For Tuesday 30 June 2020 provided by Ecoprofit.com.au (#letsfindsolutions)
News for green investors and organisations, stock watch & grant opportunities
Microgrids – Part 2 Virtual Powers
In the last issue, we discussed behind-the-meter microgrids, being systems that share electrons between buildings and renewable systems, either behind a single grid-connected meter or isolated completely from a grid system.
There are also front-of-the-meter microgrid solutions such as the ACT Government?s proposed new suburb called Jacka, whereby the network will install a community battery as big as a shipping container. The proposal would benefit up to 500 homes in a community that will have solar cells on every roof. If it goes ahead, it will store households’ unused energy, earning them more money and preventing their excess electricity from destabilising the power grid It will also allow more people to benefit from battery technology, which to date has been used almost exclusively by wealthy households. Modelling by Australian National University (ANU) researchers shows the mid-sized batteries can be cheaper and more effective than household batteries. A research leader of the ANU’s battery and grid integration program, Marnie Shaw, says Australia has the world’s highest rate of rooftop-solar generation, and needs ways to store that electricity.
An alternative way of sharing distributed renewable energy (DRE) and sometimes referred to as a microgrid is known as a virtual power plant (VPP) which uses software such as cloud systems to actively coordinate generation and consumption between non-neighbouring houses. Virtual power plants (and related concepts such as ?local energy trading?) don?t share electrons but are starting to demonstrate that sharing solar PV generation and battery storage across the grid can work to leverage the opportunities and help manage the risks inherent in Australia?s changing electricity sector. For customers, potential benefits include access to wholesale pricing and retail tariffs.
The power in a VPP comes from a range of software connected units, usually through solar panels and batteries connected to the rooftops of buildings and homes. Each power-generating unit can work on its own or share power through the VPP to support the grid when demand is high. This means instead of drawing from the grid, customers could instead be paid for the right for the VPP to draw power from their battery when more energy is needed in the grid. When the batteries are grouped together and working as a network, this power can be traded as an energy exchange.
Australia hosts some of the most advanced VPP projects in the world, including in:
- South Australia ? where there?s a chance that public housing tenants? VPP could reach up to 50,000 public and private property installations, making it one of the biggest VPPs in the world.
- Canberra ? where more than 5,000 homes are creating a VPP of 36 megawatts through the Next Generation Energy Storage Program.
- Tasmania ? on Bruny Island, where CONSORT is running a battery trial, coordinating 40 systems to reduce congestion on the undersea power supply? cable.
There is another developing area in VPPs called peer-to-peer trading that uses blockchain technology. For example, Australian technology company Power Ledger?has developed a blockchain platform that facilitates the buying and selling of renewable-generated electricity in real time, enabling users with solar panels to trade their excess solar energy with their neighbours. The company has already formed partnerships with energy retailers, industry bodies and local governments to deploy the technology and currently has 22 projects across eight countries including Australia, the United States, Italy and Thailand.
While peer-to-peer energy trading may not be at the stage of mass integration just yet, the idea is quickly being adopted as a solution for the future. By revolutionising this technology, consumers won?t need to rely on utility retailers for their energy, and can make smart, sustainable choices about how they use and distribute energy.
Grants/Subsidies/Funding/Tax ? Working-from-home expenses & protective clothing
The ATO has made several changes to tax return rules ahead of the end of the financial year on June 30. ATO Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said the changes should make filing a tax return easier, particularly for Australians impacted by coronavirus and bushfires.
?This tax time, the ATO expects to see a substantial increase in people claiming deductions for working from home or for protective items required for work,? Foat said. To make claiming easier, the ATO will allow workers to use a simplified method for calculating work-from-home expenses.
The shortcut can only be used for expenses between March 1, 2020, and June 20, 2020. It can be used by multiple people working from home in the same house. Workers simply need to add the total amount of work-from-home expenses incurred in the ?other work-related expenses? question and include ?COVID-hourly rate? as the description.
?If you use the shortcut method, all you need to do is keep a record of the hours you worked from home as evidence of your claim,? Foat said. ?But it is all-inclusive, meaning you can?t claim for any other working-from-home expenses.? It is important to note that you can still use the old methods of claiming work-from-home expenses if you prefer.
If you have had to pay for protective equipment for work during the bushfires or coronavirus, you can claim them on your tax return. ?Taxpayers working in jobs that require physical contact or close proximity with customers or clients during COVID-19 measures may be able to claim a deduction for items such as gloves, face masks, sanitiser or anti-bacterial spray if they have paid for the items and not been reimbursed,? Foat said.
The ATO expects claims for laundry and travel expense to decline this year as coronavirus shut down workplaces. ?If you aren?t travelling for work, you can?t claim travel expenses,? Foat said. ?If you aren?t wearing your work uniform, you can?t claim laundry expenses.
?It?s still important to meet the three golden rules: You must have spent the money and not have been reimbursed, it must relate directly to earning your income, and you must have a record to prove it.?
Eco-tip for the day ? Don?t buy fast fashion
Many?major clothing retailers??practice what is known as ?fast fashion? ? selling an endless cycle of must-have trends at exceptionally low prices. Have you ever wondered how it?s possible to pay only $4 for that t-shirt? In this consumer society, we think of fashion as disposable ? after all, if I only pay $4, I might not think twice about throwing it away.
Heaps and heaps of clothing ends up in the landfill, often to justify buying the latest styles. We?re talking over 15 million tons of textile waste ? with quantity over quality, fast fashion retailers can charge next to nothing for items that are mass-produced. They push these garments to sell by creating more fashion ?cycles? or ?seasons? ? where there used to be 4 per year, there?s now often 12 to 15.
There?s also the issue of contamination: almost half of our clothing is made with cotton, And unless it?s labelled as ?organic? cotton, there?s a high chance that it?s inherit-ably modified cotton sprayed with lots of pesticides (including known carcinogens). This can be ruinous for neighbouring non-GMO crops, cause water contamination, reduce biodiversity, and have negative impacts on human health.
Don?t forget that anything made overseas has a?huge?environmental thwack? from the physical act of shipping a product across the ocean, to the chemical runoff from garment factories (leather tanneries are especially bad). As if that?s not enough, fast fashion is an industry still largely propped up by child labour. Toxic to the environment, disastrous to human rights ? who needs it?
Try alternatives like re-purposing old clothing, choosing locally handmade garments, buying vintage, or participating in clothing swaps with family and friends. This is best way to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.
Share watch ? Anteotech (ADO:ASX)
The energy arm of Anteotech is working to commercialise products to lift the performance of electric vehicles, energy storage systems and consumer electronics. They are aiming to increase an anode?s storage capacity and allow lithium ion batteries to be manufactured?cost effectively,?lighter?and?more compact?by using a proprietary nanotechnology platform featuring a unique suite of multi-functional compounds used to create high value anode components.
They have developed a scalable silicon composite that will allow for the simple integration of larger quantities of silicon into the anode. Complementary to the silicon composite as the active material, their cross-linked binder program supports silicon anode development to further drive battery performance.
The silicon composite consists of a micron-sized particle with a nano-structured core that integrates silicon into a conductive network. The silicon composite can be processed along with conventional active materials for simple implementation within current production processes.
Their unique cross-linker technology increases electrode coating cohesion of lithium ion battery electrodes. The cross-linked binder targets the formation of three-dimensional networks, connecting coating components and enhancing the properties of the used binder system.
The graphic shows the development stages of Anteotech?s silicon anode program.
The graph shows the ten-year share price history.
The VIX fear gauge has barely changed since last Tuesday EST to 31.78.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average down since last Tuesday EST by 429.16 points or 1.65% to 25,595.80 the STOXX 600 down 4.65 points or 1,28% to 359.89 and the Shanghai Composite index up 3.00 points or 0.10% to 2,973.13.
Gold up to 1,783.40. US 10-year Treasury Bonds down to 0.636 and oil down to 39.42. Cryptos Bitcoin down 452.59 points since last Tuesday or 4.70% to 9,176.22.
ASX 200 down 60.90 points or 1.02% since last Tuesday to 5,893.50. The Aussie dollar on 68.80US cents.
Eco Market Spot Prices
Sources:?RenewEconomy, demandmanager,? Reuters, SMH, Market Watch, Forbes