Ross River Solar Farm - site preparation underway

18 September

Initial site preparation works are starting at the $225 million Ross River Solar Farm site, Townsville’s newest large scale solar plant.

Construction of the 148 megawatt (MW) solar farm, located 20 kilometres south of Townsville, is expected to begin in September.

Project Director, Lyndon Frearson, said priority tasks before construction commences were the creation of a new site road entry, installation of perimeter fencing and set up of a site office and facilities for the construction team.

Construction of the solar farm is expected to be completed within 12 months. At peak construction, a workforce of around 250 contractors and laborers will be required on-site and every effort will be made to employ local labour where it makes sense to do so.

“Recruitment is happening now to ensure we have a pool of appropriately skilled local workers to work alongside our specialist project team and operations staff. Individuals or companies that would like to understand the opportunities for Australian Industry can contact us via the website,” Mr Frearson said.

Neighbours adjacent to the project have also been notified with the project team posting its first ‘Community Update’ to over 3000 homes and businesses last month. The project also has a website, www.rossriversolarfarm.com.au

“We’re putting in place a number of strategies to prevent or reduce some of the less desirable consequences of major construction works like traffic delays, noise and dust,” Mr Frearson said.

“We’re not taking shortcuts when it comes to resident engagement, this will be a priority to ensure those living closest to the site experience minimal impact.”

The project has also set up a telephone hotline to respond to community enquiries during construction – 0475 802 063.

A total of 417,600 polycrystalline solar panels are being procured for the project and will be delivered via containers in stages to the Port of Townsville.

The solar panels will be attached to a ground-mounted single axis tracking system that will slowly track the daily movement of the sun, maximising the amount of energy the solar farm generates. The solar farm will produce enough clean electricity to power approximately 54,000 homes.

Australian-based solar developer, ESCO Pacific, and specialist independent infrastructure manager, Palisade Investment Partners, are working in partnership to deliver the Ross River Solar project.

Downer Utilities has been appointed as the Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contractor.

Source: Ross River Solar Farm

Link to AltEnergy database: Ross River Solar Farm

 

Sun shines on ninth solar farm for the Western Downs

18 September

Well and truly on its way to becoming the Energy Capital of Australia, the Western Downs is set to welcome its ninth solar farm to the region with Council approving a 240MW renewable energy development 42km west of Dalby.

  • The APA Group Beelbee Solar Farm project, located on Beelbee Road, will complement the Darling Downs Solar Farm, currently under construction along Grahams Road, Kogan;
  • It’s expected to produce between 150MW and 240MW of power into the national electricity grid and has the potential for battery storage of up to 100MW;
  • The project is expected to employ up to 450 workers during peak construction, and support up to six full time operational staff.

Western Downs Regional Council Deputy Mayor Andrew Smith said the Beelbee Solar Farm project marks the third renewable energy development approved by Council in less than two months.

“What a month it’s been, and I’m told there’s even more development applications in the pipeline!” he said.

“We’re pleased to once again be working with APA Group to bring their second solar farm to the Western Downs.

“Complementing their Darling Downs Solar Farm, their commitment to bring another renewable energy project to our region highlights the Western Downs’ economic strength and impressive portfolio on the solar energy scene.

“This return investment is a win for our communities with the project set to bring a further 450 jobs to the Western Downs during construction, and APA have already expressed desire to work with local contractors and businesses where ever possible.

“Our Planning and Development Assessment Team have established a reputation for fast application turnaround times, approving this latest development in less than six weeks. This responsive approach shows everyone that the Western Downs is well and truly open for business.”

Source: Western Downs Regional Council

Link to AltEnergy database: Beelbee Solar Farm

 

Australia's largest rooftop solar system set to slash BNE's energy needs

19 September

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) is investing in a major renewable energy Solar PV project capable of generating more than 9,315,000 kilowatt hours a year.

The 6MW system, consisting of 22,000 panels spanning an area of 36,000 meters squared or more than twice the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), will be installed across six sites at Brisbane Airport (BNE).

Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal alone will support 1.98MW with 7,133 panels covering more than 11,675 square metres, making it the largest single roof top solar panel installation at an Australian airport and BNE and the largest commercial roof top solar system in the Southern Hemisphere.

More than 200kms of cabling will be used for the install, equivalent to driving from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and back.

Krishan Tangri, BAC General Manager Assets, said electricity is one of the biggest expenses to running Brisbane Airport with dozens of large buildings requiring cool, lighting and heating 24 hours a days, 365 days a year.

“We are acutely aware of the increasing energy needs of running a major airport and since 2012 we’ve had an extensive energy reduction program in place resulting in the completion of 40 projects which collectively save more than 8 GWh per year.

“We are in the enviable position of having thousands of square metre of un-impeded roof space ideal for solar harvesting and, with systems becoming more efficient and more affordable to install, it makes financial sense to invest in this readily available supply of renewable energy to save costs and decrease our carbon footprint.

“Once fully operational, the new system will account for 18 per cent of BAC’s direct electricity consumption, or 6 per cent of our total consumption, further complementing the savings we’re making through air conditioning control optimisation, lighting control upgrades and LED technology within BAC buildings, car parks and street lighting,” Mr Tangri said.

The solar energy generated per year is equivalent to powering over 1,700 Australian homes for a year, with carbon offset equal to planting over 50,000 trees or taking 1,500 cars off the road each year.

Epho, an Australian commercial solar company specialising in serving Australian businesses with solar energy solutions, collaborated with Sam Khalil Managing Director of Shakra Energy.

Shakra Energy is the developer of commercial and large scale solar plants and the party that assembled the team for the bid. Sam Khalil will be on the steering committee to ensure an efficient and effective development of the solar development.

Oliver Hartley, Epho Managing Director, said the BAC project is not only the biggest commercial solar installation in the Southern Hemisphere, it is also one of the more complex given the live environment of the airport.

“To win this project, Epho had to demonstrate superiority in project management, stakeholder management, engineering, operations and work health and safety.

“The introduction of such a significant solar system is a prime example of how BAC is adopting world-leading technologies in harmony with its sustainability focus,” Mr Hartley said.

Design of the system is currently underway with installation commencing from December 2017 and completion expected in August 2018.

Source: Brisbane Airport Corporation

 

Advisian hires global director for new energy

20 September

Advisian, the consulting arm of WorleyParsons, has appointed Tony Frencham as global director for new energy as it announces plans to scale significantly within the next five years.

Frencham joins from Dow Chemical, where he served 28 years in a number of senior leadership roles in Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East, most recently heading up commercial operations in South-East Asia.

Based in Melbourne but with a global remit, Frencham leads the strategy for new energy, which will include structuring a global team to capitalise on market opportunities relating to renewable energy sources and their distribution.

Dennis Finn, CEO of Advisian and group director of global sales and marketing, says: “Tony’s impressive track record of building businesses on a regional and global scale made him a natural fit for the role. His appointment underlines our continued commitment to a sector that we recognise as a strategic priority both now and for the future. There has arguably never been a more exciting time for new energy and we look forward to continuing this journey under Tony’s leadership.”

Together, Advisian and WorleyParsons have completed over 600 new energy projects to date including hydropower, solar and wind, as well as energy storage, smart grid and transmission.

Frencham adds: “Advisian and WorleyParsons have been part of the new energy conversation for many years and I’m excited to build on the great successes the company has achieved to date. The way the world produces and consumes energy is changing dramatically and, as renewable resources become a larger part of the energy mix, we are working with our customers to ensure they can achieve their affordability, reliability and sustainability objectives. With its 130-year track record in energy and power, the company is perfectly placed to help clients make that new energy transition.”

Advisian works with customers to identify new energy solutions through its comprehensive suite of technical, project and business services. Underpinned by WorleyParsons’ technical expertise, it helps companies globally make the best decisions about new energy – where to invest, what technologies to implement, and how to integrate, deploy and operate them.

Source: WorleyParsons

 

NEW PROJECT

Horsham Solar Farm

Developer: ESCO Pacific

Capacity: Up to 100 MW

Technology: Horizontal tracking

Modules: ~340,000 solar panels

Cost: $200mil

Location: !4km east of Horsham in western Victoria

Connection: Existing Horsham terminal substation

Status: DA submitted with council decision expected in Q4 this year

Contact:

Allison Hawke

Head of Development

ESCO Pacific

Tel: (03) 8595 2406

Email: [email protected]

 

Moorabool Wind Farm update

Main contractor soon to be appointed to engineer, procure and construct (EPC) the Moorabool Wind Farm in Ballan, Victoria.  

Expressions of Interest are currently being sought from suppliers and contractors for work packages including:

  • Logistics
  • Wind Turbine Erection
  • Design and Construction of the civil and electrical balance of plant (onsite roads, foundations, buildings and electrical reticulation).

Further smaller work packages will become available following appointment of the Main Contractor.

More information is available at icngateway: https://gateway.icn.org.au/project/3914/moorabool-wind-farm-project?st=projects&psid=1494376540

Moorabool North

Moorabool North consists of 50 permitted turbines running south from Mt Egerton Road to Hamills Lane. Pre-construction plans have now been submitted to the Minister for Planning for his approval.

All geotechnical investigations for the turbine, access track and cable locations have been completed and some detailed design work is underway.

Construction is expected to begin later this year.

Moorabool South

Moorabool South consists of 57 permitted turbines running south from Hamills Lane to Elaine. Goldwind is continuing to work through the requirements of the planning permit conditions to ensure a suitable turbine layout design. Pre-construction plans for submission to the minister are now being prepared.

There has been a delay in submitting the development plans to the Minister which is now due in September/October 2017. It is anticipated that construction of Moorabool South will begin late 2017.

Contact:

Helen Kennedy

Goldwind Australia

Tel: 0472 832 552

Email: [email protected]

Link to AltEnergy database: Moorabool Wind Farm

 

Wind farm freight sails into Cairns Port

20 September

The first shipment of project freight for Ratch Australia Corporation’s Mount Emerald Wind Farm has arrived in Cairns (on Wednesday 20 September).

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the vessel Oldendorff Erna arrived at the Port carrying tower sections for the exciting Tablelands project.

“There will be back-to-back shipments of tower sections and blades being shipped directly into the Port of Cairns,” Mr Pitt said.

“They are the first wind farm components and will be followed by many more elements with an estimated 185,000 revenue tonnes of cargo to be delivered over the life of the project.

“The second shipment of blades is scheduled to arrive on September 27.

“With the potential for further wind farm projects on the Atherton Tablelands and near Lakelands, these first shipments will establish the Port of Cairns as the new project hub for the North.

“The project will see the creation of around 150 jobs during the construction phase and represents a significant boost to our local economy, especially for the contractors, suppliers, transport and logistics companies involved.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring the Port of Cairns continues to develop to facilitate projects such as Mount Emerald Wind Farm, which bring jobs and economic growth to the Far North Queensland Region.”

Unloading and transporting the blades will be an impressive sight as each blade has a length of 57 metres and weighs 16 tonnes each.

The unloading or the cargo is expected to take three days with the blades being transported directly from the wharf to the newly constructed project cargo laydown area in Tingira Street Portsmith.

Ports North chair Russell Beer said the four-hectare Tingira Street site had been purpose-built by Ports North to accommodate the wind farm components in Cairns before being transported by road to the windfarm site on the Atherton Tablelands.

“Ports North has been actively working to increase project freight opportunitiesthrough the port and the shipping of the Mount Emerald Wind Farm project cargo confirms the capabilities of Cairns as a project shipping port,” Mr Beer said.

Powerlink has already commenced construction works to connect the 180 megawatt (MW) Mt Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba in Far North Queensland to its transmission network.

As part of the construction works, Powerlink will build a dedicated 275kV substation to connect the wind farm to the network.

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the Mt Emerald Wind Farm would connect to the existing transmission network via the Woree to Chalumbin transmission line.

“This project is another example of the important role the transmission network will play in facilitating large-scale renewable generation and achieving a lower carbon future for Queensland,” Ms York said.

“We look forward to delivering the Mt Emerald Wind Farm connection for Ratch and continuing to partner with other renewable energy customers across Queensland.”

Ratch spokesperson Neil Weston said it was great to have Powerlink mobilised on site now that all the detailed design and grid connection analysis had been completed.

“The grid connection is a critical part of the overall project, and we look forward to working with them to get the project finished and energised in 2018,” he said.

Mr Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government had kick-started a renewable energy boom in Queensland.

“Mt Emerald Wind Farm is one of 20 renewable projects totaling 1,800 megawatts committed to or under construction in Queensland, delivering $3.4 billion of investment and over 2,800 direct construction jobs, mostly in regional Queensland,” Mr Pitt said.

“This is compared to the renewable energy blackout we saw under the LNP, not one large-scale renewable project was commissioned during their term and 1,300 renewable industry jobs were lost

“Now Tim Nicholl’s only energy policy is to build an expensive, unnecessary coal fired power station.

“Renewable energy now the cheapest and quickest way to deliver new generation, which is why we’re focusing on securing the next wave of large-scale renewable energy projects in Queensland through Renewables 400, our 400 megawatt (MW) reverse auction.”

Source: Powerlink

Link to AltEnergy database: Mount Emerald Wind Farm

 

GFG Alliance invests in ZEN Energy to create a new Australian National Energy Champion

 20 September

Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, though its energy division, SIMEC Energy, today (20th Sept 2017) reached an agreement with ZEN Energy to establish a strategic partnership and acquire a majority stake in ZEN, a prominent emerging Australian energy company providing businesses and households with affordable, reliable and tailor-made solutions.

 

Having last month acquired Arrium, Australia’s largest integrated steel and mining business, GFG Alliance has now taken a major step towards realising its Australian energy ambitions. The opportunity to invest in large-scale power projects to meet its own industrial requirements and support the domestic economy was a key driver for GFG’s strategic entry into Australia.

ZEN has an experienced management team looking to develop and improve the national energy market through partnerships with governments, industries and households. Building on their experience in designing and installing solar and battery storage solutions for residential and commercial customers, ZEN now offers power supply solutions to large industrial customers. ZEN works closely with some of Australia’s largest energy users to reduce costs, increase reliability, and increase the amount of low-emissions energy used in industry.

ZEN uses a combination of energy sourced from new and existing power plants, demand management technologies and energy storage to deliver energy supply solutions at a competitive price. ZEN also manages the development of new renewable energy projects.

The strategic partnership and acquisition of a majority stake in ZEN Energy is an early win in GFG’s 100-day plan following its acquisition of the former Arrium business on August 31. These businesses, including SIMEC Mining Australia, SIMEC Infrastructure Australia and Liberty OneSteel (formerly Arrium), are substantial consumers of energy.

SIMEC ZEN Energy, the new name for the joint venture, will work to improve energy security and reduce the cost of power for GFG Alliance and other businesses in Australia.

SIMEC ZEN Energy will become a member of the GFG Alliance and will work closely with SIMEC Energy’s existing global energy team which already has 600 MW of power generating assets in the UK with another 400 MW under development, ranging from solid biomass and liquid bio fuels, to hydro and tidal, to wind and solar, and also cutting-edge waste-to-energy projects.

ZEN Energy will partner with SIMEC to deliver cheaper, more reliable and environmentally sustainable energy for SIMEC’s mining operations in South Australia and Liberty OneSteel’s operations in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia.

SIMEC ZEN Energy will also project-manage the development of SIMEC Energy Australia’s new large scale energy projects, including solar PV, battery storage and pumped hydro facilities.

Sanjeev Gupta, GFG Alliance’s Executive Chairman, said:

“The high cost of energy for Australian consumers is debilitating for the economy and a crying shame for a country so rich in resources. We clearly see a need for industrial groups and energy generators to work together. Long-term sustainable energy solutions need to be founded on both economic and environmental principles in order to work properly. With our partners, we can deliver a step change in the power industry, bringing innovative solutions and new projects to dramatically reduce the cost of dispatchable power.

GFG Alliance is already one of the biggest users of industrial energy in Australia. Given the issues here, it has been a priority for us to take decisive remedial steps. Combining our power expertise developed in the UK, and ZEN’s local knowledge in Australia, is a natural partnership.

ZEN Energy is proudly Australian and brings unparalleled market and technological knowledge to address the challenges faced by the Australian power sector. We’re delighted to partner with them on projects and look to invest for further growth.

Our main focus, as in the UK, will be renewable energy.

This is an important milestone for GFG Alliance in Australia; I am excited about this joint venture and the role it will play in transforming the Australian power industry.”

Ross Garnaut, Chairman of ZEN Energy, said:

“ZEN has spent many years building the strategy, business models and management and technological capacities to introduce new solutions to Australia’s energy problems of weak competition, high costs, low reliability and unnecessary pollution. We have been looking for the right capital investor and strategic partner to help realise our plans, and have found the perfect match in Sanjeev and the SIMEC Energy team. Their understanding of the energy dilemma this country faces, which is making much of our industry uncommercial and environmentally unsustainable, means we see the market need and opportunity in the same way. We are excited about the future, as this will yield benefits for Australian jobs, investors, communities and the environment.”

Source: Zen Energy

 

ANU finds 22,000 potential pumped hydro sites in Australia

21 September

The Australian National University (ANU) has completed an audit of 22,000 potential sites across Australia for pumped hydro energy storage, which can be used to support a secure and cheap national electricity grid with 100 per cent renewable energy.

The zero-emissions grid would mainly rely on wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, with support from pumped hydro storage, and would eliminate Australia's need for coal and gas-fired power.

Lead researcher Professor Andrew Blakers said the short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage (STORES) sites combined had a potential storage capacity of 67,000 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) - much more than the capacity required for a zero-emissions grid.

"Australia needs only a tiny fraction of these sites for pumped hydro storage - about 450 GWh of storage - to support a 100 per cent renewable electricity system," said Professor Blakers from the ANU Research School of Engineering.

"Fast tracking the development of a few of the best sites by 2022 could balance the grid when Liddell and other coal power stations close.

"Pumped hydro storage, including Snowy 2.0, can be developed fast enough to balance the grid with any quantity of variable wind and solar PV power generation, including 100 per cent renewable energy.

"We found so many good potential sites that only the best 0.1 per cent will be needed. We can afford to be choosy."

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $449,000 to support the ANU-led study.

Maps showing the locations of potential STORE sites and a report on the findings are available at <http://re100.eng.anu.edu.au/research/phes/>.

STORES sites require pairs of reservoirs at different altitudes, typically ranging from 10 hectares to 100 hectares, in hilly terrain and joined by a pipe with a pump and turbine. Water is pumped uphill when wind and solar energy is plentiful, and electricity is available on demand by releasing the stored water through a turbine.

Co-researcher Dr Matthew Stocks said that off-river pumped hydro storage typically delivered maximum power for five to 25 hours, depending on the size of the reservoirs.

"Like all hydro power, it can go from zero to full power in about one minute," said Dr Stocks from the ANU Research School of Engineering.

"Annual water requirements would be much less than half that of the current fossil fuel system because wind and PV do not require cooling water."

Co-researcher Mr Bin Lu said all of the potential STORES sites were outside national parks and urban areas, and each site had a storage potential range of 1-300 GWh.

"Pumped hydro - which accounts for 97 percent of energy storage worldwide - has a lifetime of 50 years, and is the lowest cost large-scale energy storage technology."

Source: ANU

 

The environmental impact statement for ESCO Pacific’s Finley Solar Farm proposal is now on public exhibition until 22 October as part of the process to gain development approval from the NSW Department of Planning & Environment. The Finley Solar Farm is a solar photovoltaic plant capable of generating up to 170 MW of renewable energy located west of the township of Finley in the Berrigan Shire Council. The $170 million dollar project will comprise of approximately 500,000 solar panels generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 59,000 homes.

Link to AltEnergy database: Finley Solar Farm

 

Coppabella Wind Farm - latest news

Project modification

Coppabella Wind Farm has recently submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, an application to modify the Development Consent SSD-6698. This modification is required to enable optimum development, efficient operation and, competitively priced power to be provided into the National Electricity Market.

The key modifications being sought include:

  • Internal access roads

A variation to the internal access road and earthworks design is required as the original design that was used for the Development Consent does not sufficiently account for the complexity of terrain on and around the Coppabella Hills. A detailed road and earthworks design has since been completed and this forms the basis for a realistic earthworks footprint. As a result, the vegetation impact allowance is required to be increased and an increased biodiversity offset provision specified. The impact footprint is predominantly made up of grasslands and includes areas that will be temporarily impacted and then rehabilitated after construction.

  • Increased tip height

Due to the lengthy development review process since the original Yass Valley Wind Farm was submitted for approval in 2009, wind turbine technology has advanced substantially and the modification is required to ensure the project can provide competitively priced power to the National Electricity Market. The proposed variation in turbine dimensions leads to an increase in the maximum blade tip height from 150 metres to 171 metres.

Additionally, a number of minor modifications are being sought to allow for the optimal construction of the project. The modified design has been developed in parallel with further environmental assessments to minimise any increase in environmental impacts.

The associated application documents can be found online at the NSW DPE major project register, see here. Hard copies of the documentation will be available at the following locations:

  • Hilltops Council: 3 East Street, Harden;
  • Harden Library: East Street, Harden;
  • Yass Valley Council: 209 Comur Street, Yass;
  • Yass Valley Library: 88 Comur Street, Yass;
  • Binalong Post Office: 28 Fitzroy Street, Binalong; and
  • Nature Conservation Council: Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Feedback on the modification application can be submitted to the NSW DPE during the public exhibition period: Friday, 22 September 2017, to Monday, 23 October 2017.

Upcoming Community Consultative Committee Meeting

The first Community Consultative Committee (CCC) for the Coppabella Wind Farm project will be held on Thursday 5th October 5pm-7pm in Binalong, NSW. If you wish to attend the meeting as an observer, please contact Nic Carmody, Independent Chairperson for the CCC: [email protected]

Link to AltEnergy database: Coppabella Wind Farm

 

Sun Metals applies for electricity generation authority

Sun Metals Corporation Pty Ltd (Sun Metals) has applied to the Regulator for a generation authority under the Electricity Act 1994 (the Act). Under the Act, the Regulator is the Director-General of the Department of Energy and Water Supply, being the Chief Executive of the Department that administers the Act.

The application for a generation authority is in respect of a proposed solar farm (the Sun Metals Solar Farm), to be located adjacent to the existing Zinc Refinery, around 10 kilometres (km) south of Townsville.

The generating plant will comprise approximately 1,264,200 solar modules (First Solar / Series 4 / Cd Te Thin Film) with a 124 megawatt (MW) indicative nominal alternating current (AC) capacity and a nameplate rating of 151MW direct current (DC), located over approximately 200 hectares.

Sun Metals propose to connect the Sun Metals Solar Farm to Powerlink’s transmission grid via an existing 132kV substation owned and maintained by Sun Metals. Electricity generated is proposed to be used to supply Solar Metal’s Zinc Refinery and/or be sent into the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The generation authority, if issued, will authorise:

  • connection of the solar farm to Powerlink’s transmission grid and
  • operation of the solar farm.

Subject to receipt of all necessary approvals (including this generation authority) and finalisation of commercial arrangements, Sun Metals anticipates the Sun Metals Solar Farm will reach connection stage in January 2018, with project completion anticipated in April 2018.

Source: Queensland Government

Link to AltEnergy database: Sun Metals Solar Farm

 

Bluff Solar Farm – further detail

Infigen Energy’s proposed Bluff Solar Farm in northern Queensland will involve the construction of a large-scale solar farm over part of Lot 79 on SP238443 with access across Lot 723 (rail corridor). The solar farm is likely to be constructed in two (2) stages, with shared access and on-site infrastructure, including battery storage and switching yards connecting to the grid network.

The detailed design, specific layout and electricity generating capacity have not been confirmed at this stage. However, it is envisaged the Project will involve a typical solar farm of up to 250MW with arrays, switch yards, substation, battery storage, control building, and car park area to facilitate the operation of the solar farm, as shown on the proposal plans provided as Annex A and as set out below.

Ultimately, the final design work will be undertaken by an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor who will be engaged by Bluff Solar Farm Pty Limited following the receipt of the Development Permit for Material Change of Use and Reconfiguring a Lot which is the subject of this Development Application. However, for the purposes of this assessment, the PV modules area proposed to be setback approximately 150-200m from the road corridor to the north, and will not encroach on electricity transmission easements. An approximate 10m setback is proposed to the eastern and western side boundaries to allow access, with a 20-30m buffer to the waterway also proposed to preserve the ecological values of the waterway.

Project Staging

Should the Project be completed in stages, it is envisaged the stages will consist of the following:

Stage 1 is likely to involve the construction of approximately 80 – 130 MW in the northern/central portion of the Project area, and is subject to detailed design. This would include part of the lease area to the south of the high voltage line traversing the site. The PV modules will be split into two (2) stages, with the existing waterway/ buffer area and transmission line providing separation between the sections. The site office including control building, switchyard and other associated operational infrastructure will be positioned in proximity to the existing electricity substation, obscuring the view from the road/rail corridor, with inverter buildings and battery storage containers spread throughout the lease area.

Stage 2 of the Project will likely involve an expansion of the Project to the southern portion of the lease area and may accommodate approximately 100 – 130MW. A separate switchyard and grid connection is proposed for this stage.

Source: Infigen

Link to AltEnergy database: Bluff Solar Farm

 

Queensland renewable energy boom continues

21 September

Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to visit some of Queensland’s state of the art wind, solar and hydro renewable energy projects during his blow in visit this week.

Mr Pitt said the PM's visit seemed to have been planned only to muddy the waters of the national energy debate and continue to blame Queensland for his failure to come up with real reform to the national energy market.

“It would be good if the Prime Minister acknowledged that Queensland is leading the nation in renewables investment and energy pricing outcomes,” Mr Pitt said.

 “The Prime Minister, on his visit to Queensland, is continuing to offer no real solutions to end the policy uncertainty and high electricity prices plaguing the nation.

“Mr Turnbull should at least get a sound understanding of the renewable energy boom happening in Queensland, and that we’re moving towards having the right mix of electricity generation to provide an affordable, secure and sustainable supply of electricity.”

Mr Pitt said a new Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Energy Index report released today showed renewable energy jobs in Queensland surpassed those in New South Wales for the first time.

“The Palaszczuk Government welcomes the report and it also welcomes any jobs that come as a result of Queensland’s renewable energy boom,” he said.

“This level of investment is unprecedented and I’m proud to be part of a government that kick-started the industry in Queensland after not one large scale renewable energy project was built during the previous LNP government.

“As at 30 August, 2017 – there are 20 financially committed large scale renewable projects in the pipeline worth $3.4 billion, with a generating capacity of 1781 MW and supporting 2,773 construction jobs, however the broader pipeline of proposed projects is 40 projects ,worth $5 billion, with a generating capacity of 5297 MW and 9,245 jobs.”

Mr Pitt said the report showed Queenslanders continued to embrace solar on their rooftops.

“In May this year we announced that Queensland had officially become the solar state with figures confirming that combined solar rooftops are now Queensland’s largest power station – surpassing the 1,680 megawatt Gladstone Power Station,” he said.

“As at August 2017, there are over 450,000 residential customers with solar PV in Queensland. There is 1799 megawatts of total solar PV installed on the network.

“We’re well on our way to meeting our target for one million Queensland rooftops with solar or 3,000 megawatts of total solar by 2020.

“Solar PV costs are continuing to decline which is a likely contributor in the continual uptake of solar.

“I’d say Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls is regretting the day he ever called those who adopted solar champagne sippers and the latte set.”

Mr Pitt said the Electricity Statement of Opportunities recently released by AEMO confirmed that Queensland’s electricity supply remains secure and is predicted to meet peak demand in all forecast scenarios.

“Queensland has the youngest, least emission-intensive fleet of coal-fired generation in the country which is well placed to continue to supply reliable electricity for North Queensland as we make the transition to a clean energy future,” he said.

“If the market saw a new coal-fired power plant as viable, they would have built one already and they haven’t.

“Even the Prime Minister last month rejected funding a NQ coal-fired plant saying: ‘We have no plans to build a coal-fired power station…’

His Treasurer, Scott Morrison, also said: “New cheap coal is a bit of a myth… And [High Efficiency Low Emission coal-fired power station] takes seven years to turn up, so if we that is all of a sudden going to make your power bills cheap next month, it won’t.’

“Renewable energy is undeniably the cheapest form of new energy infrastructure to build in Australia over a new coal-fired power station. In fact assessment of the modelling prepared for the Finkel Review showed that the capital cost of a new ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station is at least 34% more than an equivalent solar farm.

“The Finkel Review modelling also clearly showed a CET would deliver lower electricity prices, more investment and lower emissions compared to a business as usual approach and that households would be around $90 better off per year over the next decade under a CET.

“The Palaszczuk Government is 100% committed to adopting the cheapest and most efficient forms of energy generation to lower power bills and to continuing to use public ownership to back consumers.”

“The LNP and Tim Nicholls don’t care about electricity prices paid by Queenslanders. That’s why power bills increased by 43% under the LNP’s time in office, compared to an average of 1.9% per year under Labor.”

Source: Queensland Government

 

ARENA pumps funding into Battery of the Nation vision

22 September

A plan to double Tasmania’s energy capacity and make it the renewable Battery of the Nation has moved a step closer.

A shortlist of about 30 potential pumped hydro energy storage sites has been identified in four regional areas. Funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will help narrow that list to between 10 and 15 possible development sites.

When it’s fully realised, pumped hydro could generate up to 2,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which would double Tasmania’s current hydro capacity and provide flexible, dispatchable energy when it’s needed by customers.

It could also create up to $5 billion of infrastructure investment and up to 3,000 jobs across a 10 to 15 year construction period.

The shortlist includes four existing power stations with potential for pumped hydro conversion. The CEO of Hydro Tasmania, Steve Davy, and CEO of ARENA, Ivor Frischknecht, today inspected one of those stations – Cethana Power Station in north-west Tasmania.

In an exciting development for the north-west, Lake Cethana has already been assessed as having some of the best pumped hydro potential in Tasmania – with up to 1,000MW at one site.

Mr Davy said Tasmania is uniquely placed to help lead Australia through its challenging energy transition.

“The Battery of the Nation is about energy security and affordable prices,” Mr Davy said.

“Doubling Tasmania’s renewable energy capacity addresses three big challenges at once.

“It will lock in full energy security for Tasmania, help give Tasmanians some of the nation’s cheapest power prices, and give us plenty of spare energy to support mainland Australia.

“At a time when Australia badly needs flexible and storable energy to replace the coal power it’s phasing out, the Battery of the Nation offers a future that’s clean, reliable and affordable,” he said.

ARENA has committed up to $2.5 million for Battery of the Nation project studies, with funding to be matched by Hydro Tasmania.

The ARENA funding includes $300,000 for the initial study to assess and prioritise potential pumped hydro sites, and $500,000 to support feasibility studies into the Tarraleah and Gordon Power Station projects - which will boost efficiency and reliability.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said the Battery of the Nation studies, along with feasibility studies into Snowy Hydro 2.0, would examine how pumped hydro energy storage could play an expanded role in Australia’s energy mix, and help accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

“These feasibility studies are the first step towards significantly upgrading or replacing some of Tasmania’s existing power stations and introducing pumped hydro energy storage,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“With these projects, we could double Tasmania’s pumped hydro capacity and help power an additional 500,000 households. Tasmania could play a crucial role in helping to provide secure, reliable - and renewable - electricity for the National Energy Market,” he said.

Hydro Tasmania has ruled-out developing any pumped hydro sites in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and is not investigating new on-river dams. As Australia’s leading renewable energy business, Hydro Tasmania is strongly committed to values of sustainability, and has started close stakeholder consultation on the Battery of the Nation project.

Pumped hydro storage works by pumping water uphill (when surplus energy is available) so it can be re-used to generate electricity later.

There’s more information about pumped hydro energy storage and the Battery of the Nation project more broadly on Hydro Tasmania’s website.

Source: Hydro Tasmania

 

Windlab secures off-take for Kennedy Energy Park

11 September

Windlab Limited (ASX: WND) today announced that it has secured a 10-year agreement with Queensland government owned corporation, CS Energy, to purchase the renewable energy and some of the large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) produced from Kennedy Energy Park Phase I, a 60.5MW hybrid renewable energy project.

Kennedy Energy Park Phase I is an innovative 43.5MW Wind, 15MW Solar and 2MW Li Ion battery storage hybrid project located near Hughenden in far North Queensland. The site was identified and developed by Windlab Limited and is now owned by Kennedy Energy Park Pty Ltd, a 50/50 joint venture between Windlab with Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation of Japan.

The agreement with CS Energy is subject to a number of conditions precedent, including ministerial approval and the project reaching financial close.

“Finalising an off-take arrangement for the project is an important milestone in securing financing and advancing the project to financial close and construction.” said Roger Price, Windlab’s Executive Chairman.

Windlab and CS Energy have also entered into a priority offer arrangement which affords CS Energy a first right of offer to negotiate a contract to purchase some or all of the electricity, LGCs or other green benefits generated by Kennedy Phase II. Kennedy Phase II is a large wind energy project wholly owned and developed by Windlab, located some 80Kms north of Kennedy Energy Park. It has the potential to provide more than 1,200MW of capacity.

“Coupled with the Queensland Government’s Powering North Queensland Plan, announced in June 2017, which includes the proposed construction of a high capacity transmission line through Kennedy Phase II, this agreement with CS Energy significantly advances the project by providing a path to an off-take arrangement.” added Roger Price.

Source: Windlab

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Kennedy Energy Park

 

ReNu signs Sale and Purchase Agreement for Amaroo Solar PV Project

11 September

Highlights

  • Sale and Purchase Agreement entered into with Amaroo Solar Pty Ltd (part of the VivoPower group) for the acquisition of Amaroo Solar PV Project
  • Amaroo is an operational solar project comprising 600kW capacity underpinned by a 20 year ACT Government Feed-in Tariff scheme
  • Purchase price is $2.38 million with a $1 million refundable deposit paid, and completion is subject to typical closing conditions

Renewable energy company, ReNu Energy Limited (ASX: RNE) is pleased to advise that it has satisfactorily completed confirmatory due diligence on the Amaroo Solar PV Project and a definitive Sale and Purchase Agreement has been entered into to acquire the project assets.

CEO & Managing Director of ReNu Energy, Mr Chris Murray commented, “The Amaroo Solar PV Project will be ReNu Energy’s first operational solar asset, and is the largest solar PV rooftop project in the Australian Capital Territory.

Operating since 2015, the Project receives a long term premium rate for electricity under an ACT Government Feed-in Tariff Scheme, and is expected to deliver an average annual cash yield of approximately 12% per annum, delivering positive cash flow to ReNu Energy and making this an ideal project from which to build a portfolio of renewable energy assets. We are pleased to have successfully signed the Sale and Purchase Agreement with VivoPower, and look forward to further transactions together.”

“We are very pleased to have executed the Sale and Purchase Agreement with ReNu Energy for the transfer of the Amaroo Solar Project,” said Dr. Philip Comberg, Chief Executive Officer of VivoPower. “For VivoPower, this is the first of what we expect to be many successful transactions with ReNu Energy in Australia, and further establishes a successful track record for VivoPower’s build, transfer and operate model.”

The total purchase price is $2.38 million and a refundable deposit of $1 million has been paid, with the intention of debt funding the balance. Subject to completion, ReNu will be entitled to receive the Project profits for the period from signing to completion.

The agreements with VivoPower and more recently SCA Property Group (announced to the market on 2 June 2017) form the cornerstone of ReNu Energy’s solar PV business. From this base, the Company is building a portfolio of projects which utilise proven technologies such as solar PV, typically operating under long term contracts generating sustainable cash flows and creating shareholder value. The projects either generate electricity at customer’s premises and deliver directly to the customer behind the meter, or export electricity under long term power purchase agreements, feed in tariffs or for sale to the National Electricity Market.

Source: ReNu Energy

 

AGL injecting $2 billion to improve energy affordability and reliability

11 September

AGL is currently investing more than any other company to build new energy supply to help drive down power prices, and taking more action than any other energy retailer to help customers access better deals, said AGL’s MD & CEO Andy Vesey.

“The best way to address pricing challenges in the market is to increase supply. We’re investing more than anyone else in building new supply to drive down prices and stand ready to invest more when there is certainty on carbon policy,” said Mr Vesey.

“While more AGL customers are accessing discounts than ever before, AGL was the first retailer to proactively contact its concession customers on standing offers to encourage them onto a better rate. It has not been our practice to move customers at the end of discount periods to higher standing offers.

“Our customers have told us they find energy offers confusing so we are working with Government and industry to help standardise how energy offers are presented – this will enable customers to more easily choose the best energy plan for them.”

Meeting outcomes

“Following today’s meeting with the Prime Minister, we have committed to deliver a plan in 90 days of the actions AGL will take to avoid a market shortfall once the Liddell coal-fired power station retires in 2022.

“I was asked to take to the AGL Board the Government’s request to continue the operation of Liddell post 2022 for five years and/or sell Liddell, which I agreed to do,” Mr Vesey said.

AGL has previously advised the market that replacement of capacity will likely be provided by a mix of load shaping and firming from gas peaking plant, demand response, pumped hydro and batteries.

“Short term, new development will continue to favour renewables supported by gas peaking. Longer term, we see this trend continuing with large scale battery deployment enhancing the value of renewable technology. In this environment, we just don’t see new development of coal as economically rational, even before factoring in a carbon cost,1” Mr Vesey said.

By giving advanced notice of closure of its coal-fired power plants, AGL is meeting one of the 49 recommendations in the Finkel Report that have been accepted by the Commonwealth Government.

“The long notice period we have given reflects our commitment to managing carbon risk for shareholders and avoiding the volatility created by recent sudden withdrawal of capacity,” Mr Vesey said.

Since AGL acquired Liddell from the NSW Government in 2015, AGL has invested $123 million in the plant to improve reliability. Despite this investment, during the February 2017 heatwave, two units from Liddell were out of the market due to unforeseeable boiler tube leaks. As a result, there was not enough energy in the system and NSW experienced blackouts in parts of the State.

“As Liddell approaches the end of its life in 2022, it will likely experience more unanticipated outages, which is why we will spend a further $159 million to improve reliability at Liddell before it closes,” Mr Vesey said.

As outlined at its FY17 Results last month, AGL is currently investing $2 billion directly and indirectly in new supply to help provide the capacity and energy the system needs.

The four Liddell coal-fired generation units were commissioned between 1971 and 1973. Liddell currently has 1,680 MW of effective capacity. It supplies approximately 8,000 GWh of electricity a year, which is enough to power more than 1 million homes.

In April 2015 as part of its Greenhouse Gas Policy, AGL committed to the closure of its coal-fired power stations at the end of their operating life, to support the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to work towards a global agreement to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Following an independent expert review of AGL’s rehabilitation obligations, the cost of rehabilitating both Liddell and Bayswater power stations was calculated to be $898 million. AGL advised the market last month that it has increased its rehabilitation provisions to meet this obligation.

Source: AGL Energy

 

Retreat from Clean Energy Target not the answer

13 September

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton today expressed concern over reports the Turnbull Government is considering stepping away from the Clean Energy Target.

“A Clean Energy Target (CET) was recommended by the Finkel Review as a crucial part of a considered roadmap towards ensuring a clean, affordable and reliable energy system for Australia, and walking away from that policy would be a clear step in the wrong direction,” Mr Thornton said.

Mr Thornton said there are a range of technologies that can replace power stations like Liddell, including large-scale wind and solar combined with storage, as well as demand-side solutions such as rooftop solar and batteries.

“These solutions are here now and commercially feasible. Substantial cost reductions this decade show these solutions can be delivered to Australian power consumers while minimising costs. The 49 recommendations of the Finkel Review that are now being implemented can ensure these technologies can be utilised in a way to ensure energy security long into the future.

“Investors have made it clear that the future lies in these clean energy solutions rather than outdated and high-emissions coal-fired power which is becoming increasingly unreliable and expensive to operate.

“International and local investors are currently committing more than $8 billion to Australia’s clean energy sector this year alone as a result of the bipartisan support for the 2020 Renewable Energy Target. But with no long-term policy in place beyond 2020, investors are becoming nervous and this uncertainty will stifle the advances Australia needs to create a clean, affordable energy system.

“The blame for Australia’s high-cost energy system lies in decades of policy uncertainty, not the introduction of low-emissions technology.

He said improving the affordability and reliability of Australia’s energy sector could only be secured with a bipartisan, long-term and market-based policy solution.

“Ad-hoc policy and regulatory change only leads to under investment in new generation,” Mr Thornton said.

He said Australia needed policy leadership rather than endless tinkering at the edges.

“The CET was a critical part of the reforms recommended by Dr Finkel and it would be foolhardy to step away from the careful recommendations of the Chief Scientist.”

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

Interested in exporting hydrogen? Tell us what you think

13 September

It’s an idea that many think could provide Australia’s next great export industry and one that ARENA is determined to explore.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is launching a Request For Information seeking input from industry, research institutions and governments to assess how Australia might develop export capabilities based around renewable energy and hydrogen.

“There is a global interest in clean renewable energy and a number of markets have identified hydrogen and its associated materials as key supply,” ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said.

“Australia is expected to have a competitive advantage in the supply of renewable commodities – thanks to our abundant solar and wind resources as well as Australia’s proximity and key trading relationships with major consumer countries, such as Japan.”

The request follows the South Australian Government’s recent call for tenders for hydrogen infrastructure proposals as part of a move to build a “hydrogen economy”.

Further details available from: https://arena.gov.au/blog/hydrogen-rfi/

 

Work to start on Moranbah Solar Plant

12 September

The central western Queensland coal mining town of Moranbah will soon boast one of Australia’s largest and most technologically advanced solar energy plants.

Adani Renewables CEO, Jennifer Purdie, today announced that work would start on the first stage of the solar plant, anticipated to cost in excess of $100M, by the end of the year following the recent approval of a Development Approval by Isaac Regional Council.

Preparatory work, including Cultural Heritage surveys and engineering design, has commenced with orders for critical equipment now being secured.

“This is an exciting project in terms of its size, location, and the technology we are using,” Dr Purdie said.

“This will be Adani Renewables’ first project – the first of many – and we thank the Isaac Regional Council, in particular Mayor Anne Baker and her officers for their assistance and encouragement.”

The 65 MW first stage of Rugby Run Solar Farm – to be built on a 600-hectare block that was part of the Rugby Run grazing property – is expected to use the latest mono-PERC technology and single axis tracking systems developed to improve efficiency and output. Further stages are planned to take the generation capacity up to 170MW.

Adani, the largest solar energy generator in India, is planning to have a number of solar projects in Australia with a total capacity of 1,500MW within the next five years.

The solar projects are in addition to Adani’s $16.5 billion investment in the planned Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin a well as rail and port infrastructure.

Construction of Rugby Run Solar Farm will be completed in approximately 12 months from start of work.

The workforce is likely to peak at up to 150 employees during construction, with full time operation staff to number up to six.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said Council supported responsible industry development which genuinely engages with all stakeholders.

“We are excited to welcome Rugby Run Solar Farm as the first renewable energy project in the region,” she said.

“This project continues to diversify our local economy, and will contribute towards a sustainable future for both Isaac and the state.

“We look forward to the employment opportunities and long-term benefits that Rugby Run will deliver to our communities.”

Adani Renewables has executed the initial stage of works to expedite a network connection application with Powerlink to feed into their existing network supplying the State.

Adani has constructed 793 MW of solar plant in India to date, including the world’s largest single site plant at Tamil Nadu in southern India which has a capacity of 648MW. Adani has a further 1,225 MW in construction or late development phase in India.

Source: Adani

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Rugby Run Solar Farm

 

GE Renewable Energy unveils its largest onshore wind turbine

12 September

  • GE’s 4.8 MW turbine with 158m rotor diameter designed to reach onshore industry’s highest Annual Energy Production rate
  • Brand new machine targeted for low to medium wind speed sites, providing power for the equivalent of 5.000 European residential homes
  • GE’s first onshore entry in the 4MW segment features longer blades and tall tower

GE Renewable Energy today unveiled its brand-new 4.8–158 onshore wind turbine, GE’s largest high efficiency turbine to date. Featuring the largest rotor in the segment and innovative blade design, the 4.8-158 offers a significant improvement in Annual Energy Production (AEP), reducing the cost of energy for customers with low to medium wind speed sites.

Pete McCabe, President & CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind Business said, “The 4.8–158 design is an important next step in turbine technology and efficiency, and we’re excited to introduce this turbine at this moment in time. It is well suited for low to medium wind speed regions around the world—examples include Germany, Turkey and Australia—as well as for mechanisms like auctions, as countries around the world are putting an increased emphasis on lowering the cost of energy.”

The new 4.8MW wind turbine, GE’s first onshore entry in the 4MW space, is equipped with a 158 meter rotor and a range of tip heights up to 240 meters. The combination of a larger rotor and tall towers enables the turbine to take advantage of higher wind speeds and produce more energy.

GE’s latest turbine features high tech blades, improved loads and controls, and taller, more cost-effective towers. These new innovative features have been developed thanks to close partnerships with LM Wind Power, Blade Dynamics and GE’s Global Research Center.

The 77-meter-long carbon blades leverage the strong track record and material innovations of LM Wind Power, and are their longest onshore blades to date. The rotor can be adapted to a variety of conditions with customized carbon blades, depending on specific customer and site requirements. This unrivaled flexibility allows GE to offer its customers a high efficiency product offering while continuing to drive down LCOE. The blades also feature one of the industry’s smallest Bolt Circle Diameters, keeping manufacturing and logistical costs to a minimum.

“This turbine is a great example of what we can achieve through the GE Store, combining technology and development with innovative design and expertise from the Global Research Center, LM Wind Power and Blade Dynamics,” continued Pete McCabe. “We collected input from more than 30 customers around the world to ensure we are meeting their specific turbine needs with this product as they work to provide lower-cost renewable energy.”

The 4.8-158 leverages the best of GE’s 2MW and 3MW platforms, including the proven DFIG–doubly-fed induction generator—and a robust drivetrain architecture. The turbine meets a lower standard of noise emission levels, achieving a 104-dB level during normal operations. The newly-designed machine head reduces the needs for a larger crane while facilitating up-tower repairs and troubleshooting with its up-tower electrical system.

GE’s most powerful onshore turbine is purpose-built to leverage the intelligence gathered from across the company’s 30,000+ fleet of wind turbines. Data analyzed from this large installed base powers the 4.8-158 with GE’s next generation control system. By utilizing GE’s Predix core applications including Asset Performance Management (APM), Cybersecurity and Business Optimization (BO) solutions, our customers realize business outcomes, including lifecycle extension of the customers’ windfarms and improvement of farm economics.

Source: GE

 

WIRSOL acquires additional 110MWp solar project for construction in Australia

14 September

WIRSOL Energy Pty Ltd heading the Australian strategy and operations within international WIRCON group has started yet another new utility scale solar project in Australia. The company plans to start construction during Q4 2017, delivering an overall DC installed capacity of approx. 110-megawatt peak (MWp). The project, known as Wemen Sun Farm is located in Victoria, relatively close to Mildura. The solar park will occupy an area of around 770 acres and is scheduled to be connected to the grid mid-2018. It will give rise to regional value creation in excess of AU$200 million dollars.

‘By the end of the year we will have 5 solar parks in construction in Queensland and Victoria with a total solar generation capacity of circa 400MWp, all are scheduled to be connected to the grid by mid-2018. We have already secured for WIRSOL additional projects totalling circa 670MWp, with the aim of reaching our target-providing one gigawatt peak of solar energy by 2020,’ stated Mark Hogan, Managing Director of WIRSOL Energy Pty Ltd.

‘The Australian market plays an exceedingly important role for our international growth strategy. In coming years, we will be making a significant contribution to the expansion of renewables and setting up important power production facilities with our solar parks. The new park is a further decisive step on our path as one of the market leaders in Australia. So we will be realising this project speedily, while also aiming to take advantage of further development opportunities,’ said WIRSOL Managing Director Dr. Peter Vest.

Source: WIRSOL Energy

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Wemen Sun Farm

 

First land sale at Gillman industrial precinct

14 September

Global resource management company, Veolia Group, has been chosen as the successful tenderer to develop the Gillman industrial precinct following the expressions of interest process.

Veolia’s proposal will see it initially purchase 20 hectares of land at Gillman, with future options to purchase a further 182 hectares over a five year period.

The sale price equates to $5 million for the 20 hectares, with Veolia’s offer of $7 million contingent on Renewal SA funding $2 million of infrastructure works.

The Veolia proposal will see the development of an environmentally efficient logistics and employment precinct at Gillman including Veolia’s new South Australian head office, a nation leading Energy from Waste facility and metropolitan Adelaide’s largest solar farm.

Veolia group was chosen based on a number of factors including strongest development vision, strongest experience, expertise and financial capacity.

Background

Veolia has more than 40 years of experience in building and operating waste, energy and water infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand.

It has invested more than $150 million in the State over the past two decades and employs 450 people across 13 sites in SA.

Renewal SA owns approximately 407 hectares of land within an area across the suburbs of Gillman and Dry Creek.

In December 2013, the State Government entered into an arrangement with Adelaide Capital Partners (ACP) to acquire up to 407 hectares of industrial land with an initial purchase of 150 hectares.

In 2016 the State Government was informed by ACP that it is unable to meet the terms agreed under the Deed of Settlement which required it to settle a 150ha land sale contract.

As a result, the land was put out to the market with the State Government requesting new development proposals.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Stephen Mullighan said:

The Gillman land is a strategically important site which has the potential to generate significant investment and employment due to its size, proximity to Port Adelaide and nearby industries, and its ability to accommodate 24-hour industries.

Veolia’s vision to transform the Gillman land into a showcase site for waste management and renewable energy production and sustainable cities is a great opportunity for South Australia.

It has the potential to generate hundreds of jobs during construction and thousands of ongoing jobs.

Veolia’s proposal was chosen after an extensive expressions of interest process.

Its proposal is good for jobs, for renewable energy and for waste management and a win for South Australia as we continue leading the way in sustainable resource management and energy generation.

Veolia Australia and New Zealand Executive General Manager (Western Central Australia and New Zealand) Laurie Kozlovic said:

This project is a further commitment to our ongoing investment in South Australia and to helping make this State a global leader in environmental best practice.

We are looking to consolidate and modernise our operations into one efficient and centrally located headquarters, close to transport hubs and near our waste recovery facility at Wingfield, run with our subsidiary, Integrated Waste Services.

Veolia has built more than 70 waste-to-energy plants around the world and the combustion process we will use for our plant at Gillman is efficient and clean, providing a reliable source of renewable energy.

Our ability to fill the land at Gillman through our own resources means we have a cost-effective resolution to one of the land’s biggest development challenges.

This will enable us to make parcels of land more attractive to third parties in the proposed industrial park as there will be a lower development risk for them.

We have already received strong indications of interest from businesses that require sizeable parcels of land near transport and energy hubs, including those involved in transport, landscape supplies, food processing and food distribution.

Source: SA Government

Solar eclipses coal at council waste centre

1 September

A 5MW solar farm at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre will increase Newcastle City Council's renewable energy generation capacity tenfold.

The proposed solar farm will cover an area of around five football fields on a capped landfill site that was once part of the Wallsend Borehole Colliery.

Made up of around 16,000 photovoltaic solar arrays, it will help reduce the city's $4m annual electricity costs after the yearly bill doubled in the past two years.

The project will also help council achieve its 30 per cent renewable energy target -- under its 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan -- and follows recent climate action pledges made as part of the Cities Power Partnership.

"With energy costs soaring and the cost of solar photovoltaic technology falling, the business case is now clear for councils to increase renewable energy use and take control of their energy costs," said Newcastle City Council Interim CEO Jeremy Bath.

"We are seeing a boom in construction of solar farms across Australia and local councils will be one of the key beneficiaries from the experience the solar sector has developed.

"It's also important for our community that we build sustainability into the way we do things, which is why we have moved quickly to increase renewable energy capability and find smarter, more energy-efficient solutions for our city's needs. With the recent adoption of Council's Smart City strategy, this latest project continues to chart the course for Newcastle as a smart, liveable and sustainable city."

A tender will be issued to eight shortlisted respondents for the design, construction and operation of the solar farm after a feasibility study and expression of interest process last year.

Following the tender, the project will be reported to council for approval and funding.

The solar farm continues development of one of the most advanced renewable energy setups at a waste facility -- with a 2.2MW landfill gas generator and a small wind turbine already located at Summerhill -- and paves the way for battery storage and electric garbage trucks.

Electricity generated will flow into the nearby Ausgrid substation and help offset usage at other Council facilities, providing predictable electricity costs and millions of dollars in savings, even with construction and operating costs factored in.

Newcastle recently joined the Cities Power Partnership, a Climate Council program in which cities and towns pledge key actions to reduce their climate impact.

Summerhill's solar farm and eight existing solar installations - on the rooftops of public buildings including the art gallery, museum, works depot and libraries - form part of the actions endorsed by Council.

Others include promoting more sustainable ways to travel, by providing cycling infrastructure and electric-vehicle chargers, and installing energy-efficient LED lighting.

Source: Newcastle Council

 

Kidston solar project (phase one 50MW) update

5 September

Genex Power Limited (ASX: GNX) (Genex or Company) is pleased to provide shareholders with this latest update regarding the construction program for the Company’s Phase One 50MW Kidston Solar Project (KSP1 or Project).

Genex is pleased to report that the construction of KSP1 continues to remain on-budget, for anticipated first generation in Q4 2017 and Practical Completion in Q1 2018. Key activities since the last update (refer ASX announcement 03 August 2017) include:

  • Continued installation of solar modules across the KSP1 site;
  • Continued installation of solar pilings;
  • Continued installation of trackers; and
  • Successful hand-over of transferrable assets to Ergon allowing cutover works for the 132kV line into the newly constructed Ergon-Kidston substation.

Commenting on this month’s progress of the Company’s 50MW Solar Project, Managing Director of Genex, Michael Addison said:

“Genex’s project team continues to deliver construction milestones, enabling the Project to remain on budget for first cash flow in Q4 2017. Key milestones during the reporting period include completion of the Ergon-Kidston substation connection work and an acceleration of panel installation and cabling.

Genex’s focus on delivering KSP1 brings the Project another step closer to Practical Completion in Q1 2018. Importantly, success to date on the delivery of Phase One provides an important project track record as the Company progresses financing and partnering discussions for Phase Two (270MW Solar and 250MW Pumped Hydro).”

The Federal Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has provided $8.9 million of funding to support the construction of Genex’s $126 million Phase One 50MW Kidston Solar Project.

Source: Genex Power

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Kidston Solar Farm

 

Submissions invited on a market mechanism for inertia

5 September

The Australian Energy Market Commission today published a consultation paper seeking stakeholder feedback on a proposed approach for introducing a market mechanism for inertia. This mechanism is being considered through a rule change request from AGL for an inertia ancillary services market.

The changing generation mix, with a higher share of wind and solar, means the power system has less inertia. Less system inertia means frequency may become volatile. If frequency changes too fast then the system is at high risk of going black.

Today’s paper builds on our recent draft rule to place an obligation on Transmission Network Service Providers to procure the minimum levels of inertia, or alternative frequency control services, needed to maintain system security in all regions of the national electricity market.

While this draft rule provides for a minimum level of inertia, the AEMC considers that the introduction of a market to obtain and pay for inertia above this minimum level would provide additional benefits. For example, additional inertia could allow for higher interconnector flows between regions, which could improve reliability and reduce overall costs.

The introduction of a market based mechanism to realise the benefits of inertia was one of the key recommendations in our final report on the System security market frameworks review, published in July 2017. A market-based mechanism would offer an open and transparent approach that would best facilitate competition in the provision of inertia. It would also be flexible in that it would allow the level of the service to vary over time to adapt to changing market conditions.

The mechanism outlined in our consultation paper features an inertia price paid to inertia providers based on the value they provide in relieving rate of change of frequency (RoCoF) constraints between regions.

Stakeholders are encouraged to provide input on the proposed mechanism, including the various funding options for paying providers of inertia. Submissions are due by Tuesday 3 October 2017.

Source: AEMC

 

Aligning dispatch and settlement – draft rule to move to five minute settlement

5 September

The Australian Energy Market Commission today made a draft rule to change the settlement period for the electricity spot price from 30 minutes to five minutes.

AEMC Chairman John Pierce said moving to five minute settlement would align the physical electricity system – which matches demand and supply of electricity every five minutes – with the price signal provided by the market for that five minute period.

“Price signals that align with physical operations lead to more efficient bidding, operational decisions and investment,” said Mr Pierce.

“Over time, this flows through to lower wholesale costs, which should lead to lower electricity prices than in a market with 30 minute settlement. Wholesale costs make up around one third of a typical electricity bill.”

More accurate price signals also encourage more efficient investment in flexible technologies such as aggregating distributed storage, new generation gas peaker plants and rapid demand response. These technologies, which can back up the system in real time when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, are becoming increasingly important as more wind and solar generation enters the market and thermal generators retire.

The draft determination proposes a transition period of three-and-a-half years.

“Moving to five minute settlement would be a fundamental change to the way the wholesale electricity market operates in Australia, including the hedge market that operates alongside the spot market,” said Mr Pierce.

“Three-and-a-half years is the shortest possible timeframe to capture the benefits of five minute settlement without posing unacceptable risks to system security or the operation of the spot market.”

The transition period allows time for most existing hedging contracts to roll off, while enabling new contracts to accommodate a future with five minute settlement.

The market also needs time to make major upgrades to IT systems and metering. The Australian Energy Market Operator has developed a high-level implementation plan, also published today, setting out the technical changes which AEMO and the industry would need to make.

The need for a staged transition to new settlement arrangements in the wholesale electricity market over multiple years is consistent with the approach taken internationally.

For example, changes to settlement arrangements in the New Zealand electricity market have been under consideration by the NZ Electricity Authority since 2013. The Authority recently proposed an implementation period of four years.

Submissions on the Five Minute Settlement draft determination close on 17 October 2017.

Source: AEMC

 

Unprecedented renewables investment powering North Queensland

5 September

North Queensland's renewable energy sector is booming with $5 billion in projects currently in the pipeline to create more than 5,000 Megawatts of electricity and support 3,200 jobs.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this morning told Queensland Parliament that the Australian Solar Council and Battery Storage Council estimates represented a vote of confidence in Queensland and her government's policies, which are facilitating unprecedented renewable investment in Queensland.

"From the 5 Megawatt Scouller Energy solar farm near Normanton, to the 180 Megawatt Mt Emerald Wind Farm and the 250 Megawatt Genex Kidston Pumped Hydro project, these projects represent an extraordinary amount of investment in an industry that barely existed two and a half years ago," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"They also represent an extraordinary vote of confidence in my government’s policies, including our commitment to a 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

"Through our $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan, we are also committed to working closely with industry to develop new projects that mean more jobs, more energy production and more downward pressure on electricity bills.

"The Plan will reinvest $150 million in dividends from our electricity assets – which we own – to build the transmission infrastructure necessary to connect these renewable projects to the grid."

The Premier said the Powering North Queensland Plan also included:

  • a $100 million reinvestment of Stanwell dividends to help fund the proposed hydro-electric power station at Burdekin Falls Dam, supporting up to 200 jobs; and
  • a further $100 million equity injection and reinvestment of dividends to ensure that the Burdekin Falls Dam continues to meet design standards, also supporting the proposed hydro-electric power station.

"The injection of investment and jobs in renewable energy across this state is almost exclusively devoted to regional and rural areas where additional economic activity is amplified," the Premier said.

"The investment ensures we can offer secure and affordable electricity for Queensland homes and Queensland businesses far into the future."

Source: Queensland Government

 

AGL Energy statement on Liddell Power Station

6 September 2017

AGL Energy (AGL) notes speculation in relation to a potential sale of the Liddell Power Station, or extension of the operating life of the power station, following comments made by the Prime Minister yesterday.

AGL has committed to the closure of the Liddell Power Station in 2022, which is the end of its operating life. AGL provided this advance notice in April 2015 to avoid the volatility created by the sudden exit from the National Electricity Market of other coal-fired power stations.

AGL recognises community and government concerns in relation to energy security, as highlighted in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s 2017 Electricity Statement of Opportunities published yesterday, and continues to assess the capacity that will be needed post 2022 to replace Liddell.

AGL will continue to engage with governments, regulators and other stakeholders to deliver appropriate outcomes but notes that the company has made no commitment to sell the Liddell Power Station nor to extend its life beyond 2022.

Source: AGL Energy

 

Long-term energy policy essential to underpin new investment

6 September

New investment in Australia’s electricity system can keep costs down and improve reliability but bipartisan national energy policy is increasingly urgent, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said prolonged under-investment in the electricity system over the last decade had resulted in reduced supply, higher wholesale power prices and increasing risks to energy security.

“A decade-long political debate has created a policy vacuum and spooked investors. We need to accept that the energy system is in transition and long-term policy is now essential to ensure private investment in the most efficient new energy technology and solutions,” Mr Thornton said.

“It is time to accept all 50 of the Chief Scientist’s recommendations to improve energy security. The recommendations from the Finkel Review provide a coordinated approach to delivering an affordable, reliable and cleaner energy system.

“This will involve a suite of new technologies and solutions, including more wind, solar, bioenergy and battery storage. Australia’s existing hydro has an important role, complemented by new pumped hydro as well as potential to use existing generation more flexibly,” he said.

Mr Thornton said all but one of the Finkel Review’s recommendations are in the process of being implemented, with market reform finally accelerating the modernization of the entire system and enhancing its ability to better manage a suite of renewable energy and storage solutions.

“AEMO is taking a range of important and practical steps to ensure our energy security as the power system transitions to clean energy. The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is in the process of working to build a resilient market that no longer leans on ageing coal for synchronous services, something which is essential to ensure we continue to work toward a clean energy future," he said.

“The AEMO report yesterday revealed that the new projects added to the system under the Renewable Energy Target will help to improve reliability over the next few years. More than $8 billion of new clean energy projects are underway in 2017, creating thousands of jobs and building critical infrastructure to keep the lights on and reduce power prices over the next few years.

“Last summer’s heatwaves highlighted the contribution of renewable energy, which essentially saved New South Wales from a blackout when some thermal gas and coal generators went missing in action on 10 February this year.

“The shining light over the past year has been the new investment driven by the 2020 Renewable Energy Target. But without the long-term policy confidence driven by a mechanism such as a Clean Energy Target, we are unlikely to see sufficient new generation from private investors to meet our future energy needs.”

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

Renewable deal cuts power prices in half

6 September

Today marks the announcement of Australia’s first ever large-scale Renewable Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (PPA); a deal that secures long-term, low-cost renewable energy for Australian businesses.

A landmark deal has been struck between the country’s fastest growing electricity retailer, Flow Power and Australia’s third largest wind farm, Ararat Wind Farm

Renewable PPAs are already at the heart of many corporate energy strategies in Europe and North America, with companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook recognising the fact that they offer both long term price security and are one of the fastest ways to reach sustainability goals. As a disrupter in the local energy market, Flow Power is the first retailer to offer large energy users in Australia these same benefits within a volatile power market that has seen energy prices increase by up to 300%.

The introduction of Renewable Corporate PPAs allows local businesses to tap into a global trend that will bring costs down and benefit both the environment and the economy.

Renewable Corporate PPAs contribute to meeting the Renewable Energy Target of a 25% reduction in emissions by 2020, but also make economic sense by providing Australian businesses with direct access to secure, low-cost energy supply at rates up to half the current retail rates, saving businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs. Ultimately, that means more jobs and investment in Australia for the long term.

Matthew van der Linden, Founder of Flow Power, will be discussing the deal at ‘Disruption & The Energy Industry’ in Sydney on Thursday. He comments: “The power market is changing, and this agreement with Ararat Wind Farm marks a line in the sand for the energy sector in Australia. Renewable Corporate PPAs are the key to keeping business power costs down, and our aim is to be able to offer these savings to all large energy users across the country.”

“Corporate PPAs have proven successful internationally over the past decade, and we are proud to bring the model to Australia in partnership with Ararat Wind Farm. We are actively working with customers to get agreements signed in the coming months,” Mr van der Linden said.

Stuart Liddell, General Manager of Ararat Wind Farm adds, “As the third largest wind farm in Australia, Ararat Wind Farm continues to play a major role in producing carbon-free electricity. Ararat Wind Farm is pleased to announce this PPA with Flow Power that will directly benefit the local and regional economy by helping businesses keep costs down while procuring secure, reliable and green power”.

For more information on our Renewable Corporate PPA deals visit flowpower.com.au/renewables/

Source: Flow Power

 

NEW PROJECT

Brewongle Solar Farm

Photon Energy planning 146 MW Brewongle Solar Farm in NSW and have begun community consultation. The project will be built on a 203 hectare site with construction scheduled to start in Q4 2018.

 

AEMO reports prove our energy plan is working

6 September

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis today said that two reports by Australia’s national energy market operator prove the State Government’s energy plan is working.

AEMO’s Electricity Statement of Opportunities, released late yesterday, found that without the energy plan there would be heightened risk of a power supply shortfall this summer.

The report states that “The South Australian Energy Plan will help alleviate risks to consumer supply in South Australia by acting to provide additional supplies to consumers at times of identified USE risks.”

A second report, commissioned by Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, recommended that the Federal Government implement 1000MW of ‘strategic reserve’ prior to this summer – exactly what the State Government is doing in South Australia by procuring a state-owned power plant and grid-scale battery, to be in place by December 1.

That report also outlined the problem of a lack of new investment in the National Electricity Market, which is causing tight supply and potential load-shedding across the country.

Source South Australia Government

 

WA State Budget

The Western Australian Government’s 2017-18 State Budget released this week “includes a focus on projects that will assist in diversifying the economy and creating jobs in the Goldfields, including: Funding to commence a feasibility study for a major solar project to secure the Goldfields as a renewable energy centre in the future” and “$19.5 million investment in the Albany Renewable Energy Project”.

 

NSW sunshine to power 94,000 more homes

7 September

NSW continues to lead the way in harnessing sun to power the state, with the approval of the 250 megawatt Limondale Solar Farm just south of Balranald in the Riverina.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the Limondale Solar Farm could power 94,000 homes and would provide a boost to the local economy.

“Our focus on developing clean energy sources is supporting state and national environmental targets and generating employment and benefits to families and businesses in our regional communities,” said Mr Roberts.

“During peak construction Limondale will employ about 200 workers, the flow on effects to business in Balranald and surrounding communities will be significant.

“Limondale is NSW’s sixth solar farm approval this year and will help us achieve the national renewable energy target of 23.5 per cent by 2020. This is a $150 million investment in NSW renewable energy development – we are truly leading the way in building clean energy solutions for our state,” Mr Roberts said.

Minister for Energy and Utilities, Don Harwin, said the Limondale Solar Farm will be next to the recently approved Sunraysia Solar Farm. “We are getting on with the job of providing the supply needed in the future to power NSW,” Mr Harwin said.

“Together these two new solar farms in the State’s south-west will have the capacity to supply 450 megawatts of energy to the grid, the potential to power 170,000 homes. These solar farms represent a $425 million investment in renewable energy in an area fast becoming one of the solar power generation hubs of Australia.”

The Department of Planning and Environment has applied strict conditions to ensure economic, environmental and social impacts are carefully managed.

This includes a requirement for the proponent to work with Balranald Shire Council to maximise the employment of local workers and use of local accommodation, and to develop a strategy to manage the accommodation of the construction workforce.

Source: NSW Government

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Limondale Solar Farm

 

Haughton Solar Farm referral

Pacific Hydro submitted an EPBC referral for its planned 500 MW capacity Haughton Solar Farm, including battery storage, to the federal Department of the Environment & Energy. The project’s development area is located approximately 17km from the township of Clare in North Queensland and falls within the Burdekin Shire Council area. The selected development area for the Project is an area of approximately 1181ha of currently vacant / grazing rural land.

The north-eastern corner of the development area directly adjoins the existing 275kV Ross to Strathmore ETL, which is managed by Powerlink.

The project has allowed for potential for battery storage capabilities to be installed on site.

Contact

Kim Derriman

Environment Manager

Pacific Hydro Australia Developments Pty Ltd

Tel: (03) 8621 60000

Email: [email protected]

Source: Pacific Hydro

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Haughton Solar Farm

 

Australia’s first Renewable Energy Index launched

28 August

The new Australian Renewable Energy Index, launched on Monday by market analysts Green Energy Markets and advocacy group GetUp, will track each month the amount of renewable energy Australia relies on, the jobs it creates and the environmental benefits.

Key findings from the 2016-17 Report

Renewable energy is on the way to producing as much power as Australian households consume. In fact, between July 2016 to June 2017:

  • Australia produced enough renewable energy to power 7.1 million homes, or 70% of all households in the country;
  • Renewables made up 17.2% of the electricity generated in Australia (in the National Electricity Market and Western Australian Electricity Market);
  • The amount of renewable energy used last financial year avoided an amount of carbon pollution equal to removing 8.1 million cars from the road. This is more than half of all the cars in Australia. The recent boom in construction of large-scale renewables is employing thousands of people:
  • 46 large-scale renewable energy projects were under construction at the end of 2016-17;
  • These projects are estimated to create enough jobs to employ 8,868 people full-time for a year (in other words, 8,868 job-years of employment);
  • NSW is in the lead, gaining the largest number at 3,018, mostly from the construction of new wind farms;
  • Queensland is in second place with 2,625 job years, with 70% flowing from solar farm construction and the remainder from wind farms. Rooftop solar is making a big impact:
  • Almost 150,000 small-scale rooftop solar systems were installed in the year to June 2017;
  • These systems generated enough energy to power over 226,000 homes;
  • The systems installed last year will deliver around $1.6 billion in power bill savings over the next 10 years to the households and businesses that installed them — almost $10,000 per system ;
  • Installing these solar systems supported 3,769 full-time jobs (across installation, design and sales).

Source: Green Energy Markets

 

NEW PROJECT

Hay Solar Farm

OVERVIEW

OVERLAND Sun Farming is proposing to develop the Hay Sun Farm, a large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generation facility near Hay. The Hay Sun Farm will be located on land close to the Essential Energy electrical substation and will connect to the 132 kV electricity distribution network. The sun farm will be made up of approximately 300,000 panels and cover an area of up to 660 hectares which is similar in size to around 920 football fields.

Description: Development of a large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generation facility and associated infrastructure with an estimated capacity of 110 megawatts (MW).

Capital Investment Value: $129,000,000.00

Construction jobs: 100

Operational jobs: 5

Contact:

Brett Thomas

CEO & Managing Director

Overland Sun Farming

Tel: (03) 9889 2023

Email: [email protected]

 

Queensland Premier publicly supports the Townsville Lithium-ion Gigafactory

28 August

  • Strong support from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, along with ongoing assistance from Local and State governments
  • Funding discussions ongoing with both government bodies and the private sector
  • Pleasing progress being made on the technical development of the project, including budget pricing
  • Land valuation complete

Magnis Resources Limited (“Magnis” or the “Company”) (ASX: MNS) is pleased to provide this update on the Townsville Lithium-ion battery Gigafactory.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has publicly expressed support for the project following the submission of a scoping study that demonstrates the project’s positive economic impact. The consortium also continues to receive strong support and assistance from local government and State Members of Parliament.

Pleasing progress is being made in funding discussions with relevant State and Federal government bodies, along with private enterprise including local and overseas groups within the energy sector.

As part of the funding discussion process, land valuation work has been completed on the 400-hectare site in Woodstock, Queensland that has been selected as the location for the Townsville Gigafactory.

In parallel, strong progress is being made on the technical development of the project, including qualification of manufacturing input materials and budget pricing. Engagement with major equipment vendors is ongoing and budget costs received to date have been consistent with scoping study estimates.

Pilot testing of manufacturing processes and production of prototype battery products for potential customers has begun. This work is part of a process package that is being developed for the next phase of the feasibility study.

The Townsville Battery plant consortium consists of Imperium3, Eastman Kodak Company and C&D Assembly. The global consortium Imperium3 is comprised of Boston Energy and Innovation, Charge CCCV and Magnis.

All parties are committed to transforming Australia’s energy security by pledging the new batteries will be cost competitive, better performing, a sustainable supply chain, environmentally friendly and an alternative to current major energy suppliers.

Chairman of Magnis Resources Frank Poullas commented: “We are thankful for the strong support we have received from Premier Palaszczuk, the Queensland State Government, Townsville City Council and other government agencies in getting this vital project underway.

“We are continuing to make very strong progress across a number of fronts in advancing this major project, both in terms of securing funding and technical development. This work is crucial in laying the foundations for the Townsville Lithium-ion Gigafactory.

“The Townville Lithium-ion Gigafactory will be a vitally important piece of economic infrastructure for the Queensland economy, which will secure Townsville as a leading international hub for technology and innovation.”

Source: Magnis Resources

 

Snowy Hydro 2.0 powering ahead

28 August

Snowy Hydro 2.0 is already employing 350 people and will create more than 5000 new jobs during the construction phase of the development.

The game changing project, will have enough capacity to provide 350,000 MW/h of power for a week, enough to meet peak demand continuously for 500,000 homes.

Snowy Hydro 2.0 will help safeguard the energy security of the eastern seaboard, particularly on hot summer days and cold winter nights, while providing a jobs bonanza during the construction phase.

The Turnbull Government today confirmed a new $8 million accelerated agreement between the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Snowy Hydro had been reached to drive planning for the construction of the project and insight for future pumped hydro projects into the future.

ARENA is finalising details on the injection of funding with Snowy Hydro Ltd.

The total spend on the planning phase will be $29 million and be completed before the end of the year.

Extensive drilling and analysis is already underway on the western side of the mountains around Tumut.

In its first stage of construction, the project will see a 2000MW of underground generation and 29 km of tunnels between existing reservoirs in the Snowy Mountains region.

Under the agreement with ARENA, Snowy will provide information on future trends for pumped hydro and energy demand, as well as the latest information on technology such as reversible pumps or variable load generation.

This information will help the potential next wave of pumped hydro projects, such as the nine pumped projects being examined in Tasmania.

The Australian Government’s support for pumped hydro is part of our commitment to ensure reliability and affordability in the energy system and to build an energy network we can rely upon while reducing emissions.

Source: Federal Government

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Snowy Mountains Scheme 2.0

 

‘Renewables 400’ program charging ahead with huge interest

28 August

 The Palaszczuk Government is bringing the next wave of renewable energy investment to Queensland through its ‘Renewables 400’ program, with over 200 businesses registering their interest so far.

Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt said the 400 megawatt (MW) large-scale renewable energy reverse auction was part of the Government’s commitment to continuing the unprecedented momentum in new renewable energy investment in Queensland.

“There has already been significant interest in our Renewables 400 program, with 201 businesses registered so far including project developers, investors and local small businesses,” Mr Pitt said.

“Under this new initiative, we will support companies wanting to build the next generation of large-scale renewable and energy storage projects in Queensland.

“Industry have until 5pm today to register their interest and be a part of the continued renewable energy boom.

“An expression of interest process will open this week, on Thursday 31 August.”

Mr Pitt said the program included a focus on energy storage.

“As part of the Renewables 400 process, and to support the accelerated deployment of this technology, the Queensland Government is undertaking a specific process to secure up to 100 megawatts of energy storage prior to 2020,” he said.

“We all agree that energy storage technology will play an important role in the transition to higher levels of renewable energy and we are keen to see the benefits of this new investment flow into the Queensland economy.

“Not only are we encouraging investment in Queensland, but we’re also supporting diversity in renewable generation supply which is an important for our future energy security.

“Renewables 400 is one of the initiatives of the Palaszczuk Government’s $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan and a natural follow on from the success of our Solar 150 program.

“The first large-scale solar projects in Queensland have now come on-line and there are another 20 projects either commencing construction or finalising commercial arrangements.

“These projects will have an installed capacity of almost 1800 megawatts and importantly, will create around 2800 direct construction jobs in regional Queensland and boost investment by $3.4 billion.

Mr Pitt said that under the reverse auction process, companies would bid for Queensland Government support for both renewable generation and storage projects – most of which will be situated in the regions.

“Successful bidders will be awarded financial contracts with the Government for some or all of the electricity they generate which will provide them with long-term certainty allowing them to secure the financing required to deliver their project,” he said.

“The ‘reverse’ nature of the auction process means that companies are encouraged to bid for the lowest price necessary to support their project.

“The criteria to select successful bidders will include not only price but also support for local businesses and jobs and with a view to creating a diverse mix of renewable energy generation and storage to support a secure, reliable and affordable supply of electricity into the future.”

Expressions of Interest for the Renewables 400MW process open on Thursday 31 August. For more information on the or to submit an EOI visit www.dews.qld.gov.au

Source: Queensland Government

 

ESCOSA received an application from Bungala Two Operations Pty Ltd for an electricity generation licence. The applicant is seeking to operate a generation plant consisting of solar photovoltaic cells with a total maximum capacity of 110 megawatts (MW).

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Bungala Solar Farm

 

South Australia takes next step as world leader in renewable energy technology

28 August

The State Government has issued three calls for the next generation of renewable energy projects as part of the $150 million Renewable Technology Fund.

Investment Guidelines have been released and calls are now open for projects that will deliver clean, reliable and affordable power in the following categories:

  • Firming renewable generation - e.g. incorporating storage or other equipment into existing or pending wind or solar developments for increased inertia and system stability
  • Bulk energy storage - e.g. pumped hydro, compressed air, thermal storage or virtual power plants
  • Bioenergy - e.g. energy produced from agricultural wastes or by-products

Applications are open until 5pm on Thursday 28 September 2017, with successful applicants expected to be advised before summer.

The Investment Guidelines and call documents are available at ourenergyplan.sa.gov.au/opportunities

Background

In March, the State Government announced its $150 million Renewable Technology Fund as part of the energy plan South Australian Power for South Australians.

The fund comprises $75 million in grant funding and $75 million in loans or other forms of investment or assistance for eligible projects, to support private innovative companies and entrepreneurs.

A portion of the fund has already been allocated towards the grid-scale battery storage project currently being built by Tesla and Neoen near Jamestown.

Source: SA Government

 

Exporting Pilbara sunlight to the world

29 August

  • Pre-Feasibility Study finds exporting solar energy from the Pilbara to the ASEAN region is technically viable
  • A large-scale solar export project could create up to 2,000 jobs in the Pilbara, helping to diversify the region's economy

Sending solar power from the Pilbara to the ASEAN region could be the next big energy export for Western Australia, with a Pre-Feasibility Study finding a project would be technically viable.

The Pilbara has one of the highest levels of direct solar irradiance on the planet and was identified by the International Energy Agency's Task 8 Committee as one of the top six locations in the world to develop large-scale solar farms.

The Pilbara's other competitive advantages, such as land availability, industrial infrastructure, proximity to Asia and existing investment links, see the region well-placed to supply an efficient and reliable power source to meet rapidly growing demand from South-East Asia.

The Pre-Feasibility Study develops a scenario detailing the cost to build a three-gigawatt solar farm and transmission subsea cable from the Pilbara to Indonesia.

The scenario found a solar export project of this scale could potentially create up to 2,000 permanent jobs in the Pilbara, and more than 12,000 across Western Australia.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan launched the release of the study at the New Pilbara Economic Development Conference in Perth today.

For more information, visit http://www.pdc.wa.gov.au/Pilbarasolar

Source: WA Government

 

Genex secures generation authority for Kidston Solar Stage 1

29 August

Genex Power Limited (ASX: GNX) (Genex or Company) is pleased to advise that Queensland’s Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS) has issued Genex’s wholly owned subsidiary, Genex (Solar) Pty Ltd, a Generation Authority for the 50 MW Kidston Solar Stage 1 (KS1). The Generation Authority is a critical regulatory requirement to enable any new power station to connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Commenting on the issuing of the Generation Authority, Genex’s Managing Director Michael Addison said: “Genex continues to work constructively with Queensland’s Department of Energy and Water Supply to develop KS1. The Generation Authority is a critical regulatory requirement and Genex is pleased to have secured this milestone. By securing the Generation Authority, Genex is now one step closer to energisation and first revenue in December 2017 with Practical Completion in Q1 2018.”

Source: Genex Power

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Kidston Solar Project 1

 

NEW PROJECTS

Suntop Solar Farm

29 August

Photon Energy has announced details on a further large-scale solar power plant under development in Australia. The 253 MWp (220 MW AC) project in Suntop, New South Wales, is part of the previously announced 1 GWp development pipeline, for which Photon Energy has mandated advisory firm Pottinger to advise on the raising of development capital. The project is being co-developed with a local joint venture partner.

Through its 51%-owned project company Photon Energy AUS SPV 8 Pty Ltd. the company has secured options on approximately 400 ha of land and is progressing with the New South Wales government State Significant Development process. Photon Energy has also signed a grid connection process agreement with Transgrid, the operator of the major high voltage transmission network in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, for the design of a substation for approximately 220 MW AC (253 MWp) to be connected to Transgrid’s 330 KV network.

Photon Energy expects to complete the project development process to the ready-to-build stage and to commence construction in 2019. Once connected, the Suntop project is estimated to produce 453 GWh of clean energy each year, contributing significantly to Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

Carrick Solar Farm

Photon Energy is proposing to construct the 166 MW Carrick Solar Farm on 143 hectares of land in Marulan, NSW. Construction is expected to start in Q4 2018.

Contact:

Nick Guzowski

Project Development Manager

Photon Energy Australia

Tel: (02) 8021 3383

Email: [email protected]

 

Delta Electricity engages Entura to support Vales Point solar farm

29 August

Specialist power and water consulting firm Entura has been appointed by Delta Electricity to provide engineering services to support the development of the proposed Vales Point power station solar farm.

Located near the Vales Point coal power station, on the southern shores of Lake Macquarie, in New South Wales’ Central Coast, the solar photovoltaic facility is expected to be established on approximately 70 hectares of rehabilitated land. An initial solar capacity assessment indicates the potential for up to 45 MW of renewable energy to be generated by 170,000 solar panels.

Entura will deliver specialist consulting services related to functional design, EPC specifications and grid connection studies to advance the developmental work undertaken so far, and support Delta Electricity with progressing towards achieving financial closure for the project.

“Entura’s renewable energy credentials and expertise makes them the ideal partner to help us with advancing the development of the Vales Point solar farm and preparing it for financial closure,” said Delta Electricity Company Secretary Steve Gurney.

“This is an exciting project for Delta Electricity in terms of its scale and the potential for expansion down the track providing a significant contribution to state and federal government renewable energy targets.”

The proposed solar project is expected to involve a capital investment in excess of $30 million and generate 100 construction jobs over 18 months. Once environmental and development approvals are obtained, a final investment decision will be made and construction could commence in 2018.

Commenting on the appointment, Entura’s Director Customer Strategy and Market Development Dale Bryce said: “We’re pleased to be selected to work on this exciting project that will contribute to the transition of regional New South Wales to a cleaner, renewable energy generation future.”

Entura has significant renewable energy development experience from pre-feasibility right through to commissioning, optimising operations and asset management of utility-scale solar farms and wind farms.

Partnering with clients in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region, the firm has built a strong understanding of solar layout design optimisation, detailed electrical design, power system studies and grid connection issues, storage and the integration of hybrid renewable energy projects.

Source: Entura

 

Strategic review of Australian hydro generation assets

30 August

Trustpower announces strategic review of Australian hydro generation assets

Following the successful demerger of Tilt Renewables from Trustpower in October 2016, Trustpower’s Board has focussed its strategy on the core New Zealand business, whilst ensuring New Zealand and Australian assets are efficient, cost effective, and fit for purpose.

In light of the New Zealand focus, Trustpower has decided to begin a strategic review of its Australian hydro generation acquired in 2014. Trustpower has appointed Forsyth Barr to assist with the review process.

We will update the market with any material results of the strategic review, and currently expect any decisions regarding the assets to be finalised by the end of the 2017 calendar year.

Source: Trustpower

 

Review of Queensland’s state-based energy legislation

31 August

What are we doing?

The Department of Energy and Water Supply is undertaking a review of the Electricity Act, Gas Supply Act,andEnergy and Water Ombudsman Actand associated regulations. The purpose of the review is to assess how well our state-based energy legislation serves our expectations, needs and interests as they relate to energy today and into the foreseeable future.

Queensland’s state-based energy legislation regulates the state’s electricity and gas supply industries. It covers matters including:

  • who can generate and import electricity into the grid
  • who can supply electricity and gas
  • rights to install and maintain work on private and public lands
  • technical requirements and standards
  • dispute resolution arrangements
  • emergency powers.

Why we are reviewing the legislation?

Since the legislation was introduced, the energy sector has undergone, and will likely continue to undergo, rapid and disruptive change. New products such as energy storage systems (e.g. home batteries), digital metering and smart appliances are becoming more prevalent with advances in technology and falling costs. This has also resulted in new energy services and innovative business models such as power purchase agreements, solar leases, off-grid arrangements, and remote control and management of home energy.

Changes that have taken place were not contemplated at the time the state-based energy legislation was first introduced and they are challenging how the electricity and gas supply industries should be regulated. A key concern is whether the state-based energy legislation has kept up with these changes that have occurred in the electricity and gas supply industries.

Milestones and events

The review will be undertaken over 3 stages.

Stage 1: Consultation

Key milestone: Release of issues paper for public comment and targeted workshops.

Timing (anticipated): September to October 2017

Stage 2: Options development

Key milestone: Release for public comment a consultation regulatory impact statement (RIS), which outlines the options for reform based on outcomes of Stage 1.

Timing (anticipated): June 2018

Stage 3: Decision

Key milestone: Release a decision RIS outlining the government’s decision and rationale for implementing a preferred option.

Timing (anticipated): November 2018

Have your say

This review is an opportunity for consumers, industry and government to work together to ensure the right regulatory framework is in place to best support the contemporary expectations, needs and interests of Queenslanders as they relate to energy.

Contact us

For more information, email: [email protected]

Source: Queensland Government

 

Limondale Solar Farm approved

31 August

Overland Sun Farming’s planned 250 MW Limondale Solar Farm in Balranald NSW approved by Department of Planning & Environment. The project site is 2,049 hectares (ha) and is located off Yanga Way, approximately 14 kilometres south of the town of Balranald, which is approximately 230 km west of Griffith.

The development footprint within the project site is 1,025 ha. It is relatively flat in nature and consists mostly of cleared agricultural land that has been used for cropping and grazing over several decades.

There are very few landowners in close proximity to the site. The nearest residence is located approximately 2.9 km north of the site (see Figure 2), while a further 5 residences are located up to 6 km from the site.

The project adjoins the recently approved Sunraysia Solar Farm to the south. The Department has assessed the potential cumulative impacts of both projects if construction occurred at the same time, including traffic, accommodation and employment considerations.

Balranald has recently been identified as a ‘region of interest’ for renewable energy projects because it has good solar resources and spare capacity on the electricity network.

Key data

  • Approximately 868,000 solar panels mounted on single axis‐tracker frames (up to 2 m in height);
  • Up to 100 inverter stations (up to 2.3 m in height), each containing an inverter and a 33 kilovolt (kV) transformer, and an onsite substation containing a transformer and associated switchgear;
  • Internal access tracks, staff amenities, offices, car parking, laydown areas, security fencing; and
  • A 220 kV underground power line connecting to the existing Balranald substation (500 m east).
  • Approximately 90 full time equivalent workers would be required during construction, rising to 200 during the peak construction period.
  • The project would provide 4 to 7 full time equivalent operational jobs.
  • Capital investment value of $150 million

Source: NSW Department of Planning & Environment

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Limondale Solar Farm

Western Downs attracts multi-national energy giant

22 August

Western Downs Regional Council announced on Friday that Shell Australia, subsidiary of multi-national oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, has set its sights on our region for the development of a 250MW solar farm at Woleebee, near Wandoan.

  • Council has approved the development of ‘Delga Solar Farm’, located 25 kilometres south-west of Wandoan, making it the eighth solar project approved in the Western Downs;
  • The project is expected to employ anywhere between 500 and 800 staff during construction, with an operational workforce of up to 10 fulltime staff; and
  • Covering 400 hectares of land, once constructed the solar farm will be able to connect into the nearby Powerlink Wandoan South substation allowing the energy generated to connect into the national energy grid.

Mayor Paul McVeigh said Shell Australia’s solar farm project is further cementing the Western Downs as a leader in renewable energy production in Australia and internationally.

“We’ve fully embraced the future of renewables and energy production in our region, and we welcome the proposal of Shell Australia onto the solar energy scene in the Western Downs,” he said.

“This interest from a leading multi-national energy company to invest in renewable energy in our region is a great boost to the Western Downs’ already impressive energy portfolio.

“The Shell Australia solar farm project will bring many benefits to our communities and has the potential to value-add to our existing resource industries and experienced network of supply chain businesses in the region.

“This project marks the eighth solar farm approved by Council, demonstrating our goal to become the Energy Capital of Australia.

The project will now wait to receive final financial approval by Shell Australia.

Source: Western Downs Regional Council

 

Victorian Renewable Energy Target puts state in pole position for jobs, investment

23 August

The Victorian Government’s renewable energy auction announcement today is a major step forward for communities, businesses and the state’s renewable energy industry, the Clean Energy Council said.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said more power generation is required following the retirement of the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant, and today’s announcement will turbo charge significant private investment in low cost renewable energy to fill the gap and bring power prices down.

“The state government is showing strong leadership through its Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) scheme, which will boost investment and jobs,” Mr Thornton said.

“Victoria is realising an immense opportunity to grow its economy and preserve its future energy security through the establishment of a strong and long-term VRET scheme, which will ensure the roll-out of renewable energy projects well beyond 2020.

“The renewable energy projects committed in Victoria this year add up to 685 MW of capacity, more than 530 jobs and $1.2 billion worth of investment. Today’s announcement means these figures will grow exponentially and put Victoria in a leading position to accelerate investment and job creation, at a time when interstate competition for projects is steadily increasing,” he said.

The VRET scheme has set targets to source 25 per cent of Victoria’s power from renewable energy by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. The government will introduce legislation committing to these future targets, providing confidence for the renewable energy industry to invest in the jobs and supply chain over the long term.

Mr Thornton said the auction round announced today is the largest renewable reverse energy auction program to date in Australia, building on the success of the ACT Government’s program.

“This is a significant addition to the Victorian Government’s clean energy commitments to date, which include solar trams, solar schools, an energy storage initiative and a renewable energy certificate purchasing initiative,” he said.

“Today’s announcement will help Australia move away from high-emissions power generation to cleaner renewable energy, which is in line with our emissions reduction commitments under the global climate agreement negotiated in Paris several years ago.”

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

Windlab to receive $10 million milestone success payment in respect of the Coopers Gap Wind Farm

23 August

Windlab Limited (Windlab) (ASX Code: WND) advises that it has become entitled to receive a milestone success payment of just over $10 million in respect of the Coopers Gap Wind Farm in South East Queensland operated by AGL Energy Limited (AGL) and the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF).

The 453 MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm in South East Queensland which is Australia’s largest wind energy project was identified and initially developed by Windlab using its industry leading wind energy prediction and assessment technology, WindScape™.

Windlab Limited (Windlab) congratulates AGL Energy Limited (AGL) and the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF) on reaching financial close which is a significant milestone for the project partners.

Windlab’s WindScape Institute originally identified Coopers Gap in 2005 from its headquarters in Canberra. Identified from its hi-resolution WindScape generated wind map it was clear from the beginning that it was a highly competitive and large-scale wind resource. Of particular interest was its location. Located in Queensland it is one of very few high-quality wind resources in close proximity to the electricity network in that State.

Windlab completed a series of virtual wind farm designs (VWF) before securing land tenure over the project. Windlab undertook many of the early stage development activities for the project before the project was acquired by AGL in 2010. Since that time Windlab has continued to play a role, supporting AGL in the completion of the project by providing wind monitoring, analysis and assessment services.

“We are delighted to see Coopers Gap reach financial close. Whilst continued market uncertainty has resulted in the project taking longer to complete than initially expected, it will now play a critical role in reducing electricity prices in Queensland.”

Stated Roger Price, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Windlab Limited. He continued “Market competitive wind resources, close to the transmission network are rare in Queensland yet critically important to balance the surge in solar generation expected to occur over the next decade. At nearly half a gigawatt, Coopers Gap along with projects like Windlab’s Kennedy Energy Park will make a vital contribution to delivering a low cost, reliable and clean electricity network for Queensland.” Under the terms of the original sale and implementation agreement for Coopers Gap Windlab will receive a final milestone success payment for the project of a little over $10million.

Source: Windlab

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Coopers Gap Wind Farm

 

Boosting energy security in South Australia

23 August

The Turnbull Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing up to $12 million in funding for a 30MW large-scale battery that delivers both regulated network services and competitive market services - unlocking the full potential of a battery.

Expected to cost around $30 million, the battery is the first large-scale battery to be designed, built and commercially operated in Australia and backed by private investment from energy providers.

Transmission network provider ElectraNet will design, build and own the battery at Dalrymple substation on the Yorke Peninsula and lease out the commercial operation to a major energy retailer.

It is expected to be constructed and operational by February 2018.

The development is the second phase of the Energy Storage for Commercial Renewable Integration (ESCRI) project.

Phase one consisted of a study into the potential for energy storage to benefit the South Australian network, including key aspects of a utility scale battery.

Phase two will not only supply Fast Frequency Response to help balance the electricity network and reduce operating constraints on the Heywood interconnector with Victoria, but also keep the lights on in the Dalrymple service area during a loss of supply by working together with the existing 90MW Wattle Point wind farm and rooftop solar PV systems in a microgrid.

The Turnbull Government's investment in innovative technologies, such as this large-scale battery, will help to deliver affordable and reliable energy as we transition to a lower emissions future.

Source: Federal Government

 

LNP to waste $4.2 billion on another unviable power project

23 August

Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister, Curtis Pitt, says the LNP has tonight fully committed to spending up to $4.2 billion on the unviable Tully Millstream hydro-electric project.

“The LNP tonight backed a motion in State Parliament calling for the project to be constructed, even though there is no funding for it and the project is unsound both financially and environmentally,” Mr Pitt said.

“Until now, all we heard was the LNP asking for a feasibility study into the potential project.

“But by voting for this project they have made a commitment to bypass the feasibility study and spend up to $4.2 billion on the project.

“This comes on top of their commitment to a new and unnecessary coal-fired power plant in North Queensland costing up to $3 billion according to the LNP’s own former Northern Australia Minister, Senator Matt Canavan.

“These are just two of the many unfunded promises the LNP has been making.

“The Palaszczuk Government supports hydro-electric power, as we have shown in our Powering North Queensland Plan. But it needs to be affordable.

“But after being floated 20 years ago the Tully Millstream project has never been initiated because it just doesn’t stack up financially and would flood 1,000 hectares of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

“The last study undertaken by Stanwell in 2012 concluded it would cost between $3 billion and $4.2 billion and would only be viable if power prices hit more than $200 per megawatt hour compared with average wholesale prices of $76 so far this financial year.”

Mr Pitt said the government’s Powering North Queensland Plan included a statewide hydro study to pinpoint appropriate locations for potential new projects.

“Our plan also takes advantage of current assets like the Burdekin Dam and the Kidston hydro project,” he said.

“We have a clear plan for our energy infrastructure, but the LNP has only thought bubbles that would place added financial costs and risks on Queenslanders while inflicting significant environmental damage.”

Source: Queensland Government

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Tully Millstream Hydroelectric Scheme

 

 Renewable energy a jobs boom for Victoria

23 August

The Andrews Labor Government is harnessing the power of renewable energy to drive down prices, attract billions of dollars of investment and create thousands of local jobs.

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today to announce the introduction of legislation for Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET), the largest renewable energy auction in Australia and the awarding of contracts for two large-scale solar plants to power Melbourne’s tram network.

Legislation to be introduced into the Parliament this week will set ambitious new renewable energy targets for Victoria of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

It’s the first time such ambitious renewable energy targets have been enshrined in state legislation anywhere in Australia.

Importantly, the VRET will cut the average cost of power for Victorians by around $30 a year for households, $2,500 a year for medium businesses and $140,000 a year for large companies, while driving a 16 per cent reduction in Victoria’s electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2034-35.

The competitive VRET auction for up to 650 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity will provide enough electricity to power 389,000 households – or enough energy to power Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley combined.

This first auction is expected to bring forward up to $1.3 billion of investment and create 1,250 construction jobs over two years and 90 ongoing jobs.

The Labor Government also announced the winners of a tender to help build around 138 MW of new large scale solar projects to power Melbourne’s tram network.

Bannerton Solar Park near Robinvale in the Sunraysia district is expected to provide 100 MW of solar powered electricity, while the Numurkah Solar Farm near Shepparton is expected to generate 38 MW.

This will bring forward an additional investment of $198 million and generate around 325 jobs in regional Victoria during construction.

Source: Victoria Government

 

NEW PROJECT

Sapphire Solar and Storage

The company behind the 270 MW Sapphire wind farm have outlined plans to develop a c. 200 MW solar + storage project and with it the next big wave of renewable energy investment in the New England region.

The Sapphire solar and storage project is proposed to be located on five freehold properties within and adjacent to the wind farm. An outline of the project and a preliminary environmental assessment has been prepared and submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, marking the first phase of the development process.

Construction of the 270 MW Sapphire wind farm commenced in January 2017 and remains ahead of schedule. The first shipment of wind turbine component arrived in to the Port of Newcastle in July ready to be brought to site in the coming weeks.

Source: CWP Renewables

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Sapphire Wind Farm

 

Meridian puts two NZ wind farm projects on hold

During FY17 we ensured that our portfolio of renewable options was appropriately sized. Our view that demand growth will likely be moderate, combined with the cost of maintaining land access agreements, led us to discontinue Poutō wind farm, an option close to the Kaipara Harbour that was in the pre-consent phase, and put on hold Hurunui wind farm, a consented option in North Canterbury, both of which were less attractive than others in our portfolio.

Two consented North Island wind farm projects, Central Wind (Taihape) and Maungaharuru (Hawke’s Bay) remain the most attractive options. Combined, they would result in approximately 280MW of additional renewable electricity generation, providing about 800GWh of electricity per annum (equivalent to demand growth of 2%).

Source: Meridian Energy 2017 annual results

 

Solar thermal project for Port Augusta

24 August

The Turnbull Government has today written to SolarReserve Australia Pty Ltd about its proposal to construct a 150MW concentrated solar thermal power plant at Port Augusta, South Australia.

In the 2017/18 Budget the Turnbull Government committed to invest up to $110 million to secure the delivery of a solar thermal plant at Port Augusta.

SolarReserve was recently awarded a power supply contract by the South Australian Government, which includes the construction of the new power plant. The announcement was welcomed by the Federal Government.

Solar thermal plants operate in a similar way to traditional fossil fuel power plants with steam spinning a conventional turbine, which means they can contribute to network stability and reliability when coupled with built-in storage.

The Federal Government has asked SolarReserve to provide all the project details. The Government will ask the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to work with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), in consultation with the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency (IPFA), to provide the Government with advice on the project.

ARENA and the CEFC have a strong track record in supporting the commercialisation of emerging technologies and will use that expertise to take solar thermal to the next level in Australia.

The IPFA advises the Federal Government on funding and financing solutions for nationally significant infrastructure across all sectors, including energy.

The Turnbull Government's investment in low emission technologies will help to deliver reliable and affordable energy as we move to a lower emissions future.

Source: Federal Government

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Aurora Solar Energy Project

Port Augusta Solar Thermal to boost competition and create jobs

14 August

SolarReserve has been awarded the contract to supply all of the Government’s power needs, with the project set to boost market competition and put downward pressure on power prices.

A key part of the State Government’s Energy Plan, the 150MW solar thermal power plant at Port Augusta, called Aurora, will be the biggest of its kind in the world and create 650 local jobs during construction and 50 ongoing positions.

Construction of the $650 million facility will begin in 2018 and is estimated to be completed in 2020.

The offer from SolarReserve was the lowest-cost option of the shortlisted bids with the Government paying no more than $78/MWh.

Aurora will produce synchronous renewable energy that can be dispatched into the grid when needed - even when the sun isn’t shining. This will have the added benefits of improving grid security and stability, and allowing for greater levels of renewables to be integrated into the system.

Background

In September 2016 the State Government launched a tender process to procure 75 per cent of its long-term power supply in order to attract a new competitor into the electricity market, increasing competition and putting downward pressure on power prices.

The launch of the tender followed the announcement in July that the State Government would procure 25 per cent of its electricity load from dispatchable renewable energy providers in order to drive innovation in storage and other technologies.

As a large, dispatchable renewable energy generator, SolarReserve provides a single solution that delivers on the goals of both those initiatives.

Under normal operating conditions the plant will have a net capacity of about 135MW, with the ability to increase that output in favourable conditions, such as in the evening.

The Government has entered into a Generation Project Agreement (GPA) with Solar Reserve for the Aurora Solar Energy Project to supply the State’s current load for a period of 20 years.

The GPA contract has been structured to ensure the State gets the benefit of lower spot prices that are expected to arise from the large quantity of renewables entering the South Australian market.

The operation of the contract will improve competition by adding more capacity to the system from a new market participant. In particular SolarReserve will have a strong incentive to ensure its capacity is running at peak times, which will put downward pressure on peak prices for all consumers.

Peak Government load is as high as 125MW but lower for most of the day and far lower outside of business hours. Throughout the day, whatever Aurora is producing in addition to the State Government’s demand can be sold into the market which will help other consumers.

The Government will pay an expected levelised price of $75/MWh, and no more than $78/MWh.

SolarReserve

SolarReserve’s concentrated solar power technology uses thousands of mirrors (heliostats) to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a central receiver on top of a tower. The process heats molten salt, pumped to the top of the tower and flowing through the receiver, to 565 degrees Celsius.

The molten salt provides a stored heat source which is used to generate steam to drive a single turbine that generates electricity. The facility can generate power at full load for up to eight hours after sunset.

Source: South Australia Government

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Aurora Solar Energy Project

 

Windlab’s share offer for 25mil company shares at $2.00 per share, to raise gross proceeds of $50mil, closed on 17 August. The purpose of the offer was to provide funding and financial support to the Kennedy Energy Park Phase I project which is being developed in joint venture with Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation. Funds from the Offer will facilitate Windlab maintaining its 50% interest in the project through construction and operation.

Source: Windlab

 

First Solar awarded 241MW module supply contract for Edify Energy solar projects in Australia

11 August

First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced it has been awarded a 241 megawatt (MW)DC module supply contract by RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX: RCR) as engineering, procurement and construction contractor for Edify Energy’s Daydream (180.7MWDc) and Hayman (60.2MWDC) solar projects in Queensland, Australia. This contract takes First Solar’s delivery pipeline to over 500MW in the next 12 months, cementing it as the leading module supplier for large-scale solar in Australia.

Located across two sites north of Collinsville, the projects will utilize an optimized technology solution that includes single axis tracking technology from Array Technologies, Inc., and more than 2,026,565 First Solar advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules, to produce approximately 531,000 megawatt-hours of sustainable energy each year.

The First Solar Series 4 modules chosen for the projects are ideally suited to the hot and humid environmental conditions of the Whitsunday Region, due to a superior temperature coefficient, and better shading and spectral response.

“First Solar’s unique energy yield advantage enables our solar projects in North Queensland to produce more energy per MW installed than other available PV technology,” said John Cole, Edify Energy’s Chief Executive. “This is of significant importance for asset owners and operators looking to maximize energy production. The First Solar team has been very supportive and a key enabler of these projects.”

On completion, the projects will provide significant environmental benefits, producing enough sustainable energy to displace 429,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year combined. This will serve the needs of approximately 73,000 average Queensland homes, the equivalent of taking approximately 115,000 cars off the road.

Construction on the projects is scheduled to commence in Q3 2017, with module delivery in Q4 2017 and Q1 2018.

Source: First Solar

 

Mount Emerald Wind Farm reaches major construction milestone

14 August

Construction at the $360 million Mount Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba reached an important milestone last week when the first of 53 turbine foundations was put in place.

The 800-tonne foundation which is buried to ground level provides an immovable anchor for each turbine and consists of a 50-tonne reinforced steel cage filled with around 350m3 of concrete, or up to 70 truckloads.

Ratch Australia Corporation Executive General Manager Business Development, Mr Anthony Yeates, said the first foundation was always a special milestone in wind farm construction.

“Up until this point, the focal point for construction has been civil works, establishing the site office and constructing access roads following meticulous flora, fauna and unexploded ordinance surveys,” Mr Yeates said.

“Getting the first foundation poured is the first big ticket items on our scope of works that has to do directly with the wind turbines so for us it’s a special moment that salutes years of hard work by many people in our team,” he said.

Mr Yeates said the concrete used for each foundation will be manufactured onsite to reduce truck movements on public roads. Up to four weeks is allowed for the concrete to cure to maximum strength before the foundation is backfilled with rock and soil to match the natural surface level. At this point, the foundation is ready for the bottom section of the tower to be bolted to it.

Wind turbine components will be delivered over an eight-month period starting in October. The delivery route will see trucks head south from Cairns along the Palmerston and Kennedy Highways before Hansen and Springmount Roads are used to get to site.

All parts will be delivered with the approval from the Department of Transport and Main Roads for oversize loads. A detailed route assessment plan including any proposed modifications to intersections is required for this approval. 

Each turbine will have a capacity exceeding 3 megawatts (MW) making a total capacity of around 180MW to be connected to the electricity grid. Once fully operational in September 2018, Mount Emerald will be the biggest wind farm in Queensland.

“It’s exciting to see the project really begin to take shape. Now that we have the foundations underway, we hope to have the first tower sections going up within the next two months, followed eventually by the installation of the nacelles and then the turbine blades,” Mr Yeates said.

Source: Ratch Australia

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Mt Emerald Wind Farm

 

Tesla battery project to create local jobs in South Australia

15 August

South Australian-based company Consolidated Power Projects (CPP) have been engaged to help construct South Australia’s grid-scale battery.

At its peak about 50 of CPP’s local South Australian workers will be employed on the project, including a number of staff who live in the Mid North region.

CPP will carry out the engineering and construction work required to connect the Tesla battery to both the Hornsdale wind farm and South Australia’s power grid.

The work includes updating the substation and installing the batteries and inverters being supplied by Tesla. It also includes integrating the battery’s storage control and metering systems with Neoen and Electranet’s existing systems.

Background

The construction of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery is a key component of the State Government’s plan to take charge of South Australia’s energy future.

The battery will operate at all times providing stability services to the South Australian grid, which both Tesla and Neoen have said will lower power prices for South Australians.

Neoen, who own the Hornsdale wind farm near Jamestown, will also sell the battery's surplus capacity to the market, adding competition and putting downward pressure on power prices. The battery is on track to be operational by 1 December.

CPP is a leading electrical engineering company head-quartered in Adelaide. They have completed 19 major grid connection projects and employ about 100 South Australians.

Click here to go to online datasheet: Hornsdale Wind Farm

 

AGL and PARF achieve financial close on Coopers Gap Wind Farm

17 August

AGL Energy Limited (AGL) today announced it has reached financial close on the sale to the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF) of the 453 MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm project at Cooranga North, approximately 250 kilometres north west of Brisbane. The project will be the largest wind farm in Australia on completion.

AGL anticipates the total development investment associated with the Coopers Gap project will be approximately $850 million, funded through a combination of PARF partners’ equity and a lending group comprising Westpac Banking Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Societe Generale, DBS Bank, Mizuho bank and ABN Amro.

The $22 million sale of the project into PARF includes AGL writing a power purchase agreement at a bundled (i.e. including both electricity and associated renewable energy certificates) offtake price of less than $60/MWh (real) for an initial five years. There is a put/call option to extend for the following five years at the same or lower price. AGL expects to recognise nil profit on sale from the transaction.

AGL has named a joint venture consisting of GE and Catcon as the successful tenderer for the engineering procurement contract. AGL and GE/Catcon will develop the wind farm with full operation targeted by the middle of the 2019 calendar year.

PARF is aiming to develop approximately 1,000 MW of large-scale renewable energy projects to be operated and managed by AGL. It is a partnership between AGL (20 percent) and QIC (80 percent, on behalf of clients the Future Fund and the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund). PARF’s scope represents 20 percent of the estimated 5,000 MW of new renewable generation capacity required by 2020 to meet the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target.

AGL Managing Director & CEO, Andy Vesey, said: “More than 800 MW of projects have now been vended into PARF since its inception in July 2016, following the earlier transactions involving the Silverton Wind Farm project and Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants in New South Wales. The strong support we have received from our equity partners and lenders for these projects is testament to the readiness of the private sector to invest in Australia‘s energy transformation. Certainty on energy policy, including the implementation of the recommendations of the Finkel Review, will enable more projects of this kind to go ahead and help place downward pressure on energy prices by increasing supply.”

AGL Chief Financial Officer, Brett Redman, said: “PARF has played a key role in a rapid uptick in generation project development in Australia. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the investment model, the falling price and increasing efficiency of renewables technology and the key role renewables have to play in providing clean and affordable energy for Australia.”

Ross Israel, Head of Global Infrastructure at QIC, said: “Coopers Gap Wind Farm represents a significant investment for PARF and for renewable energy in regional Queensland. The project is the largest committed renewables project in Queensland. It is a testament to the strength of our long-term partnership with AGL and our ability to work constructively through times of significant policy uncertainty in the energy market.”

The Coopers Gap Wind Farm will produce approximately 1,510,000 MWh of renewable energy annually, which can power more than 260,000 average Australian homes. The renewable energy produced from the wind farm’s 123 turbines will reduce CO2 emissions by 1,180,000 tonnes annually, the equivalent of taking 340,000 cars off the road.

Source: AGL Energy

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Coopers Gap Wind Farm

 

GE and AGL develop Australia’s largest wind farm in Coopers Gap, Queensland

17 August

  • The 453MW wind farm development will power the equivalent of more than 260,000 homes
  • GE to supply and install 123 wind turbines
  • This is GE’s first wind farm development in Queensland
  • GE’s installed wind capacity will reach almost 1.4 GW in Australia by 2019

GE (NYSE:GE) today announced an agreement with the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF) to supply and install 123 wind turbines for the Coopers Gap wind farm project at Cooranga North, 250 kilometres north-west of Brisbane. PARF is a partnership between AGL Energy Limited (AGL) (20 percent) and Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) (80 percent, on behalf of clients the Future Fund and the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund).

Upon completion in 2019, the 453 MW wind farm will produce approximately 1,510,000 MWh of renewable energy annually – enough to power the equivalent of more than 260,000 average Australian homes and reduce CO2 emissions by 1,180,000 tonnes each year.

Coopers Gap Wind Farm is a landmark project for GE. It will be the largest wind farm in the country on completion, and GE’s first wind project in Queensland. It is the second major renewables project that GE and AGL have announced this year, following the Silverton Wind Farm in western New South Wales.

Geoff Culbert, President & CEO, GE Australia, New Zealand & Papua New Guinea, said: “We are proud to be working with AGL to support Australia’s transition to a cleaner, modern energy system.

“AGL’s commitment to a lower emissions future is clear. The company announced earlier this year it would ramp up investment in renewable energy and decarbonise its generation by 2050. This wind farm represents a significant step towards that goal and we are proud to be a part of that,” he said.

GE will deliver 91 of its 3.6 MW turbines with 137m rotors, and 32 of its 3.8 MW turbines with 130m rotors. GE will also undertake a 25-year full service agreement to maintain the windfarm over its lifetime.

AGL Managing Director & CEO, Andy Vesey, said: “More than 800 MW of projects have now been vended into PARF in its first 12 months of operation, following the earlier transactions involving the Silverton wind farm project and Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants in New South Wales. The strong support we have received from our equity partners and lenders for these projects is testament to the readiness of the private sector to invest in Australia’s energy transformation.

“Certainty on energy policy, including the implementation of the recommendations of the Finkel Review, will enable more projects of this kind to go ahead and help place downward pressure on energy prices by increasing supply,” he said.

The project is expected to create up to 200 jobs during the peak of construction, and an additional 20 ongoing operational jobs. The construction firm CATCON will be responsible for the wind farm’s construction.

Pete McCabe, President & CEO of GE Renewable Energy’s Onshore Wind business, said: “Australia is a great market for wind. After the US, it is GE’s second largest region globally for renewable energy. While we see lots of opportunities in Australia, we need to continue to have policy certainty to drive investment.”

The Coopers Gap development is GE’s fifth wind farm project to begin construction in Australia in 2017. On completion in 2019, GE will be responsible for a fleet of wind turbines with a capacity of almost 1.4 GW.

Source: GE Power

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Coopers Gap Wind Farm

 

Genex signs Binding Heads of Agreement with Powerlink Queensland

Genex Power Limited (ASX: GNX) (Genex or Company) is pleased to advise that it has entered into a Binding Heads of Agreement (Agreement) with Powerlink Queensland (Powerlink) to progress a range of key activities which are critical to the connection of Genex’s Stage 2 Kidston Hydro-Solar Project (Project) to the Queensland transmission network.

The Agreement requires Powerlink to commence a detailed program of works, including a targeted

environmental study on the Mount Fox-Kidston Corridor, transmission line design works and development of the easement acquisition process. These activities follow the recent declaration of the Kidston Project (including the transmission path) as a “Critical Infrastructure” project by the Queensland State Government.

The Agreement also sets down a detailed timetable requiring Genex to submit to Powerlink a formal Application to Connect in Q4 2017, to be followed by negotiation of a Generator Connection and Access Agreement in accordance with Chapter 5 of the National Electricity Rules.

This Agreement builds on the Queensland Government’s recently announced Powering North Queensland Plan, which includes a $150 million reinvestment of Powerlink dividends to develop strategic transmission infrastructure in North and North-west Queensland to support a clean energy hub.

Genex continues to work on a number of key funding initiatives aimed at delivering the Project in the most capital conservative manner possible.

Commenting on the Agreement, Genex’s Managing Director Michael Addison stated:

“We are pleased to have now finalised our approach to this vital element of our Stage 2 project structure. This early works program to progress the design and easement acquisition process of the transmission path is key to connecting our project to the national electricity grid.

We maintain an excellent relationship with Powerlink and are delighted to be working with them towards meeting our power transmission requirements.”

Source: Genex

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Kidston Hydro Project

Queensland recharges efforts to boost local energy security and jobs

7 August

The Palaszczuk Government’s focus on boosting energy security and jobs for Queenslanders is stepping up, with progress on a key plank of its Powering Queensland Plan announced today.

Launching ‘Renewables 400’, Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to continuing the unprecedented momentum in new renewable energy investment and energy storage in Queensland.

“Renewables 400 is one of the initiatives of my Government’s $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan and a natural follow on from the success of our Solar 150 program,” the Premier said.

“Under this new initiative, we will support companies wanting to build the next generation of large-scale renewable and battery storage projects in Queensland, with priority given to projects that support local jobs and businesses.

Visiting Century Batteries’ factory in Carole Park today, the Premier said the Government’s focus was on a diversified energy mix, and attracting new investment and technologies to delivery long-term energy security and put downward pressure on electricity prices.

“As part of the Renewables 400 program, the Palaszczuk Government will undertake a specific process to secure up to 100 megawatts of energy storage prior to 2020.

“Energy storage will play an important role in the transition to higher levels of renewable energy and this process will support the accelerated deployment of this important technology.”

Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt said that under the reverse auction process, companies would bid for Queensland Government support for both renewable generation and storage projects – most of which will be situated in the regions.

“Successful bidders will be awarded financial contracts with the Government for some or all of the electricity they generate which will provide them with long-term certainty allowing them to secure the financing required to deliver their project,” he said.

“The ‘reverse’ nature of the auction process means that companies are encouraged to bid for the lowest price necessary to support their project.

“The criteria to select successful bidders will include not only price but also support for local businesses and jobs and with a view to creating a diverse mix of renewable energy generation and storage to support a secure, reliable and affordable supply of electricity into the future.”

Companies wanting to be considered need to register via the DEWS website www.dews.qld.gov.au.

“This early registration provides adequate time to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running when the process opens,” Minister Pitt said.

“When the Palaszczuk Government was elected, there was not one large scale renewable energy project commissioned in Queensland.

“In just 18 months, we’ve kick-started the renewable energy boom and there are now 17 projects financially committed in Queensland bringing strong benefits to regional Queensland, including $2.3 billion of investment and 2,200 construction jobs, with many more on the way.

“Energy is undergoing a transformational change in the way it is generated, transported and used and as a government you have to plan for that and not stick your head in the sand and pretend our only option is expensive coal-fired power stations anymore.

“We’re committed to transitioning to a clean energy future in a responsible, achievable and sustainable way – with affordability always front and centre.”

For more information on the 400MW Reverse Auction, or to access the register of interest visit www.dews.qld.gov.au

Source: Queensland Government

 

Equis to Develop 1,000 MW Solar Project in Queensland, Australia

7 August

Equis Energy (Equis), Asia‐Pacific’s largest renewable energy IPP, has received approval from the Western Downs Regional Council in Queensland, Australia to develop the 1,000 MW Wandoan South Solar Project (WSSP), one of the largest solar projects in Australia and the world.

WSSP will involve a capital investment of approximately A$1.5 billion, with a significant amount to be spent locally. Construction of the project is expected to begin in 2018, and to begin delivering power in 2019.

The project, covering 1,424 hectares of land, will be connected to Powerlink’s Wandoan South substation, and will have the ability to add battery storage when commercially feasible. This will allow energy to be stored and will facilitate the generation of power into the evening.

David Russell, Equis Chairman, said, “As Asia‐Pacific’s largest renewable energy IPP, Equis is excited about leveraging its economies of scale in the growing Australian market to deliver low‐cost renewable energy. Equis is committed to developing large‐scale solar generation in rural areas to provide employment opportunities and support economic growth in local communities.”

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said, “We are serious about cementing the Western Downs as the Energy Capital of Australia and securing the enormous economic and community benefits that will bring to our region. Equis has expressed their desire to be proactive in their consultation with neighbours of this project site, and that aligns with the business model we are promoting for renewable energy projects. The timeframe in which Council has processed this application highlights the message we are open for business, and I think it is important to reiterate that although our approval process is rigorous, it is efficient.”

WSSP brings to 1,276 MW the total generation capacity for which Equis has received approval in Australia, involving an aggregate investment cost of A$1.9 billion, positioning Equis as one of the country’s largest and lowest cost solar developers.

The WSSP project will incorporate up to 3 million solar PV panels and have a generation output of approximately 1,800,000 megawatt hours per year (MWh/year), collectively supplying power equivalent to the annual needs of 255,000 homes, and saving over 1. 7 million tonnes of CO2 annually compared to same generation from coal‐fired power.

Source: Equis

 

Impact Investment Group funds new 19MW Solar Farm in Swan Hill, Victoria

8 August

This project will be our largest investment in a single solar farm, and is expected to be one of the highest capacity solar farms in Victoria on completion.

The Swan Hill Solar Farm is expected to produce 37,700 MWh in its first year of operation, enough to power the equivalent of approximately 6,300 Australian homes.

Over its 25-year expected lifetime, the solar farm will avoid approximately 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions and save approximately 14,300 Australians from pollution related diseases, according to modelling by IIG. It will have more than 50,000 solar panels operating on a single axis tracking system.

The project has a total expected cost of approximately $32 million and to directly create 60 jobs during construction, and the same number again through indirect employment in the supply chain and through managing Australia’s transition towards renewable energy.

Regional Victoria is set to experience a boom in the development of renewable energy generation, with more than eleven large-scale solar farms currently committed or proposed for the state.

"It is great to be a prominent part of this new wave of construction and investment in Victoria's solar energy economy," says IIG CEO Chris Lock.

“This project demonstrates that IIG can create investment opportunities in solar assets even during times of policy uncertainty for Australian energy markets. Many sophisticated investors recognise that the world is shifting to renewable power such as wind and solar.

“Investing in solar power stations can deliver investor returns, create jobs and provide cleaner, safer, healthier energy options.”

The Swan Hill Rural City Council has strongly encouraged the project through the early phases.

Mayor of Swan Hill Rural City Council, Cr Les McPhee said north west Victoria was primed to be a centre for clean energy generation.

“Investments like this one from the Impact Investment Group are game-changers for our move to a renewable energy economy, and Swan Hill is proud to have secured one of the first large-scale solar farms in Victoria. Council has been an early supporter of solar energy and has enjoyed a great relationship with the developers and investors of this solar farm at what is locally known as Blackwire Reserve.”

The developer for this project is Australian Solar Group, with RCR Tomlinson Ltd being awarded the engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance contract. Construction for this project is expected to commence in late August 2017.

RCR’s scope of work includes engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning including associated substations and grid connection works. Once commissioned, RCR will undertake maintenance services for an initial period of two years.

On completion of this project the Swan Hill Solar Farm is expected to become one of the seed assets in a new IIG solar fund, the details of which will be released in due course.

Source: Impact Investment Group

 

Work underway to make Tasmania the renewable energy battery of the nation

8 August

Work is well underway to revitalise Tasmania’s iconic hydro generation system and cement Tasmania’s place as the renewable energy battery of the nation.

Today I visited Hydro Tasmania’s Cambridge workshop and saw what Tasmanian ingenuity and hard work can achieve, with the refurbishment of components of the Cluny Power Station.

Hydro Tasmania’s Cambridge workshop is a vital part of our Plan to make Tasmania the renewable energy battery of the nation. Employing 12 staff, including two apprentices – with that number likely to grow in the near future - the workshop is vital to Hydro Tasmania’s future as a leader in energy and developing and retaining important technical skills in Tasmania.

Hydro Tasmania is investing $275 million upgrading the entire Derwent system, which includes a $28.5 million investment in the Cluny Power Station. Currently, one of the turbine runners is being modernised to make it more efficient, increase energy output from the Station and reduce environmental risks.

Following the completion of work on the Cluny Power Station, Hydro Tasmania will then begin upgrades to the Repulse Power Station.

This work underpins our Plan to make Tasmania the renewable energy battery of the nation.

Hydro Tasmania is currently identifying a shortlist of sites for pumped hydro that have the potential to generate up to an extra 2,500 MW of power – enough to power 500,000 homes right around the nation. Last week, the Australian National University announced that it had identified over 2,000 potential pumped hydro sites in Tasmania.  The research indicated that Tasmania has: “…a combined (pumped) energy storage potential that is about ten times larger than required to support a 100% renewable electricity grid for the whole of Australia.”*  This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Tasmania and the Hodgman and Turnbull Governments are working closely to ensure we make the most of the opportunity.

Work is also underway to improve two of our major power generators - the Tarraleah and Gordon Power Stations. We are working hard to breathe new life into these stations and make them a significant part of our plan for the future.

Tasmania is one of the few places on Earth that is almost entirely powered by renewable baseload energy. We do it better than anyone else, anywhere else and the Hodgman Government is committed to making Tasmania the nation’s renewable energy battery.

Source: Tasmania Government

 

Uleybury Landfill Solar Farm

The Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority (NAWMA), in partnership with Joule Energy Pty Ltd, is pleased to announce the development of a 1.15MW solar farm at the Uleybury Landfill. This exciting new project, an Australian first, will generate approximately 2000 mega-watt hours of renewable electricity each year, enough to power more than 345 homes in the local community.

As landfills have very little use once closed due to issues of land settlement and landfill gas, they are ideal locations for solar development. Solar generation systems on landfills, and neighbouring buffer zones, provide an economically viable reuse for sites that may have significant clean-up costs and little potential for commercial or residential development. Considering this, NAWMA took the opportunity to partner with Joule Energy, an Australian owned, Adelaide based company whom specializes in solar on landfills, to develop the solar generation facility to be situated on the Uleybury Landfill.

The 1.15MW solar farm will consist of 11,000 solar PV panels and utilize local technology and manufacturing as well as local labour during the construction process. The solar frames to be used in the project for example have been manufactured by Salisbury based company, IXL Solar.

The location of the solar farm has been selected to ensure there is minimal disturbance to the visual amenity of the local area and extensive research has been undertaken to ensure there are no negative environmental impacts.

The solar farm is designed to integrate with the landfill gas renewable energy facility situated at the Uleybury Landfill and supplement its output. Therefore combining base-load and solar PV technologies that will produce renewable energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The collective electricity generated from both energy sources will be over 11,000 mega-watt hours per annum, which is enough to power more than 1,800 homes. A project of this scale has never been undertaken on an Australian landfill and will be the first of its kind in the country.

This ambitious project underlines NAWMA’s commitment to sustainable practices and will deliver significant environmental benefits. When compared to a traditional coal-fired power station generating the same amount of electricity, the NAWMA renewable energy facility will save approximately 24million litres of water each year and prevent 63,500 tonnes of carbon (CO2-e) from being emitted into the atmosphere annually.

Source: NAWMA

 

Work to start soon on new Queensland solar farm after Origin PPA

10 August

Construction on what will be one of Queensland’s largest solar projects will be underpinned by a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Origin.

The 150 MW Daydream Solar Farm will be located on a 1,070-acre site north of Collinsville in northern Queensland and will generate approximately 380,000 MWh of electricity a year – enough to power more than 53,000 homes with clean energy.

Origin has signed a PPA to buy all the output and renewable energy certificates from Daydream solar farm until 2030. Daydream forms part of the 1,200 MW of new renewable generation Origin has committed to since March 2016.

Origin CEO, Frank Calabria said, “We are accelerating our transition to renewables with more than 25 per cent of Origin’s generation mix to come from renewables by 2020, up from 10 per cent today.

“Australia has abundant solar resources which are strongest in Queensland and Origin is proud to be playing our part helping the nation to better tap this renewable energy source.

“Daydream will be the latest solar farm to get the go-ahead after being backed by a PPA with Origin, following similar agreements with Australia’s largest solar development, Bungala in South Australia, as well as Moree in New South Wales and Darling Downs solar farm in Queensland.

“Renewables are now the lowest cost new generation and with the rapid increase in renewable supply not just by Origin but the broader market, we expect to see this start to put downwards pressure on prices for customers,” Mr Calabria said.

Daydream solar farm is being developed by leading Australian renewables company Edify Energy and will utilise a single-axis tracking system with panels that track the sun to maximise generation capacity throughout the day.

Construction on Daydream is expected to commence shortly and is expected to start generating electricity in mid-2018.

Edify Energy chief executive John Cole said the Origin PPA was a milestone for Edify’s growing business.

“Supported by the PPA with Origin, Daydream Solar Farm will be another step forward in the decarbonisation of Australia’s energy sector. We look forward to making the project a reality and working closely with Origin.”

Source: Origin Energy

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Daydream Solar Farm

 

RCR awarded $315m for Daydream and Hayman Solar Farm projects

11 August

Diversified engineering and infrastructure company RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX: RCR), is pleased to announce that it has been awarded two contracts, totalling approximately $315 million for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) and Operation and Maintenance (“O&M”) for the 150MWac Daydream Solar Farm and the 50MWac Hayman Solar Farm, developed and maintained by Edify Energy Pty Ltd.

RCR’s scope of work includes engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the Solar Farms, including interface works to the project substations. Once commissioned RCR will provide O&M services for both Solar Farms for an initial period of 10 years, with an option for a further 5 year term.

The projects will start immediately, with construction scheduled to commence in Q3 2017.

The Daydream and Hayman Solar Farms are both located in Collinsville in Northern Queensland.

RCR Managing Director & CEO, Dr Paul Dalgleish said “We are very pleased to continue our strong relationship with Edify Energy to deliver these two large-scale solar energy projects generating a combined 200MWac.

RCR now has over half a Gigawatt of large-scale solar projects in our order book and more than a Gigawatt currently being developed or progressed under early contractor involvement processes.

RCR has firmly positioned itself as one of Australia’s leading developers and EPC providers of large-scale solar and other renewable energy infrastructure. Our experience and application of Engineering Intelligence to renewable projects provides RCR with a significant competitive advantage.

RCR is currently preferred on a number of additional renewable energy projects that will support our further growth in FY18 and into FY19. Over the mid to long-term we expect to see the large-scale solar market continue to grow”, said Dr Dalgleish.

Source: RCR Tomlinson

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Daydream Solar Farm

 

EOI open for NQ Clean Energy Hub

11 August

A key part of the $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan will commence today with an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for the proposed 2,000MW North Queensland Clean Energy Hub feasibility study.

Treasurer and Acting Minister for Energy Curtis Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government had allocated $150 million towards the development of strategic electricity transmission infrastructure as part of the North Queensland Clean Energy Hub, subject to a feasibility study.

“This is all part of our plan to unlock a wave of energy projects to power the North Queensland economy and support 5000 jobs,” Mr Pitt said.

“Our plan will not only deliver investment and jobs to North Queensland but will also help to secure energy supply and drive down energy costs for consumers.”

Mr Pitt said Powerlink was conducting the EOI from today on behalf of the Queensland Government.

“The four week EOI process will seek market information on a range of aspects, including potential generation interest, storage options and significant load requirements and will be open from 11 August until the 8 September,” Mr Pitt said.

“We encourage all companies with an interest in the North Queensland Clean Energy Hub to flag their potential involvement and provide us with the latest market information via the EOI process.

“The information received as part of this process will be treated confidentially and will inform the options for potential routes for the transmission infrastructure and project timing.

“This is an important project which will drive cost savings by generating economies of scale through multiple generators and loads sharing transmission infrastructure rather than seeking individual network connections.”

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland and Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the Clean Energy Hub would play a key role in diversifying North Queensland’s energy supply and supporting the 50 per cent by 2030 renewable energy target.

“We know people in the North are really concerned about power prices. An important part in stabilising prices is making sure we invest in local, North Queensland infrastructure,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“Excitingly, the transmission line will support an Energy Hub that will generate North Queensland energy for North Queensland businesses and families.”

Queensland’s Energy Security Taskforce Chair Terry Effeney said this infrastructure was another part of the strategy to guide the state’s robust energy security for both the short and long-term.

“The Clean Energy Hub has the potential to unlock more of this region’s renewable resources by providing high voltage transmission infrastructure to allow existing projects to expand, as well as providing more infrastructure for more renewable projects.” Mr Effeney said.

“Powerlink’s EOI process will provide the essential research to identify the optimal form of the Clean Energy Hub.”

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the EOI was part of a feasibility study into the North Queensland Clean Energy Hub due for completion by December 2017.

“The feasibility study will involve a number of technical assessments including economic, environmental, social and regional considerations,” Ms York said.

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart and Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper welcomed the announcement.

Mr Stewart said: “The $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan is a vital, economy-growing investment and underlines the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing commitment to North Queensland, renewable energy and jobs.”

Mr Harper said: “This plan will power North Queensland’s communities and its industries with energy and jobs for the future and it will help further stabilise electricity prices.”

Information about the EOI will be available on Powerlink’s website (external site) at www.powerlink.com.au (external site).

Source: Queensland Government

 

First NT community to reach 50 % renewable energy

11 August

Nauiyu (Daly River) will be the first remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory to reach the Territory Labor Government’s 50 per cent renewable energy target - powered by solar and battery.

Minister for Essential Services Gerry McCarthy today inspected the solar and battery site and said Government was acting on climate change to protect our unique natural environment, economy, lifestyle and quality of life.

“We are investing in renewable energy to do what’s best for the Territory now and for future generations – it will see fewer emissions and more jobs,” Mr McCarthy said.

“Today is another step towards achieving our target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. We made this promise and we are acting on it.”

Mr McCarthy said good environmental policy is smart economic policy and will result in more jobs for Territorians and greater power reliability.

The Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) will be completed in Daly River next month (September) and will provide 100 per cent of the community’s daytime electricity needs, enabling the community’s diesel engines to be turned off.

The Daly River site will deliver cutting edge technology that will guide the installation of future renewable energy in the bush.

The battery will be charged by 3200 solar panels, which will save 400,000 litres of fuel every year, meaning half as many fuel trucks on the road.

“Once the site is commissioned, the diesel generators will only operate at night, leading to improved local air quality and a cleaner, greener community,” Mr McCarthy said.

“As battery costs rapidly reduce over the next few years, we expect solar and battery technology to become more economically viable – which is great news for the Territory environment.

“I congratulate the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for their investment in small-scale renewable energy innovation and thank them for their critical contributions to renewable energy in the Territory.”

The Energy Storage System comprises Samsung 2MWh lithium-ion battery, inverters for converting battery DC energy to AC, a cooling system and a control system to allow integration with the existing diesel power station.

SETuP is a $55 million program equally funded by the ARENA and the Territory Government, managed by Power and Water. The Daly River project investment will be approximately $6.2 million upon completion.

Under SETuP, another 10 remote Aboriginal communities in the Territory recently had 3.325 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants commissioned, reducing the reliance on diesel by 15 per cent.

Source: NT Government

Funding for new electricity grid technology development

31 July

The Turnbull Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $5 million to NOJA Power, a Brisbane-based energy technology company, to develop smart switchgear that will help maintain stability of the electricity grid.

NOJA's new switchgear technology will be deployed at 100 locations across the distribution network to maintain frequency at 50 hertz which is critical for system strength and security. It will provide detailed, real-time snapshots of electrical flows and enable a significantly better power system data than is currently available.

The data captured by these devices will be shared with ARENA, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and energy network businesses to facilitate better-informed system planning and real-time operations.

Once developed, the switchgear will be trialled in areas of high renewable penetration in Queensland and Victoria. This is part of the Turnbull Government's commitment to supporting the energy transition while ensuring affordable, reliable and secure energy for Australian industry and households.

NOJA Power is working with AEMO, Deakin University, the University of Queensland, Energy Queensland and AusNet on this project. This project is a good example of government, industry and universities collaborating to develop solutions for Australia's distribution network.

Source: Federal Government

 

Fast-tracking renewable energy into the grid

31 July

The Andrews Labor Government is investing in smart solutions to fast-track the rollout of large-scale renewable energy projects in Victoria.

Solar engineering company Clean Technology Partners has received $142,000 to develop an

‘e-cube’ under the second round of the Labor Government’s $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund.

The $570,000 project will see the company work with energy giant Siemens to develop a standardised grid connection solution which will facilitate quicker and more cost-efficient connections to Victoria’s power grid.

The e-cube will allow solar and wind projects to easily connect to the distribution network and will suit a range of system sizes, connection types, and network requirements

This project will create up to 10 ongoing full-time jobs and up to a further 20 indirect employment opportunities.

The Fund offers grants of between $20,000 and $1 million to support projects that increase the uptake of renewable energy, reduce emissions, and assist community groups to develop their own project.

Round two of the New Energy Jobs Fund saw 21 successful projects receive more than $6.7 million in grants.

For more information on the Fund visit http://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/future-industries/new-energy-technologies

Source: Victorian Government

 

Carnegie breaks ground on Garden Island microgrid project

1 August

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX:CCE) is pleased to advise it has commenced construction of the Garden Island Microgrid Project marking the occasion with a sod-turning ceremony attended by Hon. Joshua Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy, on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Construction has commenced on the 2MW solar Photovoltaic (PV) and 2MW/0.5MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) components of the Garden Island Microgrid (GIMG) Project which is the world’s first demonstration of a solar, battery, wave and desalination microgrid. The GIMG Project will be the largest embedded, grid-connected solar and battery microgrid in Australia. Carnegie has recently signed supply agreements with the Department of Defence for the power and water produced by the Project to be used by HMAS Stirling, Australia’s largest naval base.

The Project will also integrate with the existing Department of Defence diesel generators and the Western Power grid to demonstrate both off-grid and on-grid functionality of a microgrid and ‘bumpless’ transfer between these two operating modes.

Minister Frydenberg officially broke ground on the Project after a tour of the site of the 2MW solar PV array and the building housing the 2MW/0.5MWh battery energy storage system and control system.

Carnegie’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Michael Ottaviano said:

“We are delighted to have Minister Frydenberg present today to officially break ground on the Garden Island Microgrid. Carnegie Clean Energy is at the forefront in the design and delivery of renewable microgrid solutions that are revolutionary.”

“Carnegie and Energy Made Clean have a strong track record in renewable and microgrid solutions like the Garden Island Microgrid at HMAS Stirling, the recently won microgrid at the Delamere weapons range base in the Northern Territory and previously for the Department of Defence on Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory. Renewable microgrids can deliver improved security of supply with clean, reliable power and water.”

The Garden Island Microgrid is owned and operated by Carnegie. Carnegie’s 100% owned subsidiary, Energy Made Clean, is responsible for the design, construction and ongoing maintenance of the Project. The desalination plant is already operational at the site. Construction of the solar and battery project is due to complete before the end of 2017. The $7.5 million projects is supported by the Federal Government with $2.5m of ARENA funding.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

Click here to go to online project profile: Garden Island Microgrid

 

Generation licence applications

The Commission has received an application from Hornsdale Power Reserve Pty Ltd for an electricity generation licence in accordance with the Electricity Act 1996 (Electricity Act). The applicant is seeking to operate a series of Tesla batteries up to a total maximum capacity of 100 megawatts. Hornsdale Power Reserve will be located at the Hornsdale Wind Farm, north of Jamestown. The application submitted by Hornsdale Power Reserve Pty Ltd is subject to a public consultation period closing on 25 August 2017. Interested parties wishing to make a submission on this licence application should prepare a submission which addresses the criteria noted above.

The Commission has received an application from Bungala One Operations Pty Ltd for an electricity generation licence in accordance with Section 15(2)(a) of the Electricity Act 1996 (Electricity Act). The applicant is seeking to operate a generation plant consisting of 72 solar photovoltaic cells with a total maximum capacity of 110 megawatts. The location of this generation plant will be 15 km north east of Port Augusta in South Australia.

Source: ESCOSA

Click here to go to online project profiles: Hornsdale Wind Farm and Bungala Solar Farm

 

Tender called for Albany wave energy project

31 July

  • Tender for wave energy technology development project released today
  • Release a significant step forward for the wave energy project, which will drive employment in new industries in the Great Southern

A cutting-edge wave energy project in Albany is one step closer, with a request for proposals from industry released today on Tenders WA.

This represents a significant step forward for the State Government's $19.5 million commitment to developing the Albany wave energy project and investing in renewable energy projects in Western Australia.

The wave energy project includes a technology development project as well as the establishment of a Wave Energy Research Centre in Albany. These two elements combined will bring together State Government agencies, universities and industry to ensure that Albany's natural suitability for renewable energy is fully utilised.

The project will put Western Australia at the leading edge of the emerging wave energy technology sector and create exciting job prospects for the local community.

The request for proposal will be available on Tenders WA for three weeks, and can be accessed at http://www.tenders.wa.gov.au

Source: WA Government

 

Developing solar battery storage kits and creating jobs

1 August

The Andrews Labor Government will provide $825,000 towards a pilot project to develop solar battery storage kits and create local jobs.

A consortium of five companies, led by innovation company ARVIO, will receive funding under the second round of the Labor Government’s $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund.

This project will manufacture a solar storage control system and software technology kit in Victoria, rather than using imported equipment and create 20 full-time jobs.

The $6.17 million pilot project will see 200 solar storage energy kits installed in residences, buildings and community facilities across Victoria to provide electricity during power outages.

Each kit will feature predictive weather control capabilities, allowing it to charge the battery before storms to ensure residences have adequate power for extended outages.

Solar Station Alpha, Selectronic Australia, Imark Communication and Diamond Energy are the other four companies involved in this project, with work expected to begin this September.

The Fund offers grants of between $20,000 and $1 million to support projects that will increase the uptake of renewable energy, reduce emissions, and assist community groups to develop their own projects.

More than 50 applications were received in round two of the New Energy Jobs Fund, resulting in 21 successful projects receiving a total of more than $6.7 million in grants.

For more information on the Fund visit http://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/future-industries/new-energy-technologies.

Source: Victorian Government

 

Two new large-scale solar farm projects for RCR

2 August

Swan Hill Solar Farm

Diversified engineering and infrastructure company RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX: RCR), is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $28 million contract with Solar Powerstations Victoria for the 19MWdc Swan Hill Solar Farm in Victoria. Leading Australian funds manager, Impact Investment Group (“IIG”), will fund the solar farm’s construction. On completion, it will be one of the seed assets in a new IIG solar fund.

RCR’s scope of work includes engineering, procurement, construction (“EPC”) and commissioning of the Solar Farm, including associated substations and grid connection works. Construction is expected to commence in September 2017. Once commissioned, RCR will undertake maintenance services of the Solar Farm for an initial period of two years.

Emerald Solar Farm

In addition, RCR is also pleased to announce that it has signed an Early Works Letter with RES Australia Pty Limited to work together to develop an EPC contract to deliver an 80MW solar farm near Emerald in Queensland.

RCR Managing Director & CEO, Dr Paul Dalgleish said “these large-scale solar projects add to RCR’s substantial order book and preferred contractor status of renewable energy projects, clearly positioning RCR as the market leader and therefore first choice for this sector. Our growing capability, resources and equipment gives RCR even greater leverage to remain the foremost contractor in the solar market.

The market for large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia continues to grow and the pipeline of new projects is expanding rapidly. We see renewable energy as a long-term major sector for the Australian market and one which we will always play a significant role” said Dr Dalgleish.

Source: RCR Tomlinson

 

Kidston solar project update

2 August

Genex has now turned its attention to the development of Phase Two of the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub, with detailed discussions progressing with potential energy partners, debt financing entities and equity infrastructure firms. Genex has received first-round board approval from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for potential debt funding for the Phase Two Projects. NAIF will now commence full due-diligence.

Source: Genex Power

Click here to go to online project profile: Kidston Solar Farm

 

ANU identifies 5,000 possible pumped hydro sites

3 August

Researchers at ANU have identified about 5,000 sites in Queensland, Tasmania, the Canberra district and in and around Alice Springs as potentially suitable for pumped hydro storage.

The ANU team has considered the possible benefits of using hydro power energy storage, where water is pumped uphill and stored to generate electricity on demand.

Professor Andrew Blakers said the sites had storage potential ranging from 0.9 to more than 100 Gigawatt-hours (GWh).

"Each site has seven to 1,000 times larger storage potential than the 0.13 GWh Tesla battery to be installed in South Australia," said Professor Blakers, the study's lead researcher from the ANU Research School of Engineering.

"Additionally, pumped hydro has a lifetime of 50 years compared with eight to 15 years for batteries.

"Our work shows that there are many sites in Australia that may be suitable for establishing pumped hydro storage, to help build a sustainable, secure and affordable electricity grid.

"This assessment is based on very appealing physical characteristics. But the potential upper reservoir sites identified would require detailed due diligence involving land ownership, engineering, hydrological, environmental and other considerations."

Maps and a report on the findings are available at <http://re100.eng.anu.edu.au/research/phes/>.

Professor Blakers said pumped hydro energy storage - which accounts for 97 per cent of energy storage worldwide - can be increased across the country to support high levels of renewable energy, primarily solar photovoltaics and wind.

He said the sites identified so far in the study have a combined energy storage potential of 15,000 GWh, which is 35 times larger than required to support a 100 per cent renewable electricity grid in Australia.

"Further site searching is underway in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and will add greatly to this total," Professor Blakers said.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $449,000 support for an ANU-led study, aiming to develop a nation-wide atlas of potential off-river pumped hydro storage sites.

Off-river pumped hydro storage requires pairs of reservoirs, typically ranging from 10 to 100 hectares, in hilly terrain and joined by a pipe with a pump and turbine. Water is circulated between the upper and lower reservoirs to store and generate power.

"All the potential sites we have found are outside national parks and urban areas, and like all hydro power can go from zero to full power very quickly," Professor Blakers said.

The reservoirs are separated by an altitude difference of at least 300 metres.

The water would be stored in an upper reservoir and run through a turbine to a lower reservoir when electricity is needed - such as when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. The water can then be pumped back uphill when electricity from renewables and other sources is abundant and cheaper.

Co-researcher Dr Matthew Stocks said pumped hydro storage, depending on the size of the reservoirs, would be capable of delivering maximum power from hours to more than a day.

"Our earlier work demonstrated the feasibility of 100 per cent renewable electricity for Australia supported by pumped hydro storage," said Dr Stocks from the ANU Research School of Engineering.

"About 3,600 hectares of reservoir is required to support a 100 per cent renewable energy grid for Australia, which is five parts per million of Australia's land mass. Annual water requirements would be less than one per cent of annual extraction from the Murray River."

Co-researcher Mr Bin Lu said pumped hydro and batteries were both likely to have prominent storage roles.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project was part of ARENA's focus on supporting flexible capacity solutions to ensure a smooth transition to a renewable energy future.

"Storage is becoming more important and valuable as we move towards higher levels of renewable energy in our grids," Mr Frischknecht said.

"Pumped hydro is the most mature form of energy storage, and studies like these are helping to determine whether it could play an even greater role in increasing grid stability."

ANU is partnering with ElectraNet and VTara Energy Group to conduct the Atlas of Pumped Hydro Energy Storage Study and develop a cost model for short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage.

Source: ANU

 

Conergy acquisition guarantees funding for Australian projects

3 August

Investment in Australian renewable energy projects continue to surge, with Tennenbaum Capital Partners (TCP) and Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. (GSBD), a business development company managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) signing a definitive agreement to acquire Conergy Asia & ME Pte. Ltd. and its subsidiaries (Conergy) from Kawa Solar Holdings.

Conergy’s Australian arm has developed Australia’s first utility-scale solar and battery project – the Lakeland Solar & Storage Project – in Far North Queensland.

Conergy Australia’s Managing Director Christopher West said the company’s acquisition would ensure it had additional capital to grow substantially and further expand on its existing pipeline of large-scale solar projects.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved in renewables in Australia. Unsubsidised large-scale solar is beginning to beat not only wind but also coal and natural gas and you have state governments like Queensland’s announcing really ambitious renewable targets, mirroring growing community sentiment toward a lower carbon future,” Mr West said.

“Given the political uncertainty in the sector in the last few years, many companies have struggled to find reliable sources of funds. There is a real transformation taking place in the local market and Conergy are now pitched to play a large part in it.

“The backing of our new investors who have a keen interest in renewable energy really validates our business model and expertise in solar development, guaranteeing funding to continue our plans for expediential growth in Australia.”

Conergy is currently working on a further expansion of its Lakeland Solar & Storage project, which is poised to deliver 13MW of solar generation and storage.

“We’re looking at adding up to 100MW of generation in far North Queensland as well as subsequent developments within the Lakeland project,” said Mr West.

“This project has already provided more than 60 jobs for communities in the north of Queensland, and our plans will add hundreds of construction and maintenance jobs in the future, not to mention up to 100MW of clean energy.”

Rajneesh Vig, Managing Partner of Tennenbaum Capital Partners, said that this acquisition offered a unique opportunity to work closely with one of the industry’s most experienced solar firms and to participate in the Asia Pacific market.

“The Asia Pacific is one of the most attractive solar markets in the world today,” said Mr Vig.

“We look forward to the company’s continued success.”

Conergy APAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Alexander Lenz said this transaction brought tremendous value to their business, employees and customers.

“Over the past few years, Conergy has built leading positions in the Asia Pacific market, creating a formidable and highly competitive organisation with excellent growth prospects,” said Mr Lenz.

“TCP’s and GSBD’s extensive experience and access to capital will strengthen Conergy’s financial position, enhance our capabilities, and allow us to pursue new business opportunities and execute our plans for growth in Australia, the emerging markets of Southeast Asia and Japan.”

Source: Conergy

Click here to go to online project profile: Lakeland Solar Farm

 

NEW PROJECTS

Burdekin Solar Farm

The proposed action involves the development of a large scale, grid connected, solar power (photovoltaic) farm. The proposed action will be a 75-90 MW solar farm using solar photovoltaic (PV) tracking technology. The project will be connected into one of two local 132/66 kV terminal stations within 7km of the proposed site. The proposed action will be located within the Burdekin Shire Local Government Area, on Lot 22 on GS1042, Woodhouse Road, Mulgrave.

The proposed action is located in the northern section of Lot 22 on GS1042, Woodhouse Road, Mulgrave, Burdekin Shire Council Local Government Area, QLD. Mulgrave is a small agricultural community within the dry tropics, approximately 100km south-east of Townsville.

Current land use for the proposed action is light to moderate cattle grazing of native vegetation. Existing infrastructure on the proposed action site includes fencing, unsealed roads and internal access tracks, farm dams and a significant artificial watercourse.

Contact:

Koovashni Reddy

Director

CleanGen

Email: [email protected]

 

Mt Fyans Wind Farm

Located in south west Victoria, approximately 140km west of Geelong, on the northern outskirts of the town of Mortlake. The Hamilton Highway, which runs between Geelong and Hamilton, forms part of the southern boundary of the project location. The 500kV South Australian/Victorian transmission line runs through the project site. The project will coprise of a maximum of 81 Class II/III wind turbines with a maximum height of 165m to the tip of the turbine blade in vertical position.

Contact David Mounter

Manager, Renewable Asset Development

Hydro Tasmania

Email: [email protected]

 

Willogoleche Wind Farm construction under way

4 August

ENGIE in Australia has begun pre-construction work of the 119 MW Willogoleche Wind Farm near Hallett in South Australia’s Mid North.

The $AUD 250 million project, to be built on Willogoleche Hill about 160 km north of Adelaide and 5 km west of the Hallett township, will comprise 32 turbines that each produce between 3.4 MW and 3.83 MW.

ENGIE in Australia acting Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Donaldson, said: “Preliminary works have begun onsite, including installation of an adjacent substation to feed into the National Electricity Market. Once operational, the Willogoleche Wind Farm will produce enough electricity to power about 80,000 homes in South Australia. “The Willogoleche Wind Farm contributes to ENGIE’s global commitment to increase its share in renewable energy and provides further energy security for South Australia and the NEM.”

Installation of the turbines is scheduled to start by the end of the year, with a completion foreseen by mid-2018.

The project is underpinned by a Power Purchase Agreement to support ENGIE in Australia’s retail business Simply Energy. Simply Energy has more than 80,000 customer accounts in South Australia.

Source: Engie

Sunshine Coast Solar Farm goes live in Australian first

24 July

The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is now live and feeding electricity into the power grid, making Sunshine Coast Council the first local government in Australia to offset 100% of its electricity consumption with energy from a renewable source.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the 15 megawatt (MW) solar farm at Valdora allowed council to take control of its own electricity supply, combating rising electricity costs and achieving an important sustainability milestone.

“All power consumed at all of council’s facilities, including our administration buildings, aquatic centres, community and performance venues, as well as holiday parks, libraries, art galleries and sporting facilities, will be offset with energy from a renewable source thanks to this nation-leading project,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“This is an exciting day for our region and for the residents of the Sunshine Coast.

“We are the first council in Australia to build and operate a 15MW utility scale solar farm which will deliver $22 million in savings, after all costs, for our ratepayers over the next 30 years.

“Our solar farm is the first, and will be the largest, to connect to the electricity grid in South East Queensland. It is also the first solar farm in Australia to operate at 1500 volts DC which enables it to operate more efficiently.

“This is an impressive pioneering project and is yet another example of our council being a national leader.

“In fact, it’s so impressive, 15 councils around Australia have already inquired about how they can follow in our footsteps.

“What’s more, is that this project has been developed and delivered solely by our council, without any assistance from either the Federal or State governments, unlike many other solar farms being developed in Australia.

“Both the State and Federal governments talk about achieving renewable energy targets – our council is getting on with and achieving ours – and well ahead of anyone else.

“Our vision is to be the most sustainable region in Australia – healthy, smart, creative.

“This leap forward in the clean energy sector helps our council to deliver on that promise.”

Downer Utilities Executive Director Trevor Cohen said Downer was pleased to partner with Sunshine Coast Council on its journey towards becoming Australia’s most sustainable region.

“Downer is looking forward to the operation and maintenance phase of this project and to continue growing our relationship with council and the local community,” Mr Cohen said.

Diamond Energy’s Managing Director Tony Sennitt said it was a great pleasure working with such a forward thinking council and to see this ground-breaking project become a reality.

“Over the past three years, Diamond Energy has supported council’s enthusiastic staff, through planning, implementation and now operation,” Mr Sennitt said.

“This project is an excellent example of how – working together – projects like this generate change in the Australian energy market.

”Energex Asset Manager Northern Steven Lynch congratulated Sunshine Coast Council for its vision and determination to deliver this clean green initiative.

“We have been very pleased to work with the Council to see this project come to reality,” Mr Lynch said.

“Energex sees grid scale projects like this as a key part of our low-carbon future.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Development and Innovation Portfolio Councillor Stephen Robinson said the solar farm would further help the region transition to a clean and low carbon economy.

“Already, 40,000-plus Sunshine Coast households have rooftop solar and with our own solar farm now generating, this is equivalent to a 140MW renewable energy power station on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Robinson said.

“At any one time during construction, up to 100 people were employed on site by the lead contractor, Downer Utilities, and 10 local companies were sub-contracted to complete on-site work – from earthworks to drilling, fencing and construction.

“I’d like to thank Downer, Energex and Diamond for delivering the project with council and thank the community for their support during construction.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the council staff who have been passionately committed to seeing this innovative project through to completion.”

FAST FACTS:

  • The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is the second largest in Queensland and the sixth largest Australia wide.
  • At its peak, the solar farm will generate 15,000 kilowatts of electricity, which will go straight into the Energex network.
  • The electricity generated over one year will be enough to power the equivalent of 5000 homes.
  • Aluminium tables held up on screw piles are used to hold the 57,000 panels above the flood plain.
  • About 36,000 tree and shrub seedlings will be planted around the solar farm’s boundaries -one of the largest revegetation projects to be undertaken on the Sunshine Coast.

Source: Sunshine Coast Council

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Sunshine Coast Solar Farm

 

Australia leading the charge in developing ground-breaking battery technology

24 July

The Turnbull Government is helping Australian innovators develop cutting-edge technology that could help revolutionise battery storage and lead to a new generation of innovative products.

Ultra-thin flexible printed batteries being developed by Brisbane-based company Printed Energy Pty Ltd will have applications in new products, including Internet of Things devices, wearable electronics, healthcare products and industrial scale solar energy storage.

Printed Energy received funding under the Government’s latest round of CRC Projects (CRC-P) grants to accelerate work on the technology.

Printed Energy’s $12 million project received a $2 million CRC-P grant that will allow the partners to continue developing the ground-breaking technology.

Today I visited the University of Queensland, one of Printed Energy’s project partners, to officially announce the grant.

Printed Energy’s work means that ultra-thin, flexible batteries for cheap portable devices and renewable energy are one step closer to reality.

Once developed, the technology could revolutionise battery storage and reduce manufacturing costs by using abundant, non-toxic materials.

Improving collaboration between researchers and industry to cultivate a more innovative and entrepreneurial economy is a key pillar of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The CRC Project stream assists in encouraging SME participation in collaborative research, solving problems and delivering tangible outcomes for industry.

In this particular project, Printed Energy worked with the University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Sunset Power International Pty Ltd and Sonovia Holdings LLC.

I congratulate the principals of Printed Energy, Trevor St Baker and Mr Brian Flannery, for their initiative in securing the printed batteries technology and helping bring it to Australia for development and commercialisation.

By facilitating business involvement in collaborative research, the CRC Projects strongly align with the Australian Government’s commitment to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries as a source of new growth and new jobs.

Source: Federal Government

 

Reduced emissions from new solar sites: a move towards renewable targets

24 July

The Territory Government today took another step to act on climate change and reduce the huge potential impacts for the Territory by announcing the commissioning of 3.325 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants in ten remote Aboriginal communities.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner today met the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) team at the Ramingining facility to see the completed project.

“Investing in renewables means we are protecting our economy, our lifestyle, our quality of life and our unique and spectacular natural environment,” Mr Gunner said.

Greenhouse gas emissions from over one million litres of diesel fuel will be saved each year following the integration of the SETuP into the power supply of each community.

Mr Gunner said the SETuP sites would contribute to the Territory Labor Government’s renewable target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, by reducing emissions and creating a platform for greater use of solar in the future.

“The Territory’s natural environments are some of the most spectacular in the world and it is important we do our part to act on climate change and work towards our renewable target,” Mr Gunner said.

“Major economies around the world are increasing the use of renewable energy sources to avoid the economic, social and environmental implications associated with the use of fossil fuels – this is an exciting milestone to achieve for remote Aboriginal communities across the Territory.

“Smart communities realise that investing in renewable energy is good for the environment and for jobs – we are restoring trust in Government and creating jobs.”

Minister for Essential Services Gerry McCarthy said SETuP will benefit the environment and community.

“SETuP facilities reduce the reliance on diesel by 15 per cent, which requires fewer fuel trucks on the road and provides a more secure energy supply,” Mr McCarthy said.

“Local jobs were created for Aboriginal rangers to conduct flora and fauna surveys and weed management, as well as land clearing and construction – we are boosting jobs to build safer, fairer and stronger communities – right across the Territory,” Mr McCarthy said.

Over 10,610 solar panels were installed to provide an average of 5,000 kWh/h per day to power over 570 households across the ten communities of Arlparra , Kintore, Nyirripi (Waite Creek), Kaltukatjara (Docker River), Mt Liebig, Areyonga, Yuendumu, Lajamanu, Maningrida and Ramingining.

SETuP is a $55 million program jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Territory Government, managed by Power and Water, with around $27 million from the NT Government.

Source: Northern Territory Government

 

Sale of first solar project to Lighthouse just the start of BayWa r.e.’s growth in Australia

25 July

BayWa r.e., a global renewable energy developer, wholesaler and energy solutions provider, has sold the 20MWp Hughenden solar plant to Australian infrastructure investment specialists, Lighthouse Infrastructure.

The plant, located in Hughenden, Queensland, is one of BayWa r.e.’s first solar projects in Australia. With construction now underway, the installation is being funded through a 13-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with one of the leading Australian energy retailers.

Matthias Taft, Board member of BayWa AG responsible for the energy business, commented on the sale: “The sale of our first Australian solar project, so soon after entering the market, is testament to our growing success in the region and the strength of Australia’s rapidly expanding solar sector and desire to reduce high electricity prices through renewables.

“We are very pleased to be working with Lighthouse Infrastructure. The company has a clear mission to increase solar generation in Australia, which we very much share. We will continue to operate and manage the Hughenden plant following its completion and look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Lighthouse Infrastructure to deliver cleaner energy for Australia.”

This will be the second utility scale solar PV investment made by Lighthouse Infrastructure, who were advised in this transaction by Planum Partners, Herbert Smith Freehills, and WSP.

For BayWa r.e, this was one of its most efficient sales and an extremely positive sign for the company’s expansion in Australia. The plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of October 2017.

Daniel Gäfke, Managing Director of BayWa r.e. Solar Pte Ltd. added: “Australia is a really exciting market for us. Given its high levels of sunlight, it’s the ideal home for photovoltaic energy. We first entered the market last year, opening offices in Perth and subsequently in Melbourne.

Since then, we’ve been working closely with the industry and government to help unlock the huge potential of renewable energy in Australia.

“We are currently investing in a further three large projects in Northern Victoria and Queensland. These projects, once operational, will have a combined output of just under 280 MW. All three are set to be generating electricity before the end of 2018 and are just the first steps in our expansion into Australia”.

Source: BayWa r.e. Solar

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Hughenden Solar Farm

 

Four new solar projects approved in NSW

26 July

NSW continues to lead the nation in clean energy development, with the Department of Planning and Environment approving four new solar projects in western NSW that could power more than 100,000 homes.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, announced that clean energy projects at Nevertire, Walgett, Gilgandra and Metz would boost local employment with up to 645 construction jobs.

“NSW’s four new solar farms will have capacity to supply 275 megawatts of energy to the grid for NSW communities, businesses and services.

“NSW continues to lead Australia in large-scale solar. We are committed to our country’s Renewable Energy Target and the State’s Renewable Energy Action Plan, and we are well on the way toward the 20 per cent target for renewable energy by 2020,” Mr Roberts said.

"Our focus is on ensuring energy security and affordability for our communities, businesses and services.”

In assessing the merits of each of these projects, the Department consulted extensively with the community, landowners and local councils.

Strict conditions are in place to control the construction impacts of the projects, and ensure there are no adverse visual impacts on surrounding residences.

“North-west NSW is fast becoming one of the solar power generation hubs of the state, and our solar investment is making a huge contribution to our clean, renewable energy targets,” said Mr Roberts.

With the addition of these four new solar farms, the Department has now approved 16 new large-scale solar projects across NSW.

“When the four new farms begin operation, NSW’s 16 large-scale solar farms will generate sustainable power for 423,000 households, with a combined capacity for 1,131 megawatts of renewable energy,” he said.

Source: NSW Government

 

Bungala Solar PV project

26 July

Reach Solar energy (Reach) today announced financial close on the second phase of the 300MWac Bungala Solar Photovoltaic (PV) project near Port Augusta.

The Bungala Solar project will be built on land leased from the Bungala Aboriginal Corporation, about 12km from Port Augusta. On full completion it will produce enough electricity for around 130,000 homes, is able to assist the grid with certain ancillary services, and is 'energy storage ready' for the future.

The financial close milestone for Bungala Two uses debt and equity commitments that were secured at the first financial close of Bungala One on 7 April 2017.

The 2 x 110MWac solar PV projects will be delivered without financial support from government. The equity providers are ENEL EGP and the Dutch infrastructure fund.

Origin Energy will purchase all electricity and renewable certificates produced by both solar projects under a Power Purchase Agreement signed in late 2016. The renewable solar energy is firmed up using Origin's generation and gas supply portfolio in South Australia and the national electricity market.

Professional services firm PwC continue to support Reach develop Bungala (balance 80MWAC for the 300MWAC site), and other solar projects in Australia including integrated legal, tax, capital advisory, debt advisory, due diligence and financial model audit services.

Source: Reach Solar

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Bungala Solar Farm

 

Federal Department of the Environment & Heritage declares WestWind’s proposed Golden Plains Wind Farm in Victoria a controlled action, requiring assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed due to impacts on listed threatened species and communities.

 

Protean and KEPCO Plant Service and Engineering enter strategic relationship for renewable energy projects

27 July

  • Protean and KEPCO Plant Service and Engineering Co Ltd have signed a project co operation agreement to jointly pursue renewable energy projects in Australia, Korea and across the Asia Pacific region.
  • Protean will identify and take the lead on renewable energy projects in Australia and KPS will identify and take the lead on projects in Korea. Elsewhere the companies will lead according to the strength of the customer relationships on a particular project.
  • The two companies will cooperate on projects involving wave energy, solar photovoltaic, other renewable energy sources and commercial and industrial energy storage systems in the growing renewable energy and microgrid market across the Asia Pacific region.
  • Cooperation under the agreement has the potential to leverage Protean’s core technologies in wave energy and energy storage systems combined with the financial strength, world class technical and maintenance capability of KPS.
  • Asia Pacific represents over 45% of the world renewable market valued at approximately US$165 billion last year and has a forecast CAGR of over 12% in the region for the next ten years. Over A$7 billion of renewable projects have been committed in Australia alone this calendar year.

Protean Energy Ltd (Protean or the Company) is pleased to announce that it has signed a project cooperation agreement (PCA) with KEPCO Plant Service and Engineering Co Ltd (KPS) a leading provider of power plant build and maintenance services in Korea and across the world to jointly pursue renewable energy projects in Australia, Korea and across the Asia Pacific region.

KPS has grown to be one of the most comprehensive plant service companies in the world built from its accumulated experience in servicing and maintaining Korea’s power plants. KPS is now delivering against its vision to be active in the build, finance and operation of a spread of renewable energy projects.

Protean CEO Stephen Rogers said this relationship provided a unique opportunity to leverage its proprietary technologies by working in conjunction with a world class organisation of the size, technical capability and financial strength of KPS.

“This is a significant milestone in the development of Protean Energy where our core technologies have been recognised by a leading international group in the power sector. Using the market networks of both organisations we can now target local and regional projects taking advantage of the rapid growth in the renewable energy sector stimulated by strong international and regional commitments.”

The PCA has been established to facilitate the companies identifying and working on renewable energy opportunities together. Bringing an improved financial and technical capacity, Protean can now target projects both in Australia and across the region. Opportunities have been identified in the region for energy storage, solar photovoltaic and wave energy systems. Korea plans to generate 20% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030 and KPS is targeting this market by sourcing key technologies such as wave energy and storage. This target has been reinforced in recent weeks after the election of Moon Jae in as South Korea’s new President. Added to this the companies will target renewable energy projects across the Asia Pacific region using the KPS existing business networks.

It is intended that the companies will pursue targeted projects by tendering, securing, developing and operating projects in joint venture with scope responsibilities to be agreed on a project by project basis. Several projects have been identified in Australia which would benefit from a joint approach by the parties under the PCA which will be tendered in the coming months.

Source: Protean Energy

 

WBHO to deliver largest utility-scale solar farm in WA

27 July

Perth-based business WBHO Infrastructure, in Joint Venture with Singapore based Phoenix Solar, has secured the EPC (Engineering, Procurement & Construction) contract to deliver WA’s largest solar project, Byford Solar Farm.

The project will be located just 35km southeast of Perth CBD, making Byford Solar Farm the first utility scale solar farm to be built within a metropolitan area in Australia. WBHO will work with the developer WestGen, with completion and commissioning expected in mid-2018.

Upon completion, the 30MW Solar Farm will span over 75 hectares and generate around 80,000MWh of electricity per year for the south-west integrated system (SWIS).

The project extends WBHO’s track record of delivering renewable energy projects. The company previously built Australia’s largest solar project, the 100MW Nyngan Solar Farm (New South Wales), and was also involved in the construction of Greenough River Solar Farm, WA’s first utility-scale solar project.

Commenting, WBHO’s Western Region Executive General Manager Will Grobler said:

“WBHO is excited about the opportunity to deliver Byford Solar Farm.

“It’s an important project. Not only will it set a new benchmark for solar projects in WA, but will also provide benefits for the local economy, with opportunities for our workforce, as well as for subcontractors and suppliers.

 

“We’re proud to be helping provide clean energy for Western Australia, and are looking forward to delivering this landmark project.”

Source: WBHO Engineering

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Byford Solar Farm

 

NEW PROJECT - Wellington Solar Farm

The Wellington Solar Farm will occupy 490 Ha of land approximately two kilometres northeast of the town of Wellington in New South Wales. The project will further diversify New South Wales’ energy portfolio and create 100 jobs at construction peak.

The 180 MW project will be powered by more than 511,630 First Solar advanced thin film PV modules, producing enough solar energy to power 55,000 homes in NSW and displace the equivalent of more than 369,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year – equivalent to taking 98,000 cars off the road.

Planning Updates and Activities

First Solar is currently preparing an application for the Secretaries Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) to the Department of Planning. Following this, the Department of Planning will assess our application and issue SEARs for the project. The submission of the formal Development Application will then be the next step in the planning process.

 Project Benefits

  • Enough to power 55,000 average homes
  • Displaces 369,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually—equivalent to taking 98,000 cars off the road
  • Lowest environmental impact of any PV technology
  • No water used for electricity generation
  • Significant economic and environmental benefits for regional NSW

Source: First Solar

Contact:

Anna Cain

Manager, Project Development

First Solar

Tel: (02) 9002 7700

Email: [email protected]

COAG Energy Council agrees to significant reforms to the electricity sector

14 July

The COAG Energy Council has today agreed to a significant set of reforms which will deliver a more affordable and reliable electricity system as we transition to a lower emissions future.

At the meeting in Brisbane the Energy Council agreed to immediately act on 49 of the 50 recommendations of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (NEM) which was presented to COAG leaders five weeks ago.

Following the eight month review led by Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, these significant reforms have been agreed to in record time and will help to drive down power prices and ensure we have a more reliable system well into the future.

Key recommendations which the Energy Council agreed to include:

  • A new Generator Reliability Obligation which will require intermittent sources of generation to provide an appropriate level of backup to guard against blackouts;
  • The introduction of Energy Security Obligations to provide the necessary support services (Frequency Control and Ancillary Services and inertia) to intermittent sources of generation;
  • A new requirement for large generators to give a minimum three years notice before closing; and
  • The establishment of an Energy Security Board to oversee the health, security and reliability of the NEM.

Also at the meeting the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) outlined their comprehensive plan for this summer. As part of this plan the market operator will be able to contract for more supply to make sure there is no shortfall.

Following an update from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on its review into retail electricity prices the Energy Council agreed to provide greater transparency on the price and availability of long-term electricity retail contracts as well as to give consumers greater real time control over their energy consumption.

Importantly governments will be provided with greater visibility of retail electricity prices, retail margins and factors affecting price to ensure they are in a stronger position to respond to any inappropriate market practices.

Source: Federal Government

 

ERA grants Greenough River Solar Farm electricity licence

The Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) has granted an electricity licence to Greenough River Solar Farm Pty Ltd for its solar generation farm 50 km south east of Geraldton.

This is the second stage of the solar farm’s generating works, which will expand its capacity from 10 megawatts to 40 megawatts.

Electricity generators with a capacity over 30 megawatts require a licence.

The solar farm will supply to the South West Interconnected System.

Greenough River Solar Farm Pty Ltd is a subsidiary of General Electric and Western Australia’s largest electricity generator, Synergy.

The licence covers a period of 30 years starting on 13 July 2017.

Source: WA Economic Regulation Authority

Click here to go to online datasheet: Greenough River 2 Solar Farm

 

Low Head Wind Farm public consultation

The project involves the construction and operation of a wind farm and associated transmission line at Low Head in North Eastern Tasmania. The proposal is for ten wind turbines with a total maximum generating capacity of 35 megawatts, and for a twin 22 kV transmission line from the wind farm to the George Town electrical substation.

The proponent has lodged a Development Application with a supporting Development Proposal and Environmental Management Plan (DPEMP) to George Town Council.

The proponent has referred the proposal to the Australian Government for consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999. The Australian Government has determined that the proposal is a controlled action (EPBC reference number 2012/6450) on the grounds that it is likely to have significant impact on the following matters of national significance:

Listed threatened species and communities (sections 18 and 18A); and

Listed migratory species (sections 20 and 20A).

The application was referred to the Board of the Environment Protection Authority (the Board) for assessment under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

Public Comment Invited Until 26 August 2017

Source: Tasmania EPA

Click here to go to online datasheet: Low Head Wind Farm

 

Australian Clean Energy Summit shows business is booming but political agreement still elusive

18 July

It’s time for politicians to agree on a carefully-designed Clean Energy Target and put in place the framework to deliver continued new investment in the energy sector, the Clean Energy Council said while launching day one of the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said rising power prices are a huge concern across the country and the business sector is increasingly frustrated about the inability of politicians to come together on energy and climate to provide the necessary stability for new investment to fix the issue.

“We have a business sector which is increasingly recognising the economic opportunities provided by clean energy, both in meeting their own energy needs and in building multi-million dollar wind and solar projects across the country,” Mr Thornton said.

“The energy transition towards cleaner energy is underway, but we are still missing policy beyond 2020 which would provide businesses with confidence to invest their money. There are jobs going begging, economic benefits being wasted and power prices spiralling out of control.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the inability to agree on some kind of long term energy policy is driving the cost of power up significantly for everybody.

“The only thing that is helping is the $8 billion worth of large renewable energy projects that are either under construction or will start in 2017. This new generation will help to push down the cost of power, but this level of new investment is unlikely to continue beyond 2020 without a clear policy roadmap.

“It takes years for the investments of today to have a major effect on the cost of power, yet politicians are still arguing over whether to support any energy policy at all.

“Currently the only policy acting to keep prices down is the national Renewable Energy Target (RET). It is helping to provide an incentive for new large projects to be built, as well as encouraging households and businesses to install their own renewable energy to keep their power prices lower,” he said.

With the RET delivering billions of dollars in new investment via dozens of projects – and the debate continuing about the Chief Scientist’s proposed Clean Energy Target – the Australian Clean Energy Summit features some of the industry’s leading lights for a frank and fearless discussion at a critical time for Australia’s energy policy.

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

Australian big business missing out on renewable energy opportunities: new report

18 July

While many major Australian companies do not believe their customers expect them to use renewable energy, most Australians say they would reward big businesses if they make the switch, new research by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has found.

  • Less than half (46 per cent) of the major Australian companies surveyed are actively procuring renewable energy
  • Even those companies using renewable energy aren’t using very much: renewable energy makes up 10 per cent or less of their energy use
  • Four out of five Australians believe businesses should use renewable energy
  • Three quarters of Australians would buy a product or service that was made with renewable energy over a comparable one that wasn’t

Australian business has the opportunity to capitalise on the considerable medium to long­term benefits from renewable energy, according to the Business of Renewables report launched today by ARENA and the Clean Energy Council ahead of the Australian

 Clean Energy Summit in Sydney.

In a first­of­its­kind study, ARENA commissioned research to understand why Australian businesses appear to be falling behind their global peers in making the switch to renewable energy, and to help business leaders to drive change.

More than 90 of Australia’s largest public and private companies were surveyed to find out whether Australia’s biggest businesses are embracing renewable energy, what’s holding them back or propelling them forward, and their plans for the future.

Just under half (46 per cent) of Australian companies are actively procuring renewable energy, but for most of these companies renewable energy accounts for 10 per cent or less of their energy use.

However, Australian companies appear to be falling behind their global peers. Seven of world’s largest companies plan to be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy in the long term. In the US, nearly two­thirds of Fortune 100 and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have set ambitious renewable energy or sustainability targets.

A number of Australian companies are leading the way in renewable energy, including Telstra, which recently announced a deal to build a 70MW solar farm, and zinc refiner Sun Metals which is building a 116MW solar farm in Queensland.

However, the report highlights a widening gap between those businesses that are going renewable, and those that aren’t. While most companies not using renewables had no plans to, those which were already using renewables plan to use more. Based on this data, it is estimated corporate investment in renewable energy could total $439­910 million in the next 18 months, with solar PV being the priority.

The findings also suggest there is confusion and misconceptions about the cost and benefits of renewable energy among Australia’s business leaders.

Many Australian businesses also appear to be out of step with the attitudes of consumers. Most companies surveyed (57 per cent) believed their customers had no expectation around renewable energy.

However, an IPSOS poll of over 1000 Australians commissioned by ARENA found 80 per cent of Australians believe big business should be using renewable energy.

More than three quarters (76 per cent) of Australians would choose a product or service made with renewable energy over a comparable one that wasn’t. Four of ten indicated they would be willing to pay a premium.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said that Australian companies could benefit greatly from adopting renewable energy.

“The benefit for big business is substantial. Consumers are more likely to reward companies that take the plunge with greater loyalty and higher tolerance of price fluctuations that may come with renewable energy procurement. Using renewables helps create a positive impression of a business.” Mr Frischknecht said.

“If companies stand on the sidelines for too long, they risk falling behind their competitors in terms of saving on energy costs, reaching sustainability targets and meeting changing customer expectations.” CEC Chief Executive Kane Thornton said there was a strong business case for investing in renewable energy.

“With the cost of renewable energy falling so rapidly this decade and public support so strong, investing in clean energy is really a win­win for Australian businesses.

“The business sector is starting to switch on to the fact that the smart money is now in renewables as a way to address rising and volatile power prices. ARENA’s work over the last few years has clearly shown there is an appetite among agribusiness operations, miners, telcos and many more to invest in clean energy and storage once they begin to realise the cost savings available and the expectations of their customers.”

Source: ARENA

 

1 megawatt solar PV installation powering up Brisbane Technology Park

19 July

APN Funds Management Limited, as Responsible Entity for Industria REIT, is pleased to announce that it has entered an agreement to install 1 megawatt of solar PV across 6 buildings at Brisbane Technology Park (BTP).

This market leading initiative is unique to Industria at BTP and will reduce the impact of rising and volatile energy costs imposed on Industria’s tenants. The energy produced will be distributed through an embedded network that passes on the green power generated to improve occupancy cost outcomes and environmental credentials.

The yield on the $1.6 million capital investment is approximately 15%. Industria will also hold energy rates at levels consistent with FY17 pricing – extending the benefits of being an Industria tenant.

Alex Abell, Fund Manager of Industria REIT: “This is a great win-win outcome that leverages the abundance of sunshine in Queensland to future proof and add value to Industria’s assets. Our proactive approach will result over 40% of energy being generated on-site, reducing the costs and improving the ESG credentials for our tenants, whilst also providing a healthy return for our security holders.”

Industria has partnered with GEM Energy to deliver the project, which will include almost 3,000 solar panels and be one of the largest business park installations in the country. The installation is scheduled to complete in early 2018.

Source: APN Funds Management

 

NEW PROJECT – Hillston Sun Farm

Project overview

OVERLAND Sun Farming Pty Ltd (OVERLAND) proposes to develop the Hillston Sun Farm, a large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generation facility and associated infrastructure in the Riverina region of south-western NSW (the project). The project will have an estimated nominal capacity in the order of 85 MWac (MW) and once operational will provide enough electricity to power up to 32,000 homes each year (AEMC 2016).

OVERLAND proposes to develop the project on a site within the Carrathool Shire local government area (LGA), approximately 3.5 kilometres (km) south of the township of Hillston. The site encompasses an area of approximately 393 hectares (ha), of which 293 ha will be developed. The site has been highly modified by past disturbances associated with land clearing, cropping, livestock grazing and weed invasion, and is currently used for broad acre cropping. The development footprint (293 ha) within the site boundary has been refined through the project design process to site project infrastructure to avoid environmental constraints as much as possible.

The project will connect to the Essential Energy 132 kV electricity distribution network that originates at the Hillston Substation. The site is in close proximity to the Hillston Substation, and there is a range of connection infrastructure in the vicinity. The development footprint has been designed to minimise the length of connection infrastructure required to connect the project infrastructure to the electricity grid. The site’s proximity to the Hillston Substation means that the connection infrastructure will avoid major road and rail crossings.

The project is a State significant development (SSD) which requires development consent under Part 4, Division 4.1 of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) from the Minister for Planning, or his delegate.

Contact:

Brett Thomas

CEO & Managing Director

Overland Sun Farming

Email: [email protected]

 

Walgett Solar Farm approved

Epuron Island GP’s proposed 29 MW solar farm at Walgett in NSW approved by Department of Planning & Environment. The proposed development site has an area of 91 ha, including a 58 ha development footprint, and is located approximately 5 km north of town. The project includes approximately 90,909 solar panels mounted on either single axis‐tracker or fixed mounting frames (up to 3.5 m in height), up to 14 inverter stations each containing an inverter and a 22 kV or 33 kV transformer, and a 66 kV underground power line connecting to the existing Essential Energy substation approximately 2.4 km south.

Contact:

Jess Picton

Project Manager

Epuron

Tel: (02) 8456 7400

Email: [email protected]

 

Applications received by the Queensland Government’s Department of Energy and Water Supply for generation licences for Canadian Solar’s proposed 55 MW Oakey Stage 2 Solar Farm to be located on the Warrego Highway west of Oakey, and APA Group’s proposed 110 MW Darling Downs Solar Farm, to be located 40km west of Dalby

 

Monadelphous contracts update

19 July

Engineering company Monadelphous Group Limited (ASX:MND) (“Monadelphous” or “the Company”) today announced it has been awarded a number of new work packages with a combined value of approximately $55 million.

The Company has received a Notice of Award to provide mechanical decommissioning, demolition, civil, structural, mechanical and piping works associated with Shaft 1 and Shaft 2 Surface Infrastructure for the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Project – operated by Oyu Tolgoi LLC mine operations located in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. The works are scheduled to be completed in early 2019.

In addition, Monadelphous has been awarded a contract for piping modification and fabrication for Technip Oceania Pty Ltd (TechnipFMC) on the hook-up and commissioning phase of Shell Australia’s Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas project in the Browse Basin, approximately 475 kilometres north-northeast of Broome, in Western Australia.

The Company's renewable energy business, Zenviron, has been awarded a contract, in consortium with Vestas – Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd, to provide engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the 54 MW Salt Creek Wind Farm for Tilt Renewables. The project, located in western Victoria, is expected to be completed in July 2018.

“The diverse nature of these contract awards underlines the success of the Company’s markets and growth strategy,” Monadelphous Managing Director Rob Velletri said. “We are particularly pleased to have secured an initial package of work on the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Project in Mongolia which highlights the continuing expansion of our core services overseas.”

Source: Monadelphous Group

Click here to go to online datasheet: Salt Creek Wind Farm

 

Photon Energy mandates Pottinger as financial advisors for Australian project pipeline

19 July

Photon Energy NV has mandated financial and strategic advisory firm Pottinger Co Pty Limited, to advise on a capital raising for a solar PV project pipeline with a total generation capacity of over 1 GW in Australia.

Photon Energy’s pipeline is being developed in NSW and includes the previously announced 316 MW solar project at Gunning in New South Wales, as well as several other large-scale projects totaling around 700 MW. The combination of increasing energy prices, Large Generation Certificate prices and strong solar irradiation have turned Australia into one of the most sought-after destinations for utility-scale PV power plant investments in the world. Photon Energy NV expects to close the financing round in Q4 2017.

Photon Energy NV is seeking to bring in financial and strategic investors to accelerate development of these important solar energy projects.

“The outstanding track record of Pottinger in energy infrastructure financing has convinced us that they are the right advisors for selecting the most suitable financing partners for our 1 GW PV project pipeline. We are looking forward to working with their team on creating the highest possible value from our ambitious project development effort on the world’s sunniest continent” commented Michael Gartner, Managing Director of Photon Energy Australia.

“Mandating Pottinger is an important step in strengthening our position as one of the leading PV project developers in Australia today. Given the attractive economics of PV power plants in Australia on the back of continuously falling investment costs, our Australian PV project pipeline is on track of becoming the most valuable asset in our Group” explained Georg Hotar, Chief Executive Officer of Photon Energy NV.

Pottinger combines business leadership, investment banking, strategic consulting, big data analytics, entrepreneurship and other skills to help companies and governments unlock growth, reduce risk and accelerate impact.

Source: Photon Energy

 

Now is the time to look at the Tully Millstream project again

19 July

I have written to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, requesting that the Australian Government support an updated feasibility study for the Tully Millstream Hydroelectric Scheme (TMHS), north-west of Tully, in North Queensland. I strongly believe this project has great merit. A serious feasibility study has not been undertaken since the late 1980s.

The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) undertook a full technical study, which was completed in 1988. Sadly, the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (in which the project would be partially located) in late 1988 by the Commonwealth Government, resulted in the scheme not being progressed, due to perceived environmental concerns.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Ever since the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area derailed the TMHS, there has been a deep and sustained level of resentment in North Queensland, that the region was robbed of a major piece of economic infrastructure and the benefits that would have flowed from it. Residents from across North Queensland still regularly express their strong support for the TMHS.

Being born and raised in Tully and having represented the region in the Queensland Parliament since 2006, I can testify to the ongoing and abiding frustration of the community, especially given the declaration also resulted in the demise of our local timber industry. I believe the people of North Queensland certainly deserve to have this important project re-examined on its merits.

NOT JUST ANOTHER FEASIBILITY STUDY

This process is proposed to be an updating, or modernisation, of the feasibility study of the proposed TMHS. As, such, this request for resources is not for ‘just another feasibility study’. The passage of almost three decades means there are a number of issues which need to be re-assessed, to allow for the project to be properly evaluated. These include:

  • Contemporary construction and hydro turbine standards;
  • Contemporary environmental regulatory parameters;
  • How the project would interact with the current national electricity market;
  • How the project would interact with current electricity demand trends;
  • How the project would interact with current electricity transmission infrastructure;
  • Options for technical variations, or variations in scale or scope of the original scheme;
  • Potential opportunities for irrigated agriculture, tourism and recreation; and,
  • An updated estimate of base case costings.

THE PROJECT

The TMHS involves creek diversions from the Tully and Herbert River basins into two new dams (Wooroora and Nitchaga). The 600 megawatt station would be constructed underground between Koombooloomba Dam and the Tully River. The reliability of rainfall in the Tully region and the elevation of the site combine to provide a sound technical proposition for a hydroelectricity project.

WHY NOW?

1.The Australian Government has a stated commitment to developing Northern Australia, as well as a structured policy framework and allocated funds in furtherance of this goal.

2.The Australian Government has demonstrated a commitment to hydroelectricity, by recently announcing a feasibility study to expand the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectricity Scheme.

3.The environmental debate regarding climate change has shifted from the protection of trees to carbon emissions, in particular, shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

SOME FACTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT

  • The declared Wet Tropics World Heritage Area covers some 900,000 hectares of north-eastern Queensland.
  • The new water storages would inundate 4,300 hectares of land, but only 1,290 hectares of this land would be located within the declared Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
  • This is less than 0.2 per cent of the overall Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and could hardly be described as having a catastrophic impact on the future of the declared area.

COLLABORATION WITH SMEC

Earlier this year, I approached SMEC to ascertain its interest in updating the feasibility study for the TMHS. SMEC responded enthusiastically and utilised the comprehensive 11 volume engineering study it completed in 1988, to prepare a feasibility review document. SMEC is well positioned to undertake the work proposed in the feasibility review document.

OTHER MATTERS AND CONCLUSION

The TMHS project has the potential to create opportunities for irrigated agriculture on the Tully River, regional tourism operators and products and recreational activities for local residents. The ancillary benefits and opportunities that could be created by the proposed TMHS being constructed are not insignificant and should not be underestimated.

I am a long term supporter of the TMHS – a true believer. As a North Queenslander and a North Queensland MP, I have waited a long time for the policy agenda to suit a serious proposal to revive the TMHS. I believe that time is now. Another generation of North Queenslanders should not be denied the opportunity to benefit from this major piece of economic infrastructure.

Source: Member for Hinchinbrook, Andrew Cripps

 

Jacobs wins roles on major new wind farm project in Australia

20 July

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE:JEC) has been appointed by the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF), to carry out the project management and owners engineers’ roles for a proposed 200 Megawatt wind farm in Western New South Wales, Australia.

The AUD$450 million (US$356 million) Silverton Wind Farm will produce approximately 780,000 Megawatt hours of renewable energy annually, enough to power more than 137,000 average Australian homes. The energy produced from the wind farm’s 58 turbines is predicted to reduce CO2 emissions by 655,000 tons annually, which is the equivalent of taking 192,000 cars off the road each year.

PARF is a partnership created by Australian energy company AGL Energy Limited (AGL) to develop, own and manage approximately 1,000 Megawatts of large-scale renewable energy infrastructure assets and projects. The PARF’s equity partners include AGL and QIC, on behalf of its clients the Future Fund and those invested in the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund. The Future Fund is a sovereign wealth fund which aims to invest in projects that benefit future generations of Australians.

“Jacobs has a proven history in successfully delivering all types of renewable power generation projects,” said Jacobs Senior Vice President Patrick Hill. “In wind, we have completed hundreds of projects globally and we have an extensive history in this market in Australia, especially working with AGL.

“This project builds on the support we have provided AGL in the renewables market, delivering two of Australia’s largest solar power plants at Nyngan and Broken Hill. Jacobs will provide leading edge project management capabilities combined with our engineering skills to help AGL deliver this landmark project,” added Hill.

Source: Jacobs Engineering

Click here to go to online datasheet: Silverton Wind Farm

 

New PPA signed as renewables program underpins 500 MW of capacity

20 July

EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s leading energy retailers, today announced it had signed a long-term agreement to buy 100 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy from the 150 MW capacity Coleambally solar farm developed by Neoen in New South Wales.

The Coleambally power purchase agreement (PPA) is EnergyAustralia’s fifth since it announced in December 2016 a $1.5 billion program to underpin new wind and solar projects across eastern Australia. EnergyAustralia’s commitment has now underpinned new wind and solar developments with more than 500 MW of total capacity.

EnergyAustralia Executive – Energy Mark Collette said continued investment in new supplies of cleaner energy was critical to underpinning Australia’s system as existing coal generation is retired.

“We’re really pleased to add a quality renewable project like Coleambally to our power purchase portfolio,” said Mr Collette.

“We have a neutral view about the technology that will replace existing coal as a source of base-load supply, so long as it supports the delivery of reliable, affordable and cleaner energy. One thing is clear though – renewables are part of the solution and will make a major contribution to the development of a modern energy system in Australia.

“Bringing on these new supplies will require billions of dollars of investment but doing nothing means higher prices and less reliable energy for all customers. Families and businesses are depending on industry and government to get it right,” Mr Collette said.

Mr Collette said there was reason for optimism as recent public statements by federal and state governments showed there's good understanding of Australia’s energy challenge. He said the recent Finkel Panel report on the future security of the national electricity market was a good, solid blueprint for governments to work together on a bipartisan, national approach to energy.

Located in the Riverina region of New South Wales, the Coleambally solar farm is being developed by French company, Neoen.

The farm will produce enough emissions-free, renewable energy to meet the electricity needs of more than 50,000 households. The project will create around 300 jobs during construction and seven ongoing operational roles.

Since EnergyAustralia announced its PPA program seven months ago it has secured agreements for 385 MW of renewable energy for its customers from projects with total capacity of more than 500 MW. The PPAs will help the company met its obligations under the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target, which requires retailers to have 23.5% of total energy in the national electricity market provided by renewable sources by 2020.

Neoen Managing Director – Australia, Franck Woitiez said his company was looking forward to working with EnergyAustralia.

“EnergyAustralia’s 12-year commitment to the Coleambally PPA is an important step in developing this new solar farm as we expand our renewable energy portfolio in Australia,” Mr Woitiez said. “Now, with EnergyAustralia’s support firmly in place, Neoen can concentrate on reaching financial close before the end of 2017.”

The Coleambally commitment follows EnergyAustralia’s agreements to buy:

  • All the output from the 48.5 MW Manildra solar farm in New South Wales
  • Eighty per cent of the output from the 142 MW Ross River solar farm in Queensland
  • All of the output from the 60 MW Gannawarra solar farm in Victoria, and
  • Sixty per cent of the output from the 113 MW Bodangora Wind Farm in New South Wales.

EnergyAustralia’s existing renewable energy program includes the rights to more than 450 MW of electricity from wind farms in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, which produce enough power to meet the annual electricity needs of 300,000 average homes each year.

Source: EnergyAustralia

Click here to go to online datasheet: Coleambally Solar Farm

Council approval for Waverley Wind Farm

7 July

The South Taranaki District Council granted land use consents for Tilt Renewables’ proposed 48-turbine, 130 MW capacity Waverley Wind Farm on the east coast of South Island, New Zealand. Land use consents were granted for the construction, operation and maintenance of the wind farm and a single circuit 110 KV transmission line connecting it to a substation. The resource consent is valid for 10 years, and contains the standard conditions relating to noise, shadow flicker and bird strike monitoring.

Source: South Taranaki District Council

Click here to go to online datasheet: Waverley Wind Farm

 

Generation licence sought for Yaloak Wind Farm

Pacific Hydro is seeking a generation licence for its Yaloak Wind Farm, approximately 15 kilometres south of Ballan in Victoria. The Yaloak South Wind Farm commenced construction in late 2016 and is expected to be completed in June 2018. The project comprises fourteen Senvion MM92 wind turbine generators, rated at 2.05MW each, providing a total installed capacity of 28.7 MW with a maximum hub height of 80m and maximum tip height of 126.25m.

The project is being built in the southern section of the Parwan Valley, which is predominantly cleared agricultural land used for cropping and livestock grazing. Initial plans for a 70 turbine, 115 MW capacity wind farm at the site were amended following concerns from local residents of the Parwan Valley about the potential impact on the wedge-tail eagle population and the visual amenity of the local area. The revised project layout has been designed to reduce potential impacts on native vegetation, wedge tail eagles, Aboriginal cultural heritage, and the landscape.

The reduction in size of the wind farm also enables the export of the power generated into the local electricity network, via a short grid extension to the existing 66kV line located along Hamills Lane. This connection will be screened by existing vegetation and have minimal visual impact on native vegetation and cultural heritage.

The electricity generated at the YSWF will be sold into the National Electricity Market.

Source: Pacific Hydro

Click here to go to online datasheet: Yaloak Wind Farm

 

NSW’s Western Regional Joint Planning Panel has approved a development application for Terrain Solar’s planned Molong Solar Farm, approximately 40km north-west of Orange in the Cabonne Shire Council. The $29 million, 25 MW AC project will be connected to the adjacent TransGrid substation. Once completed the solar farm will produce enough solar energy to serve the needs of approximately 8,500 average NSW homes and displace more than 55,000 cubic tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. Construction in scheduled to start in early 2018.

Source: Terrain Solar

 

World first agribusiness project for Atherton Tableland

10 July

The sugarcane industry is set to fundamentally change in Far North Queensland following an announcement today by the Minister for State Development, Dr Anthony Lynham, of State Government support of MSF Sugar’s Biorefinery Project on the Atherton Tableland.

Once operational, MSF Sugar’s Biorefinery Project will be a world first initiative that will see the company produce sugar, green base load electricity and ethanol from one location, with all three products manufactured through the effective and efficient use of biomass materials grown locally on the Atherton Tableland.

Supporting the project through the State Government Biofutures Acceleration Program (BAP), the announcement by Minister Lynham recognises the MSF Sugar Tableland Biorefinery Project as one that will deliver on the Government’s vision to develop an industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector in Queensland. Still in its infancy, the sector requires substantial research investment to uncover innovative scientific and industrial technologies designed to convert sustainable waste into bioproducts.

Minister Lynham’s announcement took place earlier today at MSF Sugar’s Tableland Mill during a media event on the construction site of another of the company’s major step-change projects, that being it’s Green Energy Power Plant which is scheduled for completion in 2018.

The Government support obtained through the BAP will be used by MSF Sugar to complete a farm to market feasibility study that examines all areas of the value chain relating to the establishment of a Biorefining industry on the Atherton Tableland, effectively fast-tracking the company’s plans to diversify the industry.

MSF Sugar’s Biorefinery Project builds on the company’s vision to build a biofutures legacy for the people of Far North Queensland, with estimates for the project predicting a doubling of revenue for the sugarcane industry and the creation of year-round, high-value and knowledge-intensive regional jobs. This will lead to a more diversified and durable economy, bringing both economic and environmental benefits to the Tableland region.

The Biorefinery will be an enhanced sugar mill consisting of four important sections; the sugar mill, an agave juice mill, the green power station and a distillery.

According to MSF Sugar CEO, Mike Barry, “diversifying income for the sugarcane industry is very important as we’re currently too reliant on the raw sugar price and we’re not obtaining full value from the cane.

“The crop we’re investigating to deliver on the project is blue agave, which is a new crop to Australia but it is extensively grown in Mexico to produce the drink tequila. The advantage of blue agave is that it grows in a climate similar to that of the dry tropic part of the Atherton Tableland, it produces around 400 tonne per hectare of bio-mass in 5 years, does not need irrigation, and you have a high amount of fermentable juice and fibre.

“The technology we’ll be using to process agave is similar to what we use in the sugar industry, so the crop has huge potential for helping us to transform the sugarcane industry”.

The sentiment is echoed by General Manager Business Development, Hywel Cook, who states that “through this project, we are transforming the business from a sugar business to a sugarcane business with multiple bio-products. 

“The $60 million Biorefinery complex we propose to develop is expected to create 80 construction/farming and 50 operational jobs for the agribusiness sector, around 180 jobs and $97 million flow-on for regional businesses, produce 110,000 tonnes of raw sugar, 200,000 MW of green electricity for the grid and 55ML of ethanol biofuel annually. The green electricity will be base load generation operating 12 months per year using the fibre from the sugar cane and blue agave”.

The feasibility study funded through the BAP will consider all processes related to farming the new agave crop, making the biomass products (ethanol and electricity) and delivering the end product to market (customer acceptance). The findings will be used to assess the commercial viability of the project, and inform MSF Sugar’s decision on when to commence project construction.  

While the announcement is significant for the agriculture sector, the Biorefinery Project will benefit the region as a whole as once operational, the refinery will work across the agriculture, energy and biofutures industries. It will also contribute to the broad economic development of rural Queensland with independent research* predicting the project will double the company’s contribution to the Tablelands Gross Regional Product from 2% to 4%.

To allow the biorefinery to operate 12 months of the year, MSF Sugar will continue to trial large-scale blue agave cropping thanks to the $250,000 grant received through the Queensland Government’s Biofutures Commercialisation Program late last month.

According to Mr Cook, “the overall project is a great example of what is possible in growing the right crop in the right place and then using all the plant material to make a variety of products. The great thing is we could continue transforming these products to make products such as plastics, bio-diesel and even bio jet fuel.  And this will all be based from what we grow using a variety of different lands.

“This is a big opportunity to make a step-change from a sugar industry to a bio-refinery industry”.

The economic potential of growing and harvesting two crops is reinforced by MSF Sugar’s General Manager Agriculture, Mr Trevor Crook, who, together with Mr Cook, travelled to Mexico last month to tour Agave processing facilities, farms, and meet with research and university project teams.

"The blue agave crop will be grown and harvested on land that would traditionally need irrigation to produce a viable crop. This means we will soon be able to use dry agricultural lands to produce green base electricity, food and other useful products.

“All of this value-add will happen in Far North Queensland to establish a new and positive legacy for future generations in the region.”

MSF Sugar’s vision for the biofutures industry is substantial with plans to develop 4,000 ha of Tableland farmland into agave plantations. The crop will be developed at a rate of 800 ha per annum to ensure the project is sustainable.

Following completion of MSF Sugar’s blue agave pilot project and feasibility study, the first year of commercial planting is expected to take place in 2020. The goal is to plant 3.2 million plants per year with agave farming expected to be 800 hectares from MSF Sugar and 3200 hectares from independent farms.

As agave takes 5 years to grow, it is anticipated the first commercial harvest will take place in 2025 with crops harvested at a rate of 800 hectares per year with an anticipated yield of 400 tonnes per hectare.

To deliver on the company’s biofutures vision, MSF Sugar plans to commence construction of the distillery required to round-out the project in 2020, which will require an investment of around $100 million. At least two-thirds of the investment will be spent within Australia and the investment is on top of the $75 million the company has already invested in its Green Energy Power Plant construction.

MSF Sugar’s Biofutures Project is considered to be of state significance as when completed, it will help position Queensland as a leader in converting waste material from crops into highly valued bio-products.

Once proven successful, the model being developed by MSF Sugar can be replicated in other sugarcane growing regions that contain arid agricultural land. The Biorefinery can also be expanded to produce additional products, and has the flexibility to add other sub-processes to enable production of bio-plastics, animal feeds, and create a pathway to produce ethanol-based aviation fuels.

* Cummings Economics, MSF Sugar and the Mareeba Shire/Tableland Region, Economic and Social Impact Study, May 2017

Source: MSF Sugar

Click here to go to online datasheet: Tableland Sugar Mill Power Station

 

White Rock Solar Farm celebrates the start of construction

10 July 2017

Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Member for New England, today joined John Titchen, Managing Director of Goldwind Australia, local Mayor of Glen Innes Severn Council and Acting Mayor of Inverell Council at a Ground-Breaking Ceremony to mark the commencement of construction at the $41.4 million White Rock Solar Farm project.

“This ceremony marks the start of construction of the solar farm to be to be co-located with White Rock Wind Farm in New England Tablelands. The award of a large-scale solar competitive grant by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has allowed the White Rock Solar Farm to proceed to construction.” John Titchen, Managing Director of Goldwind Australia said today.

Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Barnaby Joyce said he was looking forward to the project completion targeted for early 2018.

‘It is positive news for the New England Electorate that the White Rock Solar Farm project construction is now commencing. This was made possible following the Federal Government’s $5.4 million funding commitment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) towards the project in September last year.’ Mr Joyce said.

The Federal Coalition Government supports renewables and has a legislated and efficient renewable energy target, so supporting projects like the White Rock Solar Farm show that the Federal Government is serious about supporting renewable energy production to help secure the national grid.

‘With other projects like the Sapphire Wind Farm going ahead, it also shows that the New England is leading the way in renewable energy production and I will continue to advocate for the region as a growing power supplier for Australia,’ said Mr Joyce.

White Rock Solar Farm will be a 20 MW AC solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant located adjacent to the northern end of White Rock Wind Farm, 18 km west of Glen Innes. The development is a solar-wind hybrid renewable energy facility. It is expected to generate around 44,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity in the first year of operation, enough to supply the equivalent of approximately 7,200 average NSW homes. The project is designed to benefit significantly from sharing part of the wind farm infrastructure, including the grid connection and access tracks.

Alongside the wind farm project, White Rock Solar Farm represents a significant economic investment for the region. Up to 75 people are expected to be on site at construction peaks and three people as ongoing operational and maintenance staff.

White Rock Solar is Goldwind’s second wind-solar hybrid project following the 10MW Gullen Solar project which is now at an advanced stage of construction.

About White Rock Solar Farm

The $41.4 million White Rock Solar Farm project is a 20 MW AC development to be located adjacent to the northern end of White Rock Wind Farm in the New England Tablelands, approximately 18 km west of Glen Innes and about 500 km north of Sydney.

Development Consent was secured for the project in June 2016 and the project was successful in the ARENA Large-Scale Solar Competitive Round in September 2016. Elements of the White Rock Solar Farm infrastructure will be shared with White Rock Wind Farm, including grid connection, access tracks and some internal electrical cabling.

Source: Goldwind Australia

Click here to go to online datasheet: White Rock Solar Farm

 

White Rock Wind Farm switches on turbines

10 July 2017 The first turbines at White Rock Wind Farm have now been connected to TransGrid’s network and are producing electricity. NSW transmission network operator and manager TransGrid, along with sub-contractor Zinfra, designed, constructed and commissioned White Rock Wind Farm’s 132/33kV substation and transmission line to connect the project to the NSW transmission network and the National Electricity Market.

‘This is key project milestone for White Rock Wind Farm. TransGrid has completed connection works and AEMO has registered the White Rock Wind Farm project.’ said Ronan Creedon, EPC Project Manager for White Rock Wind Farm today.

‘TransGrid and Zinfra’s crews have constructed and delivered the wind farm’s connection infrastructure enabling the wind farm to commence generating.’ Stage one of White Rock Wind Farm includes 70 turbines, a substation and eight-kilometre transmission line. Forty-seven turbines have been fully erected, with the installation of the remaining turbines to occur over the next couple of months.

Once fully operational, the 175 MW White Rock Wind Farm will produce sufficient clean renewable energy to power approximately 75,000 homes, more than all the houses in the New England area.

Construction of stage one of White Rock Wind Farm commenced in May 2016. Current work on site is now focussed on installation and erection of the remaining twenty-three wind turbines and commissioning work. At the peak of construction, the number of on-site construction staff has reached approximately 300 people. The wind farm is planned to be fully commissioned by the end of 2017.

About White Rock Wind Farm

The $400 million White Rock Wind Farm (WRWF) project is in the New England/Northern Tablelands region of NSW, approximately 20 kilometres west of Glen Innes and 40 kilometres east of Inverell. Project approval was granted by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure on 10 July 2012 for the construction and operation of up to 119 wind turbines in addition to related infrastructure. The project will be staged with 70 turbines in the first stage. Construction completion is targeted for late 2017. Once operational, the 175MW White Rock Wind Farm will generate enough renewable energy to service 75,000 homes. Goldwind retains a 25% interest in the WRWF, whilst partnering with China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group Wind-Power Corporation (CECEP) for a 75% investment for full construction and operation of the project.

Source: Goldwind Australia

Click here to go to online datasheet: White Rock Wind Farm

 

Queensland to become leader in clean growth economy

11 July

The Palaszczuk Government has unveiled its goal to drive carbon pollution down to zero by 2050 and make Queensland a leader in the clean growth economy.

Speaking from Cairns, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Environment Minister Steven Miles released the Queensland Climate Transition and Adaptation Strategies which lay out the plans for drastically reducing carbon pollution and readying communities for the impacts of a warmer climate.

“Setting a target of zero net emissions by 2050 sends a clear message that Queensland will be a leader in the low carbon economy,” Ms Trad said.

“This will attract new investment and industries to our state, ensuring sustainable jobs for Queenslanders into the future.

“In the absence of any climate change policy from the Turnbull Government it is the states who are doing the heavy lifting to ensure Australia does its fair share to keep the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees.”

The Deputy Premier said she would join a roundtable meeting of State Governments and Former Vice President and Climate Leader Al Gore in Melbourne later this week to discuss climate strategy.

“In Melbourne on Thursday I will discuss with my counterparts from other states how we can work together to ensure that as Australians we meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement,” Ms Trad said.

“We shouldn’t have to keep the Turnbull Government’s promises for them, but for the sake of our communities, our industries and our environment we have to step up.”

The Environment Minister said that UNESCO’s recent look at the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage Status noted climate change was one of its biggest threats.

“The world is watching what we do to protect our Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said.

“We must drive down emissions to prevent further coral bleaching events like the ones we’ve seen recently.

“This is vital for the future of the Reef.

“But it also means Queenslanders get to go on enjoying their way of life. It means more stable jobs in the industries of the future, giving our farmers a chance to thrive, making sure we can enjoy our incredible natural environment with clean air and soil and water.

“We’ve already seen a massive increase in construction and jobs in the Queensland renewable sector since the election of the Palaszczuk Government.

“And that’s only going to grow now with even more incentives for clean industries to set up shop in our state under our target for 50% renewables by 2030.”

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said that there was a pressing need for action on climate change.

“Understanding the impacts of a changing climate and adapting to these will help us protect the people and the place we love – including Queensland’s way of life,” Mr Crawford said.

“We are already experiencing the impacts of a changing climate and can expect to see more changes including - higher temperatures, more intense and more frequent heatwaves, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and more frequent coral bleaching as a result of warmer oceans.

“This Adaptation Strategy is about how we manage the flow-on effects of those impacts in areas like tourism, agriculture, biodiversity and our tropical lifestyle here in Far North Queensland.

“By using science to predict the future risks, we can build this into everyday decision-making; ensuring our infrastructure, businesses and communities are ready and resilient under changing conditions.

“Tackling climate change is critical for strengthening Queensland’s economic future and for protecting our iconic places, including the Great Barrier Reef.”

The Queensland Climate Adaptation Strategy and Queensland Climate Transition Strategy are available to download:

Source: Queensland Government

 

Sun shining on Lockhart River solar project

12 July

The light of opportunity is shining on a remote Queensland town, with Lockhart River continuing its transition from a diesel powered community to a solar powered community.

Touring the community with Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Mark Furner and Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher yesterday, Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the recent closing of tenders to install solar was another milestone in the community’s clean energy revolution.

“The Lockhart solar project will see a portion of the community’s power, normally supplied by diesel generators, soon coming from a 200 kilowatt rooftop solar farm, with some provisions for battery storage," My Bailey said.

"The joint partnership between the Department of Energy and Water Supply, Ergon Energy Retail as part of Energy Queensland, and the Department of Housing and Public Works will see the installation of this solar farm on government-owned buildings in Lockhart River.

"The solar farm will provide a clean energy alternative for the diesel-powered community and will include some battery energy storage to help integrate the solar farm with the local diesel generators.

"Tenders have recently closed, and construction of the solar farm is expected to start later this year."

Mr Bailey said the project was another example of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to affordable and sustainable energy – consistent with the Powering Queensland Plan and Powering North Queensland Plan.

“Queensland is experiencing a renewable energy boom, and this project will not only bring more affordable electricity to Lockhart River, but cleaner electricity as well,” he said.

The Lockhart River solar farm trial is one of four sites in Queensland involved in a trial to deliver electricity savings to some of the state’s most vulnerable - http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2017/3/10/solar-future-for-public-housing-in-queensland

Source: Queensland Government

 

Grant funding update

13 July

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE), developer of utility scale battery storage, solar energy and wave energy solutions, is pleased to provide an update on its current Government grant funded projects; the ARENA Garden Island Microgrid Project and the European Union funded CETO 6 Wave Hub Project; as well as the Albany Wave Energy Project.

Over the past weeks, Carnegie received approximately $850,000 of grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Progress has also been made with its Albany Wave Energy Project.

Garden Island Microgrid Project

Carnegie has received $670,000 in grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in recognition for the completion of two milestones for the Garden Island Microgrid Project. These milestone payments were awarded for completed design and procurement activities.

These are the first milestone payments received from Carnegie’s $2.5m funding package from ARENA to support the Garden Island Microgrid Project. An update on the progress of final approvals and construction will be provided in the coming weeks.

CETO 6 Wave Hub Project

During the quarter, Carnegie’s UK subsidiary, CETO Wave Energy UK (CWE UK), received £108,265 (approximately $183,000) as the first two quarterly grant payments for progress on its European funded CETO 6 Wave Hub Project.

These grant payments were based on Carnegie’s initial design and development activity and expenditure for its CETO 6 Wave Hub Project in Cornwall. Carnegie received £63,969 (approximately $108,000) for the period April – December 2016 and £44,296 (approximately $75,000) for progress during Q1 2017. CWE UK will shortly submit its Q2 2017 grant claim.

Carnegie’s £9,551,963 grant from the European Regional Development Fund, is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, and forms 65% of funding for the proposed CETO 6 Wave Hub Project: a £14.7m project to design, construct, install and operate a grid-connected CETO 6 wave energy converter device, adapted to local conditions and industrialised for large scale commercial deployment at the purpose built, Wave Hub test site in the UK.

Albany Wave Energy Project

Discussions are continuing with the Western Australia Government regarding their election commitment to fund $19.5m towards an Albany Wave Energy Project and Centre of Excellence. Further progress on this funding initiative is also expected in the coming weeks. In anticipation of progressing design and development activities, Carnegie shipped one of its metocean wave measurement buoys to Albany in preparation for deployment in its Albany offshore licence area.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Albany Wave Energy Project

 

Renew Estate and Wirsol Energy embark on new development venture

  • International renewable energy company, Wirsol Energy, responsible for the UK and Asia Pacific markets within German WIRCON Group has partnered with Australian renewables developer, Renew Estate, to embark on the development of a 1GW+ project pipeline.
  • The development of over 400MW of large-scale solar farm projects is already underway, with construction of the first projects targeted to commence in Q1 2018.
  • The pipeline will include storage-ready projects, ready for the next-generation of renewables development in Australia.
  • The partnership is already looking further afield, identifying several development opportunities across the wider Australia-Pacific region.
  • Renew Estate will be supported by Norton Rose Fulbright, global law firm, and Beast Solutions, energy advisory firm.

Sydney, Australia: Surfing the wave of enthusiasm created by their recent entry into the Australian renewables market, International renewable energy company Wirsol Energy (part of the WIRCON Group), has partnered with Australian developer, Renew Estate, to embark on a gigawatt-scale project development pipeline. This news follows an announcement in March heralding Wirsol’s successful acquisition of three new large-scale solar farm projects totaling 198MW, the largest of its kind in Australia to date.

Co-located in the fast-growing Manly renewables tech hub dubbed ‘Solar Beach’, Renew Estate and Wirsol will develop over 1GW in renewables projects over the coming years. Over 400MW of large-scale solar farm projects are already underway and is targeting commencement of construction in Q1 2018. Mark Hogan, Managing Director of Wirsol Energy Limited, expressed his enthusiasm for the new venture. “We are delighted to be working with Renew Estate and want to bring a fresh approach to the development of projects in the Australian market. We have already successfully entered the Australia market with the acquisition of the first large scale portfolio of solar farm projects (200MW in QLD and VIC). We have delivered over 1 gigawatts of innovative solar projects in Europe and are now committed to developing a portfolio across Australia”.

The name Renew Estate reflects the partners’ shared goal to deliver projects which meet the expectations of all stakeholders.

Simon Currie, Global Head of Energy at Norton Rose Fulbright comments “Dramatic falls in the cost of solar and wind energy and storage technologies mean we can now plan for a zero carbon future with affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. The renewable energy industry should look for opportunities to regenerate and repurpose existing hubs like Port Augusta and the La Trobe and Hunter Valleys. This is an innovative partnership which will deliver future-ready projects incorporating storage and enhancing the reliability of the system.”

Renew Estate Director, Byron Serjeantson, echoes the importance of future-ready projects, emphasising that “Great renewables projects will benefit all stakeholders; starting with the community and landowners, local government and industry and all Australians, who ultimately benefit from a cleaner and cheaper source of energy. By bringing together the right team and working hard at what we do, we aim to be a key contributor to a strong and well-regarded renewables industry of the future.”

Looking beyond their development pipeline in Australia, Renew Estate has identified a number development opportunities across the Australia-Pacific region, with projects in Fiji and New Zealand s showing particular promise. “Watch this space” says Serjeantson.

Source: Wirsol Energy

 

States threaten to go it alone on Clean Energy Target

13 July

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis has threatened States could go it alone on a Clean Energy Target if the Federal Government does not endorse the Chief Scientist’s most vital recommendation at COAG on Friday.

Mr Koutsantonis said the State Government was in discussions with other States about the possibility of implementing a Clean Energy Target if inaction from the Federal Government continued.

He said the State Government will ask the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to model how a mechanism would be implemented.

Background

In October 2016 COAG commissioned Chief Scientist Alan Finkel to conduct an independent review into the future security of the National Electricity Market.

Since that time, a broad range of experts, industry groups and businesses have called for a market mechanism that drives investment in new electricity generation. These groups include:

  • CSIRO
  • BHP
  • The Australian Industry Group
  • Business Council of Australia
  • AGL
  • EnergyAustralia
  • The National Farmers’ Federation
  • The Australian Energy Market Commission
  • The Australian Energy Regulator
  • The Grattan Institute
  • Clean Energy Council
  • Malcolm Turnbull (when he was Leader of the Opposition)
  • Frontier Economics

Last month, the Chief Scientist delivered the Finkel Review to COAG, making 50 recommendations, including the introduction of a Clean Energy Target. The CET would require retailers to purchase a certain amount of power from clean generators, such as renewables and gas, thereby incentivising new investment in the market.

Source: SA Government

 

Unlocking the potential of Australia’s tidal energy

13 July

Australia’s tidal energy resource will be mapped in unprecedented detail in a new study funded by the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

ARENA has provided $2.49 million in funding support for the three year project which will explore the future potential of tidal energy in Australia to attract future investment.

The $5.85 million project – Tidal Energy in Australia – Assessing Resource and Feasibility in Australia’s Future Energy Mix – will be led by the Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania, in partnership with CSIRO, the University of Queensland and industry partners.

The project will create an online atlas mapping tidal energy nationwide to the nearest 500 metres. The project will also involve a full feasibility study of two high potential sites, and modelling of existing tidal energy devices at these sites.

Tidal energy is generated by harnessing the movement of tides. Tides contain both potential energy, related to the vertical fluctuations in sea level, as well as kinetic energy, related to ocean currents. A modern tidal generator works much like an underwater wind turbine, harnessing the current created by the tide.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said this project will help to unlock the potential of tidal energy to contribute to Australia’s energy needs.

“This research will help Australia to better understand tidal energy and help to maximise renewable energy into the market,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Ocean energy technologies are in their early stages of development. With ARENA’s help, we hope to see exciting steps forward being made in understanding the benefits of tidal energy.”

Lead researcher Associate Professor Irene Penesis said this survey will overcome current barriers to investment in commercialscale tidal farms in Australia.

“With some of the largest tides in the world, Australia is ideal for this extremely reliable and low carbon form of energy,” said Associate Professor Penesis.“But potential investors are currently held back by a lack of detailed information on tidal resources that would help them understand the risks and opportunities available.”

“This project will address this knowledge gap and provide the information that developers need to deploy their technology in the most energetic tidal sites in Australia.”

Four industry partners OpenHydro, Protean Wave Energy, MAKO Tidal Turbines and BioPower Systems will make financial contributions and provide the researchers with proprietary information on their tidal energy devices, as well as commercial implementation knowhow.

Michael Lewis, Business Development Manager at international marine turbine company OpenHydro, a DCNS Energies company, said the project will help the tidal energy industry in Australia match advances seen internationally.

“We believe this project will create an environment in which we can deliver commercially viable tidal energy projects in Australia, helping the country move forward in the development of a tidal energy industry.”

The project will also benefit from collaboration with international researchers from Acadia University, Canada, and Bangor University, UK, both of which are at the forefront of global developments in tidal energy.

Tidal energy is the last major renewable energy resource to be mapped as part of the Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Initiative funded by ARENA. ARENA has previously funded marine energy studies, including the Australian Wave Energy Atlas led by CSIRO.

The data produced by this research may also be used for a range of other purposes, such as environmental management, shipping, defence, oil and gas exploration and offshorewind and wave energy.

The project will deliver:

1.Tidal resource map: development of a national scale hydrodynamic tidal model to map the scale and distribution of the nation’s tidal energy resources to the nearest 500 metres. The results will be published in an online resource atlas.

2.Full feasibility assessment of high potential sites: focussed case studies at two high potential sites including field measurements, hydrodynamic modelling and environmental impact assessment.

3.Technical and economic feasibility assessment: development of an economic case for connecting high potential sites to Australia’s electricity infrastructure, with consideration of national grid, end of grid and off grid application.

Source: ARENA

 

Al Gore launches Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan

13 July

The Andrews Labor Government has released Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan, backed by $146 million in funding to deliver more renewable, affordable and reliable energy for Victoria.

Former United States Vice President Al Gore and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio launched the plan today after riding on one of Melbourne’s iconic trams which will soon be powered by solar energy.

This is one of several initiatives announced in the $146 million Renewable Energy Action Plan.

The Plan also includes:

  • $48.1 million for renewable energy certificate purchasing, including powering Victoria’s tram fleet
  • $25 million to deploy grid-scale battery storage facilities in the west of Victoria by next summer
  • $15.8 million for smart software system, solar and battery storage microgrid initiatives

The Labor Government is already getting on with delivering several key renewable energy actions for Victoria, including:

  • Setting ambitious yet achievable renewable energy generation targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025
  • Establishing three pilot community power hubs in the Latrobe Valley, Ballarat and Bendigo to enable community groups to access renewable energy expertise and services
  • Creating the Centre for New Energy Technologies and appointing the Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate

Mr Gore joined Ms D’Ambrosio and senior representatives of other states and territories today to discuss the important role states play in transitioning our economy to net zero emissions by 2050, and explore opportunities for interstate collaboration.

Source: Victoria Government

 

Momentum on energy security welcome, but Clean Energy Target now crucial

14 July

The endorsement by state and federal Energy Ministers of all but one of the recommendations from the Chief Scientist’s review of Australia’s energy security is a big step forward in creating a modern energy system, the Clean Energy Council said today.

But Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said a Clean Energy Target is the missing piece of the puzzle to provide much-needed certainty that is essential for new investment to drive down power prices and ensure energy security.  

"The endorsement of these recommendations by the COAG Energy Council will go a long way towards ensuring a clean, secure and affordable energy system,” Mr Thornton said.

“While there is a great deal of detail to work through, with the right market and regulatory settings, these recommendations will allow Australia to take advantage of the full capabilities of sophisticated new renewable energy and energy storage technologies. We look forward to working with the key industry and business bodies to carefully design the implementation of these recommendations.

“But the Finkel Review recommendations need to be implemented as a whole package to ensure they operate as a coherent, strong and enduring energy strategy. We now wait for the Government to finalise its support for a Clean Energy Target as the most important policy for the future of Australia’s energy system,” he said.

Source: Clean Energy Council

FRV confirms Development Approval for two further Queensland solar farms

3 July

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), a leading global utility-scale solar developer, has received development approval to deliver two further, utility-scale solar projects located in Clare and Tieri, Queensland.

Combined, the two projects will add an additional 141 MW dc to FRV’s existing 281 MW dc portfolio of solar farm projects already approved and not yet under construction in Queensland, an increase of around 50%.

“These recent planning approvals build on FRV’s track record of successfully working with local communities to achieve positive regulatory endorsement for its utility-scale solar projects,” Managing Director of FRV Australia, Cameron Garnsworthy, said.

The 45 MW dc Clare II Solar Farm, received approval from the Burdekin Shire Council in June 2017 and is located adjacent to FRV’s 125 MW dc Clare Solar Farm, which is currently under construction.

The 96 MW dc Tieri Solar Farm received approval from the Central Highlands Regional Council in late May 2017. The company already has approval to construct the 125 MW dc Lilyvale Solar Farm in the same region. Construction of the Lilyvale Solar Farm is expected to start in the third quarter of 2017.

Source: FRV

Click here to go to online datasheet: Lilyvale Solar Farm

 

GFG Alliance signs binding agreement to acquire flagship Australian integrated mining and steel group Arrium

4 July

Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, the international industrial, energy, natural resources and financial services group, has today signed a binding agreement to acquire Arrium, the integrated Australian mining and steel business, out of administration.

The acquisition is expected to secure the jobs of over 5,500 Australian workers, and includes the following steel and steel-related businesses.

  • The Iron Ore Mining Operations – producing approximately 10m tonnes per annum of iron ore -haematite and magnetite pellets - for export and internal supply.
  • Whyalla Port and Rail
  • Whyalla Steelworks – 1.2m tonnes per annum blast furnace operation and Australia’s only producer of rail and hot rolled structural steel products.
  • OneSteel Scrap Recycling – A steel scrap and recycling business with a national network of collection and processing facilities handling around 2m tonnes per annum of ferrous scrap and around 250,000 tonnes per annum of non-ferrous scrap for export and internal supply.
  • OneSteel Secondary Steelworks –4m tonnes per annum from two electric arc furnaces with three bar and rod rolling mills (Sydney, Melbourne, and Newcastle). The business is Australia’s only producer of rod, bar and wire products.
  • Australian Tube Mills - Australia’s largest steel pipe and tube manufacturer.
  • OneSteel Reinforcing, ARC and OneSteel Metal Centres - Australia’s leading general steel distributor and steel reinforcing solutions provider to commercial, residential and civil construction; mining; agriculture; and manufacturing sectors.

The acquisition of Arrium builds on GFG Alliance’s track record of acquisitions and turnarounds in the UK where it is now a key player in the industrial, energy, property and financial sectors. To date the group has secured the jobs of more than 4,000 industrial workers in the UK through its Liberty House (steel, aluminium and engineering), SIMEC (energy, infrastructure and resources), GFG Estates and Wyelands (banking, capital and advisory) businesses.

Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman of the GFG Alliance said: “I am thrilled to announce this landmark deal to acquire Arrium, establishing the GFG Alliance as a major participant in Australia’s industrial landscape.

“We have a vision to create a vertically integrated and sustainable industrial business that encompasses mining, metal recycling, primary metal production, engineering and distribution, and which also includes the use of renewable energy consistent with our GREENSTEEL strategy. We aim to leverage the advantages of integration across the value chain, from raw materials and metal production to high-end engineered products, coupled with supply chain and value added financial solutions.

“The Arrium business fits perfectly with this strategy and we believe it has an exciting future leveraging our GREENSTEEL vision which has been well proven in the UK. The acquisition will secure the jobs of over 5,500 Australian workers, a similar number to that which GFG Alliance has saved in the UK.

“Looking forward, we will continue to explore opportunities to further grow our presence in Australia in adjacent and complementary industries, including renewable energy, metals and mining.

“I would like to thank all stakeholders who have worked tirelessly alongside me for over a year on this acquisition. I would also like to thank both the Federal and South Australian Governments for their proactive and collaborative partnership with us in seeking solutions to the challenges faced by the Arrium businesses.”

Michael Morley, Development Director for the GFG Alliance said: “Arrium is well placed to play a significant role in the expected growth in infrastructure spending in Australia over the coming years. The business is endowed with an experienced and skilled workforce, well-run operations, strong brands and long-established customer relationships and we look forward to exploring opportunities to grow the business further.

“Whilst the Whyalla Steelworks has faced well-publicised operational and financial challenges over recent years, we have developed a comprehensive plan to secure its long-term future and that of the local community. Our plan focuses on reducing the cost of iron ore feed, targeted modernisation investments, energy generation, expanding production and creating high value export opportunities. We are particularly excited by the opportunity for the Whyalla Steelworks to directly supply intermediate steel products to our UK rolling mills that are currently sourced from third parties. Whilst our plan remains subject to reaching agreement with Government, we have had regular and constructive discussions with both the Federal and South Australian Governments throughout the sale process and look forward to continuing those discussions now the acquisition has been agreed.”

The binding agreement is subject to limited conditions only, including approval by the Committee of Creditors and approval by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. Completion is expected to occur on 31 August 2017.

Source: GFG Alliance

 

NEW PROJECT

Photon Energy is developing a 316 MW solar power plant in NSW

Global solar power solutions provider Photon Energy NV is developing a 316 MW solar power plant near Gunning (NSW), that would currently make it the biggest PV project in New South Wales and one of the largest planned in Australia, comparable in size to conventional utility scale power stations. The solar power plant, which would be constructed on 590 ha of land, is currently going through the Permitting and Grid Connection process.

Construction could start in early 2019.

The project is progressing through the NSW government State Significant Development process. At the same time the grid Connection Process is underway with Transgrid, the operator of the major high voltage transmission network in New South Wales and the ACT, for the design of a substation for approximately 300 MW AC to be connected to Transgrid’s 330 KV network.

“Gunning is to date the largest solar project Photon Energy is developing with a view of making a material contribution to Australia’s goal of meeting its renewable energy target”, said Michael Gartner, Managing Director of Photon Energy Australia. Photon Energy is also developing further large-scale solar power plants with a combined capacity of 42 MWp in Australia.

"Today’s announcement puts us into a leading position in the Australian market for utility-scale solar projects and confirms our ability to identify suitable locations in the world’s sunniest continent and reinforces our commitment to contribute substantially to the transformation of Australia’s energy mix towards renewable energy sources”, explained Georg Hotar, Chief Executive Officer of Photon Energy NV.

Source: Photon Energy

 

Nevertire Solar Farm approved

Epuron’s Solar 105 MW Nevertire Solar Farm, near Nevertire in the Warren Shire Local Government Area of New South Wales, approved by NSW Department of Planning & Environment. The project site is 255 hectares located approximately 1km west of the township of Nevertire, which is 60 km east of Nyngan. The development footprint within the project site is 177 ha and has been designed to avoid all native vegetation. It is flat in nature and has been cleared for cropping and grazing.

Contact:

Jess Picton

Project Manager

Epuron

Tel: (02) 8456 7400​

Email: [email protected]

 

Carnegie’s Energy Made Clean secures a multimillion dollar contract for microgrid at Delamere Air Weapons Range

7 July

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX:CCE) is pleased to announce that its wholly owned subsidiary, Energy Made Clean (EMC) has been awarded a contract to design, construct and install a Microgrid System at Delamere Air Weapons Range in the Northern Territory of Australia.

EMC has been awarded a contract by Lendlease Building Pty Ltd (Lendlease) as Managing Contractor on behalf of the Department of Defence to design, construct, install and integrate a solar, diesel and battery energy storage system (BESS) microgrid at the Delamere Air Weapons Range, located approximately 400km south of Darwin, NT. The hybrid power system will supply high penetration solar power to approximately 200kVA peak load and deliver a 61% diesel consumption savings. The design is based on proven technology and control platforms that EMC has been integrating over the last three years.

This project will be the second Department of Defence contract for a renewable energy hybrid microgrid system, following on from the Bathurst Island project that EMC delivered in 2015 for a 35kVA peak load system with remote monitoring facilities.

CEO of EMC, Mr John Davidson said:

“We are delighted to be working with Lendlease Building and the Department of Defence to supply reliable renewable energy with significant cost saving benefits. This system has wide reaching application, with the ability to be replicated in similar utilities bases throughout Australia.”

The CEO of Carnegie, Dr Michael Ottaviano said:

"Off-grid, renewable based microgrids are cheaper, cleaner and more secure than current diesel powered systems. Every diesel powered load should be running a renewable microgrid. This project is a great example of the larger, more complex systems where Carnegie and EMC are demonstrated leaders."

The project is due for completion in mid-2018.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

Carnegie unsuccessful in tender for South Australian BESS

7 July

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE) has today been notified by the South Australian government that its submission to provide a utility scale battery energy storage into the South Australia electricity network has been unsuccessful.

Carnegie’s Managing Director, Dr Michael Ottaviano, commented:

“We are disappointed with the outcome. We felt we had a compelling and local proposition but we wish the South Australian government well for the future success of the project. Carnegie and its subsidiary, Energy Made Clean, are the most experienced Australian company in the deployment of large scale batteries, and we are currently pursuing a number of utility scale battery opportunities in this rapidly growing market.

"Regardless of this decision by the South Australian government, Carnegie will continue its aggressive expansion throughout Australia and internationally."

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

South Australia showing the world what renewable energy has in store with new battery

7 July

The Clean Energy Council has congratulated its members Tesla and Neoen on signing an agreement with the South Australian Government to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery, which will be paired with the Hornsdale Wind Farm.

Clean Energy Council Executive General Manager of Industry Development, Natalie Collard, said the pioneering 100 MW project will set a benchmark for the rest of Australia – and the world – to follow.

“The South Australian Government has again cemented its place as a world leader in renewable energy and we look forward to other states following their lead. Already the Victorian Government has announced several initiatives to boost energy storage capacity in the state,” Ms Collard said.

“As was the case with large-scale solar, these pioneering early projects help to identify and overcome any barriers to development, effectively driving down the price of future projects. The battery will provide not just stored energy to the national market, but also essential grid stabilising services, helping to secure the state’s energy supply and improve its efficiency.

"These kinds of projects have a huge role to play in modernising Australia’s energy system and enabling much higher levels of renewable energy such as wind and solar.

“Certainly the agreement shows the power of social media to broker multi-million dollar business deals, following a Twitter conversation between Tesla’s Elon Musk and Mike Cannon-Brookes from Atlassian earlier in the year. Tesla has 100 days from the date of the grid connection agreement to the launch, so we look forward to seeing this world-beating project in action by the time summer starts.

“Obviously with a project of this scale and prestige, the competition was always going to be fierce, and I would also like to recognise our other members who put in bids for the project. I am confident that home-grown companies such as Zen Energy and Carnegie Clean Energy will impress us greatly with what they deliver in the coming years,” she said.

Ms Collard said the most important thing for the entire energy sector in Australia was to secure enduring and bipartisan energy policy that would help to rein in runaway energy prices.

“The Clean Energy Target mechanism recommended by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel holds significant promise to bring the major parties closer together and deliver the long-term energy policy that will help to modernise our energy system,” said Ms Collard.

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

Tesla to pair world’s largest lithium ion battery with Neoen wind farm in SA

7 July

The world’s largest lithium ion battery will be installed in South Australia under a historic agreement between French renewable energy company Neoen, US sustainable energy company Tesla and the South Australian Government.

The energy storage systems from Tesla will be paired with Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm and installed before summer.

Confirming the commitment from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to deliver the battery within 100 days or it is free, it has been agreed between Tesla and the South Australian Government that the starting date for the 100 days will be once the grid interconnection agreement has been signed.

After leading the nation in renewable energy, the 100MW / 129MWh battery places South Australia at the forefront of global energy storage technology.

The battery will operate at all times providing stability services for renewable energy, and will be available to provide emergency back-up power if a shortfall in energy is predicted.

The deal will also bring other investments by both Neoen and Tesla into South Australia’s economy, with details to be announced in the future.

The selection of Neoen will also strengthen South Australia’s links with France’s high-tech sector and reinforce the State’s world-leading role in tackling global warming.

Background

Wind power with battery storage has been recommended through the Finkel Review as well as AEMO’s recent reports to provide energy system security services – this plan delivers on these objectives.

Neoen was selected on a merit basis after a multi-stage procurement process attracted around 90 responses to the Expression of Interest, with 14 proponents invited to supply, and five shortlisted for detailed assessment.

The consortium demonstrated it is capable of delivering 100MW of capacity by December 1 and provided a highly competitive commercial offer with the best value for money.

Neoen and Tesla have a track record in comparable scale projects, and are committed to deliver on time at the lowest cost with a suite of value-adding initiatives.

In March, the State Government announced a plan for South Australia to take charge of its energy future, ensuring our State would become more self-reliant.

Source: SA Government

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Hornsdale Wind Farm

 

Concentrated solar thermal - request for information

7 July

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is seeking industry information as the first step in exploring how concentrated sunlight could generate reliable, affordable renewable energy with built-in storage for our national grids.

The new call aligns with the Federal Government’s offer to make up to $110 million available for an equity investment to accelerate and secure delivery of a CST project in Port Augusta.

We are inviting all interested stakeholders to have their say before the end of July.

Request for Information

ARENA is requesting information from prospective industry participants on the costs and benefits of Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST).

This information will help ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to determine the scope and focus of government assistance for the deployment of CST in Australia.

Interested parties are expected to include (but are not limited to) project proponents, debt and equity investors, original equipment manufacturers, off-takers and government entities.

Responses are due by 5pm 31 July 2017, can cover all types of CST technology and project sizes, and should not exceed a written submission of 20 pages.

Respondents should outline:

  • the nature of their interest in CST (for example as an investor, developer, technology provider, off-taker, regulator
  • their experience with CST
  • their view of CST’s potential value proposition relative to other renewable generation technologies
  • any preferences with respect to firm generation profile and potential value uplift for that purpose

 regulatory, commercial, market or technical barriers and opportunities facing CST

  • environmental considerations in CST deployment
  • their views of the key risks in CST projects and how they might be best mitigated
  • preferred energy and renewable energy certificate offtake arrangements
  • factors differentiating such projects from other technology solutions, and
  • any other information the respondent feels may be relevant to the ARENA and CEFC’s consideration as to how best to support the deployment of CST.

Where respondents are considering potential roles as CST project developers or contractors respondents are invited to outline their views of:

  • the optimal maximum and minimum CST project sizing (rated capacity, storage hours), location and dispatch profile
  • the expected capital and operating costs of deploying the optimal project
  • expected areas of future capital and operating cost reduction (local and international replication) by, for example:
  • anticipated technology improvements
  • anticipated capital cost reductions
  • potential to develop the local supply chain
  • future labour savings and risk margin savings in delivery
  • expected local content and the potential for local industry development
  • expected annual energy output
  • likely construction and commissioning timeframes, and
  • potential grid impacts.

Information will be treated in accordance with ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program Guidelines, however some information may be publicly disclosed after it has been aggregated and anonymised.

Responses are due by Friday 31st July 2017 at 5pm

Responses and enquiries should be emailed to [email protected]

Source: ARENA