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5B : Why this is an answer to the climate crisis

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From Australian startup to solar juggernaut, 5B’s technology is reinventing solar energy

5B started as an Australian startup and is reinventing global solar energy from the ground up.

This week on Ticker Climate the co-founder of 5B, Chris McGrath ‘zoomed-in’ from sunny Darwin, Australia. 5B is an innovative solar technology business, with a mission to create abundant, accessible, affordable power from the sun. They’re breaking down barriers by making solar power easy, affordable, and quick.

Aussie startup founded over a bottle of whiskey

Solar engineers Chris McGrath and Eden Tehan founded the business in 2013. They came up with the idea over a bottle of whiskey. With an aim to accelerate the planet’s transition to fast, easy, low-cost clean solar energy. The way solar can, and should be. From a team of 30 employees last year, they now employ 137 people.

The name 5B represents the 5 billion years of sunshine Earth has left, and motivates them to strive for the simplest, most effective ways to leverage this resource.

“As individuals how we can add most to the challenge of climate change in front  of us.” 

Chris McGrath, Co-founder 5B

 

How it works

5B’s finely tuned ecosystem allows its solution to be produced anywhere in the world, at scale, with a network of channel, assembly, and deployment partners. They use technology to make the process of producing and developing solar easy and low cost.

They classify themselves as the ‘Maverick’s’ (a reference to Top Gun) of our time and the leaders of the renewable revolution.

The Maverick

The iconic technology of the ‘Maverick’ solar solution is the fastest, easiest and simplest way to deploy ground-mounted solar. 5B has redefined the engineering, and construction of solar farms.

They use the ‘Maverick’ to transform to supply and delivering chain of building solar farms to make it easier, faster, and cheaper. Their approach combines modular design, prefabrication, and rapid deployment.

This streamlines engineering & procurement and transferring cost, time & risk from the construction site to the factory. 5B makes the process simpler by using modular prefabricated blocks, pre-wired, minimal site preparation, suitable for most ground and soil types, minimal ground penetration and no trenching needed.

They’re the fastest deployment on the market.

 

Sun Cable Project

5B has joined forces with the Sun Cable Project. This project will be the world’s largest solar farm in the world on completion. It will be able to power whole cities with renewable energy.

It is in a remote location in the Northern parts of Australia. By conventional means, this process would take thousands of people in a camp in the middle of nowhere to complete.

However, with 5B they will use a highly trained workforce in a factory in Darwin, then a fleet of autonomous vehicles will help to make the rollout efficient and seamless. They will use about 100 people as opposed to thousands. They will be rolling out approximately 180 ‘Maverick’s’ per day, which equates to about one per 5 minutes.

This project will be a lighthouse for 5B to showcase their capabilities and leadership in this industry. And, with predictions the cost of solar will continue to go down, Australia could be on track to become a renewable energy exporting leader.

“The advantage in Australia is the price of solar will keep going down and that will give us an advantage over other countries. “

Energy expert, and Ticker Climate co-host, Scott Hamilton

Breaking global markets

5B is also expanding internationally, breaking into markets in Chile, the United States, and India. They want to drive growth into these markets to build their ecosystem of partners right around the world. They also have a factory in Vietnam ramping up.

Eventually, 5B wants to implement a system so seamless that you can buy a solar farm online and have it delivered the next week.

 

Bushfire prone locations need solar

Right now disastrous fires are wreaking havoc across the world. The United States and Turkey, are the most recent to fall victim to the frightening blazes.  Some of the challenges local towns and communities in remote locations face are the risk of bushfires & storms that end in extended blackouts.

The solution for these towns, communities, and businesses is solar. In Australia, 5B recently worked on a project named ‘resilient energy’ in partnership with Tesla and the co-founder of software company Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes.

The project aimed at getting power back to bushfire-affected communities. The purpose is to use renewable energy to make the communities and power systems more resilient, relying less on power lines that are likely to be damaged during a fire.

“Power lines cause fires…We want communities and power systems to be more resilient.”

 Chris McGrath, co-founder 5B

Watch this week’s full episode here: https://tickernews.co/ticker-climate/

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

Climate

Australia’s Treasurer pushing for net zero goal in line with the rest of the world

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Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is set to make the economic case for setting a 2050 net-zero emissions target for the country

Freydenberg says Australia is not transitioning in line with the rest of the world.

The treasurer will meet with business leaders on Friday, in the lead-up to the fast-approaching COP 26 climate summit in the UK.

Freydenberg will note that trillions of dollars are being used globally to support the net-zero transition… with a total of 129 countries now committed to reaching net zero by 2050.

This comes as one of the country’s leading banks “coordinated more than 50 transactions worth $100bn in climate finance-related activities” over the past year.

It follows Defence Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne meeting with counterparts in the U-S over the past week and signing off on a climate action report.

This report acknowledges that climate change is a global security threat, and reflects a commitment to “make low emissions technologies globally scalable and commercially viable”

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Climate

Australian Energy Ministers set to clash over ‘CoalKeeper’ within hours | ticker VIEWS

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State and Federal Energy Ministers in Australia are gearing up to meet on Friday 24 September to discuss the energy market

As the rest of the world moves away from coal, Australian energy ministers are preparing for a potentially fractious meeting this week, to discuss keeping coal-fired plants open. This is to ensure the country’s power system remains reliable during a transition to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposal, known is known as the capacity market, will provide a strategic reserve for significant events in the National Electricity Market (NEM). The NEM accounts for more than 80pc of Australia’s total electricity demand, and coal-fired plants are its largest fuel source.

But the proposal has proved to be contentious, as some state ministers have announced that they will not support it.

The Federal Government has announced its #CoalKeeper program to support the coal industry. However, experts are urging the Government to consider the opportunities in other industries to transition away from coal.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio is urging the Government to incentivise sectors like renewable energy. D’ambrosio will meet with Angus Taylor on Friday to go head to head about the end of coal in Australia.

“Victoria won’t support Coal-Keeper payments”

“Vicotria remains committed to clean energy investment and jobs.”

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian Energy Minister

Who will prevail?

The Victorian Government has been criticised for opposing “Coal-Keeper” subsidies to extend the life of coal plants. A new “capacity mechanism” aims to offer financial incentives to encourage the construction of power sources and prevent the premature closure of coal generators.

Victoria’s stance on coal is setting up a clash at the national cabinet meeting of energy ministers. It will be D’ambrosio versus Taylor. Who will prevail?

This all comes after Victorian government provided secret financial backing in March to ensure EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn plant stays in the state’s power system until 2028.

The Victorian Government refuses to release further details on this, but D’ambrosio is standing strong on her views.

NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean, an outspoken critic of the Morrison government’s climate change ambition, has given his preliminary backing to the plan but did caution he was worried about the costs.

The capacity mechanism has been endorsed by the Australian Workers’ Union and the CFMEU.

Renewable energy companies and investors including the powerful Clean Energy Investor Group say the move will kill investment in new supplies and drive up costs for consumers by subsidising old coal plants.

“There’s been no leadership from a national level”

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian Energy Minister

“You can’t transition tomorrow, what you can do is have a proper plan.”

“Sending a clear message to the market this energy will no longer be there, invest in new technology, invest in replacement energy.”

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian Energy Minister

“This coal keeper program, this is a carbon tax- but it’s going to give money to the coal-fired power stations.”

Scott Hamilton, Ticker Climate co-host 

 

 

You can watch the full episode of ticker climate here

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Climate

China to stop building coal power plants abroad

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China to stop building coal power plants abroad

China’s pledge to stop building coal-fired power plants overseas could cull $50 billion of investment as it slashes future carbon emissions, analysts said, although Beijing’s own domestic coal program is still propping up the dirty fossil fuel

China’s President Xi Jinping has declared that his country stop building new energy projects abroad that use coal, a move that was immediately welcomed by the United States and the head of the United Nations’ climate change conference.

The announcement at the UN General Assembly could affect 44 coal plants earmarked for Chinese state financing, totalling $50 billion, according to Global Energy Monitor, a U.S. think tank.

That has the potential to reduce future carbon dioxide emissions by 200 million tonnes a year, the think tank told Reuters.

Environmental groups said it would force big coal financiers like the Bank of China, linked with 10 gigawatts of overseas coal power capacity, to draw up a timetable to withdraw from the sector.

Beijing is the largest source of financing for coal power plants globally

Xi’s announcement will have a far-reaching impact on coal power expansion plans in countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and South Africa.

However, Xi’s carefully worded statement revealed few details and left room for existing projects to continue.

There are already more than 20 Chinese financed coal-fired power units under construction in the world, according to data from the Boston University Global Development Policy Center.

Another 17 are in the planning stage.

The new commitment also doesn’t address China’s plans to expand its own coal-fired power plants.

According to a report published by a European think tank, China’s domestic program accounts for more than half of all the coal-powered plants under construction through the world.

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