June Newsletter: Our flagship solar farm at Majura, the Finkel Review and more!

Winter has set in, and SolarShare is moving closer to getting our flagship solar project off the ground. There’s been a lot of big renewable energy news, too. Read on to catch up on it all!

Securing a feed-in-tariff for the Majura Flagship Project

On 26 May the SolarShare team submitted our proposal to secure the ACT Government’s Community Solar Scheme Feed-in Tariff. The feed-in tariff will be crucial to our Majura Flagship Project’s commercial viability, providing up to 20 cents per kilowatt hour for 20 years for our solar energy. The submission addressed key criteria including site and engineering plans, proposed timeframes, risk management arrangements and the project’s contribution to local economic development. We are hopeful that our proposal will be successful and will let our members and supporters know the outcome in the coming months.

Spreading the SolarShare story

SolarShare’s founder Lawrence McIntosh was recently interviewed by INDVSTRVS magazine. The article is a great read, with Lawrence describing the initial inspiration for SolarShare and his vision for the organisation. It’s great to see SolarShare’s story being promoted as a model that others can adopt to start their own community energy projects!

The lowdown on the Finkel Review

Last week Australia’s chief scientist released the Finkel Review into the future of the national electricity market. The report calls for a Clean Energy Target (CET) of 42% by 2030, compared to 13% renewables at present. This would replace the existing Renewable Energy Target, which ends in 2020.

The Clean Energy Target would reduce emissions from the electricity sector by 28% by 2030 (on 2005 levels). But to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, Australia needs to reduce emissions across its entire economy by 28% by 2030, not just in the electricity sector. Deeper cuts to the electricity sector might be needed if cutting emissions from other less centralised sectors like agriculture and transport proves to be a challenge. One option is to include a mechanism to ‘ratchet up’ the Clean Energy Target if Australia isn’t tracking towards meeting its international obligations.

A Clean Energy Target would provide much-needed certainty for investment in renewables. Under the 42% target, consumers and businesses would also pay less for their electricity compared to ‘business as usual’. But for now, it’s early days. The Turnbul Government is likely to face challenges getting its party on board with the Clean Energy Target. With or without the Clean Energy Target, we need faster action on climate change, so it’s more important than ever that SolarShare and other community renewables projects to step up and be the change we need to see.

If you want to learn more about the Finkel Review, the ANU Energy Change Institute is holding an explainer event on Tuesday June 20.

Changing up the power grid

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has a new CEO who looks set to bring about some exciting changes to Australia’s electricity grid management. You can read about Audrey Zibelman and her vision for distributed energy, battery storage and renewables in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine.

Fantastic turnout at inaugural Majura Valley Bush Festival

The inaugural Majura Valley Bush Festival took place on 30 April 2017, attracting over 8,000 people on a gorgeous, sunny autumn day. The festival showcased the ACT’s rural heritage and the working farms and produce of the Majura Valley. There were displays of farm equipment, heritage carriages and wood-chopping as well as coach rides, Molonglo Catchment Group workshops, and sales of honey, eggs, meat, wine and ale. Organisers say the event will be back again next year. It was a fantastic day, and SolarShare looks forward to developing stronger links with the farming community in the Majura Valley where our flagship solar farm will be built.

Till next time, thanks for all your support and we hope to have some good news to share with you soon about our flagship solar farm!

Regards from the SolarShare Team.