Aug-21 Energy Market News

Aug-21 Energy Market News
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Following a relatively quiet month in July, energy news during August has bounced back with plenty of air-play. Here is our take on the main news.

Following a relatively quiet month in July, energy news during August has bounced back with plenty of air-play. Here is our take on the main news items grouped into the following categories:

  1. Renewables
  2. Storage
  3. Generation
  4. Gas Market
  5. Financial
  6. Policy and Regulation
  7. Climate


  1. Massive green hydrogen project gets technical tick (11 Aug) A Western Australian massive green hydrogen and green ammonia project has received a technical tick of approval from a feasibility study conducted on behalf of oil giant BP
  2. A taste of freedom for South Australia's solar and wind fleet (11 Aug) Over 2,500MW of large scale wind and solar farms in South Australia will soon be free to operate at full capacity with the addition of four new synchronous condensers ready to join the grid and begin operation
  3. Offshore wind considered new option for Australia's grid (11 Aug) Offshore wind is being considered as an emerging new component in Australia's switch to zero emissions
  4. Renewable hydrogen targeted by Victoria in funding (11 Aug) "Cutting edge" technologies in renewable hydrogen, energy storage and renewable biogas are being considered by the Victorian Labor government after the launch of $108 million funding
  5. "Grid forming inverters" fast tracked by AEMO (11 Aug) AEMO has identified Australia's "once in a lifetime" energy transition will be found in advanced grid-scale inverters and hopes to fast track the use of big batteries to support energy transition
  6. WA and large scale green hydrogen ideal fit (12 Aug) Western Australia's mid-west region is "ideally positioned", according to BP for large-scale green hydrogen or ammonia production but warns that huge investment will be required for development of ports, energy and water networks
  7. "Green energy giant" plan by Andrew Forrest (18 Aug) A long term plan by Andrew Forrest would see Fortescue Future Industries producing 15 million tonnes of renewable green hydrogen a year by 2030 with an increase to 50 million tonnes a year over time
  8. Green hydrogen kickstart by NSW government (23 Aug) NSW is pushing ahead as it accelerates the development of its nascent green hydrogen sector with the launch of a market platform matching potential producers and users to kickstart projects.
  9. Solar's time to shine (23 Aug) Renewables are putting pressure on coal fired power as solar energy briefly eclipsed coal at lunchtime on a recent Sunday lunchtime across the east coast.
  10. Online "digital twin" simulator offers help to wind and solar projects (23 Aug) A digital on-line simulator being developed by AEMO is looking to assist developers of wind and solar projects with detailed modelling and preparation for the connection process
  11. Turbine price increase of 10% over next 12-18 months (19 Aug) Due to a combination of increased commodity prices, logistics costs and challenges related to Covid-19, wind turbines are expected to jump by up to 10 per cent over the next 12 to 18 months
  12. Energy giant Enel seeks retail energy licence in Australia (23 Aug) With a plan to grow its solar and wind portfolio, Italian energy giant Enel is seeking a retail energy licence in Australia.
  13. New efficiency records for double-sided solar cells (23 Aug) Australian scientists at the Australian National University have set a milestone new world record for the efficiency of double-sided solar cells which could result in a boost to the energy output of future solar farms
  14. Queensland coal terminal to host renewable hydrogen (23 Aug) As Queensland looks to unlock up to $23 billion in wind and solar project proposals, a coal export terminal could soon pivot to host renewable hydrogen production and export infrastructure
  15. Despite takeover bid, Spark expects go-ahead of renewable projects (25 Aug) Following approval of the $5.2 billion takeover offer of Spark Infrastructure, CEO Rick Francis believes its renewable generation projects will still proceed
  16. 34GW of wind and solar projects proposed for New England hub (27 Aug) The New South Wales government have been overwhelmed by a raft of renewable energy projects for its biggest renewable energy zone in the New England region
  17. "World's largest" offshore wind turbine unveiled by China's MingYang (27 Aug) A 264-metre tall, 16MW offshore wind turbine, the world's largest, has been unveiled by Chinese clean energy company MingYang Smart Energy
  18. Genex writes down value of 50MW solar farm (27 Aug) The 50MW Jemalong Solar Farm in NSW has been written down by 6.5m as a result of falling power prices effecting merchant revenue
  19. Microgrid technology "toolbox" launched by Monash (29 Aug) Monash University renewable energy experts have launched an interactive "toolbox" known as MEMO (Microgrid Electricity Market Operator) to support the uptake of technology in commercial, industrial and community settings
  20. Origin and Japan's Eneos combine forces on green hydrogen project (29 Aug) Japan's largest oil refiner, Eneos and Australia's biggest energy retailer, Origin Energy have teamed up to explore the establishment of a commercial-scale green hydrogen supply chain between Australia and Japan
  21. Proposed capacity increase by Sun Cable (29 Aug) Singapore-based Sun Cable has announced plans to increase the renewable energy generation and storage capacity of the Australian-ASEAN Power Link in northern Australian


  1. Blaze at Tesla big battery brought under control (4 Aug) It has taken firefighters four days to bring the fire at Tesla's Moorabool site near Geelong, under control
  2. Power savings from energy stored in electric car batteries (10 Aug) "Vehicle to grid" (V2G) could become an important component of Australia's electricity grid in the future as a way for car owners to make additional income, save on power costs and help stabilise the grid
  3. Adelaide big battery build(11 Aug) Plans to build a 250MW big battery at Torrens Island near Adelaide have been unveiled by AGL as they partner with Finland based technology group Wartsila
  4. 900MWh big battery plans for New England region (11 Aug) Proposals for 900MWh of big battery storage projects for the New England region in NSW have been received by the NSW government as it targets one of the key zones for large scale wind and solar projects
  5. Syncline proposes big battery storage facility in Victoria (12 Aug) Plans for a 600MW/2,400MWh Melton Renewable Energy Hub in Victoria have been unveiled by Australian renewable energy and battery storage developer Syncline Energy
  6. Pole-mounted batteries to transform the grid (23 Aug) The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $4 million of funding to allow United Energy to trial the use of pole-mounted batteries to support more rooftop solar in south Eastern Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula
  7. Following $2.3 billion loss Origin ready to "pull trigger" on big batteries (23 Aug) After declaring a massive $2.3 billion loss Origin Energy has edged perilously close to "pulling the trigger" on its first big battery storage project according to its CEO, Frank Calabria
  8. $200 million Bill Gates backing for liquid metal battery company (23 Aug) Liquid metal battery company Ambri has welcomed backing to the tune of $US144 million from Bill Gates to help commercialise and grow its long-duration energy storage systems and build a domestic manufacturing facility
  9. Western Victoria unveils huge wind, solar and battery hub (23 Aug) Stawell in western Victoria will become the new home of the proposed Watta Wella renewable energy hub which includes a 315MW wind farm, a 62.5MW solar farm and a 400MW/1200MWh big battery as announced by UK-based RES
  10. Grid-scale operations receives gravity-based energy storage tower (29 Aug) $100 million in series C funding has been received by Energy Vault, maker of the EVx gravitational energy storage tower, with plans to support ramping up deployments of the EVx platform for global customers
  11. Commercialisation of multi-day iron-air batteries reached
    (29 Aug) Form Energy, a Boston startup group have developed technology to address issues of multi day weather event impacts on solar and wind power with multi-day storage that is cost effective in grid reliability


  1. Tomago's renewables pivot could spell the end for biggest coal generator (11 Aug) Tomago Aluminium, one of Australia's last remaining aluminium smelters, has outlined its plan to transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity before 2030
  2. Coal power shutdown call made by AGL CEO (12 Aug) In an effort to avoid price shocks and blackouts for consumers, AGL Energy CEO Graeme Hunt has called for a co-ordinated long-term plan for the shutdown of the country's coal-fired power stations
  3. Origin CEO says baseload coal is over (19 Aug) Generating units at the 2880-megawatt Eraring generator in NSW are expected to be turned off for extended periods of time as Origin Energy works to keep its generation business profitable amidst a sea of cheap renewables
  4. States and power industry split over "Coal keeper" Differences among state and federal governments over the shape of new market rules designed to facilitate the growing shift to a zero emissions grid is causing fractures within the industry
  5. Households could be hit by Taylor's favoured coal subsidy(23 Aug) A proposed new subsidy to keep ageing coal and gas plants open could result in higher annual household electricity bills and cost increases to businesses if approved by state and federal energy ministers
  6. Double efficiency claim with Australian "dual turbine" wave power breakthrough (23 Aug) New technology that promises to double the amount of energy able to be harvested from ocean waves, is raising hope for wave power's potential role in the global shift to renewables
  7. Santos' CCS project counts on $70/tonne carbon price (23 Aug) Oil and gas company Santos is banking on a carbon price of nearly $70 a tonne for its proposed flagship carbon capture and storage project in the Moomba gas fields of South Australia
  8. Bain Capital, KKR and Oaktree keen for Basslink Interconnector refinance (27 Aug) The Bassink Interconnector which has been recently been attempting to refinance up to $700m of loans has caught the attention of global private equity firms, Oaktree Capital Management, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Bain Capital
  9. Port Kembla power station declared critical (29 Aug) The proposed dual-fuel power station, combining gas and green hydrogen, proposed for Port Kembla is considered a critical gamechanger for NSW, according to Deputy Premier John Barilaro
  10. China to begin trials with molten salt nuclear reactor (30 Aug) China is about to turn on an experimental reactor that is considered safer, cheaper and less potential of weaponisation. The 2MW is located in northern China. The technology was first developed in he 1940's and was abandoned by the USA and replaced by uranium which was said to be easier.

Gas Market

  1. Gas prices open up north-south divide (9 Aug) A stark divide is opening up between the northern and southern states in Victoria as manufacturers face unaffordable gas prices before the end of the decade
  2. As gas supply dries up, Victoria faces gas crunch by 2030 (9 Aug) LNG import plants will be required to meet a shortfall in gas supplies as Victorian manufacturers face a fresh gas squeeze with soaring prices by 2030 as the state's production dries up
  3. Eastern states face looming gas crisis next year (18 Aug) In a bid to avoid a potential gas shortfall in southern states in 2022, competition regulator Rod Sims has called on big LNG exporters to feed more gas into the domestic market
  4. ACCC: Australia may face gas shortages (18 Aug) If Queensland exporters continue to export all of their gas, the competition regulator the ACCC has warned that Australia's east coast could face a gas shortfall in 2022
  5. Origin refutes gas shortage (18 Aug) Origin Energy the operator of the Australia Pacific LNG plant did not expect any gas squeeze given the tiny forecast deficit prepared by the ACCC
  6. Profit rebound sees Viva pursue Geelong hub (25 Aug) Following a four-fold surge in first-half profit and a capital return for shareholders, fuel supplier Viva Energy has declared interest in the construction of an LNG import terminal in Geelong


  1. $700m debt refinance for Basslink interconnector (9 Aug) Owners of the 290km underwater cable between Tasmania and Victoria are believed to be refinancing its $700m debt with Citi called in to oversee the process
  2. Woodside and BHP in "oil merger" talks (17 Aug) A potential merger in oil and gas between BHP and Woodside has been confirmed with advanced talks suggesting that the deal could be worth about $20 billion
  3. Deal between BHP annd Woodside creates global player (18 Aug) The merger between BHP and Woodside will see BHP's petroleum business become a top 10 oil and gas producer with the financial cudos to withstand the tough market transitioning to clean energy
  4. Ausgrid stake snapped up by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (19 Aug) Gresham has been hired by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to negotiate the purchase of AustralianSuper's $2bn-odd stake in electricity Ausgrid
  5. Spark $5.2bn takeover bid accepted (24 Aug) A consortium led by KKR, including Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board and PSP has had their $5.2 billion takeover bid accepted by Spark Infrastructure
  6. Sustainability targets link to Coles $1.3b refinancing deal
    (25 Aug) Grocery retailer Coles will refinance $1.3 billion of debt with loans that will be linked to three key sustainability targets with the retailer aiming to become Australia's most sustainable supermarket chain
  7. "Highly politicised" Australian energy market sees Meridian considering exit (27 Aug) Meridian Energy, a New Zealand gen-tailer is seriously considering exiting from the Australian energy market due to heavy-handed political and regulatory interventions
  8. Bomen solar farm outage collects damages payment (27 Aug) Following a three-week outage in January, the 100MW Bomen solar farm near Wagga Wagga collected a damages payment to make up for lost revenue of around $1 million
  9. APA could be the saving grace for debt riddled Basslink interconnector (29 Aug) The gas infrastructure investor APA has thrown a lifeline to beleagured Basslink Interconnector which is battling serious debt

Policy and Regulation

  1. Green power grid reforms pursued by united energy giants (5 Aug) The CEO's of Delta Electricity, Alinta Energy, EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy have joined forces to present a united front on controversial energy reforms
  2. ESB's energy fix divides power player (9 Aug) Major energy users are involved in an escalating battle with big generators asking for coal payments to guarantee future capacity with concern that they may not reach common ground on wide ranging policy proposals
  3. Solar export bans to end with tariff reforms (12 Aug) New draft proposals will see electricity distributors obliged to offer households free solar exports back to the grid, a move that will still allow them to charge other customers for surplus exports when power is not needed
  4. Power giants seek plan to avert chaos (14 Aug) AGL Energy's call for a national plan to smooth the phase-out of coal fired power has been wholeheartedly backed by some of Australia's major electricity generators concerned for the fallout for consumers and jobs in the event of energy transition chaos
  5. Carbon border tariffs ruled out by Labor (18 Aug) Labor leader, Anthony Albanese has ruled out imposing carbon border tariffs on trading partners that fall short on their climate policies
  6. Green energy investors see red at government coal "subsidy"(21 Aug) Big renewable energy investors have expressed their fury at a new payment incentive to keep coal in Australia's electricity system urging energy ministers to reject the plan
  7. Grid reforms reignites energy costs fears (27 Aug) Industrial energy users and some pressure groups are remaining cautious about proposed reforms from the Energy Security Board that could result in slugging energy users with extra costs
  8. Independent ESB advice at odds with Taylors "coalkeeper" subsidy (27 Aug) The Energy Security Board (ESB) has revealed that its independent advice that strongly recommended against the controversial "capacity" markets proposal was ignored by federal energy minister Angus Taylor who championed the "Coalkeeper" subsidy
  9. "David and Goliath" battle rejected by Supreme Court (27 Aug) A legal challenge brought by a group of local residents concerned about the proximity of a proposed wind farm near the town of Hawkesdale, has been dismissed by the Victorian Supreme court
  10. Schott: to avoid $60k prices, power reforms are needed (29 Aug) Energy Security Board chairwoman Kerry Schott has indicated that proposed reforms to the NEM would avoid "extraordinarily expensive" wholesale price spikes to drive investment in new "firming" generation
  11. AEMO releases latest outlook (30 Aug) The latest outlook from AEMO does not predict any shortages, although the risk of Yallourn coal mine flooding remains a concern. The report states there will be an additional 2,245MW of new capacity available this summer, compared to last summer, including 470MW of dispatchable plant. New wind and solar farms combined with additional dispatchable power is expected to replace retiring coal and gas plant.


  1. Morrison faces call to boost 2030 emissions reduction target following IPCC climate predictions (9 Aug) With the UN's climate change authority warning the globe is warming faster than previously anticipated, Scott Morrison is facing renewed calls from business and energy analysts to significantly boost his government's 2030 emissions-reduction targets
  2. Worst climate hit for Australia (10 Aug) The release of the sixth IPCC report has highlighted Australia will face longer, hotter summers, more bushfires and greater coastal erosion than the rest of the world
  3. Climate change "code red for humanity" IPCC report (9 Aug) A new report from the United Nations has warned of increasing global warming with an increase to 1.5C by 2030, rising sea levels, longer fire seasons and worse droughts declaring "a code red for humanity"

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