• The State of the Environment report paints a bleak picture of the health of the nation’s natural environment 
  • “Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent over the past 200 years”, the report says
  • The NT and INPEX decide to reduce emissions by carbon capture and storage … 😕

Emission Control is Stockhead’s fortnightly take on all the big news surrounding developments in renewable energy.

 

Every five years, the Australian Government releases the State of the Environment report, assessing the health of the nation’s natural environment and identifying the biggest threats to nature.

The release of the report earlier this week painted a bleak picture of the state of our natural environment, which is deteriorating due to increasing pressures from climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, and resource extraction.

“Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent over the past 200 years and continues to have one of the highest rates of species decline among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),” the report says.

“There were 1,385 plant species, 533 animal species and 88 ecological communities listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in June 2021, including 21% of all Australian mammals.”

As Australia’s population and cities continue to expand, so too do the associated impacts that reduce liveability, the report explains.

These include urban heat, pollution, and waste and as the population grows, “it places increasing pressure on water and energy resources”.

“Storms, fires, flood, dust, and rising temperatures are impacting human health and wellbeing and damaging homes, infrastructure and biodiversity in and around our cities.

“Clearing of land, climate change, and expanding mining and urban development are among the many environmental pressures that damage Country and Indigenous Australians’ heritage, cultural connections and obligations to Country.”

One estimate of the cost of environmental restoration in Australia is roughly $10 billion annually — substantially more than current levels of investment.

These findings place great pressure on government at both a federal and state and territory level to find solutions.

 

We’re reducing emissions by increasing gas production, again 

In other energy news, a commitment has been signed by the Northern Territory Government and Japanese oil company INPEX for the transition to a net-zero emissions future by creating a multi-user carbon capture and storage hub.

The signed non-binding agreement provides five business pillars for strategic alignment which includes increasing LNG production capacity, as well as ‘clean energy supply’ and security for the Asia/Oceania region.

One of the other interesting business pillars to note as part of the collaboration is the agreement to establish ‘renewable energy targets’ as well as nature-based solutions to support a net zero society by 2050.

All very interesting. You can read more about this hogwash initiative in Bevis Yeo’s Got Gas column.

But as The Australian Institute’s Polly Hemming remarks:

 

New $10bn renewables platform and Australia’s largest solar project

Octopus Investments Australia, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest investors in clean energy (Octopus Group), has launched a $10bn renewable energy platform for institutional and wholesale investors.

The business closed two fully subscribed funds on Wednesday which are co-investing in a multi-billion-dollar Australian renewable energy portfolio consisting of big solar, wind, and battery storage projects.

These two funds include the Octopus Australia Sustainable Investments (OASIS) Fund and the Octopus Renewable Energy Opportunities (OREO) Fund.

The 333 MW Darlington Point Solar Farm, Australia’s largest operational solar project located in NSW, is the first project to be jointly acquired by OASIS and OREO.

Octopus’s platform, set-up to manage Australia’s energy transition, will finance the entire renewable energy life cycle from development, through construction and into long-term operations.

Currently the secured portfolio sits at $3 billion across wind, solar and storage, with a visible pipeline of an additional $5 billion.

Amongst OASIS’s institutional investors are superannuation fund Hostplus, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Octopus Renewables’ Sky Fund (which is backed by leading European institutional investors), all of whom have long-standing relationships with Octopus, value the team’s specialist expertise in large scale renewables infrastructure, and crucially share Octopus’s values and approach to supporting the communities which host our sites.

CEFC executive director Monique Miller says the CEFC’s $75m cornerstone investment will help Australia tackle the task of decarbonising by investing in new, utility scale renewable energy projects.

 

Here’s how ASX renewable energy stocks are tracking:

This past fortnight six companies ended flat on their face, 31 made it in the green, and seven wound up in the red zone.

 

Who’s got news out?

Hazer Group (ASX:HZR)

Since completion of construction and commissioning by Primero, operations at the Hazer Demonstration Project, located at Woodman Point in WA plant have been handed over to the Hazer operations team and their operations and maintenance contractor, Valmec.

The team has started working on the cold operations testing phase, which will be progressed over the next 3-6 months.

Following completion of the cold operations program, the CDP will transition to hot operating mode in preparation for hydrogen and graphite production.

Construction of the hot-wall reactor vessel materials is near completion at the mill in China, and delivery of the vessel materials to Australia for final fabrication and finishing is expected to occur in the third quarter of this year.

This schedule remains subject to some uncertainty due to the current congested shipping and freight situation around the Shanghai area.

The high-temperature heat-exchanger is being fabricated in Australia and was scheduled for completion in July; however, the heat-exchanger vessel suffered a critical failure during the heat-treatment process

While the exact schedule impact is not yet known, the failure of the heat-exchanger is expected to defer the production of hydrogen and graphite from the current target of the end of 2022 to sometime in 2023.