,759 installations over the period from January 2020 to November 2020). That said, the reduced volumes could potentially reflect softening demand after the REBS scheme was replaced by the DEBS scheme and the tariff reduced to $0.03/kWh during the day after 6 November 2020 (though such a sharp drop-off seems unlikely).

Note that the quoted dates are actually accreditation dates, which may not necessarily line up with the actual installation dates. This is more of an issue with the large-scale installations (>100 kW). For example, a rooftop PV system is installed and it may be months before the proponent applies for accreditation.

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 18 January 2021 – 24 January 2021

blue metal tool

Headlines

The solar allure of WA’s new-model business park [18/01/2021]

Peel Renewable Energy is about to energise its 1.2 MW solar farm, which forms the heart of a fresh, phased microgrid approach to industrial-estate development. That is, grid infrastructure remains small, while the renewably powered microgrid grows to meet the needs of incoming businesses.

Wave energy researchers test waters off Albany as renewable sweet spot [18/01/2021]

Researchers from the University of Western Australia’s Wave Energy Research Centre have deployed a second wave monitoring device off the south coast city of Albany in a region researchers believe could serve as an important showroom for wave energy technology.

Kwinana refinery closure to shrink Australian-made fuel market by one-fifth [18/01/2021]

The closure of BP’s Kwinana oil refinery by the middle of the year will wipe out more than one-fifth of Australia’s fuel-making capabilities. The Kwinana refinery is the biggest in Australia, with a new report by industry market researcher IBISWorld finding it had a market share of 23.9 per cent in 2020-21 and provided about 70 per cent of WA’s fuel requirements.

Global infrastructure fund lands in Australia to feed gas to energy-hungry remote mines [19/01/2021]

I Squared Capital has acquired Perth-based Clean Energy Fuels Australia and will pump up to $500 million into an ‘energy transition platform’ to set up low-carbon and renewable energy assets across the country, with the first being a $100 million LNG terminal at Mount Magnet in WA’s Mid West.

Global investor buys local player, eyes $500m investment program [19/01/2021]

I Squared Capital sees its purchase of Clean Energy Fuels Australia providing a platform for a $500m investment program in Australia.

W.A. mines to add solar, batteries, with backing of state government [20/01/2021]

Another two mining operations in Western Australia’s Goldfields region will install solar power systems and, in one case, battery storage, after grants worth more than $2.6 million were awarded in the first round of the state’s $19 million Clean Energy Future Fund.

Renewables service 70% of WA’s electricity needs the majority of the past week [20/01/2021]

Western Australia has seen around almost three quarters of its midday summer electricity demands being met by solar and wind generation in five of the past seven days.

‘Super majors’ in running for State Government’s green, reneweable hydrogen dream at Oakajee in WA’s Mid West [21/01/2021]

Global energy groups have answered the State Government’s call to look over a plan to develop an export-based renewable hydrogen industry at Oakajee, north of Geraldton.

Hydrogen energy jackpot ‘ours if we act fast’, says Andrew Forrest [22/01/2021]

Fortescue Metals chairman Andrew Forrest is pitching hydrogen energy as Australia’s renewable energy future, predicting it could become a $US12 trillion ($15.5 trillion) global industry with the right policies.

Call to develop 1.5GW green hydrogen hub gets “super major” response [22/01/2021]

The Western Australian government has received 65 expressions of interest to produce and export renewable hydrogen at an industrial estate north of Geraldton – at least 10 of which were said to have come from global corporate “super majors.”

Announcements

WA Government: Clean energy projects to lower emissions and create jobs [19/01/2021]

$2.6 million awarded to two clean energy projects to reduce carbon emissions. The projects will create more than 365 construction jobs and 22 ongoing jobs. McGowan Government also launches second round of Clean Energy Future Fund

EPWA: Clean Energy Future Fund: Congratulations to the successful applicants for Round 1 [19/02/2021]

The Ministers for Energy and Environment have today announced the successful applicants under the first funding round of the Clean Energy Future Fund, at an event today in the Goldfields. […] The two successful applicants, Nomadic Energy and ResourcesWA, each demonstrated their ability to meet these objectives through their plans to deploy innovative renewable energy and energy storage technology to support mine sites in regional Western Australia.

Horizon Power: Solar installation contract awarded to local Aboriginal business [21/01/2021]

Horizon Power has awarded the contract for the installation of more than 300 kilowatts (kW) of rooftop solar on Shire of Derby / West Kimberley buildings to local Derby Aboriginal business Remote Solar Solutions.

Horizon Power: Local civil contractor wins Exmouth depot upgrade works [21/01/2021]

Long awaited improvements to Horizon Power’s Exmouth depot are a step closer to being realised, with local contractor Exmouth Civil winning the contract to refurbish the energy provider’s laydown yard.

Changes to Western Australia’s energy sector governance [22/01/2021]

New energy sector governance arrangements to take effect from July 1, 2021. Updated governance framework will better support ongoing energy transformation.

Publications

Transformation Design and Operation Working Group (TDOWG) Meeting 33 – Slides [20/01/2021]

Energy Sector Governance: Changes to the Regulatory Framework – Consultation Response Paper [22/01/2021]

Wholesale Electricity Market Amendment (Governance) Rules 2021 [22/01/2021]

Consultations

None this week.

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 11 January 2021 – 17 January 2021

black metal current posts

Headlines

Rooftop solar market ends tricky 2020 by smashing records, surpassing 13GW total capacity [11/01/2021]

Australia’s rooftop solar market has defied a challenging 2020 to set a number of new installation records, with the market overcoming disruptions to grow by a massive 39 per cent year-on-year, new analysis from consultancy SunWiz has detailed.

Garden Island Microgrid up and running after connection upgrade [11/01/2021]

Operations at the Garden Island Microgrid, which powers naval facilities off the coast of Western Australia, have resumed operations after upgrade works undertaken by the Department of Defence.

Strike Energy unveils $2.3b WA fertilisers project [11/01/2021]

The oil and gas junior will look for partners to help fund the major urea and ammonia project it is proposing at Geraldton, with urea importer Wesfarmers expected to be interested.

Strike energy $2.3bn fertiliser plant to create up to 1000 jobs [11/01/2021]

Strike Energy has unveiled plans for a $2.3bn fertiliser plant in Western Australia’s Geraldton using gas from the energy producer’s Perth Basin deposits.

‘We won’t privatise Western Power’: Liberal’s pledge [13/01/2021]

Electricity utilities Western Power, Synergy and Horizon would all remain in public hands under a WA Liberal Government, Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup has announced.

Newcrest pushes button on new gold mine at Havieron in Western Australia [13/01/2021]

Newcrest Mining has ticked off on the first stage of construction of its Havieron deposit in WA, throwing $146m towards early works after receiving government approval to start work on a new mine at the emerging discovery.

Broome shopping centre to host massive solar and battery system [15/01/2021]

The Western Australian town of Broome will become host to one of Australia’s largest shopping centre solar installations. The 1.2MW commercial solar installation will be added to the Broome Boulevard Shopping Centre, owned by ASX-listed property investors Primewest, constructed over the centre’s car park, and is expected supply around 45 per cent of the centre’s electricity needs.

Local builder wins $16m Albany project [15/01/2021]

Construction company Wauters has secured the works to build Western Power’s new $16 million energy depot.

From Antarctica to Perth: Masdar eyes waste, hydrogen [16/01/2021]

One of the world’s biggest renewable energy companies is eyeing remote solar power and green hydrogen opportunities in Australia as well as a major expansion in waste-to-energy to widen its portfolio in line with its economy-wide approach to sustainability.

Bushfire burning south of Perth has been contained but remains unpredictable, WA premier says [18/01/2021]

An emergency bushfire warning has been issued for several Perth suburbs with crews working to strengthen containment lines. […] Western Power says electricity supplies have also been cut to some customers with more than 200 properties currently without power.

Announcements

Synergy: Emmanuel Catholic College Case Study [12/01/2021]

Emmanuel Catholic College in Success has a student body of approximately 1,100 students, ranging from Year 7 through to Year 12. […] A 99.990 kW solar system was installed on the roof of the Sports and Performing Arts Centre for Excellence in April 2020.

EPWA: Consumer research grants launched [13/01/2021]

Round 2 of the Western Australian Advocacy for Consumers of Energy Grants has been launched by the Minister for Energy.

Western Power: New $16 million energy facility for Albany [14/01/2021]

Premier Mark McGowan and Energy Minister Bill Johnston today announced plans for a new $16 million energy hub in Albany. Western Power’s state-of-the-art facility will be built by local business Wauters Building Company, creating around 70 construction jobs.

Publications

None this week.

Consultations

None this week.

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 4 January 2021 – 10 January 2021

low angle photography of building

Headlines

The Albany Wind Farm (Photo) [04/01/2021]

18 turbines power the wind farm that has been operational since 2001.

WA solar business gets $4m in funding [07/01/2021]

Plico Energy has locked in $2.4 million from investors while also agreeing to a $1.6 million debt facility with a major lender, with the funds to go towards its WA marketing initiatives.

Announcements

EPWA: Modernising energy customer protections [08/01/2021]

Energy Policy WA today published the Final Report: Review of Energy Customer Contract Regulations that outlines recommended updates to energy customer contract regulations to help improve and streamline customer protections.

Western Power: Perth metro outage – 8 & 9 January [09/01/2021]

Crews are working to locate and repair faults that have affected customers across the metro area affecting over 12,000 customers.

Publications

EPWA: Review of Energy Customer Contract Regulations [08/01/2021]

Consultations

None this week.

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 28 December 2020 – 3 January 2021

light city dawn sunset

Headlines

Fuel refining is a national security matter and Australia needs to get serious [28/12/2020]

The Australian fuel refining industry can’t be allowed to sputter out the same way our car manufacturing capacity did, or the very security of our nation could be at risk. […] Since 1999 we have slipped from eight operating refineries to four, with our largest, Kwinana in Western Australia, due to close and be converted into an import terminal because, owner BP says, “regional oversupply and sustained low refining margins mean the Kwinana Refinery is no ‎longer economically viable’’.

Australia’s first renewable energy industrial micro grid launches at Peel Business Park [29/12/2020]

In just over a year, a waterlogged paddock has been transformed into Australia’s first renewable energy industrial micro grid. The vast field of solar panels will provide all the power needed for the Peel Business Park in Nambeelup.

Household Energy Efficiency Scheme aims to help 10,000 vulnerable WA households [29/12/2020]

WA households will receive help to reduce their energy costs under a $13 million plan from the State Government.

Announcements

EPWA: Household Energy Efficiency Scheme [29/12/2020]

Energy Minister Bill Johnston has announced the delivery of a range of measures to assist vulnerable households in reducing their energy costs through the four-year, $13 million Household Energy Efficiency Scheme.

WA Government: McGowan Government launches $13 million energy scheme [29/12/2020]

Household Energy Efficiency Scheme to ease cost of living for vulnerable families. Over 10,000 households to be supported in tackling high energy use to reduce bills.

Publications

None this week.

Consultations

None this week.

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 21 December 2020 – 27 December 2020

yellow string lights

A major milestone to round out the year with the gazettal of Tranche 2 and 3 of the WEM Rules amendments, thus paving the way for a new Wholesale Electricity Market design commencing October 2022.

Headlines

Trucked LNG displaces gas pipelines and diesel as WA miners opt for hybrid energy [21/12/2020]

The tumbling cost of renewable hybrid power is disrupting the remote power sector in Western Australia. Advances in technology have driven the falling cost of renewables, particularly solar photovoltaic (PV), which have experienced a staggering 82 per cent global drop in costs over the last decade. Increasingly, miners are opting for hybrid power solutions that pair solar PV with LNG as a reliable and complementary low-carbon fuel source.

Announcements

EPWA: Applications for arbitrators and technical experts in energy generation are now open [23/12/2020]

The Coordinator of Energy is seeking applications for arbitrators and technical experts in energy generation to support a dispute resolution process accessible by existing generators in negotiating generator performance standards and monitoring plans. Applications close 22 January 2021.

EPWA: New Wholesale Electricity Market arrangements for the South West Interconnected System [24/12/2020]

The Minister for Energy has made new Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) Rules to implement fundamental changes to the design of the market, to commence from 1 October 2022.

Publications

Energy Transformation Taskforce – Newsletter 9 – December 2020 [23/12/2020]

Wholesale Electricity Market Amendment (Tranches 2 and 3 Amendments) Rules 2020 [24/12/2020]

WEM Rules Amendments: Notice of Gazettal [24/12/2020]

Consultations

REPC_2020_01: Changes to Market Procedure: Notices and Communications – Procedure Change Proposal [21/12/2020] – Open till 21/01/2021

REPC_2020_02: Changes to Market Procedure: Procedure Administration – Procedure Change Proposal [21/12/2020] – Open till 21/01/2021

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 14 December 2020 – 20 December 2020

alternative alternative energy close up electricity

Headlines

Kwinana refinery ‘should not close [14/12/2020]

The Australian Workers’ Union has called on the federal government to help save BP’s Kwinana Refinery after a new industry support package was announced this morning.

Off-grid dream becomes reality as bushfire threat creates new era for power networks [15/12/2020]

Essential Energy says 3,200 poles were destroyed across New South Wales in bushfires last summer. Energy companies are increasingly looking to replace power lines with standalone solar systems. Consumer advocates say laws around standalone power systems need to catch up with industry.

WA electricity prices would be slashed during the day, doubled during peak under new Government trial [16/12/2020]

Electricity prices would be slashed by more than two thirds during the middle of the day under a trial aimed at encouraging households to soak up excess solar power flooding into Western Australia’s biggest grid. But customers would face paying almost twice as much for their power at peak times in the evening, as the State Government tries to shore up supplies and reduce costs in the system.

Daytime power tariffs slashed to just eight cents a kWh to soak up rooftop solar [16/12/2020]

Western Australia’s state owned electricity retailer Synergy is launching a trial in which it will offer households an ultra-low daytime electricity tariff of 8c/kWh, in a bid to help soak up the state’s abundant rooftop solar energy supply.

Bluewaters coal-fired power station written off as worthless as renewables rise [17/12/2020]

The owners of Australia’s newest coal-fired power station have written down the value of the asset to zero, wiping out a $1.2 billion investment in the face of an onslaught of renewable energy.

Australia’s first remote, renewable hydrogen microgrid to be built at Denham [17/12/2020]

Plans to build Australia’s first renewable hydrogen demonstration plant in a remote power system in Denham, Western Australia, are on track to get underway in the second half of 2021, after the appointment of local engineering outfit Hybrid Systems Australia to build the project.

Announcements

WA Government: Innovative electricity prices pilot to harness the sun’s rays [16/12/2020]

New Midday Saver electricity tariff to be piloted by Synergy customers. The pilot incentivises households to shift their energy use to the middle of the day. Vital part of DER Roadmap, helping integrate renewables into WA’s energy system.

WA Government: Solar Schools Program launches in Goldfields-Esperance region [16/12/2020]

The McGowan Government’s Solar Schools Program kicked-off in the farming community of Scaddan, 50 kilometres north of Esperance, today. Horizon Power will install a 12.9 kilowatt solar system (29 solar panels) at Scaddan Primary School, which has 25 students.

Horizon Power: First solar school installed [16/12/2020]

Horizon Power today installed the first rooftop solar system as part of its Solar Schools program at Scaddan Primary School in the Goldfields Esperance Region. Scaddan Primary School, which is 50km north of Esperance, is the first of 30 regional public schools that will receive solar systems to be installed by Horizon Power delivery team as part of the $5 million program. 

Horizon Power: Hybrid Systems awarded Australian-first renewable hydrogen microgrid project [17/12/2020]

Horizon Power has awarded WA based integrated renewables specialist, Hybrid Systems Australia, the contract to build Australia’s first renewable hydrogen demonstration plant in a remote power system, in Denham, Western Australia.

WA Government: Renewable energy to power Yamarna camp and Gruyere gold mine [18/12/2020]

Minister Johnston visits Gold Road Resources’ new renewable energy project. Investment supports WA’s global reputation as a leader in mining innovation.

Publications

WEM Reform Implementation Group (WRIG) Meeting 8 [17/12/2020]

a) Meeting Slides

b) Draft WEM Procedure Developing Limit Advice

c) Constraint Forumulation

d) WEM Procedure Credible Contingency Events

e) WEM Procedure Data and IT Interface Requirements

f) Limit Advice Requirements

Consultations

RC_2019_03: Method used for the assignment of Certified Reserve Capacity to Intermittent Generators – Rule Change Notice and Proposal [18/12/2020] – Open till 04/02/2021

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 7 December 2020 – 13 December 2020

yellow string lights

Headlines

Gruyere gold mine adds solar and battery with new hybrid microgrid [08/12/2020]

Another Australian mine is making the shift to renewable energy, albeit in increments, with the addition of solar and battery storage to an existing and expanding gas power facility at the Gruyere Gold Mine in Western Australia.

APA to build solar microgrid at Gold Road, Gold Fields’ Gruyere mine site [08/12/2020]

The new $38m installation will boost power generation and production capacity while cutting costs and emissions.

APA to install $38m microgrid at Gruyere [09/12/2020]

APA Group has been contracted by the owners of the Gruyere goldmine in Western Australia to install a renewable energy microgrid.

W.A. maps “just transition” for Collie as renewables hasten coal industry decline [09/12/2020]

Western Australia’s Labor government has mapped out a plan to transition the state’s premier coal town of Collie away from “emissions-intensive industries” as the fossil fuel goes into decline. The McGowan government unveiled the ‘Just Transition’ plan for Collie on Wednesday, as the next step in what is expected to be a 10 to 15-year process for the regional centre that is home to a large chunk of the state’s coal generation capacity.

Gas ‘shortage’ looming for Western Australia: AEMO [09/12/2020]

Western Australia faces a gas shortage by 2029 after this year’s oil price crash forced Woodside Petroleum to delay its $30bn Browse LNG project, raising uncertainty over the state’s long-term supply outlook.

Even in Australia’s biggest gas state, gas won’t be a transition fuel for the grid [10/12/2020]

Western Australia may only have a small population, but it is the country’s number one state when it comes to gas consumption. It’s got some of the biggest gas fields in the nation and it also has one of the country’s dirtiest and crappiest coal generators – Muja – that is due to shut half its capacity in four years time. So you’d have to figure that WA would at least be one example where the federal government’s insistence on “gas a transition fuel” for the grid might actually come to pass. Alas, but no. The Australian Energy Market Operator, in its latest 10 year forecast for the gas market in WA, has rejected that idea.

WA gas shortage fear after projects delayed [10/12/2020]

Predicted delays to the two major Woodside developments and surging demand for gas from the resources sector has WA on track for a potential shortage before the end of the decade.

Oz Minerals’ West Musgrave Project set to become ‘one of the largest fully off-grid renewable powered mines in the world.’ [10/12/2020]

Oz Minerals has long said that it was looking at a hybrid fossil fuel-solar-wind solution to power its massive West Musgrave Project. This week the miner has announced that it is now developing a roadmap to power the project with 100% renewables with the addition of a battery in what the company says could be one of the world’s largest fully off-grid renewably powered mines.

Western Power seeks another 50MW of battery storage for WA’s main grid [13/12/2020]

Western Power, the state owned network operator, is seeking to install another 50MW of distributed battery storage at various points in Western Australia’s main grid, and is encouraging Australian businesses to get involved through the manufacture, installation and operation of community and behind the meter batteries.

Announcements

WA Government: WA-first $6 million worth of solar panels installed on public housing [07/12/2020]

10 rooftop solar systems installed at public housing properties. Hundreds of tenants expected to save up to 20 per cent on their annual energy bills. McGowan Government aims to fit all new social housing with solar panels.

APA Makes First Hybrid Energy Microgrid Investment [08/12/2020]

APA Group (ASX: APA) today announced a two phased power expansion agreement with existing customer, Gruyere Gold Mine in Western Australia, which will increase total installed capacity by 45% from 45MW to 64MW.

AEMO: Western Australia’s domestic gas market remains well supplied until at least 2028 [10/12/2020]

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) latest analysis finds potential supply from existing and prospective gas projects is expected to meet forecast demand in Western Australia (WA) until the end of 2028.

Western Power: Power outage update – 13 December 2020 [13/12/2020]

Western Power crews have restored power to most customers affected by the outages caused by pole top fires sparked by light drizzly conditions earlier in the day. At 9.00pm Sunday, approximately 280 customers remain without power, including 190 in the metropolitan area and 90 in the Mid West.

Publications

Transformation Design and Operation Working Group (TDOWG) Meeting 32 Slides [07/12/2020]

Western Power: Quarterly Report September 2020 [08/12/2020]

WA Government: Collie’s Just Transition Plan [09/12/2020]

AEMO: WA Gas Statement of Opportunities [10/12/2020]

CSIRO: GenCost 2020-21: Consultation draft [11/12/2020]

Western Power: Distribution Storage Plan [11/12/2020]

Consultations

Code of Conduct for the Supply of Electricity to Small Use Customers [08/12/2020]

WEM Procedures for Tranche 1 Amending Rules [11/12/2020]

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 30 November 2020 – 6 December 2020

beautiful clouds colors dark

A big week in the WA energy sector, first with the launch of the state government’s climate and electric vehicles strategy, and the below-the-radar gazettal of the first tranche of WEM Rule changes as part of the broader WEM Reform agenda.

Headlines

Hydrogen and batteries fuel climate policy [30/11/2020]

Electric vehicles and a $100 million, 100MW battery will be integral to the state government’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Western Australia names Future Battery taskforce members [30/11/2020]

Western Australia’s Labor-led McGowan Government announced on Monday the members of its Future Battery Industry taskforce which will seek to grow the state’s future battery industry.

Rooftop solar claims its biggest victim yet – Australia’s newest coal generator [01/12/2020]

The most recently built coal generator in the country, the Bluewaters coal complex near Collie in Western Australia, has had its value written off completely by one of its joint owners – the Japanese industrial giant Sumitomo – and it appears that the growing impact of rooftop solar in that state is largely the reason.

Western Australia offers royalty deal to lithium producers facing low prices [01/12/2020]

The Western Australian government will offer royalty rebates to three of the state’s active lithium producers, in an effort to help the industry ride through a difficult period of low prices.

Cattle farming WA town recognised for advanced distributed energy resource microgrid [02/12/2020]

Onslow, a tiny coastal town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia known for its cattle farms and gold mines, has this week been recognised for having one of the world’s most advanced microgrids.

Rooftop solar installation records tumble again in November, as NSW leads the way [03/12/2020]

The latest data from PV market analysts SunWiz shows Australian households and businesses installed another 277MW of solar across the country for the month of November, topping the 252MW of new capacity installed in October. Western Australia added a new high for that state of 32MW.

Western Australia could wreck state-based climate action if it doesn’t step up [05/12/2020]

While many of Australia’s states have announced concrete policies and plans to achieve deep emissions cuts in the short term on the pathway to net zero by 2050, Western Australia’s new climate policies lack sufficient ambition. Though the state’s Labor government recently announced a relatively ambitious plan to build a long electric vehicle charging route, the state’s broader emissions footprint is likely set to exceed targets and continue rising. The Labor government recently announced a wide-ranging climate policy that included funding for a 100 megawatt battery, funding for hydrogen, climate science, adaptation and an electric vehicle strategy, but there is little detail on concrete, short-term emissions reductions, and how they differ from “business as usual” for the state.

Announcements

WA Government: Climate policy supports Western Australia’s low-carbon future [30/11/2020]

Western Australian Climate Policy outlines exciting opportunities for new cleaner industries and supports transition to a low carbon economy. Follows commitment to work with all sectors of the economy to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Policy focuses on reducing emissions, while creating jobs and growing the economy. New initiatives include $21 million Electric Vehicle Strategy, a $15 million Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program, more than $100 million towards the 100 megawatt big battery and commitment to reduce emissions across WA’s public sector. Builds on initiatives already underway as part of $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan

WA Government: New strategy to power electric vehicles in Western Australia [30/11/2020]

Electric Vehicle Strategy to reduce emissions, drive economic growth and create jobs. A key part of the Western Australian Climate Policy, the EV Strategy will support the uptake of electric vehicles in Western Australia. Strategy includes creation of Australia’s longest electric vehicle charging network. McGowan Government investing almost $21 million in an Electric Vehicle Fund.

WA Government: Future Battery Industry taskforce members named to drive industry [30/11/2020]

McGowan Government announces members of Future Battery Industry taskforce. Government looking to attract global cathode active materials manufacturer to WA.

Horizon Power: Onslow DER Project wins prestigious State industry award [30/11/2020]

Horizon Power’s Onslow Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Project was announced State winner of the 2020 Australian Institute of Project Management Achievement Awards, in the category of Regional Projects.

EPWA: New customer protections for alternative electricity services [03/12/2020]

Energy Policy WA today published the Final Report, Tailoring customer protections for alternative electricity services – a registration framework. This Report provides detail on an alternative regulatory framework for new and emerging electricity business models.

WA Government: Brighter future for Western Australians in the energy sector [04/12/2020]

McGowan Government continues support for vocational education and training in the energy sector. 22 apprentices and trainees graduated today as part of Western Power’s entry-level programs.

Publications

WA Government Gazette No. 196 [30/11/2020]

Wholesale Electricity Market Rules [1/12/2020]

WEM Rule Change RC_2017_02: Implementation of 30-Minute Balancing Gate Closure [01/12/2020]

Tailoring customer protections for alternative electricity services – a registration framework [03/12/2020]

Draft code of practice for behind-the-meter generation and storage services [03/12/2020]

Consultations

Proposed changes to the Metering Code open for public comment [02/12/2020]

WA Electricity Industry Weekly News Roundup: 23 November 2020 – 29 November 2020

light city road sunset

Headlines

ADCO wins $50m Western Power build [24/11/2020]

ADCO has been contracted to build Western Power’s new Forrestdale hub, which will house 850 operational and service employees.

Japanese owner of WA’s Bluewaters coal plant reports worst ever loss in face of energy transition [25/11/2020]

The Sumitomo Corporation has reported a stunning ¥26bn (US$251m) loss on its Western Australian Bluewaters coal fired power investment. The loss assures the company’s worst ever annual performance and comes as a result of international and financial pressure against coal funding.

W.A. mine becomes first to run on solar and battery only during daylight hours [25/11/2020]

An open-cut kaolin clay mine and geological waste repository in Western Australia’s Goldfields-Esperance region is being powered by renewable energy only during daylight hours, thanks to a solar and battery storage system custom built for the project through a power purchase agreement – and without any subsidies.

Goldfields to get a share of Perth basin gas with new $460 million pipeline [25/11/2020]

Gas infrastructure group APA has pulled the trigger on a new $460 million, 580-kilometre pipeline that will connect Perth basin onshore gas projects in the Mid West with the Goldfields region.

ARENA announces hydrogen microgrid funding [27/11/2020]

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $2.6 million in funding for Australia’s first remote microgrid using renewable hydrogen generation in Western Australia.

WA town to test hydrogen plant [27/11/2020]

Construction of a hydrogen plant that will have enough energy to power 100 homes in the coastal town of Denham has been approved by the federal government.

WA to test world-first hydrogen-powered microgrid in Denham [27/11/2020]

Western Australia will test a world-first hydrogen-powered microgrid after a new project was approved 800km north-west of Perth — a move that will create dozens of jobs in the remote area.

Australia’s first remote, renewable hydrogen microgrid wins ARENA backing [27/11/2020]

Horizon Power plans to build Australia’s first remote microgrid using renewable hydrogen generation in the Western Australia coastal town of Denham have won the backing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Announcements

WA Government: Western Power’s biggest depot to create 1,100 jobs [24/11/2020]

Energy Minister Bill Johnston today announced local company ADCO as the lead contractor to build Western Power’s $50 million South-Metro depot in Forrestdale.

APA: WA gas grid with new northern goldfields interconnect pipeline [25/11/2020]

APA Group (ASX: APA), today announced an investment of up to $460 million to construct a new 580-kilometre, 12-inch pipeline in Western Australia to connect emerging gas fields in the Perth Basin to the resource rich Goldfields region, forming an interconnected WA Gas Grid.

EPWA: Ability for Western Power to deploy Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) in its distribution licence area [26/11/2020]

The Minister for Energy has given approval for regulations to be made under section 43(3) of the Electricity Corporations Act 2005 (Corporations Act). The Electricity Corporations (Electricity Generation and Retail Corporation Area of Operation) Amendment Regulations 2020 have been drafted to enable Western Power to provide SPS as a network replacement service.

WA Government: Denham renewable hydrogen microgrid an Australian-first [27/11/2020]

Australia’s first remote microgrid using renewable hydrogen generation is becoming a reality as the Morrison and McGowan Governments support the trial of new energy technologies in remote Western Australia. The project will be a first-of-its-kind demonstration that will utilise solar and renewable hydrogen generation and storage to provide 526 MWh per annum of dispatchable renewable electricity, enough to power 100 residential homes.

Horizon Power: An Australian first to power Denham [27/11/2020]

Horizon Power is helping lead Australia’s energy transition with a move towards greater adoption of renewable energy through a commitment to build Australia’s first renewable hydrogen demonstration plant in Denham, Western Australia.

Publications

WA Electricity Consultative Forum (WAECF) 28 Meeting Pack [25/11/2020]

Information Paper: Ability for Western Power to deploy Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) in its distribution licence area [26/11/2020]

Electricity Corporations (Electricity Generation and Retail Corporation Area of Operation) Amendment Regulations 2020 [26/11/2020]

WEM Reform Implementation Group (WRIG) Meeting 7 [26/11/2020]

a) Meeting Slides

b) Generator Monitoring Plans and Testing and Verification Mechanism

c) Requirements for Existing Transmission Connected Generating Systems

d) Generator Model Submission & Maintenance​

e) The Synergy WEM Market Readiness (WEMMR) program

Consultations

Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) Information Paper and Regulations – Open till 17/12/2020