Renewables now cheaper than coal and gas in Australia

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A new analysis from research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance has concluded that electricity from unsubsidised renewable energy is already cheaper than electricity from new-build coal and gas-fired power stations in Australia. The modeling from the BNEF team in Sydney found that new wind farms could supply electricity at a cost of $80/MWh – compared with $143/MWh for new build coal, and $116/MWh for new build gas-fired generation. These figures include the cost of carbon emissions, but BNEF said even without a carbon price, wind energy remained 14 per cent cheaper than new coal and 18 per cent cheaper than new gas.

Renew Economy

Wind catchers could replace traditional turbines

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Many inventors have questioned the logic of harnessing wind power by situating heavy gearboxes, generators, and rotor blades hundreds of feet in the air, as is the case for conventional horizontal wind turbines. One alternative design that does away with all these entities has been developed by SheerWind. Based on the Venturi effect, it collects wind and compresses it in a funnel-like chamber before sending it to turn the blades of a generator. The generator sits on the ground rather than at the top of a tower. The brain child of Dr. Daryoush Allaei, a mechanical engineer, the wind catcher is called the Invelox. A 90-foot-tall version of the device, says Allaei, could create the same amount of power as a 1.8-MW commercial wind tower.

Machine Design


Solar and wind energy catch fire

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Solar and wind-power generation are soaring at home and abroad as falling costs combine with rising prices for fossil-fuel alternatives to reshape electricity markets. Australians installed about 1 gigawatt of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roofs last year, increasing the existing capacity by more than two-thirds, according to the Australian Solar Council. Nearly one million Australian rooftops now have solar panels and 62 wind farms are generating power. Wholesale prices for solar PV are now down as low as 55¢ per watt from an average of about $7 in 2008, said John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council. 

The Age

Carbon farming and the soil sequestration conundrum

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There’s a breakthrough with soil carbon trading. A how-to guide is being submitted to the federal government’s carbon farming scheme that could get rural Australia sequestering carbon in the ground and earning credits for it. Soil carbon holds the remarkable promise of dealing with two national crises at the same time - climate change and our extensively degraded soils. But it’s deeply politicised, and the science is not clear.

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