Backing reliable energy for commercial and industrial users

8 February

Joint media release with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon Keith Pitt MP and Assistant Minister for Northern Australia, the Hon Michelle Landry MP

The Australian Government is focused on supporting new electricity generation projects in central and north Queensland that will drive down power prices, improve reliability and support a stronger economy.

Through the $10 million Supporting Reliable Energy Infrastructure program, the Government will provide support to two projects to ensure affordable and reliable energy for commercial and industrial customers, specifically for high energy-using and trade-exposed industries in central and North Queensland.

This delivers on an election commitment with grant funding including:

- Up to $2 million for a pre-feasibility study on Renewable Energy Partners Pty Ltd’s proposed 1.5 gigawatt (GW) pumped hydro-electric plant which is to be developed in conjunction with the proposed Urannah Water Scheme, located between Collinsville, Proserpine and Mackay in Queensland.

- Up to $4 million to support Shine Energy Pty Ltd’s feasibility study for a proposed 1GW high efficiency, low emissions coal plant at Collinsville in Queensland.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government is committed to supporting efforts to drive down prices and bolster system strength.

“The Liberal and Nationals Government is ensuring households, businesses and industries get a fair deal on energy, keeping our economy strong. We are supporting two promising new generation projects to deliver the reliable, affordable power that the North Queensland economy needs to grow and thrive,” Mr McCormack said.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said an independent strategic study has identified system strength is a real concern in central and north Queensland, and new synchronous generation is a priority to meet the energy needs of customers in the region.

“Our plan to unlock investment in new, reliable generation capacity will increase competition, keep the lights on, and lower prices to better support our commercial and industrial sector so they can employ more Australians and remain internationally competitive,” Minister Taylor said.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the commitments would help secure long-term energy supplies, which are crucial to economic development and Queensland jobs.

“This investment is laying the platform to help ensure that reliable, cheap electricity is available when it is needed, and will help drive down prices for businesses and their customers across Queensland and Australia,” Minister Pitt said.

“We are delivering on our election commitments and investing in the future with up to $4 million to investigate the feasibility of a high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal plant at Collinsville.”

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said she was pleased to see the Australian Government support new energy projects in Capricornia.

“I have fought hard to see these projects come to fruition, and I’m glad to see the money to support job-creating projects will start to flow for the benefit of people in Capricornia,” Ms Landry said.

“While it is important we have reliable baseload power, projects such as these will help create more jobs and cheaper energy for hardworking families.”

The Government will also allocate up to $1.5 million to work with the Queensland Government and industry on electrifying Curtis Island. A bilateral deal on the electrification of the Curtis Island LNG facilities is a high priority for the Commonwealth Government. Partial electrification could free up to 12 petajoules of natural gas for use in the domestic market which will reduce emissions and lower gas prices.

Today’s announcement builds on Government action already underway in regional Queensland to bring down prices and improve reliability, including:

- A $990,150 grant towards a feasibility study for a microgrid in the Daintree region under the Government’s Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund (Microgrids Fund).

- A $5.17 million grant to support feasibility work for the proposed CopperString 2.0 transmission line, connecting Mt Isa to the National Electricity Market.

- Up to $610 million conditionally approved loan for the development of the Genex’ Kidston Pumped Hydro Project under the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

- Up to $3 million in grants by ARENA for two hydrogen feasibility studies in Queensland to Nitrates Pty Ltd and Dyno Nobel Moranbah Pty Ltd.

- A total of $2 million in funding from ARENA for a demonstration of thermal energy storage in Queensland to Glaciem Cooling Technologies Pty Ltd.

Source: Federal Government

 

NEW PROJECT

Yass Solar Farm

Location: Yass, Southern Tablelands of NSW

Capacity: Approximately 80 MW

Developer: Tetris Energy

LGA: Yass Valley

Status: Application for State Significant Development made to NSW Department of Planning

Description: The proposed Yass Solar Farm development site is located south-west of the town of Yass, on land adjacent to the Yass Transgrid Substation. The site includes an area of approximately 150 ha, however the final capacity and footprint of the solar farm infrastructure will be refined. Battery storage capacity of approximately 20 MW forms part of the application but a decision on installation will be made closer to the point of construction and commissioning.

Contact: Tetris Energy

Tel: (03) 9448 9400

Email: info@tetriscapital.com

 

Renewable hydrogen deployment funding round information & consultation forums

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is pleased to invite you to participate in a forum to discuss ARENA’s proposed approach to the Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round (as announced in November 2019).

Representatives from organisations that may be interested in applying for funding, or who would like to learn more about this intended round, are encouraged to register and attend.

Three information sessions are scheduled to take place:

Brisbane - 21 February 2020 | Register

Sydney - 24 February 2020 | Register

Melbourne - 6 March 2020 | Register

Dates for Perth and Adelaide are yet to be confirmed; however, please indicate if you would be interested in attending a session and an invitation will be sent directly to you.

Perth TBA | Register

Adelaide TBA | Register

Background

ARENA intends to provide up to $70 million in grant funding under its Advancing Renewables Program (ARP) for a small number of hydrogen electrolyser deployment projects.

Each session will outline the draft specifications for the intended competitive funding round and will provide an opportunity for discussion and input to help ARENA further inform its approach.

As numbers are limited, please register your interest in advance and indicate if you or your nominated representative are able to join us.

We look forward to welcoming you.

Source: ARENA

 

Finally, legislation on climate change

10 February

The Climate Council welcomes Independent MP, Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill 2020, which has been released today.

“It is great to finally see legislation on climate change. I congratulate Zali Steggall and the other independent MPs on their leadership in bringing this bill forward,” said Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie.

The bill will be introduced to the Federal parliament in March.

“This offers a great opportunity for the Federal Parliament to take a tangible, effective step to tackle climate change. The bushfire crisis showed us just how catastrophic climate change is for Australia and how desperately we need a breakthrough,” she said.

“But while the bill is a step in the right direction, it will need to be ratcheted up considerably over time,” said Ms McKenzie.

“The bill is more conservative than the climate change legislation we need right now. We must reach net-zero emissions well before 2040, 2050 is way too late,” she said.

“Political inaction has brought climate change to our door, making Australia’s extremes, catastrophically more extreme,” said Ms McKenzie.

“Australia just experienced unprecedented, devastating bushfires. We lost people, we lost property, we lost wildlife, we lost places that we cherish,” she said.

“The problem is clear: the continued burning of coal, oil, and gas is driving climate change. We need to move away from fossil fuels entirely within two decades at the latest. This legislation would be a good start.” said Ms McKenzie.

Source: Climate Council

 

Local industry leading the charge at Mortlake South Wind Farm

10 February

With the last of 35 foundations poured at the end of January at ACCIONA’s Mortlake South Wind Farm, the project reached another milestone on Friday with the unveiling of the main power transformer.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio was joined by ACCIONA Energy Managing Director, Brett Wickham, and Wilson Transformer Managing Director, Ed Wilson to view the transformer at Wilson’s local manufacturing facility in Glen Waverley.

Wilson Transformers was awarded the $2 million contract to deliver the transformer for the Mortlake South Wind Farm, which was one of six successful projects announced in September 2018 as part of the Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Target (VRET) reverse auction.

The 200-tonne transformer will be transported under Vic Roads supervision to the project site, where it will then be installed in the sub-station and play a critical role to facilitate the export of electricity from the wind turbines to the electricity grid.

“We are extremely proud of this project”, said Mr Wickham, “as it has provided an opportunity for people to work in construction locally. On this project, 92% – 93% of the workforce during civil construction have been local, coming from areas such as Purrumbete, Cobden and Warrnambool. The local content targets for the project have also supported local jobs in the broader Victorian manufacturing industry.”

With the transformer due to arrive onsite by the middle of February, the focus over the coming months will be to continue the electrical works, particularly the construction of the substation and installation of the 220kv underground transmission line.

The project is on target for construction completion at the end of this year, and once operational it will generate enough clean energy to power 115,000 houses. The project will also see ACCIONA’s owned capacity in Australia increase to 592MW, with the company actively pursuing additional projects both locally, and interstate.

Source: ACCIONA

 

NEW PROJECTS

Streaky Bay Solar Farm

Location: Streaky Bay, SA

Capacity: 3 MW

Developer: Tetris Energy/Flow Power

Status: Under construction

Description: The Streaky Bay Solar Farm project site is located next to the Streaky Bay Substation & will connect directly to the SA Power Networks line that supplies Streaky Bay town. Once operational Streaky Bay Solar Farm will be the western-most generator in the National Electricity Market. PPA signed for Flow Power to supply 100% of City of Adelaide’s electricity from Streaky Bay and Coonalpyn Solar Farms.

 

Coonalpyn Solar Farm

Location: Coonalpyn, SA

Capacity: 4.95 MW

Developer: Tetris Energy/Flow Power

Status: Under construction

LGA: Coorong District Council

Description: Located in the Coorong region, the Coonalpyn Solar Farm is adjacent to the existing Coonalpyn 33kV substation. PPA signed for Flow Power to supply 100% of City of Adelaide’s electricity from Streaky Bay and Coonalpyn Solar Farms.

Contact: Flow Power

Tel: 1300 08 06 08

Email: go@flowpower.com.au

 

Quarterly Energy Dynamics Q4 2019

10 February

AEMO’s Quarterly Energy Dynamics (QED) – Q4 2019 tracks the market impacts of extreme heat, generator and transmission line outages, and the shifting supply mix as we enter a critical new year for the energy sector. 

2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year on record, and also saw our second lowest annual hydro generation output in a decade. The market impacts of prolonged and extreme heat and dry conditions experienced across much the country, and the tragic bushfire emergency that is still unfolding, are also reflected in this final quarter report.

In December, the combination of extreme heat, generator and transmission line outages and intense bushfires resulted in several days of Lack or Reserve (LOR) conditions, testing the National Electricity Market (NEM) power system and leading to periodic price volatility in South Australia and Victoria in particular.

On 30 December 2019, high Melbourne temperatures and line outages caused by bushfires resulted in forecast LOR conditions, and high Victorian prices (up to $6,443/megawatt hours [MWh]). In response to the forecast LOR conditions, AEMO activated around $3.5 million worth of contracts under the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader mechanism to secure energy supply and meet forecast demand.

Over the quarter as a whole, NEM spot electricity prices averaged $72/MWh, which is 19 per cent lower than Q4 2018 and represents the lowest quarterly average since Q4 2016. This was driven by increased supply from wind farms, solar farms, and gas-powered generation (GPG), with combined grid-scale wind and solar output increasing by 39% compared to Q4 2018.

Black coal-fired generation decreased by 1,061 megawatts (MW) on average compared to Q4 2018, reaching its lowest quarterly level since Q4 2016. The decline was due to a combination of coal supply issues (notably at Mt Piper which fell an average 552 MW), unit outages, and displacement by solar output.

Total variable renewable energy (VRE) output across the NEM continued to rise this quarter. During Q4 2019, average grid-scale VRE generation reached 2,868 MW, representing a 39% increase from last year. VRE generation accounted for 14% of the NEM supply mix in Q4 2019 compared to 10% in Q4 2018.

Market revenue for grid-scale batteries also trended upwards this quarter, driven by increased returns from Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) markets. Total Q4 2019 battery revenue of $20 million represents the highest quarter on record, 70% higher than the previous record. Drivers of increased FCAS market revenue for batteries included two high priced FCAS events in South Australia, increased market share, and higher FCAS prices.

For gas, total east coast gas demand for the quarter was 15% higher than in Q4 2018 due to increased demand from GPG and higher liquified natural gas exports from Curtis Island. Meanwhile wholesale gas prices continued their downward trend from Q3 2019, falling by an average of 26% compared to Q4 2018 and reaching their lowest levels since the end of 2017.

Q4 2019 was also a quarter of records in Western Australia’s Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM). A new minimum demand record was set at 1230 hrs on Sunday, 13 October 2019, when operational demand was 1,159 MW, 14 MW below the previous all-time record. The WEM also recorded its highest Q4 demand on record, with demand reaching 3,587 MW at 1730 hrs on 12 December 2019 during heatwave conditions in Perth.

Wind and rooftop PV generation in Western Australia increased by an average 87 MW and 63 MW, respectively. This change in generation mix was most pronounced at 1130 hrs on 30 November 2019, when the South West Interconnected System recorded its highest ever level of VRE penetration. During this 30-minute period, 51% of underlying system demand was supplied by VRE output. For the first time since the WEM commenced in 2006, the wholesale electricity price cleared at the Minimum STEM Price, for three Trading Intervals in October 2019. This outcome was driven by record low demand combined with high rooftop PV generation and participant bidding behaviour.

This is just a snapshot of the insights shared as part of AEMO’s QED Q4 2019 report. For more information and analysis including inter-regional transfers, power system management, pipeline flows, pipeline capacity trading and day ahead auction data, download the AEMO Quarterly Energy Dynamics Q4 2019 report online.

Source: AEMO

 

NEW PROJECT

Orange Community Renewable Energy Park

Location: Orange, NSW

Capacity: 5 MW

Developer: ITP Development

LGA: Orange City Council

Status: 2020 Feb, development application opened for exhibition by Orange City Council

Estimated cost: $7mil

Description: The Orange Community Renewable Energy Park proposal includes 16,000 panels and a 5MWh battery energy storage system located ~6km north-west of town. Up to 50 jobs would be created during construction with two to three ongoing jobs.

Contact: Mishka Talent

Portfolio Manager

ITP Development

Tel: (02) 6257 3511

Email: info@itpau.com.au

 

NEW PROJECT

Urannah Renewable Energy Hub

Location: Near Mackay, QLD

Capacity: 1.5 GW of pumped hydro, up to 1.3 GW of solar PV & 800 MW of wind energy

Developer: Renewable Energy Partners

LGA: Mackay Regional Council

Status: 2020 Feb, awarded up to $2mil for pre-feasibility study by federal government

Description: The Urannah Renewable Energy Hub project is associated with the Urannah Water Scheme, a proposed 1500GL dam located between Collinsville, Mackay and Proserpine. As well as electricity from solar, wind and pumped hydro a hydrogen electrolyser is also part of the project plans.

Contact: Luke McDonald

CEO

Renewable Energy Partners

Email: info@repartners.com.au

 

PROJECT NEWS

Dromana Solar Farm

Volt Farmer launched its Dromana Climate Smart Farm 2020 project which contains an exciting range of activities to promote and broaden understanding of sustainability.

Volt Farmer is developing a series of small scale regenerative solar farms that showcase a better future. Dromana is the first 5MW solar farm project on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.

This project contains an exciting range of activities to promote and broaden understanding of sustainability. Key information:

  • 5MW solar farm
  • 6,210,000 kWh/year of clean electricity
  • 6,200 LGCs
  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs) packages available
  • Co-Branding opportunities for customers

Contact Stephen Todd at stephen@voltfarmer.com.au or visit www.voltfarmer.com.au for further details.

Source: Volt Farmer

 

Wind to provide 80% power for Brisbane roads

11 February

Managing our energy use is more important than ever as we play our part in addressing climate change.

That’s why we’ve entered into a Power Purchase Agreement with a wind farm in Queensland to provide renewable energy for our roads and tunnels in Brisbane. 

Approximately 80% renewable energy will be used to operate Airportlink M7, Clem7, Gateway Motorway, Legacy Way, Logan Motorway and the Go Between Bridge. A wind farm in Far North Queensland will start providing renewable energy for our Brisbane roads in early 2022.

The amount of energy Transurban is procuring through the Power Purchase Agreement is equivalent to annual electricity use from 10,000 Australian homes, and will save 35,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere each year. The agreements will also help us meet our target of halving our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 2016).

Our operations are getting cleaner and greener every day, and our move to renewable energy is just one way we're taking action to reduce our impact on the environment.

Source: Transurban

Editor’s note: Transurban’s PPA is with Windlab.

 

PROJECT NEWS

Tamworth Solar Farm

Tamworth Solar Farm Pty Ltd ‘s proposed Tamworth Solar Farm, near Somerton, approximately 25km west of Tamworth in New South Wales, has been placed on exhibition by the NSW Department of Planning. The proposed Site is within an area of agricultural land at “Bonnie Brae” in Bective, on a single land title of approximately 230 hectares for which Tamworth Solar Farm Pty Ltd have secured an option to purchase. The rated output of the solar farm will be 65 MW (AC) and the facility will include a 19 MW/19 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS). The 132 kV Tamworth to Gunnedah transmission line crosses over the southern part of the Site. A new substation will be built and a connection to the existing transmission line will be made from the new substation.

The solar farm includes the following elements:

  • Photovoltaic modules and mounting frames (200,000 panels on single axis trackers)
  • Power conversion units (19 units)
  • 33 kV collector network of underground cables
  • Substation and control room
  • Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)(19 MW / 19 MWh)

 

PROJECT NEWS

Gangarri Solar Farm

Construction has now started at Shell's 120 MW Gangarri Solar Farm in Woleebee, 25km south-west of Wandoan in Queensland. The project will include ~400,000 panels, inverters, transformers, battery storage, laydown and administrative buildings. Sterling & Wilson Solar Australia has been appointed as the main contractor to carry out the engineering, procurement and construction of the solar farm. Packages of work will be published on the following portal moving forward: https://www.shellsuppliers.com.au/

 

West Musgrave Pre-Feasibility Study - a low carbon, long-life, low-cost mine

12 February

(Excerpt)

▪ Three-fold increase in life of operation to ~26 years with throughput at 10 Mtpa

▪ Maiden Ore Reserve of 220Mt (100% Probable) at 0.36% Cu and 0.33% Ni1

▪ Annual production of ~28,000tpa copper and ~22,000tpa nickel in concentrates2

▪ Bottom quartile cash cost operation with C1 cost of ~US$(0.90)/lb Cu and ~US$1.30/lb Ni (net of by-product credits)

▪ Net Present Value of ~A$800 million and IRR of ~20% (post-tax)3

▪ Off-grid renewable power, large scale open pit mining and innovative processing plant underpin low operating costs

▪ Key critical path activities continue whilst project is assessed against OZ Minerals' capital allocation framework

OZ Minerals Limited (OZ Minerals, ASX:OZL) and Cassini Resources Limited (Cassini, ASX:CZI) today announced the results of the West Musgrave, Nebo-Babel Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS). The project is a joint venture between OZ Minerals (70%) and Cassini (30%) in Western Australia.

The PFS has demonstrated a long life ~26-year open pit copper and nickel sulphide mine. It is the first development opportunity within the broader West Musgrave province which includes a number of additional highly prospective opportunities including the nearby Succoth copper deposit. A Maiden Probable Ore Reserve of 220Mt at 0.36% Cu and 0.33% Ni was also declared, representing ~22 years of the ~26-year life of mine (LOM) demonstrated in the PFS (with the balance of the mine life underpinned by a combination of Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource).

Critical path activities are continuing whilst the project is being assessed under the OZ Minerals’ capital allocation framework. The PFS now gives the partners a solid platform for engaging with potential lenders and advisors on how best to fund and structure the project prior to moving to the next phase.

OZ Minerals CEO, Andrew Cole said “The Pre-Feasibility Study is now complete and has confirmed the project can be a low carbon, low cost, long life mine producing copper and nickel, both in-demand minerals for the renewable and electrification industries.”

“During this study we have partnered with the traditional owners, government agencies and industry experts to design a project to meet our objectives in relation to low carbon intensity, innovation and adding value for our key stakeholders. We thank them all for their contribution and look forward to their ongoing support.”

“Building a viable asset in a remote part of Australia is challenging, but through our collaborative approach we have developed innovative off-grid renewable power and processing solutions, increased stakeholder awareness and involvement in the project and we have built confidence in the Mineral Resource itself. Furthermore, we have been able to reduce and eliminate a number of potential project risks.”

“During 2019 sufficient drilling has been completed to allow the declaration of a maiden Ore Reserve of 220Mt (100% Probable) at 0.36% Cu and 0.33% Ni which is underpinned by the Pre-Feasibility Study.”

“The collaborative process has produced a robust and realisable project. The process has also increased Western Australian government agencies’ understanding of the project and this, along with the awarding of “lead agency” status by the State Government, will assist in streamlining the forthcoming approvals process.”

“We are pleased the study has identified a means for us to reduce the project’s carbon footprint significantly and overcome the historical challenge of affordable power for West Musgrave. We believe, supported by the views of potential renewable energy suppliers, that 70-80% of the power needs for West Musgrave can be supplied by renewable sources, supplemented by battery storage and diesel or trucked gas fired generation.

The PFS base case assumes the power solution will be outsourced to a third party, with power purchased back over the life of the asset. However, further work is required in a future Feasibility Study (FS) to maximise the project’s power position. A gas pipeline remains a secondary option to be further investigated during the next phase.”

“We have been able to achieve a further significant reduction in carbon emissions and power demand through the adoption of vertical roller mills as the grinding mill solution and a flotation flowsheet which achieves metal recovery at a much coarser grind size than was previously considered in the design. This lower power usage has resulted in a reduction in operating costs, while the use of dry grinding from the vertical roller mills has also resulted in an improvement in nickel recovery,” he said.

“A remote operations centre will further reduce the site environmental footprint, with fewer people on site, fewer flights and a smaller accommodation village.”

1 See OZ Minerals announcement titled “West Musgrave Project Nebo-Babel Deposits Ore Reserve Statement and Explanatory Notes as at 11th Feb 2020”, released on 12 February 2020 and available at: www.ozminerals.com/operations/resources-reserves/

2 These production targets must be read in conjunction with the production targets cautionary statement on page 4.

3 Assumes a third party power purchase agreement and therefore no upfront capital associated with the power supply.

Source: OZ Minerals

 

NEW PROJECT

Valley of the Winds

Location: South of Coolah in Central West NSW

Capacity: 800 MW

Developer: UPC Renewables\AC Energy

LGA: Warrumbungle Shire

Status: A community information session to be held on 27 February

Description: The Valley of the Winds project site is located on cleared grazing land between Coolah and Leadville. Approximately 175 wind turbines with a maximum height of 250 metres are planned, with a battery storage system being considered. During construction the project is expected to create up to 400 jobs.

Contact: Jeremy Ellis

Project Manager

UPC Renewables

Email: jeremy.ellis@upcrenewables.com

 

PROJECT NEWS

Theodore Solar Farm

juwi Renewable Energy’s proposed Theodore Solar Farm project, located approximately 18km north of Theodore in Queensland, has been opened for public comment by the federal government’s Department of the Environment & Energy. The project covers an area of up to 220 hectares of cleared agricultural land, which is currently used for cropping. The project will have an installed export capacity of approximately 70 MW and connect to an existing 66kV transmission line which borders the site. An area for future solar battery storage is designated next to the substation and switchyard.

 

FRV secures financing for Winton Solar Farm in Victoria, Australia

14 February

- The project will contribute to the achievement of Victoria’s renewable energy targets and will produce energy to supply more than 52,000 Australian homes, while avoiding the emission of 150,000 tons of CO2 per year.

- As part of FRV’s commitment to promoting a more sustainable energy model, the project and the University of Melbourne have partnered for a research program intended to accelerate Victoria’s transition to a sustainable, low carbon future.

- FRV’s total investment in Australia totals US $700 million since 2012

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and a leading global developer of renewable energy projects, has closed the financing agreement for the 85 MW AC Winton Solar Farm, in its first project in Victoria. The funding has been provided by ING and ABN AMRO Bank.

Following a 2018 public tender process, FRV was awarded a 15-year support agreement with the Australian State of Victoria for the power generation project at Winton Solar Farm. The tender was part of Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to source 25% of its electricity production from renewables by 2020, 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

With an area of approximately 250 hectares and located near Benalla, the plant will be connected to the NEM National Electricity Market generating around 210,000 MWh of clean energy annually. This will supply 52,000 Australian households and avoid the emission of approximately 150,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

It is expected that construction and operation of Winton will contribute to the economic development of the area bringing investment into the region and additional indirect economic opportunities for local businesses. This includes the creation of up to 150 jobs during the construction phase as currently foreseen by FRV.

Involvement of local communities during the development, construction and operation of the project is key for FRV. As part of the Winton Solar Farm strategy for the community engagement and social impact FRV has built strong and long-lasting relationships with neighbouring landholders, Benalla Rural City Council, local community stakeholders and government agencies. FRV has wished to demonstrate its commitment to genuine engagement during the development process, as well as a willingness to operate as a responsible business within the local community over the longer term. FRV has built into its project framework, local funding plans to provide sustainable returns and benefits to the local area

As part of FRV’s commitment to drive the transition towards a more sustainable energy model, the project will fund a research program at the University of Melbourne exploring ways to accelerate Victoria’s transition to a sustainable, low carbon future through technical and regulatory innovation, economic development, and community empowerment.

This Renewable Energy Research Investment Partnership (RERIP) offers a strategic pathway to connect and scale up existing initiatives, and create new opportunities for jobs, social connectivity, and economic growth across the State. The research will explore technical and regulatory constraints and opportunities for distributed renewable energy, as well as the social impact and equity implications of community energy projects.

Dr Sebastian Thomas from the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne emphasizes the importance of partnerships between industry, government, and the research sector to create long-term solutions to the challenges of energy transition and social justice. “The University of Melbourne recognizes the critical importance of rapid transitions to renewable energy in Australia. A sustainable future needs low-carbon technologies, but new livelihood opportunities, business models, and community participation are equally necessary. Genuine engagement and partnership between communities, the private sector, government, and universities is vital, and the University of Melbourne will contribute the best possible technical and social research. We are pleased to work with FRV in this exciting initiative.”

FRV has developed and secured Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for a total of six solar projects in Australia, both operating and committed with an accumulated investment of approximately US $700 million since 2012: Royalla (20 MW ac) in the Australian Capital Territory, Clare (100 MWac) and Lilyvale (100MW ac) in Queensland, Moree (56 MW ac) and Goonumbla (67.8 MWac) in New South Wales and Winton (85 MWac) in Victoria.

Carlo Frigerio, Managing Director of FRV in Australia, highlights the importance of Australia in the Company’s expansion plans: “Australia remains a key market for FRV’s strategy and once again, this is demonstrated by the financial closure of our sixth project in the country. We are delighted to support the achievement of Victoria’s renewable energy targets of 25% renewable energy generation by 2020, rising to 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2030”. Mr. Frigerio also added: “We are also excited about the Renewable Energy Research Investment Partnership with the University of Melbourne as well as about our relationship with the local communities which are fundamental for the implementation of this project”.

Source: FRV

 

PROJECT NEWS

Woolooga Solar Farm

The federal Department of the Environment & Energy has invited public comment on the referral for Lightsource BP’s Woolooga Solar Farms in Lower Wonga, Queensland. The proposal is for two solar power facilities and ancillary infrastructure on two separate sites, Woolooga 1 and Woolooga 2, with a total capacity of up to 130 MW. The detailed design, specific layout and generating capacity have not been confirmed at this stage, however it is envisaged the solar farm will involve a typical solar farm with arrays, switchyards, battery storage, control building and car park area.

View PDF