Council approval for Waverley Wind Farm

7 July

The South Taranaki District Council granted land use consents for Tilt Renewables’ proposed 48-turbine, 130 MW capacity Waverley Wind Farm on the east coast of South Island, New Zealand. Land use consents were granted for the construction, operation and maintenance of the wind farm and a single circuit 110 KV transmission line connecting it to a substation. The resource consent is valid for 10 years, and contains the standard conditions relating to noise, shadow flicker and bird strike monitoring.

Source: South Taranaki District Council

Click here to go to online datasheet: Waverley Wind Farm


Generation licence sought for Yaloak Wind Farm

Pacific Hydro is seeking a generation licence for its Yaloak Wind Farm, approximately 15 kilometres south of Ballan in Victoria. The Yaloak South Wind Farm commenced construction in late 2016 and is expected to be completed in June 2018. The project comprises fourteen Senvion MM92 wind turbine generators, rated at 2.05MW each, providing a total installed capacity of 28.7 MW with a maximum hub height of 80m and maximum tip height of 126.25m.

The project is being built in the southern section of the Parwan Valley, which is predominantly cleared agricultural land used for cropping and livestock grazing. Initial plans for a 70 turbine, 115 MW capacity wind farm at the site were amended following concerns from local residents of the Parwan Valley about the potential impact on the wedge-tail eagle population and the visual amenity of the local area. The revised project layout has been designed to reduce potential impacts on native vegetation, wedge tail eagles, Aboriginal cultural heritage, and the landscape.

The reduction in size of the wind farm also enables the export of the power generated into the local electricity network, via a short grid extension to the existing 66kV line located along Hamills Lane. This connection will be screened by existing vegetation and have minimal visual impact on native vegetation and cultural heritage.

The electricity generated at the YSWF will be sold into the National Electricity Market.

Source: Pacific Hydro

Click here to go to online datasheet: Yaloak Wind Farm


NSW’s Western Regional Joint Planning Panel has approved a development application for Terrain Solar’s planned Molong Solar Farm, approximately 40km north-west of Orange in the Cabonne Shire Council. The $29 million, 25 MW AC project will be connected to the adjacent TransGrid substation. Once completed the solar farm will produce enough solar energy to serve the needs of approximately 8,500 average NSW homes and displace more than 55,000 cubic tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. Construction in scheduled to start in early 2018.

Source: Terrain Solar


World first agribusiness project for Atherton Tableland

10 July

The sugarcane industry is set to fundamentally change in Far North Queensland following an announcement today by the Minister for State Development, Dr Anthony Lynham, of State Government support of MSF Sugar’s Biorefinery Project on the Atherton Tableland.

Once operational, MSF Sugar’s Biorefinery Project will be a world first initiative that will see the company produce sugar, green base load electricity and ethanol from one location, with all three products manufactured through the effective and efficient use of biomass materials grown locally on the Atherton Tableland.

Supporting the project through the State Government Biofutures Acceleration Program (BAP), the announcement by Minister Lynham recognises the MSF Sugar Tableland Biorefinery Project as one that will deliver on the Government’s vision to develop an industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector in Queensland. Still in its infancy, the sector requires substantial research investment to uncover innovative scientific and industrial technologies designed to convert sustainable waste into bioproducts.

Minister Lynham’s announcement took place earlier today at MSF Sugar’s Tableland Mill during a media event on the construction site of another of the company’s major step-change projects, that being it’s Green Energy Power Plant which is scheduled for completion in 2018.

The Government support obtained through the BAP will be used by MSF Sugar to complete a farm to market feasibility study that examines all areas of the value chain relating to the establishment of a Biorefining industry on the Atherton Tableland, effectively fast-tracking the company’s plans to diversify the industry.

MSF Sugar’s Biorefinery Project builds on the company’s vision to build a biofutures legacy for the people of Far North Queensland, with estimates for the project predicting a doubling of revenue for the sugarcane industry and the creation of year-round, high-value and knowledge-intensive regional jobs. This will lead to a more diversified and durable economy, bringing both economic and environmental benefits to the Tableland region.

The Biorefinery will be an enhanced sugar mill consisting of four important sections; the sugar mill, an agave juice mill, the green power station and a distillery.

According to MSF Sugar CEO, Mike Barry, “diversifying income for the sugarcane industry is very important as we’re currently too reliant on the raw sugar price and we’re not obtaining full value from the cane.

“The crop we’re investigating to deliver on the project is blue agave, which is a new crop to Australia but it is extensively grown in Mexico to produce the drink tequila. The advantage of blue agave is that it grows in a climate similar to that of the dry tropic part of the Atherton Tableland, it produces around 400 tonne per hectare of bio-mass in 5 years, does not need irrigation, and you have a high amount of fermentable juice and fibre.

“The technology we’ll be using to process agave is similar to what we use in the sugar industry, so the crop has huge potential for helping us to transform the sugarcane industry”.

The sentiment is echoed by General Manager Business Development, Hywel Cook, who states that “through this project, we are transforming the business from a sugar business to a sugarcane business with multiple bio-products. 

“The $60 million Biorefinery complex we propose to develop is expected to create 80 construction/farming and 50 operational jobs for the agribusiness sector, around 180 jobs and $97 million flow-on for regional businesses, produce 110,000 tonnes of raw sugar, 200,000 MW of green electricity for the grid and 55ML of ethanol biofuel annually. The green electricity will be base load generation operating 12 months per year using the fibre from the sugar cane and blue agave”.

The feasibility study funded through the BAP will consider all processes related to farming the new agave crop, making the biomass products (ethanol and electricity) and delivering the end product to market (customer acceptance). The findings will be used to assess the commercial viability of the project, and inform MSF Sugar’s decision on when to commence project construction.  

While the announcement is significant for the agriculture sector, the Biorefinery Project will benefit the region as a whole as once operational, the refinery will work across the agriculture, energy and biofutures industries. It will also contribute to the broad economic development of rural Queensland with independent research* predicting the project will double the company’s contribution to the Tablelands Gross Regional Product from 2% to 4%.

To allow the biorefinery to operate 12 months of the year, MSF Sugar will continue to trial large-scale blue agave cropping thanks to the $250,000 grant received through the Queensland Government’s Biofutures Commercialisation Program late last month.

According to Mr Cook, “the overall project is a great example of what is possible in growing the right crop in the right place and then using all the plant material to make a variety of products. The great thing is we could continue transforming these products to make products such as plastics, bio-diesel and even bio jet fuel.  And this will all be based from what we grow using a variety of different lands.

“This is a big opportunity to make a step-change from a sugar industry to a bio-refinery industry”.

The economic potential of growing and harvesting two crops is reinforced by MSF Sugar’s General Manager Agriculture, Mr Trevor Crook, who, together with Mr Cook, travelled to Mexico last month to tour Agave processing facilities, farms, and meet with research and university project teams.

"The blue agave crop will be grown and harvested on land that would traditionally need irrigation to produce a viable crop. This means we will soon be able to use dry agricultural lands to produce green base electricity, food and other useful products.

“All of this value-add will happen in Far North Queensland to establish a new and positive legacy for future generations in the region.”

MSF Sugar’s vision for the biofutures industry is substantial with plans to develop 4,000 ha of Tableland farmland into agave plantations. The crop will be developed at a rate of 800 ha per annum to ensure the project is sustainable.

Following completion of MSF Sugar’s blue agave pilot project and feasibility study, the first year of commercial planting is expected to take place in 2020. The goal is to plant 3.2 million plants per year with agave farming expected to be 800 hectares from MSF Sugar and 3200 hectares from independent farms.

As agave takes 5 years to grow, it is anticipated the first commercial harvest will take place in 2025 with crops harvested at a rate of 800 hectares per year with an anticipated yield of 400 tonnes per hectare.

To deliver on the company’s biofutures vision, MSF Sugar plans to commence construction of the distillery required to round-out the project in 2020, which will require an investment of around $100 million. At least two-thirds of the investment will be spent within Australia and the investment is on top of the $75 million the company has already invested in its Green Energy Power Plant construction.

MSF Sugar’s Biofutures Project is considered to be of state significance as when completed, it will help position Queensland as a leader in converting waste material from crops into highly valued bio-products.

Once proven successful, the model being developed by MSF Sugar can be replicated in other sugarcane growing regions that contain arid agricultural land. The Biorefinery can also be expanded to produce additional products, and has the flexibility to add other sub-processes to enable production of bio-plastics, animal feeds, and create a pathway to produce ethanol-based aviation fuels.

* Cummings Economics, MSF Sugar and the Mareeba Shire/Tableland Region, Economic and Social Impact Study, May 2017

Source: MSF Sugar

Click here to go to online datasheet: Tableland Sugar Mill Power Station


White Rock Solar Farm celebrates the start of construction

10 July 2017

Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Member for New England, today joined John Titchen, Managing Director of Goldwind Australia, local Mayor of Glen Innes Severn Council and Acting Mayor of Inverell Council at a Ground-Breaking Ceremony to mark the commencement of construction at the $41.4 million White Rock Solar Farm project.

“This ceremony marks the start of construction of the solar farm to be to be co-located with White Rock Wind Farm in New England Tablelands. The award of a large-scale solar competitive grant by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has allowed the White Rock Solar Farm to proceed to construction.” John Titchen, Managing Director of Goldwind Australia said today.

Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Barnaby Joyce said he was looking forward to the project completion targeted for early 2018.

‘It is positive news for the New England Electorate that the White Rock Solar Farm project construction is now commencing. This was made possible following the Federal Government’s $5.4 million funding commitment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) towards the project in September last year.’ Mr Joyce said.

The Federal Coalition Government supports renewables and has a legislated and efficient renewable energy target, so supporting projects like the White Rock Solar Farm show that the Federal Government is serious about supporting renewable energy production to help secure the national grid.

‘With other projects like the Sapphire Wind Farm going ahead, it also shows that the New England is leading the way in renewable energy production and I will continue to advocate for the region as a growing power supplier for Australia,’ said Mr Joyce.

White Rock Solar Farm will be a 20 MW AC solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant located adjacent to the northern end of White Rock Wind Farm, 18 km west of Glen Innes. The development is a solar-wind hybrid renewable energy facility. It is expected to generate around 44,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity in the first year of operation, enough to supply the equivalent of approximately 7,200 average NSW homes. The project is designed to benefit significantly from sharing part of the wind farm infrastructure, including the grid connection and access tracks.

Alongside the wind farm project, White Rock Solar Farm represents a significant economic investment for the region. Up to 75 people are expected to be on site at construction peaks and three people as ongoing operational and maintenance staff.

White Rock Solar is Goldwind’s second wind-solar hybrid project following the 10MW Gullen Solar project which is now at an advanced stage of construction.

About White Rock Solar Farm

The $41.4 million White Rock Solar Farm project is a 20 MW AC development to be located adjacent to the northern end of White Rock Wind Farm in the New England Tablelands, approximately 18 km west of Glen Innes and about 500 km north of Sydney.

Development Consent was secured for the project in June 2016 and the project was successful in the ARENA Large-Scale Solar Competitive Round in September 2016. Elements of the White Rock Solar Farm infrastructure will be shared with White Rock Wind Farm, including grid connection, access tracks and some internal electrical cabling.

Source: Goldwind Australia

Click here to go to online datasheet: White Rock Solar Farm


White Rock Wind Farm switches on turbines

10 July 2017 The first turbines at White Rock Wind Farm have now been connected to TransGrid’s network and are producing electricity. NSW transmission network operator and manager TransGrid, along with sub-contractor Zinfra, designed, constructed and commissioned White Rock Wind Farm’s 132/33kV substation and transmission line to connect the project to the NSW transmission network and the National Electricity Market.

‘This is key project milestone for White Rock Wind Farm. TransGrid has completed connection works and AEMO has registered the White Rock Wind Farm project.’ said Ronan Creedon, EPC Project Manager for White Rock Wind Farm today.

‘TransGrid and Zinfra’s crews have constructed and delivered the wind farm’s connection infrastructure enabling the wind farm to commence generating.’ Stage one of White Rock Wind Farm includes 70 turbines, a substation and eight-kilometre transmission line. Forty-seven turbines have been fully erected, with the installation of the remaining turbines to occur over the next couple of months.

Once fully operational, the 175 MW White Rock Wind Farm will produce sufficient clean renewable energy to power approximately 75,000 homes, more than all the houses in the New England area.

Construction of stage one of White Rock Wind Farm commenced in May 2016. Current work on site is now focussed on installation and erection of the remaining twenty-three wind turbines and commissioning work. At the peak of construction, the number of on-site construction staff has reached approximately 300 people. The wind farm is planned to be fully commissioned by the end of 2017.

About White Rock Wind Farm

The $400 million White Rock Wind Farm (WRWF) project is in the New England/Northern Tablelands region of NSW, approximately 20 kilometres west of Glen Innes and 40 kilometres east of Inverell. Project approval was granted by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure on 10 July 2012 for the construction and operation of up to 119 wind turbines in addition to related infrastructure. The project will be staged with 70 turbines in the first stage. Construction completion is targeted for late 2017. Once operational, the 175MW White Rock Wind Farm will generate enough renewable energy to service 75,000 homes. Goldwind retains a 25% interest in the WRWF, whilst partnering with China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group Wind-Power Corporation (CECEP) for a 75% investment for full construction and operation of the project.

Source: Goldwind Australia

Click here to go to online datasheet: White Rock Wind Farm


Queensland to become leader in clean growth economy

11 July

The Palaszczuk Government has unveiled its goal to drive carbon pollution down to zero by 2050 and make Queensland a leader in the clean growth economy.

Speaking from Cairns, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Environment Minister Steven Miles released the Queensland Climate Transition and Adaptation Strategies which lay out the plans for drastically reducing carbon pollution and readying communities for the impacts of a warmer climate.

“Setting a target of zero net emissions by 2050 sends a clear message that Queensland will be a leader in the low carbon economy,” Ms Trad said.

“This will attract new investment and industries to our state, ensuring sustainable jobs for Queenslanders into the future.

“In the absence of any climate change policy from the Turnbull Government it is the states who are doing the heavy lifting to ensure Australia does its fair share to keep the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees.”

The Deputy Premier said she would join a roundtable meeting of State Governments and Former Vice President and Climate Leader Al Gore in Melbourne later this week to discuss climate strategy.

“In Melbourne on Thursday I will discuss with my counterparts from other states how we can work together to ensure that as Australians we meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement,” Ms Trad said.

“We shouldn’t have to keep the Turnbull Government’s promises for them, but for the sake of our communities, our industries and our environment we have to step up.”

The Environment Minister said that UNESCO’s recent look at the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage Status noted climate change was one of its biggest threats.

“The world is watching what we do to protect our Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said.

“We must drive down emissions to prevent further coral bleaching events like the ones we’ve seen recently.

“This is vital for the future of the Reef.

“But it also means Queenslanders get to go on enjoying their way of life. It means more stable jobs in the industries of the future, giving our farmers a chance to thrive, making sure we can enjoy our incredible natural environment with clean air and soil and water.

“We’ve already seen a massive increase in construction and jobs in the Queensland renewable sector since the election of the Palaszczuk Government.

“And that’s only going to grow now with even more incentives for clean industries to set up shop in our state under our target for 50% renewables by 2030.”

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said that there was a pressing need for action on climate change.

“Understanding the impacts of a changing climate and adapting to these will help us protect the people and the place we love – including Queensland’s way of life,” Mr Crawford said.

“We are already experiencing the impacts of a changing climate and can expect to see more changes including - higher temperatures, more intense and more frequent heatwaves, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and more frequent coral bleaching as a result of warmer oceans.

“This Adaptation Strategy is about how we manage the flow-on effects of those impacts in areas like tourism, agriculture, biodiversity and our tropical lifestyle here in Far North Queensland.

“By using science to predict the future risks, we can build this into everyday decision-making; ensuring our infrastructure, businesses and communities are ready and resilient under changing conditions.

“Tackling climate change is critical for strengthening Queensland’s economic future and for protecting our iconic places, including the Great Barrier Reef.”

The Queensland Climate Adaptation Strategy and Queensland Climate Transition Strategy are available to download:

Source: Queensland Government


Sun shining on Lockhart River solar project

12 July

The light of opportunity is shining on a remote Queensland town, with Lockhart River continuing its transition from a diesel powered community to a solar powered community.

Touring the community with Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Mark Furner and Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher yesterday, Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the recent closing of tenders to install solar was another milestone in the community’s clean energy revolution.

“The Lockhart solar project will see a portion of the community’s power, normally supplied by diesel generators, soon coming from a 200 kilowatt rooftop solar farm, with some provisions for battery storage," My Bailey said.

"The joint partnership between the Department of Energy and Water Supply, Ergon Energy Retail as part of Energy Queensland, and the Department of Housing and Public Works will see the installation of this solar farm on government-owned buildings in Lockhart River.

"The solar farm will provide a clean energy alternative for the diesel-powered community and will include some battery energy storage to help integrate the solar farm with the local diesel generators.

"Tenders have recently closed, and construction of the solar farm is expected to start later this year."

Mr Bailey said the project was another example of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to affordable and sustainable energy – consistent with the Powering Queensland Plan and Powering North Queensland Plan.

“Queensland is experiencing a renewable energy boom, and this project will not only bring more affordable electricity to Lockhart River, but cleaner electricity as well,” he said.

The Lockhart River solar farm trial is one of four sites in Queensland involved in a trial to deliver electricity savings to some of the state’s most vulnerable -

Source: Queensland Government


Grant funding update

13 July

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE), developer of utility scale battery storage, solar energy and wave energy solutions, is pleased to provide an update on its current Government grant funded projects; the ARENA Garden Island Microgrid Project and the European Union funded CETO 6 Wave Hub Project; as well as the Albany Wave Energy Project.

Over the past weeks, Carnegie received approximately $850,000 of grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Progress has also been made with its Albany Wave Energy Project.

Garden Island Microgrid Project

Carnegie has received $670,000 in grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in recognition for the completion of two milestones for the Garden Island Microgrid Project. These milestone payments were awarded for completed design and procurement activities.

These are the first milestone payments received from Carnegie’s $2.5m funding package from ARENA to support the Garden Island Microgrid Project. An update on the progress of final approvals and construction will be provided in the coming weeks.

CETO 6 Wave Hub Project

During the quarter, Carnegie’s UK subsidiary, CETO Wave Energy UK (CWE UK), received £108,265 (approximately $183,000) as the first two quarterly grant payments for progress on its European funded CETO 6 Wave Hub Project.

These grant payments were based on Carnegie’s initial design and development activity and expenditure for its CETO 6 Wave Hub Project in Cornwall. Carnegie received £63,969 (approximately $108,000) for the period April – December 2016 and £44,296 (approximately $75,000) for progress during Q1 2017. CWE UK will shortly submit its Q2 2017 grant claim.

Carnegie’s £9,551,963 grant from the European Regional Development Fund, is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, and forms 65% of funding for the proposed CETO 6 Wave Hub Project: a £14.7m project to design, construct, install and operate a grid-connected CETO 6 wave energy converter device, adapted to local conditions and industrialised for large scale commercial deployment at the purpose built, Wave Hub test site in the UK.

Albany Wave Energy Project

Discussions are continuing with the Western Australia Government regarding their election commitment to fund $19.5m towards an Albany Wave Energy Project and Centre of Excellence. Further progress on this funding initiative is also expected in the coming weeks. In anticipation of progressing design and development activities, Carnegie shipped one of its metocean wave measurement buoys to Albany in preparation for deployment in its Albany offshore licence area.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Albany Wave Energy Project


Renew Estate and Wirsol Energy embark on new development venture

  • International renewable energy company, Wirsol Energy, responsible for the UK and Asia Pacific markets within German WIRCON Group has partnered with Australian renewables developer, Renew Estate, to embark on the development of a 1GW+ project pipeline.
  • The development of over 400MW of large-scale solar farm projects is already underway, with construction of the first projects targeted to commence in Q1 2018.
  • The pipeline will include storage-ready projects, ready for the next-generation of renewables development in Australia.
  • The partnership is already looking further afield, identifying several development opportunities across the wider Australia-Pacific region.
  • Renew Estate will be supported by Norton Rose Fulbright, global law firm, and Beast Solutions, energy advisory firm.

Sydney, Australia: Surfing the wave of enthusiasm created by their recent entry into the Australian renewables market, International renewable energy company Wirsol Energy (part of the WIRCON Group), has partnered with Australian developer, Renew Estate, to embark on a gigawatt-scale project development pipeline. This news follows an announcement in March heralding Wirsol’s successful acquisition of three new large-scale solar farm projects totaling 198MW, the largest of its kind in Australia to date.

Co-located in the fast-growing Manly renewables tech hub dubbed ‘Solar Beach’, Renew Estate and Wirsol will develop over 1GW in renewables projects over the coming years. Over 400MW of large-scale solar farm projects are already underway and is targeting commencement of construction in Q1 2018. Mark Hogan, Managing Director of Wirsol Energy Limited, expressed his enthusiasm for the new venture. “We are delighted to be working with Renew Estate and want to bring a fresh approach to the development of projects in the Australian market. We have already successfully entered the Australia market with the acquisition of the first large scale portfolio of solar farm projects (200MW in QLD and VIC). We have delivered over 1 gigawatts of innovative solar projects in Europe and are now committed to developing a portfolio across Australia”.

The name Renew Estate reflects the partners’ shared goal to deliver projects which meet the expectations of all stakeholders.

Simon Currie, Global Head of Energy at Norton Rose Fulbright comments “Dramatic falls in the cost of solar and wind energy and storage technologies mean we can now plan for a zero carbon future with affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. The renewable energy industry should look for opportunities to regenerate and repurpose existing hubs like Port Augusta and the La Trobe and Hunter Valleys. This is an innovative partnership which will deliver future-ready projects incorporating storage and enhancing the reliability of the system.”

Renew Estate Director, Byron Serjeantson, echoes the importance of future-ready projects, emphasising that “Great renewables projects will benefit all stakeholders; starting with the community and landowners, local government and industry and all Australians, who ultimately benefit from a cleaner and cheaper source of energy. By bringing together the right team and working hard at what we do, we aim to be a key contributor to a strong and well-regarded renewables industry of the future.”

Looking beyond their development pipeline in Australia, Renew Estate has identified a number development opportunities across the Australia-Pacific region, with projects in Fiji and New Zealand s showing particular promise. “Watch this space” says Serjeantson.

Source: Wirsol Energy


States threaten to go it alone on Clean Energy Target

13 July

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis has threatened States could go it alone on a Clean Energy Target if the Federal Government does not endorse the Chief Scientist’s most vital recommendation at COAG on Friday.

Mr Koutsantonis said the State Government was in discussions with other States about the possibility of implementing a Clean Energy Target if inaction from the Federal Government continued.

He said the State Government will ask the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to model how a mechanism would be implemented.


In October 2016 COAG commissioned Chief Scientist Alan Finkel to conduct an independent review into the future security of the National Electricity Market.

Since that time, a broad range of experts, industry groups and businesses have called for a market mechanism that drives investment in new electricity generation. These groups include:

  • BHP
  • The Australian Industry Group
  • Business Council of Australia
  • AGL
  • EnergyAustralia
  • The National Farmers’ Federation
  • The Australian Energy Market Commission
  • The Australian Energy Regulator
  • The Grattan Institute
  • Clean Energy Council
  • Malcolm Turnbull (when he was Leader of the Opposition)
  • Frontier Economics

Last month, the Chief Scientist delivered the Finkel Review to COAG, making 50 recommendations, including the introduction of a Clean Energy Target. The CET would require retailers to purchase a certain amount of power from clean generators, such as renewables and gas, thereby incentivising new investment in the market.

Source: SA Government


Unlocking the potential of Australia’s tidal energy

13 July

Australia’s tidal energy resource will be mapped in unprecedented detail in a new study funded by the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

ARENA has provided $2.49 million in funding support for the three year project which will explore the future potential of tidal energy in Australia to attract future investment.

The $5.85 million project – Tidal Energy in Australia – Assessing Resource and Feasibility in Australia’s Future Energy Mix – will be led by the Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania, in partnership with CSIRO, the University of Queensland and industry partners.

The project will create an online atlas mapping tidal energy nationwide to the nearest 500 metres. The project will also involve a full feasibility study of two high potential sites, and modelling of existing tidal energy devices at these sites.

Tidal energy is generated by harnessing the movement of tides. Tides contain both potential energy, related to the vertical fluctuations in sea level, as well as kinetic energy, related to ocean currents. A modern tidal generator works much like an underwater wind turbine, harnessing the current created by the tide.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said this project will help to unlock the potential of tidal energy to contribute to Australia’s energy needs.

“This research will help Australia to better understand tidal energy and help to maximise renewable energy into the market,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Ocean energy technologies are in their early stages of development. With ARENA’s help, we hope to see exciting steps forward being made in understanding the benefits of tidal energy.”

Lead researcher Associate Professor Irene Penesis said this survey will overcome current barriers to investment in commercialscale tidal farms in Australia.

“With some of the largest tides in the world, Australia is ideal for this extremely reliable and low carbon form of energy,” said Associate Professor Penesis.“But potential investors are currently held back by a lack of detailed information on tidal resources that would help them understand the risks and opportunities available.”

“This project will address this knowledge gap and provide the information that developers need to deploy their technology in the most energetic tidal sites in Australia.”

Four industry partners OpenHydro, Protean Wave Energy, MAKO Tidal Turbines and BioPower Systems will make financial contributions and provide the researchers with proprietary information on their tidal energy devices, as well as commercial implementation knowhow.

Michael Lewis, Business Development Manager at international marine turbine company OpenHydro, a DCNS Energies company, said the project will help the tidal energy industry in Australia match advances seen internationally.

“We believe this project will create an environment in which we can deliver commercially viable tidal energy projects in Australia, helping the country move forward in the development of a tidal energy industry.”

The project will also benefit from collaboration with international researchers from Acadia University, Canada, and Bangor University, UK, both of which are at the forefront of global developments in tidal energy.

Tidal energy is the last major renewable energy resource to be mapped as part of the Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Initiative funded by ARENA. ARENA has previously funded marine energy studies, including the Australian Wave Energy Atlas led by CSIRO.

The data produced by this research may also be used for a range of other purposes, such as environmental management, shipping, defence, oil and gas exploration and offshorewind and wave energy.

The project will deliver:

1.Tidal resource map: development of a national scale hydrodynamic tidal model to map the scale and distribution of the nation’s tidal energy resources to the nearest 500 metres. The results will be published in an online resource atlas.

2.Full feasibility assessment of high potential sites: focussed case studies at two high potential sites including field measurements, hydrodynamic modelling and environmental impact assessment.

3.Technical and economic feasibility assessment: development of an economic case for connecting high potential sites to Australia’s electricity infrastructure, with consideration of national grid, end of grid and off grid application.

Source: ARENA


Al Gore launches Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan

13 July

The Andrews Labor Government has released Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan, backed by $146 million in funding to deliver more renewable, affordable and reliable energy for Victoria.

Former United States Vice President Al Gore and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio launched the plan today after riding on one of Melbourne’s iconic trams which will soon be powered by solar energy.

This is one of several initiatives announced in the $146 million Renewable Energy Action Plan.

The Plan also includes:

  • $48.1 million for renewable energy certificate purchasing, including powering Victoria’s tram fleet
  • $25 million to deploy grid-scale battery storage facilities in the west of Victoria by next summer
  • $15.8 million for smart software system, solar and battery storage microgrid initiatives

The Labor Government is already getting on with delivering several key renewable energy actions for Victoria, including:

  • Setting ambitious yet achievable renewable energy generation targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025
  • Establishing three pilot community power hubs in the Latrobe Valley, Ballarat and Bendigo to enable community groups to access renewable energy expertise and services
  • Creating the Centre for New Energy Technologies and appointing the Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate

Mr Gore joined Ms D’Ambrosio and senior representatives of other states and territories today to discuss the important role states play in transitioning our economy to net zero emissions by 2050, and explore opportunities for interstate collaboration.

Source: Victoria Government


Momentum on energy security welcome, but Clean Energy Target now crucial

14 July

The endorsement by state and federal Energy Ministers of all but one of the recommendations from the Chief Scientist’s review of Australia’s energy security is a big step forward in creating a modern energy system, the Clean Energy Council said today.

But Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said a Clean Energy Target is the missing piece of the puzzle to provide much-needed certainty that is essential for new investment to drive down power prices and ensure energy security.  

"The endorsement of these recommendations by the COAG Energy Council will go a long way towards ensuring a clean, secure and affordable energy system,” Mr Thornton said.

“While there is a great deal of detail to work through, with the right market and regulatory settings, these recommendations will allow Australia to take advantage of the full capabilities of sophisticated new renewable energy and energy storage technologies. We look forward to working with the key industry and business bodies to carefully design the implementation of these recommendations.

“But the Finkel Review recommendations need to be implemented as a whole package to ensure they operate as a coherent, strong and enduring energy strategy. We now wait for the Government to finalise its support for a Clean Energy Target as the most important policy for the future of Australia’s energy system,” he said.

Source: Clean Energy Council

View PDF