Welcome back in 2018

The AltEnergy team hopes you enjoyed the festive season and, like us, are raring to launch back into what promises to be another outstanding year for renewable energy in our region. While the volume of news has understandably been a little slow over the Christmas/NY period, we look forward to ramping up to full capacity with our weekly Project Updates in the coming weeks. This edition covers the period from just before Christmas.

We have some changes to announce in the coming weeks as AltEnergy evolves into an exciting new phase of development. Rest assured we will continue to provide our users with a weekly comprehensive compilation of all the major project news impacting the Australia and New Zealand renewable energy industries, in tandem with our exhaustive and up-to-date database.


Meridian enters into conditional agreement for hydro assets to support Powershop growth

22 December

Meridian Energy through its subsidiary Meridian Energy Australia Pty Ltd has entered into a conditional agreement with Trustpower Limited for the purchase of GSP Energy Pty Ltd which operates three hydro power stations, the Hume, Burrinjuck and the Keepit Power Stations (formally the Green State Power hydro assets), located in Australia.

The agreement is for the purchase of 100% of the shares of GSP Energy Pty Ltd and is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Meridian’s Chief Executive Neal Barclay says, “Meridian is building our portfolio of complementary Australian renewable generation to support our growing retail business”.

Meridian has been growing its retail customer numbers through its Powershop brand in Australia since 2014. Acquiring the hydro assets located in New South Wales allows the company to continue to cover its growing retail business by adding 92.4 MWs of hydro to its renewable generation portfolio.

“We are committed to the Powershop business in Australia,” says Barclay.

“We have a retail offering that is disrupting the Australian market. Customers are finding value in our easy-to-use online model that shows them how much power they are using and what it costs and we’re finding there is a strong and growing desire from Australian electricity consumers to support a ‘green’ energy retailer,” adds Barclay.

Source: Meridian Energy


Renewable energy to power Stawell farm in world-first

29 December

The Andrews Labor Government will build a major new wind farm with battery storage in Western Victoria that will power the expansion of Stawell’s Nectar Farms.

This project will make the advanced agriculture facility the world’s first ever crop farm to be completely powered by renewable energy.

The 15-year Support Agreement between the Labor Government and Neoen Australia will deliver the Bulgana Green Power Hub – an integrated energy project of a scale and technology never been seen before.

More than 1,300 jobs will be created – including 270 direct ongoing jobs in the agricultural sector and 10 direct ongoing jobs in the renewable energy industry – all located in the Stawell region.

The wind farm and battery storage system will provide reliable and affordable renewable energy to unlock the development of a major new advanced agriculture facility in Stawell, with a total expected investment of $665 million.

The farm will use the latest in hydroponic glasshouse and plant technology to create a 40 hectare, state-of-the-art facility to supply the highest quality vegetables into domestic and international markets.

The co-located 204MW Bulgana Green Power Hub will be backed up by a 20MW battery, making the farms expansion a reality by providing the secure and affordable energy that Nectar Farms needs for its hydroponic greenhouses.

The project will help secure the Labor Government’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets of 15 to 20 per cent (from 2005 levels) by the year 2020.

Source: Victoria Government


CEFC finance supports cleaner grid with forecasting technology at battery ready Oakey Solar Farm

30 December

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is extending its commitment to the 80MW (AC) Oakey Solar Farm in south-east Queensland, in an investment that will also deliver forecasting technology to enhance grid stability and energy reliability.

CEFC Large-Scale Solar lead Gloria Chan today confirmed the CEFC would commit $55 million in debt finance to Oakey 2, the 55MW second stage of the Oakey Solar Farm. The investment builds on the CEFC's earlier a commitment of $19.5 million for the adjacent 25 MW Oakey 1 development, which is already under construction.

When completed, the combined 80MW Oakey project is expected to deliver enough renewable energy to power around 24,000 Queensland homes.

"This is an exciting development for the next generation of Queensland solar, with the Oakey project being 'battery ready'," Ms Chan said.

"A key feature of the CEFC's role in the market is to encourage critical technologies that assist in Australia's smooth transition to a cleaner, more reliable electricity grid.

"As part of this investment, equity sponsor Foresight Solar Fund Limited will collaborate with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to install suitable five-minute forecasting technology that can assist AEMO enhance grid stability as Australia transitions to higher penetration of renewables."

The CEFC recently committed $150 million in debt finance to stage one of the Lincoln Gap wind farm, in South Australia's Port Augusta region. The CEFC financing facility includes finance towards a 10MW battery energy storage system, capable of producing up to 10MWh of fast response storage capacity.

Ms Chan said: "We are pleased to invest in innovative clean energy projects such as Oakey and Lincoln Gap, which are at the forefront of a new model of renewable energy development. Both projects will demonstrate how we can accommodate an increasing proportion of renewable energy into the electricity grid, helping Australia lower electricity-related emissions while delivering a clean and reliable grid. We expect this trend to continue in future projects that we finance."

The CEFC has committed approximately $495 million in finance towards large-scale solar projects in Queensland, accelerating the development of more than 750MW in large-scale solar capacity in the Sunshine State.

"Our solar investments in Queensland have supported a number of innovative projects, including the first stage solar farm at the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub, which will eventually use pumped hydro as a form of energy storage. We are also financing the Kennedy Energy Park in Queensland, which integrates wind, solar and battery technologies," Ms Chan said.

"Solar is an increasingly cost-effective energy solution in areas like Oakey, which have high levels of solar irradiation. It makes sense to increase solar energy generation in these areas alongside investing in complementary technologies that enhance the stability of a renewables-powered grid."

Oakey 2 is being developed by Canadian Solar on an uncontracted or merchant basis. Oakey 1 secured an offtake agreement from the Queensland Government as well as funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The development, which is on agricultural land, provides local land owners with the opportunity to improve the resilience of their farming operations by generating an additional source of income through long-term leasing.

The Foresight Solar Fund Limited announced the acquisition of a 49 per cent share in Oakey 1 and 100 per cent interest in Oakey 2 in October. The Foresight fund's Australian solar portfolio includes the Longreach solar farm in Queensland and the Bannerton Solar Park in Victoria. In addition, Foresight Group, on behalf of KDB Infrastructure Investments Asset Management Co. Ltd and Hanwha Energy, acquired the Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm in Queensland, which also benefited from CEFC finance.

Ricardo Pineiro, Partner of Foresight commented: "We are delighted to be working alongside the CEFC once again on the financing of the Oakey projects. This project is particularly interesting for the Fund because it will be the first to include forecasting technology which will help enhance grid stability. This is very important as more renewables generation gets connected to the grid."

Canadian Solar's General Manager Daniel Ruoss said: "Since 2014, Canadian Solar has been investing millions of dollars in Queensland and its world-class solar resources. Through our project developments, we are collaborating closely with local stakeholders to maximise the benefits for the region and local communities.

"Oakey 2, which will involve 120 construction jobs, is scheduled to commence construction in the first quarter of 2018 and we expect it to be grid connected by the end of 2018."

Source: CEFC


Olam signs long term Renewable Corporate PPA with Flow Power

3 January

Australia’s fastest growing business power retailer, Flow Power, has announced that it has entered into a large-scale Renewable Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Olam Orchards Australia Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of leading global agribusiness, Olam International Limited (Olam).

The deal, one of the first of its kind in Australia, allows Olam direct access to secure, cost effective energy with an expected significant reduction in costs over a period of 10 years. This renewable power, sourced from Ararat Wind Farm, can be used in real time to offset grid electricity consumption, potentially saving thousands of dollars in energy costs.

Olam’s Co-Founder and Group CEO, Sunny Verghese, comments: ““We are proud to be one of the first businesses to sign a Corporate Renewable PPA in Australia. This is in line with our strategy to grow our renewable energy portfolio around the world, from solar panels for cocoa processing in Cote d’lvoire, to harnessing geothermal power for our onion dehydration plants in the USA. These are just a few of our initiatives to tackle climate change as part of our purpose of ‘Re-imagining global agriculture’. In addition, this transaction also provides us energy cost visibility over the longer term”.

Flow Power announced the availability of Renewable Corporate PPAs earlier this year, with a view to providing Australian businesses the ability to tap into a global trend that brings energy costs down and benefits both the environment and the economy.

Matthew van der Linden, Managing Director of Flow Power, comments, “Olam has been a customer of Flow Power for many years. We are very excited for them to be among the first to benefit from our new offering. Our Renewable Corporate PPAs open the market to a much broader range of businesses that don’t necessarily have the scale to negotiate one-to-one with large renewable plants. It is a game changer that we expect will allow Australia to catch up with other international markets that have proven this model to be a success.” He continued; “By working with Flow Power, companies aim to get the benefit of low cost power in a way that works for their business.”

Renewable Corporate PPAs allow businesses to contribute to a lower carbon economy and reduce overall emissions, as well as potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs.

Source: Flow Power


Vestas Australia seeking EOIs as part of VRET

Vestas Australia is calling for expressions of interest for a range of work packages in relation to its participation in the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET) program. Vestas is participating in VRET as an equipment supplier to project proponents and is seeking to engage with capable, local suppliers/subcontractors of:

  • hub and tower components
  • TCI and maintenance
  • balance of plant construction
  • nacelle components
  • blade materials

Vestas said it is “committed to providing full, fair and reasonable opportunity for capable local industry to participate across its supply chain opportunities, and reflect our commitment to local industry participation and local content”.

Full details available here



Tilt Renewables applied for electricity generation licence for its planned 52 MW Salt Creek Wind Farm near Woorndoo in western Victoria.

The Federal Department of the Environment & Heritage has declared CWP Renewables’270 MW Sapphire Solar Farm and storage project, 28km east of Inverell in NSW, a controlled action, and so it will “require assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed”.

The Mareeba Shire Council has approved Tilt Renewables’ development application for the planned 75 MW Chewko Solar Farm in Mareeba, northern Queensland. The project will consist of ~200,000 solar PV panels located on 150 hectares south-west of Mareeba on land that is currently used for grazing cattle. Grid connection will tie into the 132kv power line which runs between Turkinje and Yalkula. Construction expected to take ~12 months, with about 250 people employed & one to two people during 25 years of operation.

The Victorian Minister for Planning has decided that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is not required for Synergy Wind’s planned Alberton Wind Energy Facility, west of Alberton township in South Gippsland. The project will provide 460 GWh of renewable energy per year and is proposed to comprise 34 turbines located on a total footprint area of approximately 59.4ha.



Name: Clarke Creek Wind Farm

Developer: Lacour Energy

Location: Clarke Creek, 150km south-west of Mackay and 30 km west of Ogmore in Queensland

LGA: Isaac Regional Council and Livingstone Shire Council

Capacity: Up to 195 wind turbines of approximately 4.5 MW capacity = 877.5 MW (the final selection of turbine technology will be determined as part of the detailed design following project approval)

Description: The Project is proposed over 11 freehold lots with a total area of the lots of approximately 76,300 hectares (ha). The final Project construction footprint is anticipated to cover around 1,792 ha, with an operational footprint is approximately 828 hectares (ha). The detailed design stage, when the wind turbine make and model selected will be completed and informed by future work on wind energy modelling from existing onsite monitoring masts, geotechnical investigations, ecological constraints, network capacity connection constraints, and the market for renewable energy.


James Townsend


Tel: (08) 9321 6632

Email: james@lacour.com.au


Name: Desailly Renewable Energy Park

Developer: DP Energy

Location: Approximately 75km to the north-west of the town of Mareeba and 55km west of Port Douglas in North Queensland

LGA: Mareeba Shire Council

Capacity: Up to 1000 MW (AC) solar, 400 MW (AC) of battery storage, and up to 3000 MW of synchronous condenser capacity

Description: The main permanent components of the Project are as follows:

- approximately 10,000,000 solar PV modules;

- up to 1000 solar PV inverter/transformer stations;

- up to 20 solar PV interconnector substations containing switchgear and transformers;

- up to two main site substations containing transformers, protection equipment, switchgear, batteries and other related equipment;

- two storage/grid support locations comprising:

o up to 400MW of energy storage with a maximum area of 8ha and a maximum height of 12m;

o up to 3000MW.s of synchronous condenser capacity facilities with a maximum area of 8ha and a maximum height of 12m;

- approximately 180km of solar PV site tracks;

- electrical cabling (linking solar arrays);

- security fencing (nominally 2.4m high) around the solar PV sites;

- two access locations from the Mulligan Highway; and

- a viewing platform and visitor information facility.


Gabrielle Powell

DP Energy Australia Pty Ltd

Tel: (07) 4095 2877

Email: gaby.powell@dpenergy.com


NSW Clean Energy Knowledge Sharing Initiative

NSW is transitioning to a clean energy future. There is a clear role for innovative business models and technologies to help manage this transition and to help NSW achieve the objective of net-zero emissions by 2050.

The NSW Clean Energy Knowledge Sharing Initiative can support you as an early adopter of a new clean energy technology or business model.

The initiative aims to share stories, break down barriers and directly support clean energy projects.

A project supported under the initiative will employ a low-emissions or zero emissions technology in a way that is novel to NSW. For example, your clean energy project might include:

  • Deploying an energy storage system to shift load during the day
  • Testing a new electricity trading platform, retail model or financing mechanism
  • Developing and testing a new bioenergy clean energy source.

We are currently accepting applications for three streams of the initiative:

1.Development of a case study

2.Funding support for a feasibility study

3.Funding support for a pilot project

The Clean Energy Knowledge Sharing Initiative is a NSW Department of Planning and Environment program. Applications will be accepted and processed on an ongoing basis, with applications accepted no later than 28 February 2018, or until all funding has been committed.

To learn more about the program:

  • Download our program flyer
  • Read about our eligibility requirements
  • Apply for the case study stream
  • Apply for the feasibility study and pilot stream

For more information, contact the Clean Energy Programs Unit of the Department of Planning and Environment on 02 8229 2837 or sustainable.energy@planning.nsw.gov.au.


Clean Energy Finance Corporation statutory review: public consultation

The Department of the Environment and Energy is overseeing a review of the operation of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012, in line with section 81 of that Act. The review is being conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, and will consider the effectiveness of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in facilitating increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector.

The review invites public submissions, which will be considered prior to the completion of a review report. A copy of the review report will be tabled in Parliament in line with the requirements of the Act.

The Consultation paper is open for public comment until 16 February 2018.

Further details are available here.

Source: Department of Environment & Energy


SolarReserve achieves key milestone in development of South Australia’s first solar thermal power station

9 January

SolarReserve has received Development Approval for its Aurora Solar Energy Project, a key milestone required to build the landmark 150 megawatt solar thermal power station 30 kilometers north of Port Augusta. The approval process examined a range of critical elements including environmental, community, and social impacts of the Aurora project, which were assessed by several South Australian Government agencies. Development Approval is a legal document which enables SolarReserve to construct the Aurora project, provided the construction complies with the submitted plans and any conditions outlined in the Development Approval.

“It’s fantastic that SolarReserve has received development approval to move forward with this world-leading project that will deliver clean, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals, schools and other major government buildings,” said South Australia’s Acting Energy Minister Chris Picton. “This approval triggers an investment of about $650 million, will create a total of about 700 construction and ongoing jobs in Port Augusta and will add new competition to the South Australian market, putting downward pressure on power prices.”

“This important milestone is a significant step in the development of the Aurora solar thermal power station, which will bring SolarReserve’s world-leading clean power generation technology to South Australia,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith. “The remarkable story of the transition of Port Augusta from coal to renewable energy – which won a competitive tender against fossil fuel – is also a preview of the future of power generation around the world.”

Minimising Environmental Impact while Maximising Local Benefits

As part of SolarReserve’s project development process, the company collaborates with stakeholders and local communities to ensure the project has minimal environmental impact while working to maximise benefits for local communities. The Aurora Solar Energy Project has had overwhelming support from not only the Port Augusta and South Australian community but a range of local agencies and organisations including the local Barngarla Aboriginal Group. The Aurora Solar Energy Project is on schedule with final approvals expected in the first half of 2018 and construction expected to commence shortly thereafter.

Dispatchable Electricity, Day and Night

The first of its kind in Australia, the Aurora Solar Energy Project will utilise SolarReserve’s world leading solar thermal technology with integrated molten salt energy storage. Aurora will generate electricity and collect and store the sun’s energy during the daytime – in essence ‘charging’ its own salt battery for use after the sun has set. The power station will provide the equivalent electricity needs of all of the State’s schools, hospitals, police stations, and government buildings over a full year.

Aurora’s massive 1,100 megawatt-hours of storage will provide 8 hours of full load power after dark. This means that, from storage (its ‘salt battery’) alone, Aurora will be capable of powering South Australia far in excess of State Government buildings, the equivalent of over 230,000 homes for 8 hours, or around 35% of all of the households in South Australia.

Creating Jobs and Economic Benefits for South Australia – Today and Tomorrow

Because a solar thermal power station operates like a conventional coal or gas power station, many of the jobs require the same skill sets as conventional energy jobs – from its construction phase through to operations. Aurora is an example of how sustainable solutions are able to foster new industries and create new jobs for South Australia:

  • 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs will be created during construction, with a significant portion of those created in South Australia
  • 650 full time construction jobs are expected for a duration of 30 months
  • 50 full-time, permanent jobs will be required for operations and maintenance
  • Equipment and services will be purchased across South Australia, which will support an entirely new industry and develop a supply chain, which will be leveraged for other solar thermal projects in South Australia and the broader region

As part of this transformative project, SolarReserve will be establishing a research partnership with South Australian universities to advance solar thermal research and education in South Australia.

Source: Solar Reserve

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