About Richard Chirgwin

Richard Chirgwin is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience covering a wide range of technology topics, including electronics, telecommunications, computing and science.

Renewable Energy Surge Could Power A New Industrial Australia

500% renewables for Australia

In spite of the best efforts of our government, Australia is going to overshoot 100% renewables.

That’s the conclusion of big names in renewables like Oliver Yates (inaugural CEO of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and former independent candidate for the federal seat of Kooyong), who yesterday told a Smart Energy Council online seminar we should “re-industrialise” Australia to make the best use of excess renewable energy. [Read more…]

Tony Seba: Rise Of Autonomous EVs Is About To Change Everything

Tony Seba on autonomous EV impact

Tony Seba predicts the cost of Transport as a Service (TaaS) vs. Individually owned (IO) cars.

With just one new technology, according to author and Silicon Valley investor Tony Seba, the world will undergo a disruption that will completely remake our cities, transportation – and thankfully, the world’s emission profile. [Read more…]

Zenaji Batteries: Will People Pay More For A 20-Year Warranty?

Zenaji aeon battery

The black tubes are the Zenaji Aeon battery. They offer a 20 year replacement warranty and cost $1,500 per kWh. Image: Zenaji

Australian battery vendor Zenaji is getting ready for what it hopes will be a ramp-up for lithium titanate batteries, which it says in home and grid storage applications offer better lifetime, safety, and value for money than the more popular and familiar lithium-ion chemistries. [Read more…]

Rocky Mountain Institute: “Game Over” For Gas Closer Than You Think

Gas based electricity generation - game over?

Does the rapid pace of battery technology mean game over for gas will be sooner than expected?

Governments’ flailing support for fossil fuels was handed another card marked “are you nuts?” last week, with the Rocky Mountain Institute releasing a report saying renewables plus batteries are already cheaper than new gas plants, and will be cheaper than existing gas plants in the mid-2020s. [Read more…]

Can Elon Musk Make It Third Time Lucky For Solar Tiles?

Tesla Solarglass roof - solar tiles

This was our cartoon from way back in 2016 when Tesla originally launched their solar roof tiles. Three years later it may actually be ready, rebranded as the “Tesla Solarglass Roof”.

Persistence has paid off for Tesla, which surprised finance markets with a US$143 million GAAP profit for Q3 2019, on the back of its long-promised and finally-delivered production ramp-up. [Read more…]

A Look At The Irish Hints To How AEMO Might Manage Australia’s Renewables Transition

Transitioning Australia to more wind and solar energy - AEMO

Worried that Australia’s grid will collapse with too many renewables? Ireland has shown – as long as we have a carefully ‘staged transition’ – the risks are manageable.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is trying to understand what might be what it calls the “upper limits” of wind and solar energy deployment into the Australian grid. In a report published this week, it has presented the first stage of its Renewable Integration Study. [Read more…]

Dynamic Solar Export Limits: SA’s Smart Way To Integrate More Solar

dynamic solar energy export limits

SA Power Networks plan to use dynamic export limits to allow more people to get rooftop solar power – whilst maximising allowable solar energy exports. Brilliant.

When the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released its Economic Regulatory Framework Review, “Integrating Distributed Energy Resources For The Grid Of The Future” (PDF here) last week, media reactions had a pessimistic, almost apocalyptic slant. [Read more…]

How An Oddly Placed Switchboard Spoiled A Tasmanian Solar Install

Solar power and electricity meters in Tasmania

When you get solar power installed you often need a new meter. The rules governing this meter are made by the local network. The electricity retailer organises installation and readings, then a third party company installs the meter. This can cause frustration when there is a metering issue – as Margie in Tasmania found out recently.

In this week’s post, we’re hoping we can help resolve a problem for a customer named Margie, who found herself falling between the cracks after installing new solar panels in Tasmania. [Read more…]

How Big A Deposit Should You Pay Your Solar Installer?

Solar power system installation deposits information

What are the rules about deposits when buying solar power systems?

This post is going to be light on words, but the topic is worth covering. It arose from a couple of questions SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock asked me to research: what’s a “normal” start-work deposit to offer a solar PV installer, and is there deposit protection for consumers? [Read more…]

Tales From The Customer Frontline: How Rocco Was Burned By Feed-in Tariff/Hot Water Rules, And Won

Solar feed-in tariff and hot water rules

Rocco was burned by rules saying he could not have a solar feed-in-tariff AND off-peak hot water.

Updated with comment from United Energy: A tale brought to our attention by reader Rocco is a handy reminder customers and retailers need to read the fine print of their solar feed-in-tariff contracts – and also brought to our attention how complex wholesaler and retailer rules can get. [Read more…]

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