Renewable geothermal heat pumps trialled at Blacktown greenfield estate

25 January

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $500,000 in funding to Climate-KIC Australia to lead a three-year longitudinal study into the benefits of geothermal energy in the residential sector and greenfield estates.

The $1.7 million project will study a commercial-scale demonstration of renewable ground-source heat pumps being deployed in the Fairwater master-planned residential community in Blacktown, Western Sydney.

Climate-KIC will lead the project team comprising University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Curtin University, Wattwatchers and the Green Building Council of Australia, with $180,000 each of funding as well as in-kind support over three years from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and the developer of Fairwater, Frasers Property Australia.

If successful, the project will pave the way by establishing a business case for industry-wide adoption of ground-source heat pumps within local, renewable and efficient energy systems.

Geothermal heat pump systems will supply heating and cooling to each of the over 800 new dwellings in the Fairwater precinct.

The project is based on the living laboratories concept of using existing buildings to evaluate performance of energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project would demonstrate the potential of using geothermal energy to power households.

“Ground sourced thermal energy being installed in new housing estates could reduce energy consumption and cost as well as benefiting the network by lowering peak demand and the associated need to invest in expensive infrastructure,” Mr Miller said.

“If successful, this study could help demonstrate the value of geothermal energy to greenfield developers, potentially seeing further housing developments implement this renewable technology,” he said.

Frasers Property Australia Executive General Manager – Residential Anthony Boyd said Frasers were always looking at opportunities to invest in smart sustainable technology that benefits its customers and the environment.

“This real-world research will provide important data for the industry to optimise the deployment of geothermal technology in communities of the future. It’s the type of study that will help accelerate the pace of change the Australian property industry must embrace if, as a country, we are to meet our international climate change obligations,” Mr Boyd said.

Climate-KIC Australia CEO Christopher Lee said the Fairwater Project represented a unique opportunity to measure, evaluate and understand the use of new technologies.

“Working with a proactive property developer, leading researchers, start-ups and industry bodies allows us to bring a broad range of skills to a complex project. We are excited to be able to develop important insight for the property sector going forward.”

Project Lead Investigator Associate Professor Leena Thomas from UTS said the Fairwater Living Laboratory will include detailed energy and environmental monitoring, community engagement, and feedback from residents about their everyday experience of the homes and the precinct.

“The research will deliver a better understanding of the opportunities and barriers for wider adoption of the innovative geothermal heat pumps and other sustainable design features included at Fairwater.

“Additionally, the living laboratory offers a unique opportunity for our cross disciplinary team of experts from architecture and building to science, health and sustainable futures, to evaluate how this six star Green Star precinct performs in terms of sustainability, resilience, commerciality, health and wellbeing”, Associate Professor Thomas said.

Source: ARENA



Tailem Bend Solar Farm

Vena Energy received a generation licence for its Tailem Bend Solar Farm in South Australia. The 95 MW project consists of 54 x 2MW Schneider inverters and 391,500 Jinko solar panels. Snowy Hydro invested in the solar facility allowing it to access generation from the project, with the ability to install up to 100 MW of large-scale battery storage.



Daroobalgie Solar Farm

Location: 10km north-east of Forbes in NSW

Capacity: 100 MW

Developer: Pacific Hydro

LGA: Forbes Shire Council

Description: The project site has high potential for connection to nearby substations and transmission lines for connection to the NEM, and consists of flat terrain with minimal trees and vegetation. The property is currently used for livestock grazing and cropping and has options for both road and rail haulage. Battery storage is also being considered for the project. More than 150 workers required onsite during construction with approximately 4-6 permanent jobs when operational.



Lal Lal Wind Farm

RES Australia has submitted an application to generate and transmit electricity from the 220 MW Lal Lal Wind Farm southeast of Ballarat, in the Moorabool Shire of Victoria. Lal Lal Wind Farm is composed of two components, situated at the Elaine and Yendon localities located approximately 9km apart and forming a combined land holding of approximately 2,100 hectares. The Yendon site is anticipated to have 38 turbines with indicative capacity of 144.4 MW exporting power to the Ballarat Terminal Station via an upgrade of an existing 66 kV line which passes through the site, while the Elaine site is anticipated to have 22 turbines with indicative capacity of 83.6 MW exporting power to Elaine Terminal Station which is located within 1km of the site boundary.


Townsville heads to battery solution

29 January

Queensland’s first community-scale battery is being installed in the solar hotspot of Townsville to support the transition to renewables and provide back-up power to the local community.

Acting Energy Minister Mark Furner said the step was another example of the state-owned energy businesses leading the way on delivering the electricity network of the future.

The battery will charge up on excess solar being fed into the grid during the day and be used to help out during evening peak and temporary disruptions, including storms.

“This is a small but significant addition to Queensland’s publicly-owned electricity system, a system which is delivering cheaper prices on average compared to other mainland states in the National Energy Market (NEM),” he said.

“Battery storage technology is the next stage in steady progress to enabling a renewable energy future and reaching our target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“As the first publicly-owned community scale battery in Queensland, this represents an energy milestone.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper welcomed the battery’s contribution to reliability for locals  and progress to a renewable energy future.

“This builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan, which is laying the groundwork for renewables in the North,” he said.

The 4MW Tesla battery will be installed at Bohle Plains on Townsville’s northern outskirts in October, with design work underway now and onsite civil works scheduled for late August.

It will form part of Ergon’s virtual power plant, a high-tech control room at Ergon’s CBD headquarters. The Virtual Power Plant has the capability to draw electricity or reduce load from contracted customers around the state to bolster supply to the NEM during peak demand.

One of Queensland’s publicly owned electricity businesses, Yurika, manages the plant.

A dozen suppliers around the state, including zinc producer Sun Metals, are contracted to provide their excess energy to the virtual power plant, which now has access to 135 MW of electricity – about as much as 40,000 rooftop solar systems.

The virtual plant has supplied power to the NEM 65 times since it was commissioned just under a year ago, including during recent heatwave and evening peaks.

Acting Energy Minister Mark Furner said Townsville was chosen for the grid-connected battery because of the high number of rooftop solar systems and its proximity to electricity infrastructure.

“With around 20,000 residential rooftop solar systems in Townsville, battery storage technology will help ensure power quality and reliability in the local network,” Mr Furner said.

“It is expected to give the local network greater capacity to take on residential solar in Townsville, as well as provide back-up during summer peak demand.”

“The battery will also take pressure off substations and other power assets and will explore how such technology may allow Energy Queensland to push back spending on some network infrastructure.”

The battery should be operating by the end of this year.

Source: Queensland Government


Federal approval secured for Kondinin integrated wind, solar and battery project in Western Australia

29 January

The Kondinin Wind and Solar Farm has now received Federal Government approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).

Director of Lacour Energy, Mark Rayner, said all State and Federal approvals have now been secured for the $250 million Kondinin Wind and Solar Farm project and it is now being prepared for construction to commence in late 2019.

‘Now that the development approval milestone is complete, Lacour Energy is pleased to announce it has partnered with Goldwind to deliver the wind and solar project. Lacour Energy are aiming to complete the final investment decision for the project in 2019.

‘The appointment of Goldwind Australia is a significant step forward for the wind farm. Goldwind will supply up to 46 Goldwind wind turbines and manage the construction works.

‘The Kondinin project location ticks all the boxes to be one of the lowest cost projects in Western Australia. There is a strong wind resource located on the Western Power network with plenty of ability to connect the project via an existing substation.’ commented Mark.

Goldwind Australia Managing Director, John Titchen said Goldwind is pleased to see that the Western Power network is now becoming more accessible.

‘A number of new wind farms are expected to be built in Western Australia over coming years as a result of the progressive reforms of the Western Australian Government and the Western Power Interim Access solution currently being rolled out.

‘The Lacour Energy team have done excellent work identifying and developing this project. Wind conditions have been measured and shown to match very well with Goldwind’s latest advanced wind turbine technology.’ said John.

The project, which is intended to include battery storage capability, has been developed as a hybrid project, meaning the grid connections costs can be shared between the wind and solar farm. The wind farm will predominantly produce energy during the night, making it complimentary to daytime solar energy production.

Once operational, the project will power over 100,000 Western Australian homes each year, supplying around 3% of electricity for Western Australia.

Source: Goldwind



Dulacca Renewable Energy Project

Location: 7km east of Dulacca in the Western Downs Region of Queensland

Capacity: 240 MW

Developer: RES Australia

LGA: Western Downs Regional Council

Description: The Project will involve the construction and operation of a wind farm consisting of up to 56 wind turbines proposed over 21 lots and numerous road reserves totaling approximately 8,177 ha. Ancillary infrastructure includes a substation and battery storage facility. The project will connect to the National Energy Market (NEM) into two adjacent 132 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines which crosses the Study Area.

Contact: Llion Parry

Development Project Manager

RES Australia


Tel: (02) 8440 7400


Flow Power signs 10-year offtake agreement for Victorian solar farms

29 January

Business energy retailer Flow Power has entered into a ten-year offtake agreement with BayWa r.e., a global renewable energy developer, service provider and wholesaler, to purchase 48MW from two of northern Victoria’s largest solar farms, bringing its total announced offtake close to 300MW.

The 112MW Karadoc solar farm and 106MW Yatpool solar farm, owned and developed by BayWa r.e, will provide 20MW and 28MW respectively to power Flow’s corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Flow first introduced corporate renewable PPAs in 2017. This latest agreement will provide low-cost wholesale renewable generation to a greater number of local businesses over a long-term period.

“The demand for corporate renewable PPAs is only growing,” Flow Managing Director Matthew van der Linden said. “We’re excited to welcome Karadoc and Yatpool Solar Farm to our portfolio and are committed to this ever-growing sector of the energy market.

“This agreement with BayWa r.e. brings us one step closer to locking in more low-cost power for businesses across Australia and is a critical step forward for Australia’s energy market. We believe that supporting the integration of Australia’s renewable projects is key to shaping the power market for a better future.”

As well as its agreement with Flow, BayWa r.e. has also signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Yatpool site with Melbourne-based renewable energy contractor Beon Energy Solutions, which will start construction in early 2019.

“PPAs are fundamental to the success of solar energy projects of this scale,” BayWa r.e. Solar Projects Pty Ltd Director Daniel Parsons comments. We’re very pleased to find a partner in Flow Power, who, in a restricted PPA market, will help us to bring renewable energy to businesses of all sizes across Australia.”

“Signing the EPC contract marks the start of construction of our third major solar farm in Australia,” BayWa r.e. Solar Pte Ltd Managing Director Daniel Gäfke added. “With the support of our construction partner Beon Energy Solutions we hope to build on the great success achieved at Karadoc. This major solar farm was delivered on time in only 10 months and brought significant employment benefits and training to the local community.”

At over 240 hectares, the Yatpool site will be BayWa r.e.’s second largest in Australia. Scheduled for completion in late 2019, it will take BayWa r.e.’s projected renewable energy development close to 240 MW within just two years of entering the Australian renewable energy market.

Beon General Manager Glen Thomson said the construction of the solar farm would deliver significant local and state-wide benefits: “Victoria is on the way to becoming a renewable energy powerhouse, and we are pleased to be part of this transition.

“The Yatpool solar farm project will create jobs, boost the local economy and support cleaner energy for homes and businesses. We will continue providing job and skill development opportunities in the region during the construction of this solar farm, as we did at Karadoc.”


Labor supporting community renewables in the South Coast

29 January

People living on the Far South Coast of New South Wales will benefit from cleaner and cheaper renewable energy that will help cut the cost of power bills, with Labor’s plan to establish a Community Power Hub in the region.

This is the first location for a Community Power Hub as part of Labor’s $100 million Neighbourhood Renewables Program announced in November last year.

The program is aimed at helping renters and social housing residents benefit from cheaper and cleaner renewable energy, by supporting local community renewables projects such as solar gardens on rooftops, community wind farms, energy efficiency upgrades for social housing, and grants for community groups to pilot new projects.

Labor will work with local communities, local councils and renewable energy groups to determine the best location for the Hub, but the benefits of the Hub will be felt across the Far South Coast.

Australia is in an energy crisis under the Liberals. Electricity prices have increased by nearly 19 per cent over the past three years – three times faster than wages growth.

The Liberals haven’t been able to agree on a policy amongst themselves, and aren’t up to leading the country in the right direction.

Australians love renewable energy because they know it saves them money and it’s good for the environment. Household solar installation has sky-rocketed from 7,000 homes in 2007 to around 2 million homes today.

Labor wants to make sure that Australia embraces this future, and maximise the jobs, industry and environmental benefits of renewable energy – and most importantly Labor wants to make sure all Australians can share in these benefits, regardless of where you live.

That’s why the Far South Coast Community Power Hub is so important. It will support the development, coordination and financing of local projects to increase the uptake of renewables, including through solar PV and batteries.

The Tathra community is already ahead of the game when it comes to renewable energy. It was the birthplace of the Clean Energy for Eternity group which has focussed on encouraging individuals to invest in renewable energy sources and engaged in fundraising activities to put solar panels on community infrastructure.

Along with other community groups like Repower Shoalhaven, Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance, they just need a government in Canberra willing to back them in and support these impressive projects. The Hub will bring legal and technical expertise to the passion of community ideas.

The local renewables hub will be good for local households, good for the local economy and good for the environment.

Only Labor will deliver cheaper power bills, more renewables and more jobs for Australians.

The communities of the Far South Coast region can rest assured Labor will support their desire for community based clean energy with the Far South Coast Community Power Hub.

Source: Australian Labor Party


Enel Green Power milestone achieved

29 January

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE) is pleased to advise that it has achieved the first milestone and received the associated payment from Enel Green Power (EGP) under the Collaboration Agreement between Carnegie and EGP.

In July 2018, Carnegie signed the Collaboration Agreement with global renewables player Enel Green Power which will see EGP invest €1 million (AU$1.6 million) in the research, development and deployment of the CETO wave energy technology.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy


Vicinity and ClearVue install global-first, clear solar glass structure

30 January

Vicinity Centres (Vicinity) has partnered with smart building company ClearVue Technologies (ClearVue) to launch a global-first trial of a clear solar glass structure installed at Warwick Grove shopping centre in Western Australia.

The centre’s existing glass atrium has been replaced by a new structure that uses ClearVue’s clear, photovoltaic solar glass (PV glass), which collects infra-red light and deflects it to the surface edge where it’s converted to electricity. ClearVue’s solar PV glass is completely transparent and the first of its kind used in a commercial venture globally.

Vicinity Centres Executive General Manager Shopping Centre Management Justin Mills, said: “We’re excited to be trialling such innovative, leading-edge technology and embarking on a global-first in solar energy application.

“ClearVue could transform the way we use glass in our centres, which reinvents the way we harvest renewable energy, reduces our exposure to the volatile energy market and our carbon footprint – a key focus for Vicinity.”

Vicinity has already committed to $73 million of investment in shopping centre solar – the largest project of its kind in Australia – across 22 centres with a total capacity of 31 megawatts and to be completed in 2019.

“We see great potential in trialling new technology, such as ClearVue’s PV glass, as we expand the solar program and innovation pipeline across our portfolio of shopping centres and as we explore mixed-use developments.”

The clean energy generated by the new solar glass atrium will provide the centre with electricity and create a more sustainable and connected destination for our community.

ClearVue Executive Chairman, Victor Rosenberg said: “Vicinity has taken a leadership position in renewable energy in the property sector which is why we wanted to partner with them.

“The Warwick Grove project is a major milestone for us. It’s the first physical site where people can see ClearVue’s PV glass being used and performing in a commercial setting. It enables us to demonstrate the many benefits of ClearVue’s PV glass technology for building owners and operators.”

Vicinity and ClearVue will monitor the trial at Warwick Grove, with the potential to explore other opportunities.

Source: Vicinity Centres


Energy Charter to serve consumer interests

31 January

The energy industry has welcomed the launch of the Energy Charter as an important initiative to enshrine the interests of consumers at the centre of business priorities.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive Sarah McNamara said consumer interests remain a central focus for the industry as it manages the transformation of the energy system and continues to advocate for a stabilising climate and energy policy.

A number of the Council’s members are among the 17 businesses across the energy supply chain that have committed to the Charter and to building a culture and solutions required to ‘together, deliver energy for a better Australia’.

“Our members are committed to delivering the outcomes their customers expect,” Ms McNamara said.  “As the grid is increasingly decarbonised and decentralised, energy businesses will have an even greater role to play to ensure reliable, safe and sustainable supply that meets the needs of consumers.   The cross-sector collaboration and industry-led reforms the Charter will enable are essential to the delivery of better outcomes for consumers.

“We commend the 17 signatories and Energy Consumers Australia, for the development and launch of this important project. We look forward to its continued growth during this critical time for the energy sector and its customers.”

Source: Australian Energy Council



Bridle Track Solar Project

Location: Baroota Reservoir, north-east of Port Germein

Capacity: Up to 300 MW

Developer: Rise Renewables

Description: The project provides the potential for a low risk, low cost, dedicated renewable energy power supply to contribute to the adjacent Baroota Pumped Hydro Project’s pumping power requirements. The site is located adjacent to existing 275 kV transmission lines and can share connection infrastructure with the Baroota Pumped Hydro Project

Contact: Brer Adams                     


Rise Renewables



Government receives strong response to Underwriting New Generation Investments Program

1 February

The Underwriting New Generation Investments program is a key part of the Morrison Government's plan to deliver affordable, reliable 24/7 power.

The program has received strong interest, with a wide range of proposals that will assist the Morrison Government develop a pipeline of projects to ensure we can keep the lights on and deliver energy when it is needed.

66 submissions were received by the Department of the Environment and Energy in response to the Registration of Interest process.

The proposals extend across the National Electricity Market (NEM), with a balanced mix of sources of generation including coal, gas and hydro.

As recommended by the ACCC, the program is technology neutral and does not preference any type of firmed generation over another.

The program will provide financial support to develop firm generation capacity as part of the Australian Government's commitment to lowering electricity prices and increasing reliability in the system.

The Government will carefully consider all submissions received during the ROI process before announcing the pipeline of projects that will allow us to bring targeted generation into the system.

We have seen significant supply and demand pressures on the grid across the NEM in the last two weeks.

The conditions experienced in New South Wales, South Australia and particularly Victoria where 200,000 customers experienced blackouts, reinforce the need for more investment in reliable 24/7 generation.

The strong response to the Underwriting New Generation Investments program by the energy industry proves there is no shortage of willingness to invest in Australia's future energy supply.

Source: Federal Government


Another record not to celebrate

1 February

It’s official. January was Australia’s hottest single month on record.

“Climate change is cranking up the intensity of extreme heat, and January’s record breaking month is part of a sharp, long-term upswing in temperatures driven primarily from the burning of fossil fuels,” said the Climate Council’s acting CEO, Dr Martin Rice.

The highest temperature recorded during January was at Port Augusta in South Australia, which reached 49.5°C.  The people of Menindee in NSW also did it tough with temperatures above 47°C for four days in a row.

NSW, ACT, Victoria and the Northern Territory had their hottest January on record while Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia had one of their warmest Januarys on record.

“December 2018 was also the hottest on record and February and March are shaping up to be scorchers too. Climate change is creating longer, hotter and more frequent heatwaves and Australia is particularly vulnerable to the impacts,” said Dr Rice.

“This extreme heat has many implications, both for the environment and for human health,” he said.

“Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise for four years in a row. This cannot continue. The Federal Government must roll out a credible climate policy so that we can deeply and rapidly reduce our emissions,” he said. 

“Australians recognise climate change is happening – they’re living with it and they want action. We have the solutions at our disposal but there’s only a tiny window of opportunity left,” said Dr Rice.

Source: The Climate Council



Whyalla Solar Farm

Adani Renewables has applied for a generation licence for its Whyalla Solar Farm in South Australia. The solar farm will have a capacity of up to 160 MW connecting to existing ElectraNet 132kV transmission lines from Whyalla to Davenport. The proposed connection is to cut into the existing Whyalla – Davenport Eastern line with a new shared switching station at the point of connection. The solar farm will operate at 33kV and will be aggregated through a 132/33kV transformer to export power to the grid.


Beryl construction update

1 February

  • A change in module supplier has been negotiated, which will increase project capacity by 2.5MWDC.
  • As a result, NEW expects annual generation, cash yield and project value will increase.
  • Construction remains on schedule and the project is expected to be operational by mid-2019.

New Energy Solar (NEW) advises that the Beryl Solar Farm project entity (Project) has executed a variation under its engineering, procurement and construction contract with Downer Utilities Australia Pty Limited, under which the modules installed will change to modules produced by LONGi Green Energy Technology Co. Ltd (LONGi) leading to an expected performance improvement and increase in project value. The use of LONGi modules has allowed for a redesign that will increase the number of modules and thereby increase project installed capacity by 2.5 MWDC from 108.4MWDC to 110.9MWDC, with a resulting increase in expected annual generation and annual cash yields.

LONGi is the world’s largest manufacturer of mono-crystalline silicon wafers and modules, which use high-quality silicon to produce modules with high efficiency rates. LONGi has been operating in Australia since 2016 and has worked in close partnership with the University of NSW from 2015 on research projects to maximise cell efficiency.

John Martin, CEO of NEW, said “We are pleased that the Project has achieved an increase to generation capacity and cash yields with the use of equivalent quality modules. Expected construction timeframes for the Project are largely unchanged, and we look forward to completing construction and commencing supply under the Project’s 15-year agreement with Sydney Metro in mid-2019.”

Source: New Energy Solar



Goat Hill Pumped Storage Hydro Project

The Altura Group is seeking a generation licence for the operation of the Goat Hill Pumped Storage Hydro Project, located approximately 12km west of Port Augusta in SA. The project will have an installed generation capacity of 230 MW and 8 hours of storage capacity. The design considers the use of two fixed-speed, reversible, Francis pump-turbines, each with a generating capacity of 115 MW. The project has been sized considering an appropriate scale for the South Australian market and for a storage volume adequate to manage daily energy cycles. The Altura Group has entered into a Development Agreement with Delta Electricity, giving it exclusive rights to market the project and is the anticipated project constructor, owner and operator of the facility. The generation licence is sought as soon as reasonably possible.



Bungama Solar Farm

Energy Projects Solar (EPS) has lodged a development consent application with the state government for its proposed 280 MW Bungama Solar Farm in South Australia. The project will consist of photovoltaic panels mounted on single axis tracker structures; a 140 MW capacity Battery Energy Storage System; ancillary structures (including inverters, condensers, transformers, underground cabling, fencing); switching yard and electrical substation; landscaping; administration and controls area including site office, maintenance and storage buildings, laydown areas; overhead and/or underground transmission lines; and temporary construction components.