Renewable Energy

Updated: Oct 28

Dr Martin Belusko talks through renewable energy options

 

Due to the remarkable Snowy Mountain Hydro-electric scheme Australia has a long history of benefiting from renewable energy. One could be forgiven for thinking, with such experience and with the sheer size of our renewable energy resource, we’d be world leaders in the propagation and use of renewable technologies. The reality is, Australia is in catch-up mode, and needs to step up to take its place among leading nations. There’s still an imbalance between the large scale projects needing to be commissioned, and our electricity grid’s ability to ‘plug them in’ without suffering stability issues.


That said, Australia’s energy mix has been undergoing rapid changes over the last two decades (Figure 1). This uptake, and in particular large renewable projects like the 275 MW Darlington Point Solar Farm in NSW, are helping drive down costs and even influencing the buying behaviours of Australian consumers. Businesses are looking at their own energy mix, and the question is no longer ‘should we go renewable?’, it’s ‘what’s the best way to go renewable?’.



Australian Electricity Generation from Renewable Sources

source: https://www.energy.gov.au/data/renewables#:~:text=In%202021%2C%2029%25%20of%20Australia's,%25%20in%20the%20mid%2D1960s.

 

And that’s a really important question. Because the way you design your energy generation, storage and offset activities should be tailored to your business. Why? Money, and results. Let’s look at a quick example of the wrong way, and the right way.


Take Darryl. Darryl owns a truck wash facility and hot water is his biggest expense. The hot water is from a series of gas-fired hot water services, however he’d like to install solar on the sheds and use heat pumps instead. Darryl rings up the local solar company and they install a 20 kW system on one of his sheds, and installs a locally sourced heat pump. He realises over time he’s got a few issues:


1) He’s still using a lot of gas! The heat pump he got the local refrigeration contractor to install was way too small, and hé's relying on the gas HWS units

2) The solar system, designed by rooftop solar installers, is critically undersized. Heat loads were never properly understood so if Darryl wants to install more heat pumps, he’ll have to buy more solar, or buy grid energy!

3) His hot water buffer tanks, were the standard tank that came with the heat pump and were not correctly sized.

4) For his 20kW system, Darryl received the associated Renewable Energy Certificate as a CAPEX reduction. He was not aware that if he installed a system larger than 100 kW he would not get this reduction but Large Generator Certificates which he generates each year and use to get him to 100% decarbonisation, which is valuable to his business.


Darryl wishes he hadn’t just grabbed the first cheap solar system that came along, and feels almost like he has to ‘start again’ just to do things properly.


 

In a parallel universe lives Josh. Josh owns an identical truck wash, however he did his hot water project a bit differently. He called Mondial and met with Martin Belusko and Ross Flewell-Smith. Together they sat with Josh and spoke about his business. They spoke a lot about truck washing, water temperatures, and what Josh’s plans were over the next 5 – 10 years. Two weeks later Josh received a clear step by step roadmap from Mondial. In it, he found a strategic renewable investment plan that covered his entire operation. It sized the renewable installation to properly service the heat load and allowed for strategic energy storage to allow evening charge of his hot water tanks. He was now not only a proud Truck Wash owner, but also a Large Scale energy generator, and is able to maximise the return on surplus certificates accordingly. He is now looking to build several more bays as his business grows.


Even in this simple example it’s easy to see how divergent the results of ‘going renewable’ can be. It is important that as we decouple from yesterday, we do our best to get today right to make the future easy. Mondial can help with this.











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