Clouds part for large-scale solar

Advances in large-scale solar power in the few months and the importance of bipartisan support for the 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, were key issues at the Cleantech Innovations Forum.

Speaking at the forum, which was held in Geelong on August 8, Clean Energy Council chief executive David Green said the future was looking bright for new clean energy technologies including large-scale solar, marine energy and geothermal due to support from state and federal governments.

“Big solar has been touted as the next big thing in renewable energy for some time and it’s excellent to see some major projects securing funding and approvals over the last month to really energise the future of this very promising technology,” Mr Green said.

The forum looked to several developments currently underway throughout Australia as examples of how large-scale solar will be a legitimate, viable source of power generation moving forward. These projects included that by AGL, First Solar, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures and Pacific Hydro.

The largest solar development in Australia currently include the 155MW utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) project in NSW by AGL.

The Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is also providing funding for some of the most promising new sources of clean energy.

“Support from ARENA, a number of state governments and the 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target policy have proven particularly important in getting these pioneering projects over the line,” Mr Green said.

“Once these first large-scale solar projects are built, we will start to see the cost of the technology come down and become more competitive.

“Continued bipartisan support for ARENA and the Renewable Energy Target, along with better use of demand management, will help to transform Australia towards a cleaner, smarter and more consumer-focused energy system.”