Great news for renewable energy in the Macedon Ranges!

8 March

In a long-awaited announcement at the Sustainable Living Festival, the State Government, through Mary-Anne Thomas MP, has exempted our proposed community energy park from the current ban on wind power in the Macedon Ranges Shire.  This means that MRSG’s Renewable Energy Action Group (MRREAG), in conjunction with our development partner, Windlab Ltd, can now begin the planning and stakeholder consultation process with an aim of proceeding to a planning permit application for the energy park (subject to finalisation of land tenure arrangements with the Victorian Government and  Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP)).

It is still early days but vision is to produce renewable energy equivalent to the total electricity consumption of all of the Macedon Ranges households. Feasibility studies will be undertaken to assess the viability of solar PV and battery storage in combination with up to 8 wind turbines. The location for the community energy park would be within the HVP pine plantation south of Woodend and west of the Calder Freeway. For those with longer memories, it includes the end point of our Ride For Renewables bike ride in 2014.

In addition to offsetting Macedon Ranges’ domestic carbon emissions, other benefits include a revenue stream for MRSG to assist future renewable energy projects. We shall also explore ways in which locals can participate in this iconic project.

Source: Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group

 

Renewable energy for Christchurch Hospital

10 March

Health Minister Dr David Clark says two new woody biomass boilers for Christchurch Hospital will improve the Canterbury DHB’s resilience and environmental sustainability.

Polytechnik Biomass Energy, based in Austria, has been awarded the contract to design, manufacture and install replacements for the current coal-fired boilers. The total budget for the project is approximately $45 million.

“The existing boiler house at Canterbury DHB’s main hospital campus was damaged in the 2011 earthquake and is at increased risk of failure in the event of another significant earthquake.

“This investment will tackle that vulnerability and ensure the critical energy supply for the hospital is modern and reliable.

“The new boilers will use sustainably produced wood biomass, which is a renewable resource and affordable. The boilers are a great way to dispose of waste wood, and will emit far less carbon dioxide than conventional fossil fuels.

“The design and construction of the two 7.5Mw capacity biomass boilers is a key next step towards building the new Energy Centre, which is needed to service the new Christchurch Hospital, Hagley (formerly known as the Acute Services Building) and all of Canterbury DHB’s main hospital campus.

“Once the design of the boilers has been completed, then the design and procurement of the Energy Centre building can take place.

“This is a key piece of the hospital’s infrastructure. Staff and patients need to know the energy supply can be relied on. This investment will give them that confidence,” David Clark said.

It is expected that construction of the new Energy Centre will get underway in late 2019, and that the project will be completed by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

Source: NZ Government

 

PROJECT NEWS

Silverton Wind Farm

This week the final turbine blade was installed to the last of the project’s 58 wind turbines at the 200 MW Silverton Wind Farm, near Broken Hill in north western NSW. Construction of the $450mil project began in May 2017 with the site expected to be operational by mid-2019. The wind farm is the first greenfield development for the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF). A joint venture of GE and CATCON is contracted for the engineering, procurement and construction of the wind farm works.

 

PROJECT NEWS

Lilyvale Solar Farm

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) reported that its 100 MW Lilyvale Solar Farm in Queensland started generating its first megawatts of energy. The plant will cover approximately 396 hectares and consist of 379,260 photovoltaic modules with single-axis tracking systems and 25 transformer centres. Acciona and Gransolar were awarded the EPC contract and construction started in October 2017.

 

Bright job outlook for Western Downs with new wind farm approved

11 March

Around 400 construction jobs and 35 ongoing jobs will be generated from early next year with work starting on yet another multi-million-dollar renewable energy project in south-west Queensland.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said 56 wind turbines have been approved for the $450 million Renewable Energy Systems wind farm project at Dulacca, 250 km north-west of Toowoomba.

Mr Dick said the wind farm would produce around 240 megawatts of power for the Western Downs.

“Our government is invested in strengthening regional economies,” Mr Dick said.

“This project will help with the continued economic diversification of Dulacca, stimulating job growth during both construction and operation.”

In addition to the turbines, the proposed development will also involve associated infrastructure such as a substation, meteorology masts, overhead lines and access tracks.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the Dulacca project followed the $48 million Baking Board solar farm at Chinchilla and $217 million Darling Downs solar farm, which started operating on the Western Downs late last year, and another five south-west renewable energy projects either committed or underway.

“This is yet another project generating jobs and renewable energy for Queensland, as we transition steadily towards our target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030,” Dr Lynham said.

Renewable Energy Systems Development Project Manager Llion Parry said construction of the wind farm would begin in early 2020 and be fully operational by 2021.

“The wind farm development approval is a significant milestone for the project and we are excited to bring a renewable energy project of this scale to the Western Downs region,” Mr Parry said.

“The site for the wind farm was chosen due to its excellent wind resource, proximity to the transmission network, and low environmental impact.”

Renewable Energy Systems is also investigating the possibility of developing a solar farm on the site.

This will be subject to a separate development application process and does not form part of this approval.

Source: Queensland Government

 

PROJECT NEWS

Gunnedah Solar Farm

Development consent was granted for Photon Energy’s 150 MW Gunnedah Solar Farm in northern NSW. The solar farm will cover an area of 304 hectares and is estimated to consist of up to 460,000 PV panels installed on a single axis tracking system located approximately 9km north-east of Gunnedah township. The site is currently used for agriculture, specifically cropping (irrigated cotton and chick pea). It is being developed by a consortium of Canadian Solar (51%), Photon Energy (24.99%) & Polpo Investments (24.01%).

 

Genex completes acquisition of 50MW Jemalong Solar Project & commences refinancing of 50MW Kidston Stage 1 Solar Project

12 March

Genex Power Limited (ASX: GNX) (Genex or Company) is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of the 50MW Jemalong Solar Project (JSP), located near Forbes in the central west region of NSW (the acquisition). In addition, Genex is pleased to provide an update on its financing activities for JSP which are being conducted in conjunction with the refinancing of its 50MW Kidston Stage 1 Solar Project (KS1).

Completion of JSP Acquisition

Genex is pleased to advise that the vendor of JSP has satisfied all conditions precedent to the transaction, and the acquisition is therefore now complete. The Project is complementary to Genex’s existing solar and hydro power projects in North Queensland and reflects the Company’s aim to become a diversified renewable energy and storage operator in Australia.

The critical elements of JSP are now in place. These include GPS approval from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and a firm Offer to Connect from the network service provider, Essential Energy. Genex now aims to rapidly complete the development and financing of the project with a view to start construction in the middle of 2019.

Refinancing of KS1 in conjunction with JSP

Project financing for JSP is currently underway with a number of banks indicating strong interest to provide construction finance for the project. These activities will coincide with refinancing of KS1 which reached practical completion in November 2018 and is now operating under a 20-year Queensland Government support deed. NAB is the financial advisor on the financing of JSP and concurrent refinancing of KS1.

The Company anticipates completing the KS1 refinancing and achieving financial close on JSP in the middle of 2019. Construction of JSP is expected to occur over a 12-month period, resulting in first generation in 2020.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO of Genex Power, James Harding stated:

“Genex is pleased to complete the acquisition of the Jemalong Solar Project, which it believes is an attractive opportunity for the Company to broaden and diversify its generation portfolio. We believe the addition of JSP provides an excellent opportunity to diversify Genex’s generation profile geographically whilst achieving exposure to the strong electricity spot market in NSW.

Genex will now seek to complete the outstanding works required to achieve financial close over the coming months, with the intention of commencing construction in the middle of the year. The accelerated development timeline and the short construction period will allow Genex to achieve a step-up in revenue earnings whilst the construction of the Kidston Stage 2 projects proceeds.

The Kidston Stage 2 projects remain the key priority for the Company, and development continues to progress as anticipated. The combination of the Kidston projects and the Jemalong project will position the Company as one of the Australian market leaders in renewables and energy storage.”

Source: Genex Power

 

Funding agreement with Carnegie Clean Energy terminated

12 March

- Financial Assistance Agreement with Carnegie Clean Energy for the Albany wave energy technology development project terminated

- Unexpected proposal to change Federal Government's Research and Development tax incentive scheme contributed to destabilisation of the company's financial position

The State Government has terminated its Financial Assistance Agreement with Carnegie Clean Energy to deliver the Albany wave energy technology development project, following an assessment of the company's financial capability to deliver the project.

In October 2018, the State Government exercised its power under the agreement to require Carnegie to provide a comprehensive and detailed funding plan for their $25.6 million contribution to the project.

That followed concerns about the company's finances, driven by uncertainty surrounding the future of Federal R&D tax concessions, losses from other operations and asset write-downs.

The plan was submitted on February 15. The State Government has assessed that the company is unlikely to be able to deliver the project in reasonable time, and has terminated the funding agreement.

The $13.125 million in the Budget for this project will be directed towards delivering radiotherapy services in Albany.

The State Government's co-investment in The University of Western Australia's Wave Energy Research Centre will continue, focusing on marine renewable energy and supporting Albany's marine industries.

Works completed by Carnegie with State Government funding, including geophysical and other surveys and mathematical models on wave conditions in Albany, will be made available to UWA and other interested parties.

Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:

"Research and development projects always carry risk, and our Government won't apologise for supporting local renewable energy R&D.

"We are committed to diversifying regional economies, and this project was just one in a suite of initiatives to drive new job opportunities in the regions.

"The unexpected proposal to change Federal R&D tax concessions created an environment of uncertainty that destabilised the company's finances.

"Carnegie's finances were in good order when the contract was signed and there was no way to predict the changing circumstances over the last 12 months.

"Our Government remains committed to research and development to ensure WA is a technology maker, not a technology taker - The University of Western Australia will continue its research work in Albany, which has already attracted scientists to the region."

Source: WA Government

 

WA State Government terminates Albany Funding Agreement

12 March

Carnegie has now been advised that the State Government of Western Australia has elected to terminate Carnegie’s Financial Assistance Agreement for the Albany Wave Energy Project.

The Company is disappointed with this decision as the State Government were provided with a revised Project Funding Plan in February which outlined Carnegie’s plans to deliver the Albany Project over an extended timeline and with a reduced budget. The changes presented in the Funding Plan would:

- Enable Carnegie to optimise the Project spend profile in order to reduce the amount of Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive cash rebates that would be lost under the proposed changes to the R & D Tax Incentive

- Provide additional time to incorporate a number of design innovations into the CETO unit to be deployed in Albany. These innovations would reduce the capital cost of the Project and the long term levelised cost of energy of the CETO technology, a key driver of Carnegie’s technology development pathway

Carnegie appreciates the continued commitment and support from the Albany community throughout the project. Albany remains one of the most attractive worldwide sites to demonstrate and ultimately exploit the potential of wave energy.

This significant new development must now be incorporated into the strategic review currently underway and Carnegie will update the market in due course.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

2019 RPP and STP set

12 March

The 2019 renewable power percentage (RPP) and small-scale technology percentage (STP) have been set by legislative amendment.

- The 2019 RPP is 18.60 per cent.

- The 2019 STP is 21.73 per cent.

The amendment instrument and explanat​ory stateme​nt​ is now published on the Federal Register of Legislation.

The RPP and STP set the annual statutory demand for large-scale generation certificates and small-scale technology certificates in the Renewable Energy Target.

For more information see renewable power percentage and small-scale technology percentage.

Source: Clean Energy Regulator

 

NSW and a renewable energy policy: we need one

12 March

Heading into the state election, neither of the major parties has a policy to address increasing congestion on transmission lines joining wind and solar farms to the electricity grid.

Of all the states, NSW has the highest percentage of electricity generated from coal – 80%. Although the state election is imminent and a key issue – according to public opinion polls – is climate and energy policy, NSW has neither a renewable energy target nor policies to drive a rapid transition.

Science, ethics and electrical engineering can guide the development of energy policy. Science informs us that burning fossil fuels is the major contributor to global climate change and that urgent action is needed to substitute renewable energy and energy efficiency for fossil fuels, thus avoiding irreversible changes that would make large parts of our planet uninhabitable.

Ethics tells us that it is wrong to leave climate mitigation to future generations.

Electrical engineering, including computer simulation modelling, demonstrates that it’s possible to operate the large-scale electricity system reliably on 100% renewable energy and that such a system would be no more expensive that a new fossil-fuelled system. Simulations that balance actual renewable energy supply with actual demand each hour over periods of one or more years have been performed by research groups at UNSW, ANU, Sydney University and the Australian Energy Market Operator.

These simulations show that reliability can be achieved by a system powered predominantly by variable wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) together with a relatively small amount of storage in the form of pumped hydro and/or concentrated solar thermal with thermal storage and/or gas turbines burning renewable fuels, supplemented by batteries. Baseload power stations, such as coal and nuclear that can operate 24/7, are unnecessary.

NSW Labor has committed to introducing reverse auctions if it wins government. These have been very successful in driving installations of wind and solar farms, and driving down their cost, in the ACT’s renewable electricity program. Reverse auctions have also recently been introduced in Victoria and Queensland. With the low and declining contract prices for wind and solar farms, compared with the wholesale price of electricity, reverse auctions are no longer a subsidy, but rather a means of providing greater certainty for investors.

'The next NSW government could follow the South Australian government’s lead by providing grants to investigate the feasibility of specific off-river pumped hydro project proposals and to subsidise a concentrated solar thermal power station with thermal storage and a large battery.'

Neither of the major parties in NSW has a policy to address a problem that’s beginning to impede the growth of large-scale renewable electricity, namely increasing congestion on transmission lines joining new wind and solar farms to the main electricity grid. Wind and solar farms can be planned and built in two to three years, but transmission lines take much longer.

For example, a project is under development for a huge Renewable Energy Zone combining wind, solar and pumped hydro storage near Walcha in the Northern Tablelands. For this project to reach full planned capacity, a major transmission link is needed between the Northern Tablelands and the Hunter Valley.

Assisted by Queensland’s reverse auction policy, more electricity could be generated from solar farms currently planned and under construction there than is needed in that state. To take full advantage of that growth, the transmission link between Queensland and NSW should be upgraded.

As well as reverse auctions and new and upgraded key transmission links, the other principal policy need is specific incentives for energy storage, which is still quite expensive. In the absence of policies from the federal government, the next NSW government could follow the South Australian government’s lead by providing grants to investigate the feasibility of specific off-river pumped hydro project proposals and to subsidise a concentrated solar thermal power station with thermal storage and a large battery.

The focus here is on transitioning electricity, because a renewable energy future will be predominantly an electrical future. Most industrial and residential heat and most transport will become electrical, because that’s more efficient and cheaper. The exceptions – air and sea transport – still need further research and development to reduce the cost of hydrogen produced by using renewable electricity to split water.

The focus is also on policies for large-scale systems, because small-scale systems are growing rapidly, driven by economics and facing few barriers. Very soon, the only assistance they will need from government is incentives for batteries coupled to rooftop solar systems.

A 100% renewable energy future is technically feasible for NSW and, with the temporary exception of air and sea transport, affordable.

Source: University of NSW

 

Pumped to announce three most promising sites

13 March

Hydro Tasmania has revealed the three sites selected for further investigation into their pumped hydro potential.

The three sites - at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in the North West, and near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast – were selected from the original list of 14 potential pumped hydro options around the State.

They emerged as the most promising from the studies carried out over the last 20 months as part of a $2 million study jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Hydro Tasmania.

The study is part of the Battery of the Nation initiative.

The next stage involves a more intensive feasibility study to gather more detailed information and assess the suitability of each of the sites for development. This stage will involve engagement with local communities.

The outcome of this work will be a preferred project that could be taken forward and be ready to operate when 1200MW of additional Bass Strait interconnection comes online.

Today’s announcement follows the Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent support for the Battery of the Nation initiative through the Federal Government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program.

The Federal Government also has announced $56 million to fast-track delivery of the ‘Marinus Link’ project, following the release of an initial feasibility report demonstrating that the business case for a second Bass Strait interconnector stacks up.

These commitments provide a significant boost to the business case for Battery of the Nation that would see Tasmania making a greater contribution to the national electricity market.

The three selected pumped hydro sites represent strong and sustainable development opportunities with the sort of long-term storage options the future national electricity market will need.

- Lake Cethana - 12 hours of storage capacity in a new upper reservoir;

- Lake Rowallan - 24 hours of storage capacity in a new upper reservoir;

- Tribute - 31 hours of storage by establishing a new connection between Lake Plimsoll and Lake Murchison.

Hydro Tasmania CEO Steve Davy said it was an exciting time for Tasmania.

“What we have here are three very strong pumped hydro development options in the state,” Mr Davy said.

“This puts Hydro Tasmania in a great position to select one strong development opportunity that can be ready for more interconnection. We will be working closely with key stakeholders and local communities during this next period of investigations.”

Pumped hydro would not only introduce new hydro capacity into the Tasmanian system but also inject significant investment into local regions and create new jobs.

Source: Hydro Tasmania

 

Onslow microgrid project Stage Two underway

14 March

- McGowan Government launches next stage of Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot

- Stage Two will deliver low-cost solar and battery storage systems to locals

The McGowan Government has launched the Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot which represents Stage Two of one of Australia's most leading edge microgrid projects.

This follows the opening of Stage One, in July 2018, which comprises a gas-fired power station and associated infrastructure.

The pilot will integrate solar panel and battery storage systems with traditional energy sources to maximise the amount of renewable energy in Onslow's microgrid.

Horizon Power has signed a contract with Western Australian company Mechanical Project Services to deliver and install the solar and battery storage systems to Onslow customers.

Once installed, the systems will be integrated with Horizon Power's Distributed Energy Resources Management System.

The pilot also includes a bulk, centralised, one-megawatt solar farm and a one megawatt-hour network battery, which will help supply the town from May 2019.

Under its State Development Agreement, Chevron's Wheatstone Project has provided a financial contribution for Horizon Power to build the power infrastructure for both stages.

For more information, visit https://horizonpower.com.au/our-community/projects/onslow-power-project/

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston:

"The Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot is a landmark initiative that will help build a cleaner, brighter, renewable energy future.

"Onslow residents and businesses will get self-generated power and reduced power bills by installing the solar panel and battery storage systems.

"This announcement follows the McGowan Government's launch of the Energy Transformation Strategy, which aims to deliver a cleaner, affordable and more reliable energy to households and businesses for decades to come."

Source: WA Government

 

Windlab wins asset management contract for Nevertire Solar Farm; assets under management exceed $1b

15 March

Windlab Limited (“WND” or “the Company”) today announced an agreement to provide asset management services for the 131.8 MWdc Nevertire Solar Farm, via its wholly-owned subsidiary, Windlab Asset Management Pty Ltd (“WAM”). WAM is a leading dedicated renewable energy asset manager.

The Nevertire Solar Farm is located in North-West NSW. The project reached financial close in May 2018 and is presently under construction by EPC contractor Biosar. The project is expected to reach completion in June 2019. WAM’s management role commences with immediate effect.

“We are pleased to secure this important contract to provide asset management services for the Nevertire Solar Farm. This is the first stand-alone third-party owned solar farm in our asset management portfolio and brings the total value of assets under management by Windlab to over $1Billion. With our dedicated, expert team and growing scale we look forward to providing high quality, cost effective services to the industry and this solar project being the first of many under management.” said Roger Price, Executive Chairman and CEO of WND.

WAM is an integral part of the Windlab business, established to manage, support, optimise and protect the values of each operating asset in its portfolio. WAM is a trusted, experienced partner, combining international and local experience with a strong industry reputation. Its dedicated team use a centralised service delivery model, allowing it to provide integrated services from its global operations hub and deliver real cost savings for asset owners. The expansion of our portfolio to over A$1 Billion assets under management is recognition by the industry of the value of our offering.

Source: Windlab

 

Appointment of voluntary administrators

15 March

Notice is hereby given that Richard Tucker and John Bumbak of KordaMentha Restructuring were appointed as voluntary administrators of the Company and certain subsidiaries (as set out below) on 14 March 2019, pursuant to Section 436A of the Corporations Act 2001. This includes a concurrent appointment over the following businesses which are 100% owned by the Company:

  • EMC Co Pty Ltd
  • Energy Made Clean Pty Ltd
  • EMC Engineering Australia Pty Ltd

The administrators are in discussions with key stakeholders to secure funding to allow the Company to continue to trade whilst the administrators pursue a recapitalisation of the Company via a Deed of Company Arrangement (‘DOCA’).

A further update in respect of the funding arrangements and potential recapitalisation proposal will be released to the market in the coming days.

Source: KordaMentha