Sun Cable – Australian Solar Farms Could Soon Power Singapore

Australian entrepreneur David Griffin of Sun Cable, who is a leader in the renewable energy industry, plans to use a solar farm located in the Northern Territory to power Singapore. His vision is still under development and once it is finished, will be the largest on a global level. Investors from all over the world are taking interest in this solar farm project.

Solar farm projects around Australia have been a huge success for the local communities. This project will be the first attempt to export renewable energy internationally. Mr. Griffin, who was General Manager at Infigen Energy, has been working on the development of wind and solar farms in South Africa and Australia for almost two decades.

The plan is for this solar farm to send electrical power to Darwin, and then under the sea through a cable to Singapore. He admits that the whole endeavour is quite complex and full of risks and for that reason, the design process will be expansive.

The Sun Cable farm will spread across 15k hectares and will be supported by a 10-GW power plant.The Government of the Northern Territory named it a ‘major project’ and construction is predicted to begin in 2023, after all environmental permissions and approvals are obtained.

Mr. Griffin’s goal is to provide electrification without harming the environment. Instead of clearing the Asian forests and causing climate catastrophe, he wants to produce large amounts of renewable energy using the abundance of space available in Australia. With its abundant sunshine, the Northern Territory strives to become the center of renewable energy.

Wealth for the Future

The Executive Manager of Innovation at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, David Burt, considers Sun Cable one of the most important renewable energy projects, which will bring wealth for the country in the future.

Australia has a large mass of land, which means it has potential to produce wind or solar energy for export purposes. And considering the fact that the Asia Pacific countries are growing rapidly, Australia’s location is ideal for sending renewable power offshore. Sun Cable’s goal is to supply about 20% of the energy in Singapore, which represents an opportunity for the country to earn millions of dollars.

Australia already has huge optical-fibre cables undersea for the Internet. There is a risk, however, that these cables might get damaged which could disrupt the country’s ability to send energy.

Sun Cable Risk Assessment

Australia’s undersea cable is located in the Bass Strait connecting the Victorian and Tasmanian electricity grids. It feeds energy both ways, which allows the states to unload surplus electricity.

However, in South Australia, wind operators faced a serious problem when storms caused massive blackouts, upon which about 850k consumers were left without power back in 2016.

5B, a solar technology startup, will be supplying the solar panels pre-assembled in China for the Sun Cable project. 5B was founded six years ago by Eden Tehan and Chris McGrath and today it provides solar panels for twenty plants across Australia.

Each of 5B’s pre-fabricated ‘Maverick’ solar blocks is comprised of 80-200 panels. For Sun Cable, they need 80k Maverick blocks, which shows how large the project is.

The project is expected to create about a thousand jobs in the construction sector and another 300 in the operational sector.

According to David Griffin, now is the perfect time to enter the energy market in the region. At the moment, Singapore is highly dependent on gas from Indonesia and Malaysia. In general, electricity is very expensive in Asia. Mr. Griffin considers Sun Cable to be the first of many projects that will focus on exploiting opportunities in Asia.

 

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Silent 55 – Solar Powered Catamaran

The Silent 55 solar powered catamaran has been announced and will debut at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival. The 2019 model is twice as powerful as the 2018 model with the Austrian manufacturer advising that one has already been build and 3 more are on order.

Silent 55 – Solar Powered Catamaran

“Our best-selling 16.7m innovative solar electric catamaran has been upgraded and become even better than it used to be,” says Michael Köhler, Silent-Yachts founder and CEO. “We did these updates and changes because we always try to improve and to install the best and latest technology available to satisfy our clients. We have built one new Silent 55 already and we’ve got three more orders for this model, which shows that we’re heading in the right direction.”

The Silent 55 includes 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak. The catamaran uses MPPT (maximum power point tracking ) solar charge regulators and lithium batteries, allowing it to cruise through all the way through the evening (i.e. when the sun’s not shining) as well. 

A 15-kVA inverter provides the required power for household appliances. The electrical system also powers an aft swim platform and a 1,500-watt electric windlass. There is also a generator on board in case you run out of solar power. 

According to Robb Report the base price of the Silent 55 is €1.4m. Interested? Go check it out at the Cannes Yachting Festival or click here to learn more about the solar catamaran on the Silent Yachts website. And take me for a spin, please! 

Silent 55 Specifications

Length overall 16,70 m (54.8‘)
Beam overall 8,46 (27.7‘)
Draft 1,20 m (3.9‘)
Light displacement 19 tons
Water 500 – 1.000 L
Waste-Water 2 x 500 L
Fuel 500 – 1.600 L
Solar Panels 10 kWp
E-Motors 2 x 30 kW / 2 x 250 kW
Generator 22 kW / 100 kW
Battery Capacity 120 kWh
Cruising Speed 6 – 8 kt / 12 – 15 kt
Top Speed approx. 12 kt / 20 kt
CE Certification CE-A
Range Trans-Ocean

 

Silent 55 the Solar Powered Catamaran (source: RobbReport.com via Silent-Yachts)
Silent 55 the Solar Powered Catamaran (source: RobbReport.com via Silent-Yachts)

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Power Ledger Extend Solar Trading Trial

Western Australian based tech company Power Ledger have extended their solar trading trial – let’s take a look at what stage 2 of the company’s p2p renewable trading scheme will encompass.

Solar Trading and Power Ledger

Power Ledger’s blockchain technology has been used since November 2018 to track the transactions of rooftop solar energy traded between 18 households in Fremantle, Western Australia.

The Fremantle Smart Cities project was titled RENeW Nexus and its goal was to demonstrate peer-to-peer energy trading between residential houses. 

Project partners included Curtin University, government-owned retailer Synergy, Western Power, the government-owned network operator, and the City of Fremantle itself.

The trial works by utilising Western Power’s existing network with Synergy’s customers. The Power Ledger platform allows households to buy and sell excess rooftop solar energy in real-time, with residents able to view electricity usage in 30-minute intervals, rather than waiting for their quarterly bill.

Since the trial started in November 2018, Power Ledger has processed almost 50,000 transactions on its platform per month and tracked over 4 megawatt hours of peer-to-peer renewable energy trades. Safe to say it’s been a roaring success, so they’re off to start the second phase of their trial. 

Power Ledger are also working outside of Australia in varied capacity:

  • Silicon Valley Power in the City of Santa Clara alongside Clean Energy Blockchain Network
  • BCPG T77 Thailand
  • Kansai Electric Power Co. (Phase 1)
  • Vicinity Castle Plaza

Saving With Solar Interview with Power Ledger

We had a chat to Power Ledger about the exciting second phase of their renewable energy trading scheme

With ~50k transactions per month currently, what’s the target for 2020?
Power Ledger intends to double the number of participants in the second phase of the trial.

How many trial partners will be involved in stage 2?
In the second phase of the trial we continued to partner with Synergy, Western Power, Curtin University and EnergyOS 
 
Any info on the ‘additional pricing models’ in stage 2? 
The pricing model for stage 2 is similar to stage 1, with some minor tweaks. The partners will be organising workshops and surveying participant to learn more about pricing models. 
 
How much of the trading is automated so the prosumers don’t have to do much?
All the trading is automated. in this deployment however, participants have the option to set their preferred buy and sell prices for peer to peer energy. They can be as active as optimising their prices and trading on a half hourly basis. Alternatively they could go in the platform and set and forget their prices they are happy with.

VPP 2.0 (Virtual Power Plants 2.0)

According to a roadmap for Power Ledger released on Medium last year, the goal is to enact VPP 2.00 – which will allow a lot of options for households who want to trade solar. It also factors in ideas for a two-way electricity grid and options for households to assist the grid – be that through capacity, frequency control, or voltage support.  

We see VPP 2.0, or Virtual Power Plants 2.0, as a natural extension of our peer-to-peer functionality, tying all our other products together. xGrid will evolve into an optimized model of a virtual power plant, to create a conduit for the transaction of value between the owners of distributed energy resources and multiple counterparties.

Self-executing smart contracts will integrate with physical switches in the network, creating an autonomous power market with secure value transfer between consumers, energy markets and networks. For example, a household with solar may normally be trading energy in a P2P market, until they are offered a higher rate by the network to provide capacity, frequency control, or voltage support.

Power Ledger extend Solar Trading Trial to Stage 2. (source: Power Ledger)
Power Ledger extend Solar Trading Trial to Stage 2. (source: Power Ledger)
 
 

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Coles Solar Power – Supermarket signs commercial solar PPA.

Coles solar power – the giant supermarket company has signed a power purchasing agreement (PPA) with global renewable power generation company Metka EGN. Another huge step for commercial solar and retail solar. Let’s read more about it.

Coles Solar Power

The goal is to buy more than 70% of the energy generated by three solar power plants. The plants will be bnuilt and operated by Metka EGN in Wagga Wagga, Corowa, and Junee in New South Wales – this represents 10% of the company’s entire national electricity usage! Metka EGN are a London based EPC contractor working as a subsidiary of Greek company Mytilineos Holdings S.A. According to PV Magazine, construction of 169MW will commence by EOY and project development is at an ‘advanced stage’. 

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain discussed the move and Coles’ goal to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia:

“Coles has been a cornerstone of Australian retail for more than 100 years, and ensuring the sustainability of our business is essential to success in our second century,” he said.

“We are thrilled that with this agreement, Coles can make a significant contribution to the growth of renewable energy supply in Australia, as well as to the communities we serve.” Mr. Cain continued.

Thinus Keeve, the Coles Chief Property and Export Officer, had some comments about the Coles solar power scheme – noting that it’s the first Australian retailer to commit to buying renewable energy through a PPA.

Metka/Coles’ solar plants will supply over 220 gigawatt hours of electricity to the national grid. This will result in the displacement of over 180,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. According to the media release this is also the equivalent of the annual emissions of 83,000 cars.

To read the media release entitled ‘Coles agreement secures three new solar power plants’ on the Coles website please click here.

What will Woolworths do to compete with this? Watch this space…

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Lindsay Soutar spoke on the issue:

“Some of the world’s biggest companies, including supermarket chains Walmart and Tesco, have already made the commitment to 100 per cent renewable.

“We look forward to seeing Woolworths make similar commitments,” she said.

 

 

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Solar Road Failure in France – Update on Technology

The world’s first solar road (Normandy road in France) has been a bit of a bust. According to an article in Business Insider it’s in very poor shape and not even worth repairing. What a shame – let’s read more about the Normandy solar road, what went wrong, and what its failure might mean for future solar highways.

Solar Road Failure in France – Update on Technology, Idaho solar road.

The Normandy solar road covers 2800 square meters and was installed in 2016 in Tourouvre-au-Perche. 

A report from Le Monde has been translated by Business Insider and paints a pretty sad picture of the road’s effectiveness (or lack thereof):

On top of the damage and poor wear of the road, the Normandy solar track also failed to fulfill its energy-production goals. The original aim was to produce 790 kWh each day, a quantity that could illuminate a population of between 3,000 and 5,000 inhabitants. But the rate produced stands at only about 50% of the original predicted estimates.

Other issues the ~$6.1m Normandy road has include rotting leaves, thunderstorms, and the volume of the solar road – where the speed limit even had to be lowered as it was so loud.  Daily Caller are advising that 75% of the panels were broken pre-installation and now 83% are non-functional. The current amount of energy being generated by this project is so low it would only be able to power a small water fountain and restroom lights. The Daily Caller article also discusses a $3.9m USD Idaho road which is suffering from a similar issue. 

If you’d like to read the original article (it’s in French) from Le Monde, entitled “En Normandie, le fiasco de la plus grande route solaire du monde”, please click here

If you’d like to read more about other solar highways across the world, here are a few links:

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