Solar farm forums shine a light on new planning guidelines

7 March

New planning and community engagement guidelines are in development to guide Queensland’s solar farm boom.

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said with 17 large-scale solar farms under construction across the state and another 40-plus potentials, specific planning guidelines were needed.

“We are becoming the solar energy state,” Dr Lynham said.

“In just the past 16 months, five new solar projects have started operating at Barcaldine, Kidston, Lakeland, Normanton and Sunshine Coast.

“Another 17 are under construction, offering more than 1200 megawatts of renewable energy and more than 2500 construction jobs.

“Large scale solar brings jobs and economic benefits for communities, but they can also bring their own set of planning challenges.

“The right planning guidelines need to be in place to ensure communities, developers, councils and investors are all on the same page about what is best for Queensland.”

The new guidelines will inform and guide stakeholders, including local government, through the project development process, and ensure that projects meet their social licence to operate.

Government officers have been working with local government, the Queensland Farmers Federation and other stakeholders to develop the new guidelines.

Community forums will kick off from mid-April to provide information about the guidelines in the solar hot spots of Townsville, Dalby, Emerald, Mackay and Bundaberg.

State government planning and energy policy experts will be on hand to answer questions about the proposed guidelines, as well as solar farms and renewable energy in general.

Consultation opens at 9am, Wednesday 14 March 2018 via www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au

The guidelines will be finalised in the second half of 2018.

Source: Queensland Government

 

NEW PROJECT

10MW solar farm development site

12 March

  • Carnegie Clean Energy has been successful in an application to negotiate 10MW solar and 10MWh battery site in Western Australia.
  • The Kemerton Solar Farm site is in the Ancillary Industry Area of the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, which is located approximately 17km north east of Bunbury in Western Australia’s South West region.
  • Adds to Carnegie’s solar development pipeline, most recently its lease negotiation for a 100MW solar and 20MWh battery site at the Mungari Solar Farm site south-west of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX; CCE) is pleased to advise that the Western Australian Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI), in collaboration with LandCorp, has awarded it in-principle approval to negotiate a 25ha lease within the Ancillary Industry Area of the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area (KSIA), to build, own and operate a solar farm.

The proposed solar farm will be up to 10MW and include up to 10MWh of battery storage.

The KSIA is located approximately 17km north east of Bunbury in Western Australia’s South West region.

Carnegie’s Managing Director Dr Michael Ottaviano commented, “Carnegie has a strong track record of developing greenfield sites into shovel ready renewable projects rapidly and responsibly, most recently with its Northam Solar Farm.”

“Carnegie is pleased to be able to support LandCorp’s commitment to sustainability through the integration of renewable energy into regional development at the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area.”

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

Wind power ready to support the grid

13 March

Wind energy in Australia has just hit a historic milestone, demonstrating for the first time that it can provide system services that stabilise the grid.

A trial at Neoen Australia’s Hornsdale Wind Farm, supported by ARENA, AEMO and turbine manufacturer, Siemens-Gamesa, successfully demonstrated that wind can enhance grid safety, security and reliability in a way that has until now been the preserve of coal, gas and hydro plants. In fact, the trial showed that wind farms were able to respond to grid frequency needs with greater precision than conventional generators. While wind farms in other parts of the world, including in Germany, UK, Ireland and Texas, have been required to provide frequency control for many years, this is the first demonstration of this capability in Australia.

The upshot of the trial is that wind farms and batteries are now able to ensure grid stability in a way that increases competition and keeps prices down.

Franck Woitiez, Managing Director at Neoen Australia, described how the Hornsdale Wind Farm, together with the Hornsdale Power Reserve (aka Tesla’s Big Battery) were able to do participate in the Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS) market in South Australia in January.

“The FCAS delivered from Hornsdale has already proved its impact on the market. On the 14th of January, when FCAS Regulation prices were forecast to reach $9,000 per MWh – compared to the typical $20 per MWh – Neoen bid additional capacity into the market from both Hornsdale 2 and the Hornsdale Power Reserve. This brought the price down to below $300 for the duration of the interconnector maintenance,” said Franck Woitiez, Managing Director at Neoen Australia.

“During this time, the South Australian market saw an approximate saving of $3.1 million due to this increased competition. It’s a great initiative for the nation, for companies and for Australian pockets,” Woitiez continued.

A second trial has just been announced at Woolnorth Wind Farm in Tasmania, again supported by ARENA, to further explore the commercial issues around how wind farms can participate in the FCAS market.

Source: Australian Wind Alliance

 

NEW PROJECT

DomaCom, via the DomaCom Fund, and Utilitas, a bioHub developer, is launching Australia’s first crowdfunding campaign to secure a site in Casino, northern NSW and develop a bioHub to service the energy needs of its nearby industries and communities.

Every year Australia produces enough sewage, agricultural and processing residuals to power more than one million homes. Growing demand for food, increasing energy costs and energy supply risks are the main drivers of the emerging bioHub industry.

Biohubs can safely and reliably capture and utilise energy and nutrients from organic waste that would typically be disposed of to the environment at a cost.

Casino is a regional town in the Northern Rivers area of NSW that is known as the regional centre of a very large cattle industry. In fact, Casino positions itself as one of the “Beef Capitals” of Australia. Consequently, the sheer size of biomass from agricultural and food processing industries in this region makes it an ideal place to develop a bioHub.

This project is aiming to raise a total of AU$4.3 million to secure the site and develop the bioHub. The bioHub will be leased to the operating business run by Utilitas, and an ongoing income stream, via leasing fee, will be paid to the investors in the DomaCom Casino bioHub sub-fund.

Investors in this sub-fund are holding an interest in the land and the plant, and are not investing in the operating business.

A regional bioHub aggregates organic waste and wastewater to produce energy, water, and other bioproducts. It provides infrastructure as a service to local industry and Councils.

A bioHub by Utilitas enables a local council or a private business ‘anchor tenant’ to:

  • Lock-in waste disposal and energy pricing
  • Secure long-term energy supply arrangements
  • Improve environmental compliance
  • Extend existing infrastructure life
  • Invest in production expansion

More information available from: https://domacom.com.au/public-crowdfunding-campaigns/commercial-properties/casino-biohub/

Source: DomaCom

 

Entura develops Pumped Hydro Atlas of Australia

13 March

Specialist power and water consulting firm Entura has been engaged by Hydro Tasmania to develop a practical atlas of pumped hydro energy storage opportunities to support development of dispatchable renewable energy generation.

The atlas has already been applied to inform and enable Hydro Tasmania to shortlist potential pumped hydro sites for the ‘Battery of the Nation’ program in Tasmania. Completed in October 2017, the Pumped Hydro Atlas of Australia identified more than 5000 unique potential sites across Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) to enable greater penetration of renewables in the country.

“The Pumped Hydro Atlas of Australia produced by Entura is a real-world, relevant resource informing future project development,” said Dale Bryce, Entura’s Director of Customer Strategy and Market Development. “To determine the best possible sites, our analysis took into account not only topographical suitability, but also considered all the practical factors involved in creating a viable and successful project.”

Following an exhaustive process, twenty promising sites were shortlisted for different states with a desktop review of geology, high-level engineering arrangements, and approvals requirements. For each site a map was prepared including locality, land use, planning zones, and key characteristics of the potential project.

Mr Bryce explained that pumped hydro energy storage has the potential to generate rapid response, flexible power for delivery into the NEM. “It’s a highly efficient form of large-scale energy storage that could help mitigate challenges that may come with the introduction of more renewables into the market.”

“Overlaying the outputs of this atlas with any new wind and solar development across the NEM could identify viable dispatchable renewable energy generation hubs with the potential to replace retiring thermal generation assets.”

Entura has completed the Technical Feasibility Study for Genex Power’s Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project in Queensland and is currently supporting pumped hydro project proponents in South Australia, as well as continuing to support the ‘Battery of the Nation’ program. The firm has also been involved in a number of wind, solar and hybrid renewables projects in Australia and internationally, supporting development, grid integration and connection studies.

Entura has worked with clients in more than 30 countries over the past few decades – including India, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Uganda – assisting with developing, operating and maintaining hydropower assets of all sizes.

Source: Entura

 

Flicking the switch on Australia’s largest private sector rooftop solar system

13 March

Sydney Markets today officially ‘flicked the switch’ on Australia’s largest private sector rooftop solar system on a single site.

The expansive system is made up of 8,594 solar panels, with a capacity of over 3 megawatts.

$8.9 million as well as 12 months of planning and construction was invested by Sydney Markets to make this solar system possible.

Sydney Markets CEO, Brad Latham, said this is the latest addition to Sydney Markets’ renowned sustainability programs.

“We are very proud of our environmental achievements - over the past 17 years Sydney Markets has been a leader in waste recycling achieving upwards of 70% recycling of all waste onsite, which not only benefits the environment but also saves our company over $1 million each year,” Brad said.

“This solar system will enable us to generate sustainable energy, as well as drastically reduce our carbon footprint. In order to extract the same amount of CO2 from the atmosphere 676 hectares of trees would need to be planted each year.”

The solar system will provide approximately 11% of Sydney Markets’ annual site power consumption. It is equivalent to powering 730 households each year.

Chairman of Sydney Markets, John Pearson, said although today’s launch marks a significant milestone, there is the capacity to go even further.

“Sydney Markets has additional roof capacity to more than triple the generation of this solar system. We may continue to build upon and expand this system to meet our future energy needs,” John said.

“We are committed to reducing waste, decreasing our carbon footprint and prioritising environmental conservation and sustainability.”

The solar system was today officially launched by Senator, The Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Federal Minister for International Development and the Pacific and The Hon Anthony Roberts MP, NSW Minister for Planning, Minister for Housing and Special Minister of State.

Source: Sydney Markets

 

$6m Commonwealth Bank debt financing

14 March

  • $2.1m for post-construction debt refinancing of the Garden Island Microgrid
  • $4m revolving debt facility to support R&D activities

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE) is pleased to advise that it has secured $2.1 million project financing from Commonwealth Bank Australia (CBA) for its Garden Island Microgrid Project, in addition to a $4 million revolving R&D facility.

The Garden Island Microgrid Project involves the construction and operation of a 2MW solar PV array, a 2MW/0.5MWh battery energy storage system and a control system. Construction of the project is complete apart from the final cabling and grid connection expected in coming months, to be followed by the delivery of power to the Australian Department of Defence under a long term power supply agreement.

The R&D facility, also provided by CBA, assists Carnegie with working capital primarily for the delivery of Carnegie’s Wave Energy commercialisation activities.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

Albany Wave Energy Project supplier briefing

The Albany Wave Energy Project (AWEP) is a demonstration Project designed to provide confidence that the CETO technology is technically and commercially viable. The successful completion of AWEP will enable Carnegie to finance a future expansion project at Albany and/or other commercial sites worldwide.

The project will design, build, operate and continuously monitor a single CETO 6M Unit and associated infrastructure which include foundations, export cable, onshore substation and grid connection. The Project will demonstrate the CETO technology is capable of providing safe, reliable and predictable power.

The Project will also deliver value to the industry and the State through a number of mechanisms including collaboration with the Wave Energy Research Centre (WERC), sharing of the site characteristics, which in part form the common user data (CUD) and the transfer of the common user infrastructure (CUI) to the State following the operational period of the Project.

As part of Carnegie's commitment to the use of Suppliers and Contractors local to our sites and operations wherever practicable, the company will hold a Supplier Information Session on Monday the 26th of March.

Local businesses with an interest in the project are invited to attend for a briefing, and a Q&A session with members of the Project Team.

Mon. 26 March 2018

9:30 am – 11:30 am AWST

UWA Function Room

Stirling Terrace

Albany, WA 6330

More information available at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/albany-wave-energy-project-supplier-briefing-tickets-43964511036?aff=es2

 

NEW PROJECTS

Sebastopol Solar Farm

Developer: ib vogt GmbH

Capacity: Up to 160 MW (DC)

Local Government Area: Junee/Temora

Estimated cost: $160mil

Description: Located approximately 17km south of the township of Temora in NSW. The solar farm site and transmission line route are on about 400 hectares of rural land currently used for agriculture. The proposal infrastructure includes solar arrays, trackers, modules, inverters, an on-site substation, battery storage and an overhead transmission line to connect to an existing 66 kV transmission line located to the west of the site.

Contact:

Jenny Walsh

Tel: 0406 908 995

Email: jenny.walsh@ibvogt.com

 

Quorn Park Solar Project

Developer: Renewable Energy Developments

Capacity: 160 MW

Local Government Area: Parkes

Description: The proposed solar farm development site is located approximately 8.5km north-west of Parkes and covers 470 ha owned by a single landowner. The project includes development of associated infrastructure, including a grid connection and battery storage facilities.

Contact:

Colin Liebmann

Director

Tel: (02) 9416 1001

Email: colin@reconsultancy.com.au

 

PROJECT UPDATE

Tailem Bend Solar Farm 2

Equis Energy submitted an application for consent to develop the Tailem Bend Solar Farm Stage 2 in South Australia. The application is “for consent to construct a solar farm (maximum capacity 100MW) comprising solar panels (maximum height 4.5m), provision for battery storage (maximum capacity 100MW), and ancillary infrastructure”. The application has been put on public notice by South Australia’s State Commission Assessment Panel until 9 April.

Moama Solar Farm

The development application for the Moama Solar Farm in the Murray River Council area in NSW will be assessed by the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel. The application is for a 28 MW AC solar photovoltaic electricity project with a capital investment value of approximately $30mil.

Springdale Solar Farm

A development application by Renew Estate Pty Ltd for the Springdale Solar Farm in Sutton, NSW will be assessed by the federal Department of the Environment & Energy. The project site is located approximately 3.5km north of the border with the ACT, and approximately 7 km north-west of the Sutton village in the Yass Valley Local Government Area. The solar farm includes solar generation equipment and associated infrastructure with a capacity of up to 120 MW of direct current and 100 MW of export capacity (alternating current).

 

Senvion Australia set to commence construction on 226 MW project

14 March

Senvion, a leading global manufacturer of wind turbines, has received Notice to Proceed for the first stage of the 429 MW Murra Warra wind farm near Horsham in Western Victoria. All conditions precedent have been fulfilled and the contract is now firm and in force. This announcement follows the signing of a Delivery Partnership Agreement for the project in June last year.

The first stage of the wind farm will have 61 of Senvion's 3.7M144 turbines with a total generating capacity of 226 megawatts. A consortium of large energy users led by Telstra has entered into long-term power purchase agreements which will cover the energy generated from the first stage of the wind farm. Senvion will deliver the wind farm with Downer, one of Australia's leading civil and electrical contractors. Early works for the Murra Warra Wind Farm have already begun and the project is expected to be fully operational by mid-2019. The construction of Murra Warra Stage 1 will create around 150 jobs as well as significant opportunities for businesses in the local area.

Raymond Gilfedder, CEO and Managing Director of Senvion Australia said: "We are excited to be delivering our first project for RES and Macquarie Capital in Australia. The Murra Warra wind farm will be our eleventh wind farm in Victoria, cementing Senvion's position as a trusted turbine supplier and wind farm operator in the State."

Matt Rebbeck, Chief Executive Officer of RES Australia said: "The Murra Warra wind farm is a fantastic project with a high level of community support. Senvion is a great delivery partner for us, because they are very committed to working with local businesses and people, and have an excellent history of effective community engagement in Victoria."

Stage 2 of the project will comprise an additional 55 turbines. When fully constructed, the Murra Warra Wind Farm will be one of the highest performing wind farms in the southern hemisphere. Including the first stage of the Murra Warra wind farm, Senvion now has over 900 megawatts of wind capacity installed or under construction across 14 wind farms in Australia.

Source: Senvion

 

Stand-alone power brings opportunities for WA companies

15 March

Energy Minister Ben Wyatt released the following media statement today to announce our second stand-alone power system trial:

  • Up to 60 stand-alone power systems to be installed in demonstration project
  • Regional locations have been selected throughout the Western Power network
  • Opportunities for WA companies to supply equipment, systems and maintenance during the trial period
  • Stand-alone power systems will be installed and operational in 2019

Energy Minister Ben Wyatt has given Western Power the green light to conduct a large demonstration for its stand-alone power systems (SPS) project within part of the South West Interconnected Network.

The project will involve up to 60 locations in regional areas and represents the largest installation of SPS units in the State. The project builds on the successful trial of the technology on six properties in the Great Southern completed in 2017.

With all of the identified customers engaged, Western Power is now about to commence its open tender procurement process for the demonstration project. This provides exciting opportunities for Western Australian companies to supply and install equipment and systems, with national and global interest expected.

The locations were identified based on the age and condition of assets, network topography and customer load usage profiles, plus the fact they are now due for significant maintenance works. The project will help identify optimal configuration of battery, renewable energy and diesel generation technology.

In parallel to Western Power’s SPS project, the Minister has also asked the Public Utilities Office to identify regulatory changes that will allow greater use of SPS as a low cost solution to poles and wires in delivering more reliable services in regional areas.

Information on the SPS demonstration project and the procurement opportunities for interested WA companies are available on this website.

“Delivering efficient, safe and reliable power to the rural and remote parts of Western Australia is challenging,” said Energy Minister Ben Wyatt.

“Long stretches of power lines are at the mercy of wind, rain, vegetation, lightning and bushfires. As a Government-owned utility, Western Power is actively seeking ways to improve reliability for all customers.

“The adoption of new and advanced technologies also opens the door for new skills across the energy sector and the potential for new jobs”.

Source: Western Power

 

World's most powerful battery to be built at Port Augusta

16 March

SIMEC ZEN Energy will construct the most powerful battery in the world at Port Augusta.

The 120MW/140MWh battery storage facility will be built with the assistance of a $10 million loan from the State Labor Government's Renewable Technology Fund.

Construction will begin later this year, with the project to create up to 100 jobs during construction and up to five ongoing positions.

The battery will support the new 200MW solar farm being built at the Whyalla Steelworks and will improve grid stability in South Australia.

The announcement of the SIMEC ZEN big battery follows Labor's commitment to increase South Australia's Renewable Energy Target to 75 per cent and introduce a new Renewable Storage Target of 25 per cent by 2025.

Background

The State Labor Government's $150 million Renewable Technology Fund has leveraged more than $1.2 billion in private investment and created almost 1000 jobs in South Australia.

ZEN Energy was established in Adelaide in 2004 and has since grown to become a leading renewable energy technology company with solar PV and energy storage as its core business.

SIMEC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the UK-based GFG Alliance, recently acquired a majority stake in ZEN. SIMEC ZEN Energy, the new joint venture, will work to improve energy security and reduce the cost of power for GFG Alliance and other energy intensive businesses in Australia.

Quotes attributable to Premier Jay Weatherill

Today's announcement is another example of how South Australia, under Labor, is leading the world in renewable energy.

As well as being the most powerful battery in the world, SIMEC ZEN Energy's storage facility will help underpin the long-term viability of the Whyalla steelworks, as well as provide additional benefits to the South Australian grid.

More renewable energy means cheaper power for South Australians. That's why a re-elected Labor Government will increase South Australia's Renewable Energy Target to 75 per cent and introduce a new Renewable Storage Target of 25 per cent.

These targets will accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables and lower bills for South Australians.

Quotes attributable to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis

Energy storage is the key to delivering cheaper power around-the-clock and we are now seeing a wave of private sector investment in energy storage flooding into South Australia.

These companies are choosing to invest here because of the world-class renewable resources we have and because our energy plan is sending a clear signal to the market that renewable energy investment is welcome in South Australia.

Source: SA Labor Party

 

PROJECT BRIEFS

The NSW Independent Planning Commission advised that the State significant development application for the Jupiter Wind Farm Project was formally withdrawn by the applicant EPYC Pty Ltd by letter dated 15 March 2018. The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) referred the Jupiter Wind Farm project to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) for determination on 23 February 2018. The Commission is still assessing the proposed Bango Wind Farm.

Terrain Solar’s proposed Corowa Solar Farm development application has been referred to the NSW Western Joint Regional Planning Panel. The application within Federation Council is for construction and operation of a 97 MW (AC) PV solar farm and associated infrastructure, including grid connection and site access.

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