Australia
Australia

Ergon Energy is a corporation owned by the Government of Queensland. It distributes electricity to around 700,000 customers across Queensland, excluding South East Queensland through a distribution network regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator , who set the prices that Ergon is allowed to charge for distribution.Ergon Energy was formed in 1999 by the Queensland Government, from the then six regional Queensland electricity distributors and their subsidiary retailers. In 2007 the Queensland Government privatised the retail activities of Ergon, with the sale of approximately 50,000 contestable electricity customers and retailer trading activities to AGL. Smaller electricity customers which are not economic continue to be billed by Ergon Energy and the electricity distribution network remains in public ownership.Today the principal operating companies are Ergon Energy Corporation Limited, as the electricity distributor, and its subsidiary Ergon Energy Queensland Pty Ltd, the electricity retailer. Ergon Energy’s retailer is only permitted, by legislation, to sell electricity at the Queensland Government’s Notified Prices ), enabling Queenslanders to access the same uniform electricity tariffs.The electricity generation and distribution network consists of approximately 150,000 kilometres of powerlines and one million power poles, along with associated infrastructure such as major substations and power transformers. Ergon Energy also owns and operates 33 stand-alone power stations that provide supply to communities across Queensland which are not connected to the main electricity grid. Since August 2007, Ergon Energy has owned and operated the Barcaldine gas-fired power station along with its associated infrastructure, which supplies power to the main grid. Ergon owns the Windorah Solar Farm, a $4,500,000 project completed in December 2008 producing up to 360,000 kWh of electricity a year, reducing the town of Windorah's need for diesel powered generators, and reducing fuel consumption by more than 100 000 litres annually.The company controls subsidiary is Ergon Energy Telecommunications Pty Ltd, trading as Nexium Telecommunications, which services Ergon Energy’s communications needs and, as a licensed telecommunications carrier, offers the Queensland marketplace wholesale high-speed data services. Ergon is also a shareholder in a joint venture with Energex Limited , SPARQ Solutions Pty Ltd, which provides information and communications technology solutions and services to both organisations. Wikipedia.


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News Article | November 16, 2015
Site: cleantechnica.com

The battery storage market is expected to finally “explode” in Australia in 2016, with the residential sector expected to grow 20-fold over the next 12 months, while the battery storage industry grows into a billion-dollar-a-year market within a few years. In what is expected to be a repeat of the solar boom of five years ago, the battery storage market – this time without subsidies – is expected to enjoy massive growth as homes and businesses look to make the most out of their rooftop solar panels, and as utilities look to storage as a cheaper offset to grid expansion. A new report by leading US research firm Greentech Media says Australia’s energy storage market will focus mostly on the consumer market, particularly households, and is primed by oversized systems, paltry feed-in tariffs, increasing fixed network charges and high electricity prices. As well, the cost of new metering has jumped seven-fold. It says that the residential market for battery storage will surge from a mere 1.9MW in 2015 to 44MW in 2016, as the overall market jumps from 6.6MW to 75MW. By 2020, Australia is expected to have installed more than 800MW of battery storage,  worth more than $2.5 billion. The Greentech Media report is one of a number of analyses that have predicted a rapid uptake of battery storage. Just this week, the Australian Energy Market Operator prepared a scenario that suggested 40 per cent of homes would have battery storage within the next two decades. It predicts the market will continue to snowball to 11,200MW by 2035. Australia has already been identified by the likes of Tesla and Enphase and others as the most prospective market in the world, thanks to its high grid prices, its abundance of rooftop solar, excellent solar resources, and the nature of the tariffs across the nation. Brett Simon, an energy storage analyst at GTM Research and the report’s author, says numerous international players are being drawn to Australia’s nascent market. These include Tesla, Panasonic, Enphase Sunverge, Kokam, LG, and many others, including local battery technology developers Redflow and Ecoult. “In mid-2015, a significant number of storage system vendors announced residential products for the Australian market. Some of these products are available already, and more will enter the market in early 2016, Simon said. “Furthermore, it’s notable that Australia’s electricity retailers are starting to offer energy storage systems for their customers, including major players like Ergon Energy, AGL, and Origin Energy.” Others, such as Synergy and Alinta, also plan to do the same, while governments in the ACT and South Australia are also openly supporting storage. Even the federal government has predicted massive take-up, and has asked the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to support the technology. “As battery prices continue their rapid decline, storage will become more attractive, especially in the residential sector,” the report says. Reprinted with permission.    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


News Article | August 29, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

One of the world’s largest downstream solar companies, Conergy, has started construction on what will likely be a world first ‘islanding’ solar and storage project in Australia’s north. The $42.5 million project is set to be developed in Lakeland, in far north Queensland, and will be the Southern Hemisphere’s first integrated solar, storage, and fringe-of-grid project of this size and scale — and will aim to be a world first demonstration of grid-to-islanding. [Update: Islanding is essentially when a “fringe” portion of the grid is cut off from the grid but then continues to function as a self-enclosed microgrid. (Presumably, this most often occurs temporarily.) For example, a community may lose power from the grid but then be able to keep electricity flowing via solar panels, batteries, wind turbines, etc. Of course, the proper technology needs to be in place to allow both connection to the grid and self-reliant electricity generation and transmission.] “Utility-scale solar and storage, combined with effective management software, is the Holy Grail of the global renewable energy industry, and with this project we are well within reach of it,” said Conergy Managing Director David McCallum. “This is an exciting opportunity to combine the latest developments in solar technology with utility-scale battery storage to feed consistent, quality power into the existing electricity grid.” Further, because of the project’s intention to demonstrate grid-to-islanding, Conergy has established a Knowledge Sharing Project with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARNEA), BHP Billiton, Ergon Energy, and Origin Energy. “Along with our knowledge-share partners, we’ll be closely testing and demonstrating how the integrated technology performs, with the view that this model could be used more widely in the future,” McCallum continued. “We want to demonstrate how this technology can provide an effective and consistent supply to the grid or operate in islanding mode, particularly in fringe-of-grid locations, paving the way for this integrated model to be used more widely around the world.” ARENA is providing $17.4 million in funding support for the 10.8 MW project, with its 1.4 MW/5.3 MWh lithium-ion battery storage set up. “Figuring out how solar PV and battery storage technologies best work together at a large scale will be crucial for helping more renewables enter our grids,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht. “We know that battery storage will play a critical role in our future energy systems. The benefit of adding batteries to solar farms is simple; they store energy from the sun for use at peak times and overnight. They can also smooth solar energy output on cloudy days. “This plant will generate and store enough renewable energy to power more than 3000 homes and create up to 60 jobs in the Lakeland region during construction. “The global energy transition is happening faster than many anticipated and Australia is well placed to be a key player. Our growing expertise in integrating renewables and batteries could readily translate into economic opportunities including export dollars in world markets.”   Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


News Article | November 12, 2015
Site: cleantechnica.com

A new report has concluded that high PV penetration coupled with growing electricity rates will see annual installations of energy storage reach 244 MW annually by 2020. According to The Australian Energy Storage Market: Downstream Drivers and Opportunities report published by GTM Research in Australia this week, the well-publicized penetration of solar PV across the country, coupled with the exceedingly well-known continuing increases in utility bills will push Australia into adopting energy storage much more quickly than other countries. Specifically, GTM believes that annual installed capacity by 2020 will reach 244 MW annually. Unsurprisingly, and as a direct result of increased electricity bills, the pairing of residential solar PV is likely to see residential energy storage act as the main driver of nation-wide energy storage growth over the next five years. GTM forecasts the residential energy storage market to skyrocket in 2016, growing from only 1.9 MW of annual installations in 2015 to 44 MW in 2016, and reaching 2020 as an annual 132 MW market. “In mid-2015, a significant number of storage system vendors announced residential products for the Australian market,” said Brett Simon, an energy storage analyst at GTM Research and the report’s author, commenting on the role of multiple players entering Australia’s market. “Some of these products are available already, and more will enter the market in early 2016. Furthermore, it’s notable that Australia’s electricity retailers are starting to offer energy storage systems for their customers, including major players like Ergon Energy, AGL, and Origin Energy.” It is worth nothing, also, that energy storage will begin growing as a major player in the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector as well, growing from only 1.4 MW in 2015 to 23 MW in 2016. “Storage vendors are also eyeing the C&I market,” added Simon. “Demand charge management is already a viable value stream for a significant number of C&I customers. Furthermore, as storage system costs continue their rapid decline, the economic case for C&I storage will grow even stronger.” Unsurprisingly, utility-scale storage is currently the largest market segment in Australia, but this won’t last for long, as GTM predict that only 20 MW of utility-scale solar will be deployed in 2020, only 10% of the country’s total that year. The Australian Clean Energy Council is in similar agreement with GTM, stating that “It is this emergence of low-cost, on-grid storage technologies that will genuinely transform our electricity market – and it is vital that governments and the community start planning for it now.”    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


In 2012 there was approximately 2400 electric vehicle DC Fast Charging stations sold globally. According to Pike Research (Jerram and Gartner, 2012), it is anticipated that by 2020 there will be approximately 460,000 of them installed worldwide. A typical public DC fast charger delivers a maximum power output of 50kW which allows a typical passenger vehicle to be 80% charged in 10-15min, compared with 6-8h for a 6.6kW AC level 2 charging unit. While DC fast chargers offer users the convenience of being able to rapidly charge their vehicle, the unit's high power demand has the potential to put sudden strain on the electricity network, and incur significant demand charges.Depending on the utility rate structure, a DC fast charger can experience annual demand charges of several thousand dollars. Therefore in these cases there is an opportunity to mitigate or even avoid the demand charges incurred by coupling the unit with an appropriately sized energy storage system and coordinating the way in which it integrates. This paper explores the technical and economical suitability of coupling a ground energy storage system with a DC fast charge unit for mitigation or avoidance of demand charges and lessening the impact on the local electricity network. This paper also discusses the concept of having the system participate in demand response programs in order to provide grid support and to further improve the economic suitability of an energy storage system. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


News Article | December 3, 2015
Site: cleantechnica.com

In its first in-depth analysis on the costs of energy storage, US investment bank Lazard says storage is already competitive in some situations – particularly at the utility scale and in providing services such as frequency regulation that was previously the province of conventional fuels. Lazard for the past eight years has been producing an annual in-depth analysis of generation costs, tracking the fall in the costs of solar and wind energy in particular, and how they are now beating conventional fuels. The latest analysis shows wind and large-scale solar PV beating all conventional technologies on cost by a widening margin. And Lazard is hinting that battery storage is likely to follow the cost trajectory of renewable energy and be competitive without subsidies in many applications. In some cases, it already is. In its first report, Lazard compares a range of storage technologies and how they might be applied to the energy system, ranging from “front of the meter” applications such as grid integration and services, to “behind the meter” applications such as micro-grids and rooftop solar. Its principal finding is that some energy storage technologies are already cost-competitive with certain conventional alternatives in a number of specialised power grid uses. This includes grid stability and substituting for peaking gas plants. The second finding is that because storage costs are expected to decrease significantly in the next five years, driven by increasing use of renewable energy generation, governmental and regulatory requirements, and the needs of an aging and changing power grid, then those cost-competitive applications will broaden quickly. Still, Lazard says that battery storage is not yet cost-competitive to the point where it can drive the “transformational scenarios envisioned by renewable energy advocates.” In that it refers to grid defection, pointing to the issue of battery life rather than capacity. But it may not be far away. Indeed, the study says that lithium is expected to experience the greatest capital cost decline over the next five years (a fall of 50 per cent), while flow batteries and lead are expected to experience five-year battery capital cost declines of  around 40 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. “Lead is expected to experience 5% five-year cost decline, likely reflecting the fact that it is not currently commercially deployed (and, possibly, the optimism of its vendors’ current quotes).” It notes most of the near to intermediate cost declines are expected to occur as a result of manufacturing and engineering improvements in batteries, rather than in balance of system costs (e.g., power control systems or installation). “Therefore, use case and technology combinations that are primarily battery-oriented and involve relatively smaller balance of system costs are likely to experience more rapid levelized cost declines.” Lazard says. “As a result, some of the most “expensive” use cases today are most “levered” to rapidly decreasing battery capital costs. “If industry projections materialize, some energy storage technologies may be positioned to displace a significant portion of future gas-fired generation capacity, in particular as a replacement for peaking gas turbine facilities, enabling further integration of renewable generation.” Lazard says energy storage appears most economically viable compared to conventional alternatives in use cases that require relatively greater power capacity and flexibility, as opposed to energy density or duration. This includes frequency regulation and – to a lesser degree – transmission and distribution investment deferral, demand charge management and microgrid applications. This confirms the findings of Australian utilities such as Ergon Energy, which says that a series of grid-scale battery storage installations is reducing the costs of grid upgrades and expansion by around one third. It may also be useful as the Australian Energy Market Operator looks to source more locally-supplied frequency generation when the last of the coal-fired power stations closes permanently next march. Lazard says its LCOS (levelised cost of storage) analysis identifies 10 “use cases,” and assigns detailed operational parameters to each. Here are some of its key graphs: The first is the comparison with various storage technologies and their applications at grid scale. The grey bar shows the cost of the gas peaked, the light blue the current cost range, and the dark blue to anticipated cost declines. Substituting for peaking gas and grid upgrades, and providing frequency regulation, appear the most cost competitive areas. The next graph shows the behind the meter options, this time comparing with a diesel engine. It shows commercial and industrial use, and possibly micro-grids, to be the best options, although it should be noted that this is US-based, so may not apply in other areas (such as Australia) with different tariff structures. Lazard also makes the point that the value of battery storage may not be in a single use. this is a point made by other analyses, noting that stacking various value propositions could make storage a viable proposition now. Reprinted with permission.    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


News Article | July 14, 2010
Site: www.zdnet.com

The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) today announced the names of the contractors that will deploy the fibre for the first release sites on the mainland, with the company's head of construction Patrick Flannigan saying that construction work would start at the end of this month. Silcar will do the work for Armidale, Transfield Services for Minnamurra and Kiama Downs, while South Australian power distributor ETSA Utilities will do the work for the SA town of Willunga. Ergon Energy will construct the network in Townsville. Meanwhile, according to Flannigan, NBN Co is currently dotting the i's and crossing the t's on a deal that will see Telstra carry out the construction in Melbourne. Flannigan refuted claims in the AustralianIT that NBN Co was having trouble finding a full list of contractors. "There was no shortage of construction contractors," he said. Corning Cable Systems, the company that provided the fibre for the Tasmanian roll-out, will be providing the fibre for the first release sites too. The fibre supplier for the complete mainland build has not yet been chosen. The contractors revealed today are only for the initial release sites. Contractors for the second release sites and the next three to five years build will be chosen from a list of 21. The dropping of the cable from the network to the side of the home will be free, according to NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley. Flannigan said that the second release site homes would also not have to pay. When asked if this was a cost that could be introduced if the NBN ran over budget, Flannigan said he couldn't imagine that it would ever have to be paid by the consumer. "Where does our network end? It's at the customer's premise. It's our cost," he said.


News Article | May 30, 2011
Site: www.zdnet.com

Critical telecommunications infrastructure needs to up the amount of diesel that they keep at base stations to power generators when mains go offline during weather disasters, such as Tropical Cyclone Yasi, according to Ergon Energy's telecommunications manager Andrew Deme. Speaking at the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)'s RadComms conference in Sydney on Friday, Deme recalled watching the power and telecommunications networks fail as Tropical Cyclone Yasi beared down on Northern Queensland earlier this year. "We were trying to work out what part of our telecommunications network would collapse as part of the power network, and then we're trying to figure out where the public carrier networks would collapse because the loss of the public carrier networks actually creates a massive issue for our organisation," he said. In the end, 450 Telstra sites went down as a result of the cyclone; however, Deme said that most of these went down on the second or third day, when Telstra's backup batteries and diesel fuel for the generators went out while Ergon's power supply was still cut off to the site. "Don't let me try to convince you that this was because of Telstra," he said. "They had very little damage from the cyclone itself. This is simply because the power went out." Deme said that all sites that could be identified as critical infrastructure should have at least a week's supply of diesel fuel. "If you're trying to convince your customers that they should use your telecommunications services for critically important communications, you might have the best hardware in the world, but if you have a generator, which has one day's supply of diesel and maybe four to six hours of battery, you're refuelling 450 generators every day," he said. "Now you don't have the manpower to do that." "If we're going to identify critical infrastructure as seriously critical, the number one [factor] we have to understand what the actual resilience of that infrastructure is." Energy suppliers such as Ergon would also be able to restore power to telecommunications infrastructure more quickly if there were maps provided to energy suppliers that show where the telecommunications infrastructure connects to the power. "If someone gave me 450 sites geographically it is kind of irrelevant," he said. "What I really need to know is what power lines and feeders they're on. Deme added that Ergon had to resort to some unusual methods to figure out where telcos needed power restored. "We actually used social media with our customers to tell us what was out," he said. Deme said that it took Ergon crews a total of 23 days to restore all power after Tropical Cyclone Yasi.


News Article | June 23, 2010
Site: www.zdnet.com

The company charged with building Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), NBN Co, has shortlisted 21 companies to bid for the fibre construction component of the project. Over 90 per cent of Australian premises will be connected with fibre, while the remaining will get access to wireless services. The company said 45 companies had responded to its request for capability statement for the design and construction of the fibre access network. Some of the 21 companies invited to bid in the formal request for proposals process include Telstra, Western Power, Ergon Energy, SP AusNet, John Holland and Visionstream Australia. In a statement today, NBN Co head of construction, Patrick Flannigan, encouraged the 24 companies who lost out to team up with the 21 shortlisted companies. "This is a great opportunity for all players in the market. The lead contractors will need all the resources and skills available to them to realise this project," he said. NBN Co said it expected the design and construction request for the proposals process to be complete "towards the end of the year".


Patent
Ergon Energy | Date: 2012-05-16

The invention relates to a method and system for processing image data obtained from scanning a network infrastructure for the detection and analysis of specific objects of interest, such as powerlines and other overhead conductors, or similar structures. The image data comprises a plurality of co-ordinate points in three-dimensional space, and in order to identify conductors in the network infrastructure, the method involves analysing the co-ordinate points to identify sets of co-ordinate points indicative of a set of substantially parallel lines, and analysing the co-ordinate points on the basis of said identified substantially parallel lines thereby to allow identification and mapping of hanging catenaries representing said conductors.


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