Unfortunately, progress on the solar farm has been slow over the last few months and has taken up a lot of our time. We are now waiting for an agreement from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to revise the solar farm design that will improve its viability. Our regular solar farm updates have hopefully kept you informed.
Hardly a week goes by however without some news or information about community or renewable energy. Here are some interesting news reports. I have provided a brief summary of each one and references that you could use to find more details.
At the same time, EG has been working on a number of other things as you will see in the Project Updates below. The Committee values your continued support and welcomes any comments, suggestions or questions you may have.
Due to Covid restrictions, we could not hold an Annual General Meeting in November 2020. In the current Covid climate we will have to wait and see about this year as well. We do appreciate your continuing financial support with our $10 annual membership fees now due.
Yours with energy
Study finds green roofs make solar panels more efficient
Two identical office buildings side by side in Sydney's Barangaroo provided a perfect opportunity for solar energy researchers to test a long-held hunch. Would surrounding rooftop solar panels with green plants make them more efficient? The answer, as it turned out, was yes! You knew that!
The study confirmed that solar panels work better when they're not too hot. In fact, over eight months, the roof with vegetation surrounding the panels generated an additional 3.6% of renewable energy. There were other environmental benefits associated with building temperature and water re-use at the site.
Home battery boost as NSW set to remove planning permit for installations
The New South Wales Government looks set to remove planning rules associated with the installation of residential solar storage. It will still be necessary to get approval from your local electricity distribution provider (eg Essential Energy). Stability of the grid!
Proposed changes to the Infrastructure State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP), announced on 16 Aug 2021 and opened to public exhibition, will remove the requirement for households in NSW to get a development permit to install a home battery.
Australian Energy Market Operator predicts stable supply following closures of coal-fired power stations
Until recently, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) had forecast a shortfall in electricity generation and possible blackouts in New South Wales following the closure of the aging coal-fired power stations over the next five years.
However, in the AEMO’s latest report on electricity supply, "the previously identified reliability gap in NSW is no longer forecast." Fantastic news!
The Energise Gloucester Committee is still waiting to hear whether the NSW Government will allow us to redesign the solar farm. A redesign to include a battery is necessary to secure the financial viability of the project because of:
higher than forecast tenders for construction;
an unexpectedly high connection fee from Essential Energy for grid connection; and
reduced income from standard sales of electricity to the grid on a fixed time contract.
We look forward to being able to explain how time of day sales will increase income from a solar farm battery. Komo Energy will be providing technical support for this.
Involvement from the EG Committee is by Neill Bencke, Peter Buettel, Tibor Kovats and David Marston.
Alison Bencke is leading a group working with Komo on a solar carpark development that would include a facility for electric vehicle charging.
Kerry Marston is working with the BWNG to assist people with large energy bills to analyse their costs and apply for NSW Government assistance. These people can then request an energy audit from a group led by Pat Burrows who can advise them on energy saving and efficiency options.
Di Montague and David Marston are developing a project to provide the BWNG with a battery to further reduce their costs.
The Committee values your continued support and welcomes any comments or questions.