Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Target setting – Global and national goals you should be aware of

In part 1 of this blog post series, we investigated what the scope of your climate change target could be. In part 2 of this series on target setting, we will look at the global and national goals that you should be aware of.

Global bodies, countries and states are setting targets that reflect global concerns about climate change. An increasing number of organisations are also setting ambitious targets and seeking to provide leadership.

Global context for action

Internationally, there are three primary drivers for urgent action on climate.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Governments, businesses and civil society together with the United Nations are mobilising efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030[1]. The SDGs came into force on 1 January 2016, and call on action from all countries to end all poverty and promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

Paris Agreement and Science-based targets

To address climate change, signatory countries adopted the Paris Agreement at the COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. The Agreement entered into force less than a year later. In the agreement, signatory countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5°C Celsius[2].

Targets adopted by organisations to reduce carbon emissions are considered “science-based” if they are in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement—to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Special IPCC report on 1.5°C warming

In October 2018 in Korea, governments approved the wording of a special report on limiting global warming to 1.5°C. The report indicates that achieving this would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society[3].

GLOBAL CONTEXT FOR ACTION ON CLIMATE
FIGURE 1: GLOBAL CONTEXT FOR ACTION ON CLIMATE

In addition, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2019[4] highlights climate change-related outcomes as among the most likely to occur with the highest impacts to the global economy.

GLOBAL RISKS REPORT – LIKELIHOOD AND IMPACT OF CLIMATE AND OTHER RISKS TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
FIGURE 2: GLOBAL RISKS REPORT – LIKELIHOOD AND IMPACT OF CLIMATE AND OTHER RISKS TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

National, States and Territories targets

At a national level, Australia’s response to the Paris Agreement has been to set a goal for carbon emissions of 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 and GHG emissions that are 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030. A major policy that currently underpins this is the Renewable Energy Target (RET). This commits Australia to source 20% of its electricity (33,000 GWh p.a., estimated to equate to a real 23% of electricity) from eligible renewable energy sources by 2020. The scheme runs to 2030. These two key targets are illustrated below.

Australia’s renewable energy and carbon goals – National level
Figure 3: Australia’s renewable energy and carbon goals – National level

 

At a sub-national level, most states and territories have established aspirational emissions targets as well as some legislated targets for renewable energy.

AUSTRALIA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY AND CARBON GOALS – STATE & TERRITORY LEVEL
FIGURE 4: AUSTRALIA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY AND CARBON GOALS – STATE & TERRITORY LEVEL

Setting a goal for your organisation

In setting a target for your organisation, you should consider global, national and goals of other companies in your sector. You should also evaluate energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities in your organisation to know what you can achieve with onsite measures. Offsite measures like procuring renewables or purchasing carbon offsets can help you with achieving more ambitious goals.

In part 3 of this series, we will look at challenges with achieving ambitious targets.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their carbon reduction strategy and advising on appropriate goals. If you need help with developing your targets, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

 

[1] Sourced from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/

[2] Sourced from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climatechange/

[3] Sourced from https://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/pr_181008_P48_spm.shtml

[4] https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2019

Target setting – What should be the scope of your target?

Setting climate change targets is an important part of developing a renewable energy or carbon reduction strategy for your business. Targets will provide guidance and direction, facilitate proper planning, set employee expectations and will help evaluate your organisational performance against your stated goals.

With a goal, you will let everyone know about where your organisation is headed. With a strategy that supports your targets, you will know how to get there in the most efficient way.

In this blog post, we would like to share a few common questions about the basics of goal setting and about the scope of your target. In the next blog post, we will talk about global, and national goals you should be aware of.

Should you set yourself a target before or after you develop your renewable energy strategy?

In general, we would recommend that you develop your strategy and action plans first to evaluate what level of reduction will be possible with energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. This will tend to lead to targets that are known to be realistic and achievable. However, an ambitious and inspirational target can signal what an organisation values and wants to achieve. It can also motivate to identify and develop the solutions that will lead to the goal.

Should you set yourself a carbon emissions or renewable energy target?

There are many ways targets can be set. In the context of climate change mitigation, the most common targets relate to either carbon emissions or renewable energy.

Carbon reduction targets

Carbon reduction targets can be in absolute or relative terms. For instance, you could set yourself an absolute reduction target of 40% by 2025 from the 2018 baseline. You could also set yourself a relative reduction target, which measures your reduction activities against a figure like your production output, staff numbers, operating hours or square metres. An example would be ‘achieve a 50% reduction of our carbon emissions/FTE by 2023 from our 2016 baseline’.

Renewable energy targets

Renewable energy targets are usually expressed as the percentage of energy you would like to source from renewable energy. For example, you could have a goal for your organisation to be ‘50% renewable by 2025’.

What should you include within the scope of your target?

Renewable energy targets

In the context of a renewable energy goal, you will need to choose whether you will just focus on electricity, whether you would like to include stationary fuels like natural gas, or whether your goal extends to transport energy as well.

WHAT YOU CAN INCLUDE IN A RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET
FIGURE 1: WHAT YOU CAN INCLUDE IN A RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET

Carbon emissions targets

In the context of a carbon emissions goal, you will need to think about what kind of emission sources, or what kind of scopes you would like to include.

For instance, you could focus on

  • Carbon emissions directly associated with the burning of fuel and use of electricity (Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions respectively per greenhouse gas accounting).
  • Carbon emissions indirectly associated with fuel and electricity consumption – i.e. upstream extraction, production and transport processes for fuels and electricity (Scope 3 emissions),
  • Carbon emissions associated with the running of your operations such as air travel, employee commute, consumables, catering, emissions from your waste, and other upstream and downstream emissions (Scope 3 emissions).

Factors to consider

When considering what should be included in targets, it is important to consider several factors:

  • Energy that you can influence or control. Typically, stationary electricity is easy to include as solutions are available or near-commercial that can make this a fully renewable supply in a short timeframe – e.g., 5-10 years. However renewable energy fuels for transport are not yet widely available or commercially viable but will be in future.
  • Emissions that you can control or have confidence that they are declining. Waste management, for example, is a complex task, and the ability to set emissions reduction targets may rely on whether or not a waste management strategy is in place or planned. If not, then it may be difficult to set a target that is realistic and achievable.
  • Is an emissions source material or not? For example, LPG consumption may be trivial compared with other sources, so should time and effort be devoted to tracking and managing this source?
  • Your ability to account for all of the sources you may want to track so that you can report on its progress towards reaching goals. Often 80%+ of emissions can be readily accounted for with minimal effort or use of pre-existing systems (from simple spreadsheets to proprietary data collection and reporting systems), whereas the remaining ~20% of emissions can involve significant effort to both establish and then track emissions on an ongoing basis. The National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) program is working to make this simpler for organisations to report and offset their carbon impact.
  • Consideration of your overarching purpose in setting goals or targets, such as for
    • internal cost-cutting
    • internal management of emissions
    • to provide guidance and leadership
    • to partner with like-minded organisations to share information and knowledge that is mutually beneficial
    • or all of these

What should be your preferred approach for setting a target?

There is no one preferred approach to selecting what should be included in targets.

In our experience many organisations have

  1. good data and renewables or abatement plans for electricity,
  2. good data but limited plans for reducing transport emissions, and
  3. mixed data and strategic plans including emissions reduction for scope 3 emissions like waste.

This tends to influence what is included in the scope of renewable energy or carbon emissions targets, often starting with a narrow scope of significant sources with an intent to expand the scope of targets.

Other organisations may have excellent data and plans across multiple energy and emissions sources, within their operations and their supply chains, and set the scope of targets accordingly.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their carbon reduction strategy and advising on appropriate goals. If you need help with developing your targets, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Future policies will affect our carbon emissions – guidance for upcoming federal election

As per the latest IPCC report on climate change, global warming of even 1.5 degrees Celsius can lead to severe consequences, let alone global warming of 2 degrees.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide will need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050.

These rapid and far-reaching transitions need to be achieved with the help of individuals, businesses and government.

Australia will elect its leaders in the upcoming May election. Climate change is a decisive factor for many, and so we have summarised the climate change policies of the two major parties.

Australia’s emissions

Before we compare the two parties’ policies on climate change, let’s have a look at Australia’s emission sources first. The single biggest source of our emissions is electricity consumption, followed by transport and agriculture.

Australia’s emissions sources
Figure 1: Australia’s emissions sources

Our commitments under the Paris Agreement

Australia ratified the Paris Agreement on 6 November 2016. Initially, we need to achieve a 26-28% reduction target from 2005 levels by 2030, which is our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

However, it is expected that over time, action is ratcheted up to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This means that we will need to implement stronger emission reduction targets every five years. The first target update is due in 2020.

Australia’s reduction targets
Figure 2: Australia’s reduction targets

Australia also has a target to achieve 20% renewable energy by 2020 (the actual target is 33,000 GWh, which will likely equate to 23.5% renewables).

Will Australia meet its Paris targets?

Since the repeal of Australia’s carbon price in 2014, our emissions have been increasing and are continuing to do so.

In the following graphic, the green line shows the emission reduction we need to achieve by 2030 – to meet the intent of the Paris Agreement.

The dark line shows Australia’s emission over time, including a projection over time to 2030. Under the current policies, Australia is not on track to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The blue line shows our agreed Paris target of a 26-28% reduction.

Under Liberal policy, the 26-28% reduction will only be nominal, as left-over carbon credits from the previous Kyoto agreement will be used towards the target. This effectively reduces the actual carbon reduction we need to achieve in our economy under their approach.

Labor wants to increase the target to a 45% reduction, which brings us in line with the intent of the Paris Agreement.

Figure 3: Modified graphic from Investor Group on Climate Change via SMH
Figure 3: Modified graphic from Investor Group on Climate Change via SMH

Comparing key climate change policies of the major parties

Government policy is incredibly important in reaching our Paris goals. Governments need to implement policies that are here for the long run, credible and predictable. We compared the major parties policies on the following key climate change areas:

  • Carbon emissions and meeting our Paris targets
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy
    • Uptake of solar PV for households and businesses, battery energy storage
  • Transport energy
  • Support for hydrogen energy
  • Support the transition to a clean energy economy

The Australian Conservation Foundation, which is Australia’s national environment organisation, scored the Liberal/National Coalition 4 out of 100 on climate change action, and Labor at 56.

Let’s look at the policies of the two parties in these areas.

pdf-icon“Comparing climate change policies of major political parties”
Download the 3-page report here

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and timing actions appropriately. If you need help with developing emission scenarios that take into account policy settings, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

How choosing a target influences your emissions over time [with video]

100% RE - emission reduction through 100% renewable energy
100% RE – emission reduction through 100% renewable energy

We recently worked with a regional council to provide their senior management and other key stakeholders with input to the development of their climate change action plan and target-setting process.

An important part of our work was to show council, based on our experience with many other local governments, what different carbon reduction scenarios look like in this sector. In particular, we showed what a no-action scenario would mean for electricity demand, what a focus on demand reduction within council operations would look like, and what an approach that encompasses both aggressive demand reduction and a comprehensive renewable energy supply strategy could achieve.

Presenting and workshopping these scenarios helped our client to set ambitious goals for energy and carbon reduction that are achievable, affordable and can be planned and resourced in the short, medium and long term.

Three scenarios for electricity-based emissions

To illustrate how inaction and action to mitigate climate change can influence emission reductions over time, we created a series of animations. Please click on the video (< 4min) below to view the effect of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures on a council’s business-as-usual electricity consumption.

Scenario 1: no action

For most local councils, rising population, asset upgrades and service improvements are factors that influence the energy demand of council operations.

In the absence of clear policies and practices to reduce energy demand and increase renewables, these factors will lead to increased energy use. As electricity prices also rise, this will result in higher energy costs over time.

Scenario 2: action within council operations

In most organisations, there are numerous opportunities to reduce energy demand and increase onsite renewable energy.

  • Upgrading building lighting systems, air conditioning controls and installing rooftop solar panels usually have an attractive payback.
  • Incorporating lowest life-cycle cost technologies and solar into new developments, and implementing sustainable procurement policies for appliances and office/IT equipment can reduce or reverse energy growth over time.
  • Replacing capital-intensive equipment such as air conditioning systems, water & sewer pumping systems, sporting field lighting and servers with best-practice energy-efficient technologies can similarly reduce or reverse growth in energy demand.
  • Street lighting is often one of the largest energy-using accounts in a local council. As LED technology becomes available, local and main road lighting can be upgraded, leading to large energy savings.

Planning, scheduling and funding implementation of these opportunities over time will lead to a sustained and cost-effective reduction in a council’s grid energy consumption.

However, for most councils, these actions will only take climate mitigation so far, typically a 30% to 40% reduction over time. This would likely fall short of the 2018 IPCC report on ‘Global Warming of 1.5 ºC’, which states that we need to reduce global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030.

Scenario 3: ambitious action on energy demand and supply

In our experience, it is not possible for a council to achieve deep emissions cuts without focusing on both energy demand and energy supply. In an ‘ambitious action’ plan, there will be a more aggressive rollout of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, as well as an energy procurement strategy that will source renewable energy for council’s operations.

Energy demand action will:

  • Extend solar PV to more marginal sites,
  • Develop a plan for larger-scale onsite solar with battery storage,
  • Incorporate smart controls with street lighting,
  • Plan for charging of electric vehicles over time, including passenger and commercial vehicles and road plant

Energy supply action will include renewable energy purchasing as part of a council’s normal energy procurement process. Typically, this takes the form of a renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) as part of overall energy supply, with the potential to scale up renewable energy purchasing towards 100% over time.

For some councils, building their own solar farm may be another way to scale up supply-side action on renewables.

Ambitious action that focuses on both energy demand and renewable energy supply is aligned with global targets to decarbonise by mid-century. As leaders, local governments have an important role to play in showing their communities that deep cuts in emissions are possible and affordable.

You can read more about achieving ambitious targets in our ‘How to achieve 100% renewable energy’ paper.

Ambitious action is achievable and cost-effective

It is possible to achieve ambitious targets cost-effectively – what is required is to plan and resource ahead, to understand the cost implications as well as the cost savings, and to know what measures can be rolled out at what point in time.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and timing actions appropriately. If you need help with setting targets that are achievable and cost-effective, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

The beginner’s video guide to assessing the value of buying or building your own renewables

One of our clients recently went to market via an Expression of Interest (EOI) to solicit interest from firms and potential partners with building or sourcing large-volume renewable energy to meet a significant fraction of their electricity demand.

We were contracted to review the responses to the organisation’s EOI and provide our recommendations about sourcing large-volume renewables. The requested interest was for two technical options, to build a solar farm on the organisation’s land, or to purchase renewable electricity from other projects – for example from utility-scale wind and solar projects elsewhere in the National Electricity Market.

Energy markets and evaluating EOI responses is complex, so for our final presentation, we were asked to also cover some of the basics to allow the leadership team to understand how we arrived at our recommendations.

When we created the slide deck for this presentation, we thought about how we could best present the underlying information. Pictures say more than words, so we decided to use animations to

  1. explain the fundamentals of the electricity supply chain,
  2. the components of your electricity bill, and the
  3. difference between installing solar behind your meter versus building a large-scale solar farm, versus sourcing renewables from an offsite project.

You can watch the video with our animations here:

If you need help with going to market or with evaluating responses to your EOI, RFT or RFP,  please contact Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Claiming ‘zero emissions’ for the operation of your EVs [Part 3]

In our first blog post on electric vehicles, we analysed the carbon footprint of electric vehicles. In the second blog post of the series, we present three considerations for making zero-emissions claims for your electric vehicles. In the final blog post of this series, we are investigating ways you can safely claim ’zero emissions’ for the operation of your EVs.

There are many ways to ’green’ the energy supplied to charge your EVs at your own business premises. However, what if you charge your vehicles at shopping centres, other businesses, at home, on a freeway, or other locations? If seeking to use renewable energy or be ’zero emissions’ for your EV fleet, your strategy should include both ’onsite’ and ’offsite’ charging plans.

Claiming ‘zero emissions’ for the operation of your EVs

Strategies for claiming ’zero emissions’ when charging EVs at your business premises (‘onsite’)

The good news about charging EVs at your own locations is that you have complete control over the emissions-intensity of the electricity powering your charging stations. There are five basic options you can consider:

  1. Buy 100% GreenPower® for charge points
  2. Corporate Power Purchase Agreement
  3. Become carbon neutral
  4. Switch to carbon neutral electricity
  5. Solar panels (and batteries)

Strategy #1 – Buy 100% GreenPower®

An easy way to charge your electric car from clean energy is to purchase 100% GreenPower® for the account the charging point is connected to. All you would need to do is call your electricity provider and ask to be switched over to their 100% GreenPower® product.

For more information, please read the GreenPower for Businesses Guide that we developed for the National GreenPower Accreditation Scheme.

Strategy #2 – Corporate Power Purchase Agreement for renewables

If you are a large energy user, you could enter into a corporate Power Purchase Agreement and include sites/accounts that power your EV charging point(s).

You could either enter into a bundled PPA agreement where you purchase both the electricity and the green credentials (RECs/LGCs) or into an LGC-only PPA.

If corporate PPAs do not suit your circumstances, you can also buy LGCs directly from brokers, with 1 REC/LGC purchased and retired for each MWh of electricity consumed for your EVs or facilities including EV charging points. While this is a potentially more expensive strategy than strategy 3 or 4 (below), you can claim both ‘zero emissions’ and ‘fully renewable’ for your electric vehicles.

For further information for different PPA options, you can read our article on how you can make your organisation 100% renewable or our introduction to PPAs.

Strategy #3 – Carbon neutrality

If your organisation is carbon neutral, then your EV charging points would be included in your carbon footprint. You may pursue carbon neutrality for stand-alone buildings or events, and where EV charging forms part of the scope of these activities, then it can also be carbon neutral. You may simply wish to be carbon neutral for your EV charging stations if these have separate metering or sub-metering.  If this is data is not available, then you can get this information from your EVs, as most have the capability to track their energy consumption.

The basics steps for becoming carbon neutral are to measure your carbon footprint, reduce it as much as possible and offset the rest through the purchase of carbon credits. Australian organisations can consider becoming carbon neutral under the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS), or you may simply purchase offsets for emissions within the boundaries of your carbon neutrality claim.

Strategy #4 – Switch to carbon neutral electricity

There are currently three electricity providers in Australia that offer carbon-neutral electricity, Powershop, Energy Australia and Energy Locals. You could consider switching suppliers and selecting their carbon neutral products. You can find more information in our article about 10 ways to green your electricity supply.

You need to make sure that the charging point is connected to the account that you are switching over to carbon-neutral electricity.

Strategy #5 – Charging EVs from solar panels

Organisations are starting to put EV charging stations at locations where they also have solar PV installations. One of the first Australian examples is the Macadamia Castle on NSW’s Far North Coast which in 2014 installed a 45 kW solar system on its car park canopy. The solar installation powers both the main building and the EV charging station.

If your business is considering using solar to power electric vehicles, note that you are likely to also use grid power to supplement solar energy, so you should not simply assume that all charging from a solar array is ’green’. If at any point the power output from your solar array is less than the power draw to charge the vehicles, then you will be using grid energy to achieve the shortfall. There are chargers that will only use onsite solar generation to charge EVs, and have settings to slow or stop charging when there is insufficient solar power available (e.g. Zappi).

You could install batteries as well which could increase the amount of onsite solar electricity that charges the vehicles, though this technology is expensive at this time. Australian startup Chargefox, whose vision is that road transport will eventually be powered by renewable energy, is rolling out super-fast chargers for electric cars. The Chargefox network will feature sites powered by the world’s first solar, battery storage and 350kW charging combination.

Depending on the size of your solar system and the energy demand from cars or other equipment/facilities connected to the solar, you may achieve a ’net zero’ result, where you generate more solar energy than is consumed by connected equipment and vehicles over a set period of time.

Where there is a shortfall between electricity produced onsite and electricity consumed to power EVs, your business can use one or more of the above strategies to achieve zero emissions.

Note:

You can also use strategies #1, #2 and #5 for claims for ‘100% renewable’. You can find out more information about the difference between carbon neutral and 100% renewable in this article.

Claiming ’zero emissions’ when charging EVs at other locations (‘offsite’)

Your EVs may need to charge at locations outside your business premises. These could include charging stations on freeways or main roads, in shopping centres and public carparks, at clients’ premises, at schools, hospitals, hotels, and at home.

Unlike petrol and diesel fleet fuel consumption, which most organisations measure through fuel card systems, electric vehicle charging is far more distributed with varying availability of data.

The two key pieces of information your business needs to make credible ’zero emissions’ claims for your EV fleet charged ’offsite’ are energy consumption, and the sources of energy generation.

Measuring energy consumption

Most EVs have the capability to track their energy consumption, and if you know how much energy went into charging from onsite locations, you may be able to derive the energy consumed from offsite locations.

Another method is to estimate the energy consumption of your EVs based on kilometres travelled and applying known or estimated energy intensity – most EVs travel 3 km to 7 km per kWh of electricity consumed. Refer to information provided by the vehicle manufacturer to estimate consumption from your particular model.

 

Also, if you are charging and paying for power from the emerging and growing network of EV charging stations and management systems like Charge Star, ChargePoint, Tritium, or NRMA, energy consumption and cost data will become increasingly available to users and enable better reporting of EV energy demand.

Nonetheless, it is likely that the source of some of your offsite EV energy use will be unknown, and to support credible emissions/clean energy claims it may be necessary to make reasonable estimates of energy use.

Greening your offsite EV electricity use

Even if you estimate or calculate your EV energy consumption from external charging, do you know if the electricity came from a renewable energy source or just from the mix of generation in the grid?

For example, Tesla has a global policy that where possible they will use 100% renewable power for their supercharger installations, but this will likely happen over time and may not apply to all chargers at this time.

The charging stations of Queensland’s Electric Super Highway (for travel between Cairns and Coolangatta) use green energy either through direct green energy credits or offsets.

Similarly, if you are charging at another business that sources all or most of its electricity from renewables via rooftop and/or corporate PPAs (e.g. RE100 companies such as IKEA, CBA, Mars and PwC), then its source may be partially or wholly renewable.

Even at your employees’ homes electricity for charging may come from both grid and rooftop solar, or employees may purchase GreenPower® or carbon-neutral electricity. In short, it is currently very difficult to apportion the kind of energy that is being used to charge vehicles offsite.

Apply a cautious approach

Offsite charging presents challenges when you are looking to support claims for ’zero emissions’ for your EV fleet. A cautious approach would use one of the methods outlined above to offset emissions for all of your estimated electricity consumption.

100% Renewables can help with evaluating these options for you. Please contact Barbara or Patrick for further information.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Nine ways to maximise the financial benefit from your surplus solar energy

9 ways to maximise the financial benefit from your excess solar
9 ways to maximise the financial benefit from your excess solar

Our recent blog posts related to the treatment of surplus solar energy. We considered the carbon accounting treatment of your exported solar, explained peer-to-peer energy trading and its applicability to solar exports. In this blog post, we are investigating nine ways how you can maximise the financial benefit from your excess solar.

Nine ways to maximise the financial benefit from your surplus solar

1 Negotiate a good Feed-in-Tariff (FiT)

Your exported solar electricity has a value, which is equal or close to the wholesale electricity market price. Many retailers will offer feed-in rates with most drawing on annual guidance by IPART on appropriate FiT rates or ranges. Some retailers will offer a fixed rate, while others will offer a credit at the same Time-of-Use (ToU) retail rate that applies when the electricity is exported.

You should review your current agreements for treatment of excess solar energy generation, and look to agree on a fair rate or specify this requirement in your next retail energy negotiation.

2 Find a retailer who is willing to net off your supply and demand

If no FiT can be negotiated, then crediting export to another site could see savings at the receiving building’s full retail electricity rate. Although we are not aware of such an arrangement at a small scale, you may be able to negotiate this with your retailer.

It is possible to assign generation from one site to another, but to do this, the following needs to be in place:

  • You need to find a willing retailer
  • The retailer needs to have a billing system that allows for the assignment of generation on a time of use basis – a tricky issue for tier-1 retailers with legacy billing systems.

There is an example for this scenario with a Power Purchase Agreement undertaken by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). UTS and its electricity retailer have agreed to ’pass through’ generation from a 200 kW Singleton solar PV farm to UTS’ Broadway campus. However, the electricity from the Singleton solar farm only makes up 2% of UTS’ total load.

3 Ask your network provider for local network sharing tariffs

Historically, network pricing has not considered the proximity of a consumer to a prosumer. However, this needs to change to reflect that the grid is changing to two-way energy flows. If more and more customers ask for this, change can happen.

There are trials underway where network providers have agreed to a new local sharing network tariff. The town of Newstead in Victoria, for instance, has been able to develop a local sharing tariff (for a 2-year trial) with Powercor.

Thus far there are no similar arrangements in place in NSW, though discussions are ongoing. Enova Energy and Essential Energy, for instance, are trying to develop a local generation tariff in the Byron Bay Arts and Industrial Estate.

4 Consider an embedded network

An embedded network is a private network, in which only one parent meter is connected to the grid. Behind that parent meter, several customers are being supplied with electricity, with the Embedded Network Operator controlling how the private network operates.

The operator buys the electricity for the embedded network from a retailer and onsells the energy, usually at a discount to market. In order to set up an embedded network, you need to get a retailer exemption from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

Embedded networks are common in caravan parks, business parks, shopping centres, apartment blocks, office buildings, airports and university campuses. They are relatively easy to set up from scratch but expensive to retrofit.

An embedded network may work for you if you are looking to share your excess solar electricity with tenants in the same building that your organisation owns.

5 Use battery storage to increase self-consumption from solar

Instead of sending the excess solar electricity into the grid, you could send it to an onsite energy battery storage system. You can then use this stored energy to supply you with power during times when the sun doesn’t shine, or to help you reduce your peak demand.

Unfortunately, at this stage, the costs of battery storage are still high. This is particularly the case where you export most of your energy during weekends. You would need a large battery to deliver cost savings during working weekdays.

If used primarily to trim peak demand further then the business case will be a little better as a smaller-size battery will be required.

6 Solar with battery storage in a virtual power plant (VPP)

The NSW Government recently announced plans to develop a 200 MW Virtual Power Plant (VPP) that will harness the capacity and stored energy in household and business batteries to provide dispatchable energy during peak network demand periods, typically hot days in summer. This is being developed under the Smart Energy for Homes and Businesses program which is expected to launch early in 2019.

Stored energy can also have value by being capable of being aggregated with other batteries to bid into the wholesale market. This is a key part of some pre-existing VPPs such as Powershop-Reposit’s Grid Impact product, and similar VPPs in other jurisdictions such as the ACT, with a large-scale VPP in development in South Australia.

7 Consider a microgrid

If you are also interested in sharing energy for the purpose of increasing your resilience in the event of a grid failure you can consider a microgrid. Customer-level microgrids and embedded networks are similar, where you are looking to share energy in a private distribution network. The main difference is, however, that the microgrid can disconnect from the main grid.

A microgrid works best in conjunction with battery storage large enough to still supply you with power, even during a blackout.

8 Peer-to-peer solutions like PowerLedger or Greensync

At this time a number of trials of P2P have been progressing, with most commercial projects occurring in strata or similar precincts where energy can be shared behind the main meter. This is because, currently, P2P solutions are easiest to set up in embedded networks.

If the P2P solution is outside an embedded network, where energy is shared between sites via the grid, you need the cooperation of a retailer offering a product that stacks up with credits from the distribution network provider.

For more information on P2P energy trading trials, you can read our blog post on peer-to-peer energy trading.

9 Consider a portfolio approach

Last, but not least, you should always consider a portfolio approach when maximising your financial benefits of solar. Every time you go to market for a new retail contract, you need to evaluate options that give you the bests financial return overall for your portfolio of assets. In addition to evaluating solar export, you may also want to pair this with demand flexibility mechanisms.

 

100% Renewables can help with evaluating these options for you. Please contact Barbara or Patrick for further information.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

The current reality of peer-to-peer energy trading for sharing surplus solar energy

With falling prices for solar panels and with experience gained on previous solar PV projects, many of our clients are thinking about increasing the size of their current solar installation where space allows.

By increasing the size of their system, many clients would be exporting some of their solar electricity, especially on weekends. Naturally, the question arises how to maximise the financial benefits from that surplus electricity.

It is not uncommon for the value of exported solar energy generation to be forgone, whether through lack of management or an unwillingness by a retailer to offer or negotiate a feed-in rate. In this scenario, you would lose any financial opportunity from exported solar.

This is when many of our clients ask about the status of peer to peer trading and local energy sharing.

What people tend to think happens in a P2P energy trading transaction

It seems such a straightforward concept. You have excess electricity from your solar installation on Building A, you assign this to Building B across the road, which can’t have solar (e.g. is overshadowed). Building A benefits by increasing the size of its solar PV array leading to higher bill savings, and being able to assign or sell the exported electricity to Building B. Building B would benefit by potentially having a lower electricity bill, and a renewable energy supply.

100% RE - Expectations for P2P energy trading
100% RE – Expectations for P2P energy trading for exported solar electricity

The reality of current P2P energy sharing for your surplus solar

Unfortunately, the reality is different. When you produce electricity from solar panels that isn’t used on site, you usually export it to the grid. You can’t get the electricity from Building A to Building B without using the network.

And here is the problem: while your buildings might be close to one another, you will incur the full network charges (which for some organisations can be up to 50% of their overall bill). Network charges are made up of transmission and distribution charges. When you share energy locally, theoretically you shouldn’t have to pay the transmission charges, but in reality, you do.

In 2016, the City of Sydney, the Total Environment Centre and the Property Council Australia argued for the introduction of Local Generation Network Credits (LGNCs) with the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC). Unfortunately, the AEMC did not go ahead with this proposed rule change.

This means that currently, there is reduced incentive to oversize your PV system and export solar electricity, unless you have a great feed-in-tariff, or have an agreement with your retailer to net off the electricity consumption of your buildings with the surplus energy generation from another building (more on this in the next blog post).

Current reality of P2P energy trading for surplus solar electricity
Current reality of P2P energy trading for exported solar electricity

Recommended approach

At this time the recommended approach is to seek a feed-in rate for surplus solar energy generation with your electricity retailer – either immediately or included in your next contract negotiation. You may also be able to negotiate for the excess solar energy to be credited against the demand of your other building. If you are running an embedded network and you don’t own all the buildings in the embedded network, you can trial blockchain solutions like Power Ledger. We will have more information on these options in the next blog post.

In any case, you should evaluate the tariffs and prices against the portfolio of all your assets and evaluate demand flexibility options to achieve the overall best outcome. And as always, it is important to keep a watching brief on any new developments, as this space is evolving rapidly.

In the next blog post, we will expand on how you can maximise the financial benefit from your surplus solar by looking at nine different options. These include peer to peer trading, installing battery storage and participating in Virtual Power Plants, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, if you need help with your journey to a clean energy future, please contact Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Peer-to-peer energy trading explained

Australia has more than 2 million solar PV installations, making us number one in the world in terms of the highest proportion of prosumers. While previously, the grid was designed to be one way only, it is now changing to two-way energy flows; facilitating exports of electricity as much as imports. One option to enable a two-way energy flow is local energy sharing or peer-to-peer trading.

What is energy sharing, or peer-to-peer energy trading?

Simply put, energy sharing is where one party produces excess electricity and then shares this with another party. Energy sharing is also known as Virtual Net Metering (VNM) or peer-to-peer energy trading.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading can be compared to file sharing programs on the Internet, like BitTorrent; to eBay in terms of shopping and to Airbnb in terms of accommodation. Fully enabled P2P trading would cut out the ‘middleman’ and allow transparent dealings between equals, as opposed to being treated as a ‘consumer’ by a corporation.

Peer-to-peer energy trading explained
Peer-to-peer energy trading explained

The party that sells electricity is called ‘prosumer’ because they not only consume energy, they also produce it.

Energy sharing could happen between tenants in a multi-rise, between adjacent buildings, or between anyone on the same network.

For example, if my solar panels at home produce excess electricity while I am at work, I could sell the surplus energy to my neighbour who can’t have solar panels. Similarly, your organisation could have multiple assets and wish to sell electricity to yourself or to donate electricity to neighbouring households or businesses as part of your social commitment.

Advantages of peer-to-peer-trading

The biggest advantages of local energy sharing are that:

  • Energy does not have to be transported from centrally located power plants, reducing electricity transportation costs
  • Energy generation can be based on renewables
  • Energy can be bought from a known source (which allows you to claim energy from a specific project)
  • Energy costs can be lower for the buyer
  • The financial benefit for the generator can be better than a feed-in rate
  • There is choice and transparency in dealing with other consumers

Barriers to peer-to-peer trading

Several barriers exist to P2P trading at present, and it is not known at what time these will be overcome so that consumers can begin to participate and benefit from renewable energy. Some of the main barriers include:

  • Not yet commercialised
  • Immature market for solutions
  • Multiple stakeholders that need to be convinced of the business case (e.g. retailers)
  • Regulatory barriers

Supporting technology – Blockchain

P2P energy trading involves a large number of transactions between prosumers and consumers and needs technology that allows for low-cost authentication, validation and settlement while protecting privacy. One of the most promising technologies to enable this is ‘blockchain’, a distributed ledger technology. Blockchain is mostly known as the technology supporting distributed trading, such as Bitcoin.

With blockchain, transactions are stored in virtual blocks, which are connected together in a chain. A complete history of all transactions that have ever occurred within a particular network is retained. Blockchain technology can offer a cryptographically secure, distributed ledger that can track where electricity was generated, where it can travel to and who used it.

There is no question about where a kWh came from and how it was produced. The technology is transparent and secure and does not require a central entity to store and manage shared data and business process. It will also make it easier for new and smaller players to be involved, right down to the individual solar household.

Current status of P2P energy trading

Progress with peer-to-peer trading is slow. A couple of trials in the residential market have been unsuccessful, partially because there was no funding, but mostly due to the current market situation.

On the one hand, regulated network tariffs mean there are little benefits to local energy trading. On the other hand, there are low levels of installed controllable distributed energy resources, which makes it hard for solution providers to provide value to their customers.

There are a number of trials using blockchain technology that have been or are currently being conducted, examples of which you can see below.

Most other forms of energy trading are heading down the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) pathway like AGL’s VPP in South Australia or Origin’s VPP in Victoria. However, like the blockchain trials, these solutions are not widespread and involve mostly the residential sector.

Blockchain-based peer-to-peer trials

AGL Solar Exchange trial in Victoria

AGL previously used blockchain technology in a desktop/virtual trial using solar panels, batteries and smart air conditioning in Melbourne homes. The aim was to understand the value in P2P energy markets.

Now AGL has launched Solar Exchange, which is an online marketplace enabling solar households to trade their excess solar power in the form of solar tokens. These tokens can be sold to other AGL customers residing in Victoria.

Under the right conditions, a buyer could buy tokens at a lower price than buying energy from the grid, while a household with solar could sell excess solar tokens at a higher price than the solar feed-in tariff. A successful trade of Solar Tokens can only be made if the buyer and seller have chosen compatible trade settings and have compatible solar export and grid usage profiles for the same trading interval.

The Solar Exchange is the largest consumer energy trading trial in Australia, with more than 250 Victorian customers participating since the pilot launched in August 2018.

Power Ledger trials in Western Australia

The Power Ledger Platform enables interoperability between diverse market management/pricing mechanisms and units of electricity (kWh) by way of pre-purchased tokens, called ‘Sparkz’, which are backed by blockchain bond called ‘Power Tokens’.

Sparkz are settlement tokens that are pegged to the local fiat currency (e.g. AUD in Australia, USD in the USA). Sparkz can be traded on the Power Ledger platform within defined trading groups through a suite of APIs that interface with smart meters.

The Power Ledger system tracks the generation and consumption of all trading participants and settles energy trades on pre-determined terms and conditions in near real time.

One promising use case for platforms such as Power Ledger’s is an embedded network, such as apartment blocks or housing developments, where residents can trade their solar energy with one another in a semi-regulated environment.

Power Ledger have implemented several successful trials of their technology under this embedded network scenario in Busselton and Fremantle. In the case of fully regulated markets, where a retail license is required to buy and sell energy on the national grid (such is the case in most of Australia), the ability for blockchain to facilitate true peer-to-peer energy trading on a wider scale than just embedded networks is somewhat constrained.

LO3/TransActive Grid in South Australia

LO3 is a US-based firm known for setting up a microgrid in Brooklyn and Germany, and for the fact that their solution is built on blockchain technology.

The company is focused on the physical transaction of energy, not the financial transactions. They see their strength in the need for fast-acting load responses, storage, controllable generation and reaction time. Their first rollout in Australia is the New TransActive Grid in South Australia.

Up to 6MW of distributed solar generation will be made available on a local energy marketplace, using LO3’s peer-to-peer trading platform. The microgrid will begin with a ‘discrete’ market using Yates Electrical Services’ Small Generation Aggregators License and their associated commercial or industrial customers, who will bid on solar electricity supplied by the firm.

A meter will be added onto a household or business which manages all energy inputs and outputs, giving participants access to cheaper electricity generated by local solar farms. The solar power will come from six locally built PV plants ranging from 200 kW to 1 MW in size (two have already been constructed) that are being sited on ‘redundant’ farmland in South Australia’s Riverland region.

deX

In December 2017, Greensync launched the ‘Decentralised Energy Exchange’ (deX). Normally, behind-the-meter generation capacity is invisible to the energy market operator. However, deX is a digital technology platform that allows utilities to see exactly what distributed energy resources are available at any time on customers’ premises and how they are performing.

deX can remotely control those resources, with the customers’ consent, at times of high demand or volatility to avoid shortages. The platform lists buyers and sellers, records agreements between them, manages event handling and verifies both parties met their obligations.

The deX program started with commercial and industrial system-owners and will expand to include about 1,200 battery-owning households, which will make up about 5MW of a total 11MW of network support. deX partners include retailers Powershop and Mojo, storage and power engineering firms Siemens, Tesla and ABB, and consumer technology suppliers like Geli, Jetcharge, Wattwatchers and Power Ledger. AEMO, ARENA, Energy Networks Australia and the Clean Energy Council are also partners.

Next blog post

In the next blog post, we will delve into greater detail whether peer-to-peer technology is suitable for exporting electricity from your solar PV installation.

Meanwhile, if you need help with your journey to a clean energy future, please contact Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

How to account for exported solar electricity [new approach by NCOS]

The treatment of energy generated from solar PV systems is an important consideration for organisations who have carbon reduction or renewable energy targets. Most people know that electricity generated from solar reduces their grid electricity purchases and thus their carbon emissions. However, what causes much confusion is how to correctly account for renewable electricity that your organisation has exported to the grid.

How to account for exported solar electricity
How to account for exported solar electricity

Why do solar PV systems send electricity to the grid?

Your onsite solar PV system can export to the grid when there is not enough energy demand at your building – for instance, on the weekend. It may also send solar power to the grid where you have oversized your PV system.

The old way of carbon accounting for exported solar electricity

It used to be that any excess electricity your solar PV systems produced was a carbon reduction ‘gift’ to the grid. You would have calculated your greenhouse gas emissions from electricity based on your grid electricity consumption at the applicable emissions factor, less GreenPower® or LGC purchases. Emissions from your organisation’s self-consumption of solar generation were zero, and solar energy exported to the grid was not accounted for.

Why this approach was problematic for some organisations

One of our clients with multiple sites receives a credit for exported solar energy under its retail agreement. From a billing perspective, the retailer nets off the exported energy against grid-supplied power. Effectively, our client receives a feed-in-tariff equal to retail energy rates at the applicable time-of-use period.

When presented on a bill our client sees a ‘net consumption’ figure on the retail energy section. This figure is captured by their carbon emissions software and emissions are calculated from this net figure. This led to our client claiming the abatement associated with the exported solar energy.

To accurately account for carbon, our client had to query their inverters and had to work with their carbon emissions software provider and their retailer to ensure that correct data was available – in other words, a lot of effort for a small benefit.

Luckily, in October 2018, the Department of Environment and Energy decided to trial a new carbon accounting approach.

The new way of carbon accounting for exported solar electricity

With a recent decision by the Department of Environment and Energy who administer the National Carbon Offset Scheme (NCOS) to trial a new approach, you can now claim the carbon reduction from solar exports.

You are allowed to count electricity generated from renewable energy sources and exported into the electricity grid as a credit (or reduction) in your carbon account. The decision was made because exported energy is considered zero emissions and displaces the need for the generation of emissions-intensive energy elsewhere.

Eligibility criteria

To claim exported renewable electricity as a reduction in your carbon account, the exported electricity must:

  • be measurable and auditable, g. via electricity bills that show the amount of exported electricity; and
  • be generated by a renewable energy system under the operational control of the claiming entity; and
  • be generated from a small-scale renewable energy system (below 100 kW). It does not matter if small technology certificates have been received or sold for that generation; or
  • be generated from a large-scale renewable energy system (100 kW and above) that has not created any large generation certificates (LGCs) for the exported electricity; or
  • be generated from a large-scale system that has created LGCs for the exported electricity but have been voluntarily retired.

How to calculate the carbon emissions reduction for exported solar energy

You can calculate the value of the exported electricity by converting the amount of exported electricity into its carbon emissions equivalent. You need to multiply the amount of exported electricity by the scope 2 emissions factor for the state in which the electricity was generated. The scope 2 factor is used as it represents electricity generation as opposed to transmission and distribution.

The emissions value of exported electricity must be calculated using National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) factors produced by the Department of Environment and Energy. At this stage, you cannot claim indirect electricity consumption calculated using alternative factors (non-NGA).

You can download the 2018 scope 2 NGA emissions factors here: http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/climate-science-data/greenhouse-gas-measurement/publications/national-greenhouse-accounts-factors-july-2018

For example, 10,000 kWh of exported electricity generated in NSW and the ACT is worth 8.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). The following formulas show you how to calculate this:

10,000 kWh * 0.82 kg CO2-e/kWh = 8,200 kg CO2-e

8,200 kg CO2-e/1,000 = 8.2 kg CO2-e

How to report the carbon reduction

You can report the exported electricity in your NCOS documentation by summing all total emission sources and then subtracting the emissions value of the exported electricity to give total net emissions.

You can use exported electricity (or Greenpower®/LGCs) to reduce all direct and indirect electricity emission sources, e.g. imported electricity, base building electricity, electricity consumed from street lights or a data centre. For more information on the treatment of LGCs you may also refer to two of our previous blog posts:

Example of a carbon reduction calculation

The following table shows an example of how you would account for your exported solar electricity.

Example carbon account for exported solar electricity

SourceActivity dataScopeEmissions (t CO2-e)
Total net emissions1,495
Electricity1,000 MWh2820
T&D losses electricity1,000 MWh3100
Base-building electricity54 MWh350
Data centre electricity consumption326 MWh3300
Waste21 t325
Water use13 kL33
Paper use9 t310
Business travel – flights574,036 km3190
Food and catering$23,490335
Total gross emissions1,533
Emissions reduced through GreenPower/ voluntarily retired LGCs30
Emissions reduced through exported/ surplus renewable energy8

Conclusion

No matter whether your system is small-scale (under 100 kW) or large-scale (over 100 kW), you can claim the carbon reduction for your onsite as well as your export portion. Bear in mind that if your system is greater than 100 kW, you need to retire your LGCs to claim the carbon reduction benefit.

Carbon accounting can be difficult. If you need help with accounting correctly for your greenhouse gas emissions, or if you want to go carbon neutral, please contact Barbara.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.