International Solar Alliance Pavilion and Forum

Speech

Speaker: H E Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commissioner to India

Vibrant Gujurat Global Summit

19 January 2019

I would like to thank International Solar Alliance for giving me this opportunity to speak alongside other distinguished speakers here today.

Australia has been proud to be associated with International Solar Alliance from the time of its inception to becoming an independent international organisation now.  The ISA is expanding its footprint every day toward the cause of promoting solar energy worldwide.

Australia is committed to sharing the experience and expertise from our government, industry and research institutions to support the implementation of ISA’s programs.

We are also committed to supporting ISA’s functioning through a secondment of an Australian legal expert, Ms Fiona Bourne, to the ISA Secretariat.

Our expertise in renewables, in particular, pumped hydro, wind, solar energy integration and remote electrification puts Australia at the forefront of international energy developments.

Australia is one of the sunniest continents in the world.  For us, there is a massive potential for solar to make a significant contribution to electricity generation in Australia over the coming decades.  I should mention at this point that Australia has the highest per capita rate of solar panel uptake in the world – more than one in five Australian households now have solar panels installed on their rooves!

Over the last five years, more than 90 percent of new electricity generation has come from solar and wind. In 2017, clean energy investment was Australia’s highest on record at $11 billion which placed us seventh of all countries in the world.

Solar uptake in Australia is accelerating.  In 2018, Australia saw 3,775 MW of large and small scale solar installed, triple that of 2017. Solar PV is making an important contribution to Australia’s electricity supply providing almost 3.2% of electricity consumed in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Australia is fortunate to have a well-developed solar industry, which has a diversity of experience across rooftop PV, remote and off-grid systems, mini grids and increasingly large-scale solar projects. The experience has allowed us to undertake many projects in our region, as part of our climate and aid funding.

For example,

  • Expanding access to on- and off grid systems in Papua New Guniea
  • Helping communities to access clean and reliable energy in Tonga, and
  • Solar electrification projects in Kirbati and other islands that are saving money by reducing dependence on imported petroleum

We also hope to provide support to ISA through free knowledge sharing. Members can gain valuable insights from:

  • Our accredited equipment lists for countries that may not have the capacity to develop their own standards or testing and monitoring of systems
  • Mechanisms we have developed to ensure only accredited solar panels are installed, and
  • Our model for government support for the solar industry and the associated policy adjustments needed to enable integration of renewables into the grid.

We encourage ISA members to utilise the Australian government’s funding of the clean energy solutions centre, which provides access to free expert advice, webinars, and capacity building for policy-makers on solar and finance topics.

We hope to see greater Australian industry engagement in the work programs and other activities of the ISA, such as training and expert panels (Equinox circle).

Integration of renewable power to electricity grids is a challenge for us all. So the talk of renewables would not be complete without covering battery storage.

I am delighted to share that Australia is leading the way in residential battery storage with nearly 21,000 battery storage systems installed in 2017 leaping three times from 2016.

Australia is proud to have installed the world’s largest lithium ion battery storage in South Australia (100 Megawatt) to reduce peak energy prices and support system stability. Another 30 MW/8MWh big battery has been commissioned and tested in South Australia. The battery is now live and connected to the National Electricity Market. It will provide storage to support renewable generation and will provide fast frequency response to stabilise the grid

Along with our world-class research, we are also pleased to partner with the global renewable energy industry as a reliable supplier for lithium, an essential ingredient for the takeoff of renewable energy revolution worldwide including electric mobility.

Australia is on track to host the world's two biggest lithium mines with Western Australia tipped to produce more than half of the world’s lithium supply by the end of this year.

Finally, I would like to conclude by affirming that we are very keen to work closely with ISA to assist in its success in becoming an excellent, robust, well-functioning organisation. We will actively support ISA programmes and our fellow founding members with knowledge sharing and policy exchanges. We will do all this in the hope that our contribution, together with those of others, can help make the sun shine brighter for all of us.

Last Updated: 27 February 2019