SMA and WTC launch Power Skid Australia to respond to the booming Australian solar market

6 July

SMA and WTC held the Power Skid Australia launch event on July 5 in Wodonga, Australia with the highlight of unveiling the new Power Skid Australia 5500. The Power Skid Australia is an innovative product that incorporates a range of solar inverters and transformers, as well as MV and LV switchgear – all mounted on a fully bunded galvanised base, which is designed exclusively for the Australian solar market.

The Power Skid Australia was developed to serve the booming Australian solar market with a locally manufactured solution tailored to the specific conditions of Australian solar plants. This arrangement provides solar farm projects with a fully integrated, easily installed solution that is manufactured in Australia and supported by local teams of engineers and field support professionals.

 “We are very excited about the launch of the Power Skid Australia. Fabricated in Australia, this turnkey solution utilises local Australian manufactured transformers from WTC. The local integration makes compliance with relevant Australian requirements simpler and significantly reduces the lead time. Local fabrication also delivers lower costs, simplifies transport and delivery, creating local contents and thus making it the optimal solution for Australian solar farms. We already received very positive feedback from the local Australian customers,” said Boris Wolff, SMA Executive Vice President Business Unit Utility.

“Manufactured in Wodonga in the state of Victoria, the Power Skid Australia minimises lead times, simplifies logistics, cuts installation and commissioning times, reduces currency risks for major components and offers a robust high-quality solution packed with features, providing a full turnkey product for Australian customers. The collaboration between SMA and WTC is committed to supporting the Australian solar market by providing reliable, robust and efficient solutions to local customers in Australia, also providing jobs locally and supporting the Australian economy by producing high-quality technologically advanced products,” said Ed Wilson, WTC Managing Director.

Source: SMA

 

State of the Nation Report on Bioenergy

6 July

Bioenergy Australia has commissioned KPMG to deliver a State of the Nation Report on Bioenergy. The report will provide a ranking of the States and Territories regarding their Bioenergy performance. KPMG has drafted a proposal outline and will be developing the assessment criteria.

We very much look forward to using this report to fast track the deployment and support of Bioenergy projects. In addition, the report will give an international comparison for Australia.

The report will provide an outline of the state of play on a country-wide basis and we would need your help to ensure that no project is left behind.

For this purpose, it would much appreciated if you could fill the questionnaire for each operating or early-stage bioenergy project you are involved in and send it to lisa@bioenergyaustralia.org.au by Wednesday 18 July.

Source: Bioenergy Australia

 

PROJECT NEWS

Coppabella Wind Farm

The Federal Department of the Environment & Energy has recommended to approve Goldwind’s 295 MW Coppabella Wind Farm, in the NSW southern tablelands, under the EPBC Act subject to conditions relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities. Originally approved as the Yass Valley Wind Farm, Goldwind modified the project design to reduce the number of turbines to 76 from the original 126 turbines and resubmitted the project as a new referral. Public comments on the new Coppabella Wind Farm referral were invited until 18 January 2018 but no public submissions were received.

The proponent received development consent for the original Yass Valley Wind Farm from the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission on 30 March 2016. However the NSW Department of Planning and Environment is currently assessing a modification to the approved project.

 

PROJECT NEWS

Kidston Solar Farm Stage 2

Genex Power submitted a referral for its up to 270 MW Kidston Solar Farm Stage 2 in northern Queensland for approval under the federal government’s EPBC Act. The development plans are in a concept design phase and final design of the solar farm and associated ancillary infrastructure will be dependent on the detailed design undertaken by the appointed contractor. Phase 1 of the project is planned to have a capacity of 165 MW.

Key elements of the project include:

  • Solar PV modules, installed in regular arrays on horizontal tracking systems
  • Aboveground direct current (DC) cabling which connects each module in a string (approximately 29 modules) to a field combiner box mounted near the modules.
  • Underground DC cabling from the combiner boxes to the central inverters.
  • Central inverters, step up transformers and switchgear in containers or on skids
  • Underground AC cabling running from the PCUs to UGOH poles and then via overhead 33kV transmission lines to the solar substation.
  • Step up transformers and associated equipment in the solar substation to convert 33 kV to 275 kV for connection to the network.

 

Draft Rate of Return Guideline not in long-term customer interests

10 July

Energy Networks Australia has warned a proposal to further slash rates of return for network businesses does not strike the right balance between lower costs to customers and sustainable business returns for investors.

Acting CEO Tamatha Smith said the draft Rate of Return Guideline released today by the Australian Energy Regulator would strip about 13 per cent or $2 billion over five years from the gas and electricity network sector. It represented the largest single reduction proposed to the amount network businesses could recover on their infrastructure investment and it went too far.

“Network prices and rates of return have been falling consistently for the past five years. This latest proposal follows the significant cuts already imposed in 2013 and 2009 and does not deliver the predictable framework the energy network sector needs to ensure investment security – which is in the long-term interests of customers,” Ms Smith said.

“Network businesses have also responded to the need for lower costs to customers, delivering efficiencies in their operations while maintaining reliable and safe essential energy services. We have to achieve a balance that meets the need for business to attract lowest-cost finance for essential power infrastructure investment and to keep prices down.

“This proposed sharp reduction in the rate of return will have long term ramifications for these essential services by making it harder to attract capital for investments that will support strong wholesale market competition and the rapid connection of growing sources of generation throughout the grid.

“The energy sector is undergoing the most significant transformation in a century. We are working to modernise networks to ensure greater connectivity across the whole National Energy Market, integrating increasing household renewable systems and new large-scale generation, so customers pay less and continue to enjoy the secure, reliable energy they expect. We can’t do this without achieving the right balance for consumers and industry.”

Source: Energy Networks Australia

 

Renewable power station of the future for Port Augusta moves a step closer

11 July

International renewable energy company DP Energy has received SA Government approval for Stage 2 of its ground-breaking Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAREP), which when complete will offer most of the services of a traditional fossil fuelled power station but fuelled by renewable energy.

Approved by the State Government in June 2018, Stage 2 of the PAREP allows up to 500MW of solar photovoltaic generation, 400MW of battery storage and 3,000MW seconds of synchronous condenser capacity to be built. This infrastructure will add capability to the existing project, further improving the generation output to match the South Australian demand profile. It also provides the added benefit of actively supporting additional electricity network system stability through the use of synchronous condenser technology.

The addition of batteries and synchronous condensers to the renewable generation capacity gives the project the ability to react to fluctuations in both voltage and frequency which can help stabilise the grid and assist the network in reducing potential black outs.

Established more than 20 years ago, DP Energy has successfully completed 13 renewable energy projects around the world totalling 400MW with a further eight totalling over 1000MW currently under development. The projects variously incorporate wind, solar and tidal energy technologies, with Port Augusta selected as the site for the first hybrid renewable facility due to the region’s unique wind profile and consistently strong solar resource.

DP Energy Business Development Manager, Catherine Way, said the power station represented the next step in renewable technology. “Renewable energy projects are becoming increasingly mainstream, driven by continual technological advances that deliver greater efficiencies and reduced costs. However, the missing piece has always been the ability to provide full grid support and controllable power to match energy demand with energy generation. The unique renewable energy capability of Stage 2 minimises this previous limitation, making this a power station of the future,” she said.

DP Energy CEO Simon De Pietro said Stage 2 approval represented another successful step in the process. “We’ve now received all the necessary government approvals for the project, which is very encouraging. This latest development will contribute to Port Augusta becoming the renewable energy capital of Australia now there is no longer coal generation,” he said.

DP Energy is nearing financial close for Stage 1 of the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, which is a hybrid wind and solar plant. The Stage 2 approval will also allow for battery storage and synchronous condenser to be built on to Stage 1.

Source: DP Energy

 

PROJECT NEWS

Maffra Solar Farm

Developer ARP Australian Solar is anticipating financial close for its 30 MW Maffra Solar Farm in quarter 3 2018, with commercial operations to start in quarter 1 or 2 2019. The Wellington Shire Council in Victoria last week approved a planning permit for the development of the $40mil solar farm, which will see the installation of 125,000 solar panels, located north of Maffra.

 

PROJECT NEWS

Liverpool Range Wind Farm

Epuron’s 960 MW Liverpool Range Wind Farm in Coolah, Central NSW was approved by the Federal Government earlier this month.

The provisional timeframe is as follows:

January, 2019: Construction tenders released

October, 2019: Financial close

January 2020: Construction starts

January 2022: Commissioning and operation

Want to get involved?

If you have a business that would like to be involved in any part of the construction of the project –including hospitality and other services – Epuron wants to hear from you.

Epuron is working with the Coolah District Development Group to compile a register of local businesses and capabilities as well as planning a Business Readiness evening to help local businesses prepare for the upcoming tendering period.

If you would like to register your business or attend the event please send your contact information to info@epuron.com.au with the subject LRWF Business Readiness.

Source: Epuron

 

BELECTRIC expands its PV business Down Under

11 July

- Beginning of this year as EPC and O&M provider awarded for large-scale projects with a combined capacity of more than 460MW

- Construction works are expected to start in coming weeks

Australia’s record-breaking year for solar is in full flight, with utility scale solar projects under construction and a record-setting number of additional projects in development of around two gigawatt capacity. With BELECTRIC a German based company wants to be on the forefront of the consistently growing solar industry of the country.

“For us as EPC provider with close to two gigawatt of executed projects all over the world, Australia is a promising market to further strengthen our global leading position”, explains Martin Zembsch, Managing Director of BELECTRIC Solar & Battery GmbH.

“Large-scale solar has gone from an emerging technology at the beginning of the decade to a genuinely game-changing form of electricity generation in Australia: High solar irradiation and rapidly falling costs have enabled a large number of new projects. This includes two large-scale projects in New South Wales for which BELECTRIC secured the EPC contract. With our experienced new and existing staff we are well prepared to start construction works for the first of these solar plants in the upcoming weeks.”

BELECTRIC is growing its team Down Under

At the beginning of this year, German based energy company innogy SE announced that under current planning BELECTRIC, via its Australian subsidiary BELECTRIC Australia Pty. Ltd, will take control of the construction works (EPC) and the operation and maintenance (O&M) for the two projects which have a combined capacity of more than 460MW. “Limondale”, the first development project with a planned installed capacity of 347MWp, will be located at Balranald, New South Wales. The second development project at Hillston, News South Wales, has a planned capacity of 115MWp.*

BELECTRIC Australia, which is based in Malvern (Victoria), has a team of around ten employees and expects many hundreds of additional staff to be indirectly employed via its subcontractors during the construction phase of the two large scale projects and the ongoing operation and maintenance.

BELECTRIC Australia Pty. Ltd has previous experience in the Australian market, having been involved in a number of solar projects. These include the 4.77MW Chillamurra solar plant at Goondiwindi Queensland, the 10.8MW solar system at Barcaldine Queensland and the 3.3MW solar project at Dareton NSW. These projects were realised using BELECRIC’s extremely light substructure, called PEG, which offers the lowest electricity generation costs and highest space utilisation.

* Please note: In February 2018 innogy SE signed a contract to purchase these two large-scale solar development projects from Overland Sun Farming. The acquisition is subject to certain standard conditions, including land and planning arrangements, as well as review by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board and approval from Australia’s Federal Treasurer from a foreign investment perspective. It is anticipated that the various conditions will be completed in the second quarter of 2018, enabling the entire transaction to complete.

Source: BELECTRIC

 

Boost for Victoria’s renewable energy powerhouse

11 July

The Andrews Labor Government will provide $500,000 to help transition one of Victoria’s strongest renewable energy regions towards a thriving low-carbon economy.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio was in Ballarat today to announce that Grampians New Energy Taskforce (GNeT) will use the funding to develop a roadmap to transition the region to a low-carbon economy by 2050.

GNeT is made up of local government representatives, regional partnership members, industry and community groups, and will investigate new economic and investment opportunities as part of the roadmap.

The Labor Government will also provide $50,000 to Federation University TAFE Australia to develop a business case for an Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre in Ballarat.

The proposed training centre would produce an industry-recognised skilled workforce to construct, install and maintain renewable energy infrastructure.

The Grampians region has emerged as Victoria’s engine room of renewable energy generation and associated economic growth.

Almost $3 billion-worth of wind farm developments are currently under construction in the Grampians region this month alone.

Victoria continues to lead the way in developing new energy policy to reduce greenhouse gases, tackle climate change and deliver Victorian Renewable Energy Targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“The Grampians region is already a leader in renewable energy – and this funding will help it transition to a low carbon future.”

“The proposed Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre has the potential to boost local jobs in the renewable energy sector – that’s why we’re supporting it with this funding.”

Source: Victoria Government

 

ACCC releases blueprint to reduce electricity prices

11 July

The ACCC’s recommendations to significantly improve electricity affordability for Australian consumers and businesses are outlined in its final Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry report, released today.

The Inquiry, which commenced in March 2017, began by identifying the root causes of high electricity prices across the entire electricity supply chain, and has now made 56 recommendations detailing ways to fix the National Electricity Market.

“The National Electricity Market is largely broken and needs to be reset. Previous approaches to policy, regulatory design and competition in this sector over at least the past decade have resulted in a serious electricity affordability problem for consumers and businesses,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“There are many reasons Australia has the electricity affordability issues we are now facing. Wholesale and retail markets are too concentrated. Regulation and poorly designed policy have added significant costs to electricity bills. Retailers’ marketing of discounts are inconsistent and confusing to consumers and have left many consumers on excessively high ‘standing’ offers.”

The ACCC estimates its recommendations, if adopted, will save the average household between 20 and 25 per cent on their electricity bill, or around $290-$415 per annum.

“It is clear that most households are paying far too much for electricity. In addition, some of the most vulnerable in our community are forced to struggle through freezing winters and scorching summers, with many others also having difficulty paying their bills,” Mr Sims said.

Further, Australia’s 2.2 million small to medium businesses could save an average of 24 per cent on their electricity bill, if the ACCC’s recommendations are adopted.

“Many small to medium businesses operate on very small margins, and cannot afford the increases to their costs that have occurred over past years,” Mr Sims said.

Commercial and industrial customers, the heaviest users, could see electricity costs decrease on average by 26 per cent.

“Commercial and industrial customers, like mining and manufacturing companies, have watched what has been a relative competitive advantage to them, affordable electricity, now threatening their viability,” Mr Sims said.

“While important steps have been taken recently, restoring electricity affordability will require wide ranging and comprehensive action. We believe our changes can and will, if adopted, have a powerful and tangible impact on electricity affordability for all Australians; this will reduce economic inequality and enhance our national welfare.”

“Three further points need to be made. First, our recommendations require some difficult decisions as sound economic reform usually does. Second, despite poor decisions over at least the past decade creating the current electricity affordability problem, it now falls to current Commonwealth and state governments to make the difficult decisions to fix it. Third, we must move away from narrowly focussed debates; addressing affordability requires change across a broad front,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC’s recommendations include:

- Abolishing the current retail ‘standing’ offers (which are not the same between retailers), and replacing them with a new ‘default’ offer consistent across all retailers, set at a price determined by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

- Requiring retailers to reference any discounts to the new ‘default’ offer pricing determined by the AER, making it easier for consumers to genuinely compare offers. Conditional discounts, such as pay-on-time discounts, must not be included in any headline discount claim.

- A mandatory code for comparator websites be introduced so that offers are recommended based on customer benefit, not commissions paid.

- Voluntary write downs of network overinvestment, including by the NSW, Queensland and Tasmanian governments (or equivalent rebates). This could save consumers in NSW, Queensland and Tasmania at least $100 per year.

- Premium solar feed-in-tariff schemes should be funded by state governments and the small scale renewable energy scheme should be phased out, saving non-solar consumers $20-$90 per year.

Government support to make bankable new investment by new players in generation capacity to help commercial and industrial customers and drive competition.

- Restructuring of Queensland generators into three separately owned portfolios to improve competition.

- Limiting companies with 20 per cent or more market share from acquiring more generation capacity.

- Improving the transparency of over-the-counter contract trading by requiring reporting of these trades to a central registry.

- Improving the AER’s powers to investigate and address problems in the market and increasing penalties for serious wrongdoing.

“The ACCC’s affordability measures for consumers also include improvements to state and territory concession schemes, and funding for organisations to assist vulnerable consumers to choose a low-priced electricity offer that suits their circumstances,” Mr Sims said.

“One of the most important recommendations is to move customers off excessively high ‘standing’ offers to a new standard ‘default’ offer to be independently set by the Australian Energy Regulator.”

Moving average residential customers who are still on the range of current ‘standing’ offers to the new ‘default’ offer could result in savings of $500 to $750 per annum (25-35 per cent). Similarly, small and medium businesses could save $1450-$2250 (30-35 per cent) per year by moving to a standard ‘default’ offer. Currently over 20 per cent of small businesses are on high ‘standing’ offers.

“Too many consumers and small business customers have given up trying to understand offers and switch in a confusing retail electricity market. Big changes are required to make it easier for consumers and businesses to understand market offers and improve competition,” Mr Sims said.

See: Final report

Source: ACCC

 

CEFC announces largest Tasmanian investment, with $59m commitment to Granville Harbour project

12 July

The CEFC has announced its largest investment in Tasmania, with a $59 million commitment to the Granville Harbour Wind Farm. The project will deliver a one third increase in Tasmania’s wind capacity.

The 112MW Granville Harbour Wind Farm is located on a 1,200 hectare cattle farm on Tasmania’s west coast. Construction is under way and, once operational, the $280 million development is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 46,000 homes.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “This is the CEFC’s largest investment in Tasmania, and our first in a Tasmanian wind project. Tasmania has a great track record in renewable energy through its investment in hydro resources. We’re excited to be involved in a project that will further diversify the Tasmania’s clean energy to include more wind, while helping Tasmania achieve its target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2022.”

The CEFC has already invested more than $16.4 million in Tasmanian-based clean energy projects. This includes tailored finance for more than 140 smaller-scale clean energy projects via the CEFC’s specialist co-financing programs with major banks. These programs provide finance for a range of eligible renewable and energy efficiency projects, largely to small and medium-sized businesses.

CEFC Wind Sector lead Andrew Gardner said: “Granville Harbour Wind Farm is part of an increasing focus on greenfield wind energy projects in Tasmania, which will see considerable investment in regional areas of the state over the coming years. This project will create regional employment opportunities both during and after construction. It will also deliver ongoing benefits through community investment funds and associated improvements in local infrastructure.

“Nationally, we have now invested more than $760 million in 11 wind projects, delivering a combined capacity of more than 1.76GW of new clean energy. Wind remains the most cost effective new clean energy source, with projects like Granville Harbour Wind Farm benefiting from a strong wind resource and ongoing wind turbine technology improvements to better harness the resource.”

Wind currently contributes only 10 per cent of Tasmania’s renewable energy capacity, despite the state generating 90 per cent of its overall energy from renewables.

The Granville Harbour Wind Farm has a long-term power purchase agreement with Hydro Tasmania, which is exploring opportunities to become a net exporter of clean energy to the Australian mainland through its ‘battery of the nation’ project.

Granville Harbour Wind Farm is owned by Palisade Investment Partners on behalf of its clients. The CEFC finance for the project includes $25 million in direct equity, alongside $34 million in additional equity via the Palisade Renewable Energy Fund (PREF).

Palisade Managing Director and CEO, Roger Lloyd, said: “We are delighted to have the CEFC commit to this project as one of Palisade’s key clients, which sends a positive signal to institutional investors about the potential of renewable energy investment.

“Granville Harbour Wind Farm demonstrates Palisade’s hands-on approach to renewables investment and further diversifies our renewable energy portfolio. Palisade’s involvement through the development phase to financial close enables us to maximise risk-adjusted returns for our investors.

“PREF has a diversified portfolio including the Granville Harbour Wind Farm, Ross River Solar Farm, Hallett Wind Farm and Waterloo Wind Farm. We will continue to invest in renewables projects across the spectrum – from late-stage development through to operational assets – giving investors access to a broad range of opportunities that meet sustainability objectives and generate stable long-term returns.”

The CEFC has allocated $100 million to the Palisade renewable investment strategy, in addition to its $75 million cornerstone commitment to PREF.

Source: CEFC

 

PROJECT NEWS

Coleambally Solar Farm

Construction Update – June 2018

Despite some wet weather during the past weeks, the construction of the Coleambally Solar Farm is progressing well. Key construction highlights include:

- Installation of 100% of piles

- Installation of 60%+ of trackers

- Installation of 30%+ of all solar panels

- Start of all electrical installations

- Substation primary equipment installed

 

Palisade reaches financial close of Granville Harbour Wind Farm

12 July

Palisade Investment Partners (Palisade) is pleased to announce that the $280 million Granville Harbour Wind Farm (the Project) has reached financial close.  Construction will now commence on the 112 megawatt wind farm which is located on a 1,200 hectare cattle farm on the west coast of Tasmania at Granville Harbour.

The Project was initially developed by Westcoast Wind who undertook long term wind monitoring at the Granville Harbour site and secured necessary Local, State and Federal planning approvals for the Project. Palisade acquired 100% of Westcoast Wind in February 2018.

Palisade and Westcoast Wind negotiated a long-term PPA for the Project with Hydro Tasmania in September 2017. Palisade then completed project development including finalising the agreements with TasNetworks for the Project’s connection to the electricity grid as well as raising senior debt from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, MUFG Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation. 

Global renewable energy provider Vestas will supply, commission and service the Project, featuring 31 Vestas V126-3.6MW wind turbines. Commercial operations are scheduled to commence in Q4, 2019.

Palisade Managing Director and CEO, Roger Lloyd, said: “Granville Harbour Wind Farm demonstrates Palisade’s hands-on approach to renewables investment and further diversifies our renewable energy portfolio. Palisade’s involvement through the development phase to financial close enables us to maximise risk-adjusted returns for our investors.”

The Project will be funded through equity commitments from Palisade’s Renewable Energy Fund (PREF) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). Granville Harbour Wind Farm will be fourth asset in the PREF portfolio, alongside operating wind farms Hallett Wind Farm and Waterloo Wind Farm, and Ross River Solar Farm which is currently under construction. The addition of Granville Harbour Wind Farm will also see the total generation capacity of the PREF portfolio reach 50% of Palisade’s 1GW target, with the energy generated from the portfolio enough to power over 200,000 homes and abate 645,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

PREF is currently open to new commitments, with Suncorp the latest investor to commit to the fund. Suncorp will join other institutional investors including the CEFC, who in addition to a $100 million direct mandate with Palisade to invest in renewable energy, has also provided a $75 million cornerstone commitment to PREF. PREF’s total return since inception to 30 June 2018 was 15.7% per annum, with a 12 month return of 16.2%.

Source: Palisade Investment Partners

 

Zinfra wins construction contract for Stockyard Hill Windfarm

12 July

Zinfra has been awarded the construction contract to build the connection assets on behalf of AusNet Services as part of the construction of the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm.

Located on farmland approximately 45km south of Ballarat, Victoria, the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm (SHWF) will have a total expected capacity of around 530MW from 149 turbines

Once completed, SHWF will be the largest wind farm in the country and is expected to provide electricity for 391,000 Victorian homes.

Zinfra’s scope of works for this contract includes the complete construction of 70km of 132kV transmission line connecting the three Wind Farm Collector Substations to the greenfield Terminal Station at Haunted Gully; procurement for all the materials associated with the 132kV transmission line; complete construction of the 500kV/132kV Haunted Gully Terminal Station including all civil, structural and electrical works; and construction of the interface works and cut-over to re-align the existing 500kV transmission line (the main connection between VIC and SA) and connect the Haunted Gully Terminal Station.

Preliminary works have already commenced on this project and Zinfra is expected to mobilise on site by July 2018.

Zinfra’s highly regarded transmission line crews, electricians and project management teams will deliver the majority of the construction works, with Zinfra employing up to 100 people at peak times during the construction of the transmission line and terminal station. Zinfra has been working closely and collaboratively with AusNet Services to secure this project since 2013.

Zinfra General Manager Projects, Paul Birighitti, commented, “We are thrilled to be working on this significant project for AusNet Services, leveraging our core capability in the power sector, into the renewables sector.”

Source: Zinfra

 

Business leaders joining forces on a mission to reduce emissions in New Zealand

12 July

60 businesses making up nearly fifty percent of New Zealand’s emissions have joined forces to tackle the issue of climate change.

It’s a significant move by the New Zealand business community, being praised as “strong” and “unprecedented” by local and global organisations.

On a mission to reduce emissions in New Zealand, the group of 60 CEOs have formed the Climate Leaders Coalition, recognising the role that business can play in bringing about change and signing a joint statement, which commits their companies to action.

The goal of the new group - which includes the leaders of Z, Westpac, Ngai Tahu Holdings, Vector, Air New Zealand, Spark and NZ Post - is to help New Zealand transition to a low emissions economy and, in doing so, create a positive future for New Zealanders, business, and the economy.

Together, the members of the Climate Leaders Coalition represent a variety of businesses from different industries, which contribute to almost half of New Zealand’s emissions.

To mark the significance of the announcement and commemorate the launch of the Climate Leaders Coalition, SkyCity Entertainment Group - a member of the coalition - will light up Auckland's Sky Tower in the colour green, tonight.

The CEOs’ Climate Change Statement is the first step taken by the Climate Leaders Coalition in their drive for positive change.

By signing the CEO Climate Change Statement, each of the business leaders have committed to measuring and reporting their greenhouse gas emissions and working with suppliers to reduce emissions, with the aim of helping to keep global warming within two degrees, as specified in the Paris Agreement.

Convenor of the Climate Leaders Coalition and leading the collective commitment by business to drive the transition to a low emissions economy is Z Energy CEO, Mike Bennetts.

Bennetts explains: “I knew that many businesses were making progress with their own company’s response to climate change but that still left a gap around what we could be doing more of together to increase the pace and scale of impact from our collective efforts. So, it made sense to discuss those opportunities and commit to further action. At the very least that is a common commitment that we can all be held accountable for and provides other businesses with the confidence to lean into their own responses knowing they are not alone in doing that.”

Livia Esterhazy, CEO, WWF NZ, adds: “We are incredibly excited by the strong stance taken by these leading New Zealand businesses. WWF works with companies all over the world helping them cut their emissions. Globally, it’s unprecedented for businesses representing almost half of a country’s emissions to come together like this. These businesses recognise that acting on climate change is not only good for the planet, but it is also a business opportunity not to be missed. The Climate Leaders Coalition creates enormous potential for change and sets a positive example that all New Zealanders can all be proud of.”

Within the second part of the CEO Climate Change Statement, business leaders cement their support for the Paris Agreement and New Zealand’s commitment to it, and back the introduction of a Climate Commission along with the establishment of carbon budgets, enshrined in law.

In addition to committing to the Statement, the businesses involved in the Climate Leaders Coalition are also dedicating considerable resources, expertise and funding towards projects which centre around solutions-driven thinking.

Leaders involved are viewing climate change as an opportunity for their business to innovate and access new markets, with many already eager to realise the potential, having multiple initiatives and actions underway.

Karen Silk, Acting CEO, Westpac, says: “When businesses unite around a central goal, it creates real momentum to change. One of the things that binds all of our organisations together is a love for our country and a desire to make it a great place to live - for us and for future generations.

“By working together on a future that is focussed on low emissions, and sustainable innovation and practices, we can all play our part towards improving the country’s prosperity and to continuing to make it a desirable place to live.”

The Climate Leaders Coalition demonstrates the significant leadership direction being taken by businesses on the issue of climate change. Now, the CEOs involved are calling for other leaders to join them.

Mike Sang, Chief Executive, Ngai Tahu Holdings, adds: “Ngāi Tahu Holdings is pleased to join other like-minded organisations in working to tackle climate change. We are committed to the journey of adopting increasingly sustainable business practices across our businesses, in line with our tribal whakataukī – “Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei” – for us and our children after us. This is something we all need to do together, and we encourage others to join.”

Nigel Topping, CEO of global non-profit coalition, We Mean Business, adds: " As an organisation that works with businesses from around the globe on climate change, we welcome the strong stance taken by business leaders in New Zealand. Collective action of this sort, by businesses representing such a significant percentage of a country’s emissions is world-class and will help accelerate the world's transition to the low-carbon economy.”

Business owners looking to commit to action on climate change and play their part in the transition to a low emissions economy can find out more about the CEO Climate Change Statement, by visiting www.climateleaderscoalition.org.nz

Source: Climate Leaders Coalition

 

NEW PROJECT

Solar companies shortlisted to help cut SA Water power costs, put downward pressure on water bills

12 July

The State Government has announced a major step forward in SA Water’s goal to neutralise its electricity costs, with four companies shortlisted to tender for the installation of 500,000 solar panels on key infrastructure.

This project will see the successful vendors work with SA Water to fix rooftop and ground-based solar panels to 93 of its sites across the state, creating an estimated 250 jobs during construction.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to easing cost of living pressures and that’s why we have already established an independent inquiry into water pricing and remain committed to continuing with this groundbreaking initiative,” said Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs.

“Under the previous Labor government, water and power prices continually increased, putting pressure on South Australian families and businesses.

“On top of our water pricing inquiry, the new government is pursuing projects like this that make environmental sense and can put downward pressures on water bills.

“This solar project is the single largest way SA Water can reduce its operating costs to deliver sustainable savings, and a low and stable price path for its customers.

“SA Water’s solar generation capacity will be enough to power 50,000 average South Australian homes, and being coupled with storage means it will also help manage electricity network demand across the state and deliver the reliable grid outlined in our Government’s Energy Plan.”

Contract(s) will be awarded in coming months with Project Zero expected to be completed by 2020.

Combining 154 megawatts (MW) of new solar generation with around 34 MW hours of energy storage devices, the system will neutralise the utility’s electricity and network costs, which reached $55 million for 220 gigawatt hours in 2016/17.

SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux said the organisation, by its nature, was energy intensive but had already adopted several cost saving measures.

“Through a range of energy initiatives like biogas and hydroelectric generation, and trading as a market participant, we’ve cut more than $3 million a year from our electricity bills since 2013 – and now we’re going to see another big step-change,” said Mr Cheroux.

“We recently installed a small trial system at our Crystal Brook depot with 100 kilowatt of panels and a 50 kilowatt hour battery, which is providing energy for the site and has already reduced its draw from the grid by 30 per cent.”

Construction has also begun on an extra 5 MW of solar photovoltaic arrays at metropolitan water and wastewater treatment plants, including a 1.5 MW system at the Hope Valley precinct.

Source: SA Government