Moorabool Wind Farm connection agreement finalised

10 April

Goldwind Australia and Australian Energy Operations have signed the connection agreement for construction of connection assets for the 321 megawatt (MW) Moorabool Wind Farm in Victoria.

The connection agreement sets out the terms and conditions for the wind farm to successfully connect to Victoria’s transmission network. This includes augmentation works to the Elaine Terminal Station and the design, construction and ongoing maintenance of 30km of transmission line.

 “The connection agreement represents a significant commitment from Australian Energy Operations and Goldwind Australia” said Eric Lindner, Chief Executive Officer from Australian Energy Operations. We look forward to continuing to work with Goldwind Australia during the construction phase of the project,” said Eric.

Australian Energy Operations has contracted Beon Energy Solutions to design, construct, operate and maintain the additional transmission assets.

“Being awarded the contract to expand the terminal station highlighted Goldwind Australia’s confidence in Beon’s capability to deliver the project on time and in line with their investment strategy,” said Beon Energy Solutions’ General Manager, Glen Thomson.

John Titchen, Goldwind Australia Managing Director said Goldwind Australia is pleased to be partnering with Australian Energy Operations and Beon Energy Solutions.

“Australian Energy Operations and Beon Energy Solutions have extensive experience in the delivery and operation of similar electricity network infrastructure, making them highly suitable to connect the Moorabool Wind Farm to the transmission network.” said John.

“This is a key project milestone and paves the way for the construction of the wind farm,” said John.

Once operational the wind farm will power approximately 200,000 average Victorian homes each year. The wind farm will contribute to Victoria’s transition to a modern and renewable energy future, as well as deliver significant local benefits to business and the community.

The project is expected to create up to 300 jobs during construction peaks on site and employ up to 20 permanent maintenance staff when fully operational.

Source: Goldwind

 

Siemens Gamesa to build a pioneering 194 MW wind farm in Australia that will incorporate a battery energy storage system

10 April

The company has been awarded an EPC contract for the entire project, which will encompass a wind farm with 56 turbines and a 20 MW / 34 MWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has been commissioned to build a pioneering wind complex in Australia, which will combine the installation of a wind farm with 56 of the firm's SG 3.4-132 turbines (for total capacity of 194 MW) with a battery energy storage system.

Under the terms of the contract entered into with the renewable energy IPP, Neoen, Siemens Gamesa will build the entire complex on an EPC basis and then maintain it for 25 years. Located in the Australian town of Stawell, in the state of Victoria, this hybrid facility - known as the Bulgana Green Energy Hub - will comprise a 194 MW wind farm as well as a 20 MW / 34 MWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. EPC construction is set to begin right away and the commissioning of the facility is expected by August 2019.

It is worth highlighting the fact that this complex has already secured two power purchase agreements (PPAs): one with the government of the state of Victoria for the next 15 years; and the other with the Australian agribusiness Nectar Farms -who will use LED light technology to grow tomatoes in glasshouses- for the next 10 years.

Nectar Farms will also receive the power stored in the batteries during low wind periods. The energy supplied directly from the wind farm, at lower cost than available from the grid, helped its business case to proceed. It is estimated that 97% of this company's needs will be supplied by 15% of all of the electricity generated at the wind plus storage facility, with the rest going directly to the local grid. Only 3 percent of Nectar Farms' energy demand cannot be supplied with wind energy when longer no-wind-periods occur.

This is the fourth EPC contract undertaken by Siemens Gamesa for Neoen in Australia, for which it has already installed over 300 MW nationwide.

In addition to Australia, Siemens Gamesa's presence in Asia Pacific extends to China, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and New Zealand. Overall it has installed over 6.6 GW on the continent, with a further 1.2 GW in the pipeline.

Source: Siemens Gamesa

 

Cbus closes landmark renewable energy deal

10 April

Cbus Super, the $43 billion industry super fund for the construction, building and allied industries today announced a significant investment into renewable energy that will deliver strong, long-term returns to members and sustainable power to Western Australia.

Cbus, alongside the Dutch Infrastructure Fund (DIF) will hold an 80.1 per cent equity interest in a portfolio of wind and solar renewable generation assets known as Bright Energy Investments (BEI). Synergy, the West Australian Government owned electricity generator and retailer will hold the remaining 19.9 per cent.

Chief Executive Officer David Atkin said the deal will deliver strong, sustainable long-term returns for Cbus members as well as make a meaningful contribution to the West Australian economy, creating local jobs and supporting the development of sustainable power for the communities in which our members live.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Synergy and DIF in a deal that represents the strong alignment of long-term interests of the parties that will deliver for Western Australian communities,” Mr Atkin said.

“This sustainable long-term investment is a significant milestone for the Fund’s new direct infrastructure investment strategy as well as our commitment to addressing climate change.”

Cbus Head of Infrastructure Diana Callebaut said the deal is a unique opportunity to obtain a portfolio of renewable energy assets with long-term contracts as well as the opportunity to access a pipeline of future greenfield renewable assets.

“Our priority is generating sustainable returns for our 755,000 members and from a risk and return perspective this investment stacks up and strongly aligns with our Fund’s long-term outlook,” Ms Callebaut said.

“The investment is unique in that it also provides opportunities in the transition to a climate resilient economy and enables Cbus to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

‘Bright Energy Investments’ will commence its development pipeline by constructing Stage Two of the Greenough River Solar Farm (GRSF2), and refurbishing the existing Albany Grasmere Wind Farm (AGWF). Bright Energy Investments also holds development rights for the Warradarge Wind Farm (WWF) and will now commence the development process for the project.

Based on current estimates, the development of GRSF2 and the proposed development of WWF prior to 2020, will create approximately 200 new construction jobs in WA’s mid-west region.

Source: Cbus

 

New renewables projects in WA given ‘green light’

10 April

  • New renewable energy projects to meet 2020 LRET target and create new construction jobs
  • Synergy to enter a joint venture with DIF and Cbus to develop significant renewable energy projects, through the expansion of Greenough River Solar Farm and the refurbishment of the Albany Grasmere Wind Farm in Western Australia
  • RCR Tomlinson (ASX:RCR) awarded $60 million EPC contract for 30MW expansion of the Greenough River Solar Farm
  • Focus on ensuring new projects are developed to minimise impact on WA taxpayers

The McGowan Labor Government has approved State-owned energy generator and retailer Synergy, to enter into a joint venture with world-renowned infrastructure investment company DIF and Australian industry super fund Cbus for the development of large-scale renewables projects in Western Australia.

Under the joint venture, Synergy, DIF and Cbus have established 'Bright Energy Investments'. This group will deliver Stage Two of the Greenough River Solar Farm (GRSF2) south of Geraldton, increasing its capacity from 10MW to 40MW; as well as the refurbishment of Albany Grasmere Wind Farm.

Bright Energy Investments is also undertaking preparatory work on the development of a further proposed renewable energy project in the Warradarge Wind Farm (WWF).

ASX-listed diversified engineering and infrastructure company RCR Tomlinson has been awarded the Engineering, Construction and Procurement (EPC) for the expansion of GRSF2, with an immediate project start and targeted completion in the second quarter of 2019.

The joint venture with DIF and Cbus is an important step to ensure Synergy meets its Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) obligations under Commonwealth legislation.

Under Commonwealth legislation, the LRET scheme requires 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy to be produced nationally by 2020 and those levels maintained until 2030.

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Ben Wyatt:

"The McGowan Labor Government is delighted to approve the partnership between Synergy, DIF and a large Australian industry superannuation fund for the development of significant renewable projects in the SWIS.

"Synergy has a long history of developing and operating renewable and other energy projects, including the development of Australia's first commercial wind farm in Ten Mile Lagoon at Esperance, Australia's then largest solar project - the Greenough River Solar Farm and the Albany Grasmere Wind Farm.

"The stage two of the Greenough River Solar Farm, the refurbishment of Albany Grasmere Wind Farm and the proposed Warradarge Wind Farm demonstrates the McGowan Labor Government's commitment to ensuring there is a sustainable plan for the State's transition to a cleaner energy future.

"The Mid-West is emerging as the epicentre for renewable energy projects in this State, comprising a land area amounting to one-fifth of the size of WA. The region also contains a diverse natural environment, which can be utilised to generate economic opportunities.

"The McGowan Labor Government is delivering on its plan to ensure that the State meets its 2020 renewable energy commitments - something the former government failed to achieve - and that we will do so in such a way that has minimal impact on taxpayers and contributes to State Budget repair."

Source: WA Government

 

PROJECT UPDATE

Hills of Gold Wind Farm

Community Enhancement Fund - 30 March 2018

Wind Energy Partners is pleased to announce the funding commitment for the Community Enhancement Fund. The fund will be established to provide the community with the financial resources to help enhance lifestyle and opportunities for local residents around Hanging Rock, Nundle and communities close to the project.

The fund will be supported with a commitment of $2,500 per wind turbine per year installed and operating, expected over a period of 25 years. Wind Energy Partners through consultation has learnt of a number of ideas to which the community fund could be used and welcomes suggestions to the design of the fund. 

Further details of the fund will be designed through consultation with the Community Consultative Committee to be established in 2018. Wind Energy Partners aims to finalise the Community Enhancement Fund framework and will submit this design as part of the planning permission application.

Further details of the fund design will be announced following further community engagement to determine community prioritise.

More information is available from https://www.hillsofgoldenergy.com/

Source: Wind Energy Partners

 

Soltec supplying its first PV power plant in Australia

11 April

Soltec will supply its tracker equipment to a 70 MW solar PV power plant in Australia. Soltec is executing its plan to invest in growing markets and expand supply capacity globally, including this strategic move into Australia. With the establishment of this office in Sydney’s Barangaroo business district last November, Soltec Australia Pty Ltd rejoins APAC regional activity with the Soltec team in New Delhi, India.

Soltec’s customer Biosar, a historically established and expanding international solar EPC company, procured 2,296 units of Soltec’s SF7 seventh generation horizontal single-axis solar tracker. SF7 enables higher yield performance than others with complete tracker module-fill and greater site-fill options among other yield gain features.

 “Our standard tracker features reduce material and installation time compared to others. SF7 has fewer piles-per-MW, a lower parts count, fewer installation operations, greater tolerance of construction variables, and less civil work among other advantages. The combined result of higher yield performance and robust design is what customers rely on when choosing us,” said CEO of Soltec Raúl Morales.

Source: Soltec

 

National policy needed, not exaggerated claims: energy industry

11 April

Speculation that the closure of the Liddell power plant in New South Wales would lead to major price increases was seriously flawed, because it ignored the development of replacement generation capacity, the energy industry said today.

The Australian Energy Council’s Matthew Warren said that the use of exaggerated claims rather than detailed modelling only served to cause unnecessary alarm. “This type of speculation fails to further the debate on the need for national energy policy to encourage investment in new generation.

“Comparing the closure of the Hazelwood brown-coal power station in Victoria to the proposed closure of the Liddell power station in New South Wales paints a deliberately misleading picture.

“The plants are not like-for-like. One was a baseload generator that operated effectively all the time because it was one of the lowest cost generators in Australia. Liddell in contrast operates much less frequently, so would not have the same impact on wholesale prices.

“At the same time there has been a lengthy notice given of the proposed closure of Liddell, which gives the energy market time to adjust and to introduce replacement generation and avoid the same impacts on wholesale prices.

“Claims that the closure would leave an 850MW gap is based on no replacement generation being built. The market operator has stated that replacement plant being proposed for Liddell would avoid that gap if it proceeds. There are likely to be other investors interested in building replacement plant.

“To achieve that and avoid major price rises as older plant closes requires bipartisan agreement on national energy policy, which is why the energy industry has supported the National Energy Guarantee.”

Source: Australian Energy Council

 

Planning assessment finds the proposed energy from waste facility should be refused

11 April

The Department of Planning and Environment has found the proposed energy from waste facility at Eastern Creek should be refused and has referred the application to the Independent Planning Commission for final decision.

Next Generation Pty Ltd’s original development application was for a facility to thermally treat up to 1.35 million tonnes of residual waste per year to make energy at Eastern Creek in Sydney’s west.

Following feedback received from independent experts and government agencies and community concern, the proposal was reduced to thermally treat 552,500 tonnes of residual waste per year – half its original size.

Deputy Secretary for Planning Services, Marcus Ray, said the Department assessed the application on its merits and in accordance with relevant NSW policies and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

“The Department has referred its assessment to the Commission and found the proposed energy from waste facility should be refused based on advice received from independent experts and government agencies, including the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Health NSW,” Mr Ray said.

NSW Health has advised it is unable to support the proposal in its current form while the EPA has advised the proposal is inconsistent with the NSW Energy from Waste Policy Statement (2015).

Key concerns were raised throughout the public exhibition period regarding the proposal’s impacts on local air quality, the risk to human health and the proposed facility’s proximity to residential houses.

Mr Ray said the Department received about 1,000 submissions from the local community, special interest groups, councils and government authorities.

“In considering the issues raised by EPA, NSW Health and advice from our experts, together with the lack of community acceptance for the application, the Department’s assessment has concluded the proposal is inconsistent with the NSW Energy from Waste Policy Statement (2015) and the potential impacts on human health are unknown.”

A determination by the Commission is expected to be made within three months of receiving the Department’s assessment.

Source: NSW Department of Planning and Environment

 

Windlab executes connection agreement for Lakeland Wind Farm

11 April

Windlab Limited (ASX: WND) announced today that it has entered into a connection agreement with Ergon Energy to connect the 100MW Lakeland Wind Farm to the electricity network.

The Lakeland Wind Farm will be located 60 km south-west of Cooktown on the Cape York Peninsula, adjacent to the town of Lakeland. The wind farm has been approved for up to 30 wind turbines and all necessary electrical infrastructure to connect the project to the national electricity network. It is expected to have a name plate capacity of around 100MW subject to final turbine type selection and site optimisation.

“Connection to the grid, along with receipt of a development approval are the two most critical milestones in successfully completing a wind farm development.” stated Roger Price, Executive Chairman and CEO of Windlab Limited. “With these two milestones now in hand the focus shifts to finalising debt and equity investment in the project, allowing the project to begin construction later this year.”

The wind farm will generate sufficient power to supply more than 50,000 average Australian homes. Construction is anticipated to commence in the 2nd half of 2018.

Source: Windlab

 

NEW PROJECT

Baranduda Solar Farm

Location: Morwell, Victoria

Developer: APR Australian Solar

Capacity: 70 MW

Expected cost: $100mil

LGA: Wodonga Council

Description: Public consultation started for project on 141 hectares of land used for sheep grazing on the outskirts of Morwell. Construction scheduled to start in Q1 2019 taking approximately 9 months and employing around 100 people in construction.

Contact: George Hughes

Director

APR Australia Solar

Tel: 0473 210 006

Email: info@ARPAustralianSolar.com.au.

 

EDL signs major contract extension with South32 and announces development of Australia’s second largest solar hybrid power system with Sunshift

11 April

Energy Developments Pty Ltd (EDL) today announced it has executed a 14-year extension of its contract to supply electricity at South32’s Cannington silver, lead and zinc mine in North Queensland.

As part of the contract extension, electricity from a new three-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) facility will be integrated with EDL’s existing 34MW gas-fired power station at the mine.

The solar PV facility will be the second largest installed at a remote mine in Australia and the first in the country to be integrated with a gas-fired power station.

EDL Chief Executive Officer, James Harman, said the Cannington contract extension was a testament to the company’s unwavering focus on service delivery and innovation.

“Energy Developments is a global leader in the provision of sustainable distributed energy solutions in Australia and around the world,” he said.

“We are very pleased to build on and extend our relationship with South32 at Cannington.

“We have been providing electricity at Cannington since the mine commenced production in 1997 and this extension to 2032 will deliver long-term financial, operational and environmental benefits to both companies.

“Energy Developments is proud to play a key role in reliably delivering safe, clean and efficient energy to Australia’s mining sector and the provision of solar-generated electricity at Cannington adds to our growing footprint in this vital area.”

Construction of the solar PV facility has commenced and it is expected to be fully operational in the third quarter of 2018. It will be largely pre-fabricated to facilitate rapid construction and ease of expansion. Once complete, the solar PV facility will cover an area equivalent to six football fields.

The solar PV facility will be built and owned by SunSHIFT, which has created the world’s first pre-fabricated, modular and moveable solar plant for large-scale on-grid and off-grid electricity generation.

SunSHIFT General Manager, Dr Will Rayward-Smith, said the company was delighted to be working with EDL at South32’s Cannington mine.

“We have commercialised large-scale, modular and moveable solar PV technology to provide the mining sector with access to low-cost renewable energy,” Dr Rayward-Smith said.

“We encourage miners to take a low-risk path to hybridisation with a low-penetration solar PV installation and, over time, consider expanding capacity and introducing energy storage.”

The success of the Cannington solar PV project will be bolstered by EDL’s experience delivering renewable energy solutions in some of Australia’s most remote areas.

Most recently EDL completed the development of a landmark hybrid solar, wind and battery project in the South Australian outback town of Coober Pedy.

The project was commissioned in July 2017 and by September that year EDL was able to meet 100% of the town’s electricity demand for a continuous period of more than 35 hours utilising renewable energy.

Over the 20-year life of the project it is expected that at least 70% of Coober Pedy’s total electricity consumption will be provided through renewable sources.

Source: Energy Developments

 

PROJECT UPDATE

Sapphire Wind Farm

Construction overview mid-March:

- Components continue to arrive at Sapphire Wind Farm

- Substation installed and energised

- All 33kV Overhead Line installed

- 47km of new internal roads constructed

- 75 out of 75 wind turbine foundations completed

- 75 out of 75 wind turbine foundations backfilled

- 245km of new underground cabling installed

- 52 bases and tower sections have been installed (Stage 1)

- 19 of 75 Tower erections completed (Stage 2)

- 16 out of 75 Towers Commissioned

Source: CWP Renewables

 

IFM Investors and the CEFC work together to cut carbon emissions in infrastructure assets

12 April

Australia’s largest infrastructure fund, the $12 billion IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund, is working with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to reduce carbon emissions at some of the nation’s leading infrastructure assets across ports, airports and electricity infrastructure.

In its first equity commitment to Australia’s diversified infrastructure sector, the CEFC is investing $150 million in the IFM Investors’ managed IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund, which will target emissions reduction and energy efficiency initiatives across assets including Ausgrid, Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney’s Port Botany and the Port of Brisbane. IFM Investors’ agreement with the CEFC builds on its track record of working with asset management teams to deliver sustainable ESG outcomes that benefit both the communities they serve and superannuation member returns.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “We recognise IFM Investors as a leader in sustainable investment in infrastructure and congratulate IFM Investors on this significant commitment to lowering emissions, and contributing further to the environmental sustainability of the assets in its Australian Infrastructure Fund.

“Infrastructure assets are central to our economic and social well-being. They are usually large, expensive and built for the long term. It is absolutely critical that the assets of today contribute to the overall emissions reduction task that we are facing.

“With this investment the CEFC will work with IFM Investors in targeting comprehensive and sustained improvements to the carbon footprint of some of our most important infrastructure assets. We will also work with IFM Investors to enhance benchmarks and transparency around infrastructure emissions, so that we can deliver a step change in the emissions profile of our national infrastructure.”

IFM Investors, owned by 27 of Australia’s industry superannuation funds, invests on behalf of six million Australian workers and approximately 15 million pension fund members globally.

Kyle Mangini, IFM Investors Global Head of Infrastructure said: “IFM is a leader in sustainable investment. With the support of the CEFC, we will accelerate our program of measuring, reporting, and decreasing emissions from Australian infrastructure assets.

“The fact that this is the first commitment by the CEFC to an infrastructure fund reflects our alignment in a cleaner future. Today, I invite other investors in infrastructure to follow our lead and make a difference.”

According to Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, infrastructure-related emissions account for more than half Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from the electricity sector (35 per cent) and the transport sector (18 per cent).

The CEFC estimates that just a five per cent improvement across the assets in the portfolio would abate almost 69,000 tonnes of CO2-e annually. This is equivalent to removing 14,775 cars from the road each year, or providing electricity to about 7,450 homes a year.

CEFC infrastructure lead Julia Hinwood said: “IFM Investors has a track record of actively working with its assets to identify and introduce value add initiatives. We’re looking forward to drawing on our clean energy finance experience to help IFM drive carbon emissions reductions across its assets through an innovative approach to planning, construction and operations.

“This is about investing in global best practice infrastructure to support its important economic potential while proactively addressing the emissions challenge.”

Ms Hinwood said initiatives may include installing on-site solar PV and battery storage solutions and converting to electric vehicles. They are also likely to involve using smart management systems which monitor asset performance and assist with reducing energy consumption and optimising logistics and supply chains.

This equity investment builds on the CEFC’s extensive record in infrastructure development, including up to $150 million in debt finance to the Moorebank Logistics Park intermodal terminal in south-western Sydney. The CEFC is also a leading investor in energy-related infrastructure, financing innovative large-scale solar, wind and energy storage developments Australia-wide.

CEFC finance for infrastructure projects is part of its Sustainable Cities Investment Program, which is aiming to invest $1 billion into clean energy initiatives in Australian cities over 10 years.

Source: IFM/CEFC

 

Converting waste to bioenergy at Goulburn abattoir

12 April

The Turnbull Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is supporting the conversion of waste to energy at an abattoir in New South Wales in an effort to reduce both waste and the abattoir’s power bills.

More than $2 million in funding has been provided to energy provider ReNu Energy to design, construct, own and operate a biogas facility at the existing Southern Meats’ abattoir in Goulburn.

“Disposing abattoir waste is a major environmental challenge and processing and storing meat is an energy intensive business,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“That’s why this project is win-win, it helps reduce the need to dispose of waste from the abattoir and it provides Southern Meats with a more affordable source of energy.”

The $5.75 million project includes construction of a covered lagoon where an anaerobic digestion process produces biogas by biologically breaking down effluent.

The facility will produce 3800 MWh of electricity per year through treating and transferring the biogas to two 800 kW dual fuel generators.

The lagoon can store biogas to be used during times of peak electricity consumption during the manufacturing process.

The generators are also able to contribute to minimising the use of electricity from the grid when prices spike during times of peak demand, through the ability to supplement biogas with mains gas.

The abattoir uses around 20,000 KWh of electricity every day.

“The Turnbull Government recognises the importance of waste management in Australia as well as the importance of energy affordability for Australian households and businesses,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“Conversion of waste into energy is one innovative way for us to help combat the challenges associated with both these issues.”

Source: Federal Government

 

NEW PROJECT

Carwarp Solar Farm

Developer: Canadian Solar

Location: Carwarp, Victoria

Capacity: 300 MW

LGA: Mildura

Description: The project will use Canadian Solar panels Canadian Solar signed an MOU with Ceramet Solar to help develop a market competitive tracking system for the Australian market, and is partnering with SuniTAFE to train and equip workers. Subject to being successful under the VRET auction, it is anticipated that the project would begin construction in 2019 and take approximately 12 months to complete stage 1.

Contact: Daniel Rouss

General Manager Australia

Tel: (03) 8609 1844

Email: Daniel.Ruoss@canadiansolar.com

 

NEW PROJECT

Global giant to build solar farm near Gladstone

13 April

Global energy giant Acciona Energy has been selected to transform 1,250 hectares of underutilised state-owned land at Aldoga into a solar energy project supporting hundreds of jobs and delivering lasting community benefits.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the signing of the Agreement for Lease signalled the start of a project that will generate renewable energy and boost the local economy.

“Acciona Energy will develop, finance, construct and operate a $ 500 million solar farm through a 30-year lease with the Queensland Government and they are committed to Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement strategies,” he said.

“At maximum capacity, up to 265 megawatts (AC), will deliver the equivalent amount of energy needed to supply up to 122,000 households, which is around five times the number of households in Gladstone.

“This invaluable project will support up to 240construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs, and better yet, the company will adopt Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement policies, giving preference to local sub-contractors and manufacturers.

“As part of the lease agreements, Acciona Energy will also establish a community benefits fund of between $50,000 to $120,000 per year, representing between $1.5 million to $3.6 million over the 30-year lease, to be provided to local clubs, associations and community groups in the region.

“Combined with the renewable energy that will be generated, and the lease payments that will be made to the State, this project represents a major boost to the local community – economically, environmentally and socially.”

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham welcomed the news on the Aldoga solar plant, which will connect to the grid via Powerlink’s Larcom Creek substation.

“This is another project to join Queensland’s renewable energy pipeline of jobs and investment,” he said.

“Over the past 18 months, five large-scale solar projects have commenced operations bringing the total operational capacity of renewable energy in Queensland to more than 780 megawatts.

“Another 23 large-scale projects, totalling 2,200 megawatts, are currently financially committed or under construction. These projects will create almost 3600 jobs during construction and boost investment by around $4.2 billion.

“Queensland is a state with the right renewable investment credentials and the Palaszczuk Government is putting the right investment climate in place to continue this boom in renewable investment.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher applauded the project as a major win for the Gladstone region which would mean jobs for locals and an economic adrenaline boost for the area.

“Projects like this happening right here in our backyard signal that Gladstone truly is open for business,” he said.

“Our region is proving time and time again that we can attract large-scale developments and heavy-hitting projects, which is an enormous vote of confidence in our community and our local economy.

“State development projects like this one have a huge role to play in building our region’s prosperity – these are the types of projects that will keep us moving forward as a community into the future.”

Acciona Energy Australia Managing Director Brett Wickham said the company applauded the Queensland Government’s foresight in breathing new life into an under-used area within the SDA.

“We are grateful to the Queensland Government for the opportunity to develop Aldoga. The local community will play an important role in this project, with job opportunities, construction work and long-term prospects for suppliers,” he said.

Minister Dick said there was substantial national and international interest in the renewable energy project, with 16 companies submitting an Expression of Interest to Economic Development Queensland to transform the land at Aldoga into a renewable energy project.

“An extremely competitive shortlist of five major renewable energy companies saw Acciona Energy selected to now undertake a detailed feasibility study and to obtain development approvals,” he said.

“This could take around 12 months, meaning construction may begin in the second half of next year, and electricity generation in the second half of 2020.”

Source: Queensland Government

 

Have your say: making renewable energy zones work for consumers

12 April

Review on coordination of generation and transmission investment: discussion paper released for consultation

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) today called for submissions on the best model for renewable energy zones so new low emissions generators can join the power system at the lowest possible cost.

The electricity market is transforming, with a large number of new connections like wind, solar, farms and storage including pumped hydro, all set to connect in coming years while older generators are retiring. In a discussion paper released today the AEMC sets out options for clustering new generators in zones to reduce the costs of new transmission infrastructure needed to connect these generators to the grid.

AEMC Chief Executive Anne Pearson said the discussion paper highlights the need for understanding the ultimate impact on electricity prices when making any changes to how transmission infrastructure is planned, built and operated.

A large amount of proposed generation, in the order of 45 GW, is expected to enter the national electricity market. Much of this would need new transmission infrastructure. Given this influx, it makes sense to coordinate investment in generation and transmission in renewable energy zones where this keeps costs down.

The Commission’s analysis shows how different designs for renewable energy zones can have different outcomes for consumers.

“Some coordination models can lead to consumers bearing the risk if transmission lines are built for a renewable energy zone which doesn’t actually eventuate - a ‘build it and they will come’ approach. In other models, that risk lies with the generation business. That’s why we’re carefully weighing up the pros and cons of different models, and asking stakeholders for their views,” Mrs Pearson said.

This work is part of a review, tasked by the COAG Energy Council, to consider better coordination of generation and transmission investment, including development of renewable energy zones as raised by the Finkel Panel review.

It is part of the AEMC’s broader work program which is reviewing regulatory frameworks to support the changing mix of generation. Last month we released recommendations to make the power system stronger as the generation transition to new technologies accelerates. This report is about how to manage transmission investment to connect new generators at least cost to consumers.

“The transmission investment process could change in a number of ways. The Finkel Panel made recommendations for a more guided and co-ordinated approach to transmission investment, and AEMO has started to develop such an approach through its integrated system planning process, including the creation of renewable energy zones,” Mrs Pearson said.

“In support of this work, our paper raises questions for consultation with stakeholders on what needs to be addressed to integrate renewable energy zones into the regulatory framework at least cost.

“In asking these questions we can work out the best way to co-ordinate generation and transmission investment so consumers benefit,” she said.

The discussion paper also considers two key developments which may require some changes to how transmission is regulated in the future.

First, the Commission found there may be significant congestion on transmission networks in the future as more generators connect to the grid. The paper asks for stakeholder feedback on the current state of congestion and how this might change as the energy transformation continues. We are also seeking views on how this could be best addressed.

Second, the discussion paper notes the increase in new types of generation capability, such as large-scale battery storage, connecting directly to the transmission network. One notable example has already connected – Tesla’s battery at the Hornsdale wind farm. In relation to these new technologies some areas of regulation may need harmonising. The AEMC is seeking stakeholder views on these developments, ahead of a final report due in mid 2018 which will include any recommended changes to the transmission regulatory framework.

Stakeholder submissions on the discussion paper are due by 18 May 2018.

Source: AEMO

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