The State Government is targeting the potential of cleaner, more affordable energy in its Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap released this month by Energy Minister Bill Johnston.
Produced by the State Government’s Energy Transformation Taskforce, the roadmap outlines the actions WA must take over the next five years to meet challenges in the way the State produces, manages, and consumes electricity.
According to the Clean Energy Council, in its Clean Energy Australia report, 24 per cent of the total annual electricity generation in Australia came from renewable resources in 2019.
Of this total renewable electricity generation by technology type, wind made up 35.4 per cent, hydro 25.7 per cent, small-scale solar 22.3 per cent, large-scale solar 9.3 per cent, bioenergy 6 per cent, and medium-scale solar 1.3 per cent.
The DER Roadmap aims to overcome technical, regulatory and market barriers to feed more renewable energy into Western Australia’s energy grid.
This trend of lowering carbon emissions and moving toward renewable energy was detailed in Deloitte’s ‘Tracking the Trends 2020’ report.
“Regulators around the world are setting carbon reduction targets, not only at national levels, but geared toward key industries as well, in an effort to meet the emissions reduction goals set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change,” the report said.
“The cost benefits of decarbonisation also can’t be ignored.
“Although there are capital costs to setting up the infrastructure to support the generation of renewable power, the consumption costs associated with renewable energy are negligible.”
Oil and gas giants Shell and Woodside have embraced this trend, focussing on lowering emissions throughout their operations.
Recently, Shell announced its intent to build and operate its first industrial-scale solar electricity farm in Queensland, aiming to generate 120 megawatts of solar electricity from about 400,000 photovoltaic panels.
“We believe solar will play an increasing role in the global energy system, especially when partnered with a reliable energy source such as gas,” Shell Australia chairman Tony Nunan said. “Shell’s Gangarri solar farm will help power the operations of our QGC project and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 300,000 tonnes a year.”
Shell is also aiming to lower emissions and increase fuel efficiency with its next generation drillships, which are around 2.5m narrower and up to 80m shorter than conventional drillships.
“Traditionally the extra equipment, pips and well lining needed to reach deep-water oil and gas resources at greater depths pushed up the size of drillships,” the company said. “Bigger ships require more fuel.”
By downsizing the ships, Shell uses up to 26,000 fewer litres of fuel per day on average compared to other deep water drillships due to increased fuel economy from the smaller hull.
Woodside signed an agreement with Japanese companies JERA Inc., Marubeni Corporation and IHI Corporation to study exporting carbon-neutral hydrogen this month.
Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said the agreement was another step forward in Woodside’s exploration of the potential of hydrogen as a clean fuel of the future.
“Woodside and its partners in Japan have forged new energy pathways before and we can do so again, as we expect by 2030 to see large-scale hydrogen production around the world and we intend to be part of that,” he said.
According to Shell, energy demands will increase substantially over the next 30 years, coinciding with a growing global population.
“By 2050 the number of people on the planet is forecast to grow to nine billion – that’s nearly two billion more of us than today,” Shell said.
“The world will need much more energy to power homes and fuel transport for a growing population with rising living standards.
“But to counter climate change, energy must increasingly come from lower-carbon sources.”