For Friday 5 June 2020 provided by Ecoprofit.com.au (#letsfindsolutions)

News for green investors and organisations, stock watch & grant opportunities

Coal – Not Economically Viable

The cost of electricity generated from renewables plunged in 2019, making fossil fuel plants increasingly uneconomical, a report has claimed. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said that more than half of the renewable capacity added in 2019 achieved lower power costs than the cheapest new coal plants.

On average, new solar and onshore wind power cost less than keeping many existing coal plants in operation and auction results show this trend accelerating. IRENA said this ?reinforced? the case to phase-out coal entirely.

Next year, up to 1,200 gigawatts (GW) of existing coal capacity could cost more to operate than the cost of new utility-scale solar, the report shows. In December 2018, the London-based think tank Carbon Tracker found that two-fifths of the world?s coal power stations were?already running at a loss.

Of course, baseload power is needed to ensure an uninterrupted flow during times when renewables cannot generate. However, there are solutions to this problem, such as Tesla?s?grid support batteries?in Australia. Endeavours such as this are a relatively costly proposition at the moment, but the plummeting cost of lithium-ion batteries is making them increasingly attractive. There are other storage technologies that are racing ahead too, like thermal storage.

IRENA said that replacing the costliest 500GW of coal with solar PV and onshore wind next year would cut power system costs by up to US$23bn (?18bn) every year and reduce annual emissions by around 1.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equivalent to 5 per cent of total global CO2 emissions in 2019.

The body also claims it would also stimulate around US$940bn in investment, or roughly 1 per cent of global GDP.

?We have reached an important turning point in the energy transition. The case for new and much of the existing coal power generation is both environmentally and economically unjustifiable,? said Francesco La Camera, director-general of IRENA.

Grants/Subsidies/Funding ? New Energy Jobs Fund

Victorian community groups are set to receive a boost in support for new community energy enterprises, with the Victorian government making the latest round of funding available under the New Energy Jobs Fund.

Under the Fund, an additional $1 million in grants will be made available to Victorian community groups to invest in new renewable energy projects as well as innovative new enterprises looking to expand into the clean energy sector, with the aim of delivering additional investment and job opportunities to regional areas.

The $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund has already delivered support for 59 projects across Victoria, with around two-thirds of the projects being deployed in regional areas and three-quarters of projects being community energy projects. Groups that have previously received funding include Victorian electric heavy vehicle manufacturer SEA Electric, supported the?Totally Renewable Yackandandah?project and helped to fund the development of a business case for a?community energy retailer in the Indigo Shire.

The Victorian government is seeking to target companies working in ?high growth, high value industries?, and has seen funding awarded to Victorian based solar thermal start-up RayGen and energy demand management software company GreenSync, as the companies seek to expand their offerings into international markets.

Groups ready to develop community-scale renewable energy projects can apply for funding through NEJF Round 5 before?2pm Thursday 18 June 2020.

Eco-tip for the day ? The train

Rail transportation emits on average, about 55 grams of greenhouse gases per passenger kilometre when each car is filled with 50 passengers. This figure increases to about 140 grams per passenger kilometre when only filled with half that amount. A car is on average about 170 grams per passenger kilometre.

Before COVID-19, I was spending 10 hours per week on the train (I was leaving the car at home). I estimate I reduced carbon emissions by about 50kgs per week. I also had more time to work, as I would open my laptop, connect it to the internet through the phone and get things done. It also required me walking each workday a distance of 3kms in the round trip to and from the train station. This has its own fantastic health benefits.

Share watch ? First Graphene (FGR:ASX)?

Australia?s?First Graphene?opened its commercial graphene facility in late November last year and shipped its first graphene products a few days later. The maiden shipment was taken to a US-based construction materials company for testing in cement products. Graphene product samples were also sent to customers in the UK and Italy for testing.

Final construction of the facility including a laboratory for quality control was finished in early February and the company pronounced it had officially commissioned the plant, which is scalable to meet any surges in demand.

First Graphene has 160,000t of high-grade Sri Lankan graphite stored at its WA-based facilities. According to the company, the stockpile is enough for two years? full-time production at the graphene facility.

The company plans to continue ramping up its plant and working on its graphene-based products including FireStop.

First Graphene is also collaborating with Flinders University to develop a non-toxic way of producing graphene oxide which can be used in coatings, filters, membranes and batteries.

The five-year graph of First Graphene shows a steady upward progression, interrupted by COVID-19 and now building back up.

Financial indicators

The VIX fear gauge down by 3.19 points since Tuesday EST to 24.75.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average up since last Tuesday EST by 881.26 points or 3.47% to 26,281.82, the STOXX 600 up 16.13 points or 4.54% to 371.60 and the Shanghai Composite index up 84.58 points or 2.97% to 2,930.80.

Gold down to 1,711.60. US 10-year Treasury Bonds up to 0.858 and oil up to 37.96. Cryptos Bitcoin up 333.10 points since Tuesday or 63.53% to 9,782.19.

ASX 200 up 147.60 points or 2.52% since Tuesday to 5,851.10. The Aussie dollar up to 70.04 US cents.

?Eco Market Spot Prices

LGC $34.10

STC $39.65

ESC $25.60

VEEC $30.80

Sources:?RenewEconomy, demandmanager,? Reuters, SMH, Market Watch, Forbes