Octopus Investments and Edify Energy finance new $450 million solar farm

14 January

Europe’s most experienced solar investor Octopus Investments and leading Australian renewable energy company Edify Energy have arranged more than $450 million to finance what is set to be Australia’s largest solar power station at Darlington Point, near Griffith in New South Wales.

Construction of the 333MW DC (275MW AC) Darlington Point Solar Farm will commence shortly. Once operational it will generate 685,000 MWh of renewable energy each year – enough to power around 115,000 homes. Generation is expected to start in early 2020.

The project will create nearly 400 direct onsite peak jobs and other opportunities for surrounding communities. It has a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Delta Electricity for approximately 55 per cent of output.

Darlington Point is Octopus Investments’ first deal since entering the Australian market in 2018. Managing Director Sam Reynolds said the project exemplified the firm’s investment strategy and was a good fit in Octopus’ global portfolio of renewable energy assets.

“Octopus has considerable international experience in onshore renewables investment and management and we’re applying that expertise to bring high quality projects like Darlington Point Solar Farm online in Australia,” he said.

“Projects need to stack up economically, not just environmentally, for our investors. Darlington Point ticked the right boxes for us – there’s excellent solar resources in the region, plus it’s right next door to a major existing transmission substation and the site has development approval to accommodate batteries in the future.

Bringing projects like this to life shows how the solar industry has come of age in Australia as a mainstream choice for investors, retailers and consumers of energy.”

Market leading renewable energy and storage company Edify Energy developed and structured the Darlington Point Solar Farm and are retaining an equity stake in the project. Edify will work with Octopus through construction and will undertake the long-term asset management service for the solar farm through operations.

Edify Energy, Chief Executive, John Cole said “we are excited to add the largest solar farm in Australia to our portfolio of developed, financed and operational projects. Delivering a portfolio of energy and battery storage projects that will power over 280,000 Australian homes is something we are proud of. Edify continues to look for opportunities to expand the capacity of renewable energy in Australia’s energy market and this project is a great step forward for the provision of clean green electricity for Australian energy consumers.

Projects such as the Darlington Point Solar Farm demonstrate the expanding momentum of renewable energy projects and the vital role they have to play in Australia. The PPA with Delta Electricity evidences solar working together with coal in NSW and the growing place of renewable energy in the Australian electricity market. We look forward to working with other consumers of green electricity with respect to contracting the balance of the solar farm.”

NSW Minister for Energy, Don Harwin says it’s great news for the State.

“In NSW we are heading to a cleaner energy future and this project represents yet another significant increase in our energy capacity while contributing to lower emissions” said Mr Harwin.

“We now have a $26 billion pipeline of renewable energy projects in NSW and huge interest in further investment across solar, wind and pumped hydro projects.

Signal Energy Australia has been awarded the EPC Contract for the project in a joint-venture with Canadian Solar, which will perform the O&M role. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac will jointly provide debt to the project.

Source: Octopus Investments

Mannum Solar Farm – acquisition by Canadian Solar

14 January

Tetris Energy is pleased to announce that Canadian Solar has acquired its 30MW Mannum Solar Farm in South Australia. Following the acquisition of the project by Canadian Solar, the first 5MW stage will commence construction in January with the second 25MW stage to follow later in 2019. The project is located adjacent to the Mannum 33/132kV substation which connects to the SA Power Network feeders that are servicing the main Mannum to Adelaide SA Water pumps and pipeline. A connection agreement has been entered into with SA Power Networks.

Revenues for the first phase will be supported by a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Flow Power and a separate LGC agreement. The Mid-Murray region is home to several intensive agricultural businesses, which include large-scale dairy, a piggery, and vegetable cool rooms. Flow Power has existing supply arrangements in place with some of these customers, including leading wine producer Pernod Ricard Winemakers, which last year announced it would enter into a PPA with Flow Power as part of its commitment to source 100% renewable energy. Flow Power will look to expand its competitive retail offering on the back of the Mannum Solar Farm PPA.

Matthew van der Linden, managing director of Flow Power, comments: “We’re pleased to be working alongside Tetris Energy and Canadian Solar to deliver more effective, low-cost and renewable energy solutions to businesses in the Mid-Murray region and beyond.” Helen Strachan, Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, said: “This is another exciting development for our business as we move towards our 100% renewable electricity goal, and for the broader industry providing cost effective renewable energy solutions. “We are proud to be leaders in defining the future of sustainable business in a rapidly changing environment.”

Canadian Solar is a global leader in Solar PV and will be working with Tetris to bring both projects to fruition.

Tetris Energy is pleased to reach this exciting milestone for their first renewable energy project in South Australia and look forward to building out their South Australian renewable energy and social infrastructure pipeline over the course of 2019.

Source: Tetris Energy

Dr John Hewson appointed as Chair of Bioenergy Australia to drive government support for Australia's future Bioeconomy

15 January

The Bioenergy Australia board appointed Dr John Hewson as a Director and on 9 January 2019 has elected Dr John Hewson as new Chair, replacing outgoing chair Clean Energy Finance Corporations Chief Investment Officer Paul McCartney whose term as chair concluded.

Dr John Hewson is one of Australia's most experienced economists, financial experts and company directors. He is also a former politician and was Leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1990 to 1994.

“Dr Hewson's commitment to and passion for renewable energy, his in-depth understanding and connection to the bioenergy sector and his commitment to driving opportunities for innovation and growth for Australia position him as a fantastic leader for Bioenergy Australia in 2019. Dr Hewson is widely respected on both sides of the political agenda and his reputation and approach will be a fantastic asset to the organisation and the industry. It is a pivotal time for the development of a Bio economy for Australia, and I would like to thank the outgoing Chair Paul McCartney who, along with the Board has driven significant change and innovation for the organisation and has been critical in repositioning the organisation for the future” states Shahana McKenzie, CEO, Bioenergy Australia.

The findings in a report recently published by KPMG, Bioenergy State of the Nation Report, have outlined that Australia is mostly ignoring an energy investment opportunity of as much as $5 billion in urban, agricultural and forest waste that would stimulate regional economies, improve fuel security and reduce emissions.

“An overlooked and very important consequence of the "climate wars" of the last couple of decades has been the lack of policy of governments to develop a comprehensive National Waste and Bio-Energy Strategy. This is particularly hard to understand and accept given our national addiction to the barbaric environmental practice of land filling, the lack of a fuel security strategy, the failure of both State and Federal governments to design and implement effective regional policies, and the availability of a host of proven and commercial technology solutions. Short-term politics has again served to only squander significant growth and employment opportunities”.

“I look forward to supporting Bioenergy Australia’s efforts to educate and advocate for change in the bioenergy space to get more projects off the ground and the political support to drive national policies to support investment, employment and growth” states Dr Hewson, Chair, Bioenergy Australia.

The Bioenergy Australia Board is now made up of John Hewson (Chair), Heather Bone (Deputy Chair), Paul McCartney, Paul Hetherington, Amy Philbrook, Ian O’Hara, and Bernadette McCabe.

More information on John;

John Hewson entered politics in 1987 as the Member for Wentworth and became Shadow Minister for Finance then Shadow Treasurer before being elected the 24th Leader of the Opposition in 1990, a position he held until May 1994. Previously he had been advisor to two successive Federal Treasurers and the Prime Minister. He left politics in 1995.

In his earlier career, Dr Hewson's appointments included economist positions with the International Monetary Fund and the Reserve Bank of Australia, Head of the School of Economics at the University of New South Wales, adviser to Sumitomo Bank and as one of the Founders and Member Executive Committee Macquarie Bank.

He has held professorial posts at University of NSW, Macquarie (as Dean of MGSM), and is presently a Professor, and Chair, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute in the Crawford School, ANU and an adjunct at 5 other universities.

He also held some 30 major economic and financial consultancies to financial institutions and various industry organisations and associations including Bank of America, The Midland Bank, The Australian Bank, FW Holst & Co., OCBC and Australian Merchant Bankers Association.

Dr Hewson has been a climate activist since the late 80s, and took a significant climate commitment as part of his Fightback package to the ’93 election. He Chaired the National Business Leaders Forum for Sustainable Development for some 6 years, that brought former Vice president Al Gore to Australia in 2003, and also Chaired for some 10 years the Asset Owners Disclosure Project that surveyed, rated and ranked the world’s top 500 asset owners on their management of climate risk. He is currently Chair of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, and a Patron of the Smart Energy Council.

Dr Hewson has also been involved with a range bio-energy projects (in Australia and offshore) ranging from household garbage recycling and several waste to energy projects – electricity, biodiesel and ethanol, as well as several solar, thermal storage, and energy efficiency projects.

In 2001 Dr Hewson was awarded a Member in the Order of Australia - For service to business and economics, to the Australian Parliament and politics, and to the community.

Dr Hewson speaks and lectures widely and as a regular economics, business, and political commentator on radio and TV, as a SKY Contributor, and by way of his regular columns in the Fairfax media.

Dr Hewson is also a strong supporter of the Not for Profit sector – having served  as President of the Arthritis Foundation of Australia, the Positive Ageing Foundation, The Leadership Foundation, as Director Sir Roland Wilson Foundation, and presently Chairman of Osteoporosis Australia and KidsXpress, amongst others.

Source: Bioenergy Australia


Yoogali Solar Farm

Location: Yoogali, central NSW

Capacity: 15 MW

Developer: IT Power Australia Pty Ltd

LGA: Griffith City Council

Estimated cost: $29mil

Description: The project site is located on Bob Irvine Road and Irrigation Way Yoogali, and is a 45ha site currently used for agriculture. The solar farm will comprise 51,408 solar modules installed in 612 rows, each being 42.5m long and 4m wide in north-south orientation, with 7m spacing between rows. A development application was lodged on 19 December 2018, and will now be assessed by the Western Regional Planning Panel.

Contact: Simon Franklin

Managing Director

IT Power Australia Pty Ltd

Tel: (02) 6257 3511

Email: info@itpau.com.au


Dundonnell Wind Farm

Tilt Renewables said construction of its $560 million Dundonnell Wind Farm is scheduled to begin by the end of this week with construction teams ready to start. Construction of the 336 MW project is scheduled to take about 22 months and will create 200 direct jobs, with 10 ongoing positions once operational. The project will incorporate 80 turbines with a blade height of 189 metres, with 33kV underground cables between the turbines and 38km of 220kV overhead transmission line and a new substation. There are 12 landholders over about 4500 hectares across the total project site.

Creating jobs, delivering election commitment: massive boost for NT renewables

15 January

The Northern Territory is set to be powered by 10 per cent renewable energy before the end of the year, thanks to a new, $43 million solar project announced by the Territory Labor Government today.

Australian renewables developer Tetris Energy will soon advance to construction on two 10MW solar farms at Batchelor and Manton Dam, which will generate enough energy to power 5000 homes when completed in the second half of 2019.

The project, in combination with the previously announced 25MW Katherine Solar Farm, will catapult the share of renewable energy use in the NT’s major centres from the current 3 per cent to 10 per cent.

The Territory Labor Government has set a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Up to 70 local jobs will be supported during the construction phase of the project, scheduled to last from March until September.

Jacana Energy and NT Solar Investments have entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the electricity and renewable energy certificates generated by the two farms.

Quotes attributable to Chief Minister, Michael Gunner.

“The Territory Labor Government’s number one priority is jobs for Territorians.

“We are delivering our election promise of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and that will create local jobs, and cheaper, cleaner, more reliable power, which benefits all Territorians.”

“We have kept our promise to stabilise power prices after massive hikes under the CLP and by delivering cheaper and cleaner electricity, we will put downward pressure on electricity costs.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Renewables and Essential Services, Dale Wakefield.

“This private sector investment by Tetris Energy will take us to 10 per cent renewable energy by the end of the year, which is a huge step towards our renewable energy target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

“The Territory Labor Government knows the NT can be the solar capital of Australia. That’s why we have invested in a $59 million joint investment with ARENA for the Solar SETuP program providing 10MW of solar across 25 remote communities, $5 million into our Rooftop Solar in Schools program, $8.3 million in the 5MW Alice Springs Battery Energy Storage System and $4.5 million in our smart energy grants scheme.

“With the Katherine Solar Farm and these projects announced today, that’s over $150M in renewables investment by the Territory Labor Government.”

Quotes from Frank Boland, Director, Tetris Energy

“Tetris Energy welcomes the opportunity to enter into the Power Purchase Agreement to sell electricity to Jacana Energy from the Manton Dam and Batchelor Solar Farms. This will be an important enabler in moving towards construction at the end of the wet season.

“Jacana Energy customers located all over the Darwin-Katherine network will receive the benefits of clean renewable electricity. By using the latest in single axis tracking Solar PV technology, it will allow the plants to generate more power in the mornings and evenings.

“The Northern Territory has enormous opportunity for renewable energy and Tetris Energy is excited to be a part of the Territory Government’s initiatives to enable this private sector investment in new renewable energy projects. We expect there to be an opportunity of around 70 local jobs during the construction of these two projects and ongoing local roles for service and maintenance.

“Tetris Energy has collaborated with Infigen Energy to advance the development of the Manton Dam and Batchelor Solar Projects.”

Source: NT Government

Bringing more solar to SA

16 January

We’re excited to be working with Tetris Energy and Canadian Solar to expand our solar offering in South Australia.

The 30MW Mannum Solar Farm, located in the South Australian town of the same name, will join Flow Power’s ever-growing portfolio of renewable generation and expand its offering to South Australian businesses.

In agreement with developer Tetris Energy and new owner Canadian Solar, Flow Power will contract a percentage of the generation from Mannum Solar Farm to drive our Corporate Renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Included in the deal is a separate LGC agreement, which will also support our Corporate Renewable PPAs.

The Mid-Murray region is home to several intensive agricultural businesses, including a large-scale dairy, a piggery and vegetable cool rooms. Our offtake agreement with Mannum Solar Farm will help to power these local businesses, giving them greater access to long-term and cost-effective renewable energy solutions.

Pernod Ricard Winemakers, which signed onto a Corporate Renewable PPA with Flow Power last November, will be one of the first businesses to benefit from this agreement. Solar generation, delivered by Mannum Solar Farm, will support the winemaker’s ambitious commitment to source 100% renewable generation by mid-2019.

This latest offtake agreement demonstrates the growing appetite for PPAs in both the South Australian and broader national market.

Matthew van der Linden, Managing Director of Flow Power comments: “We’re pleased to be working alongside Tetris Energy and Canadian Solar to deliver ­more effective, low-cost and renewable energy solutions to businesses in the Mid-Murray region and beyond.”

Helen Strachan, Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, says: “This is another exciting development for our business as we move towards our 100% renewable electricity goal, and for the broader industry providing cost effective renewable energy solutions.

“We are proud to be leaders in defining the future of sustainable business in a rapidly changing environment.”

Source: Flow Power

Grid scale ESCRI battery charges up in South Australia

16 January

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced the official completion of a 30 MW / 8 MWh grid-scale battery at the Dalrymple substation on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA provided $12 million in funding towards the construction of the $30 million Energy Storage for Commercial Renewable Integration (ESCRI) project.

After construction was completed in April 2018, ESCRI has been commissioned and tested and is now live and connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM), making important contributions to energy security and reliability in South Australia.

Transmission provider ElectraNet developed and owns the ESCRI battery, which was built next to, and connected to their Dalrymple substation.

AGL will operate the battery under a long term lease agreement.

ARENA Acting CEO Nicola Morris said ESCRI will complement South Australia’s other batteries and reinforce Australia’s role as a leader in large-scale battery technology.

“We’re excited to see that the completion of the ESCRI battery has already helped inform the development of further battery projects around Australia,” she said.

“The ESCRI battery will provide storage to support renewable generation and will provide  fast frequency response to stabilise the grid.

“The battery will also work with the 90 MW Wattle Point Wind Farm, and local rooftop solar, to provide contingency power to the households and businesses on the Yorke Peninsula if a power outage occurs.

“It is clear that grid scale energy storage has a role to play our future energy mix. ESCRI demonstrates that utility scale batteries can deliver a range of market services and back up power when it is needed,” Ms Morris said.

ARENA has funded four grid-scale batteries, including two batteries recently commissioned in Western Victoria and Infigen’s Lake Bonney battery currently under construction in South Australia.

ElectraNet Chief Executive, Steve Masters, said the new battery is the first large-scale battery in the NEM to provide both regulated network services and competitive market services to maximise value from its operation. Services include supplying back up power to Yorke Peninsula customers in the event of an unplanned outage.

“On average, it can provide backup power to 4500 customers in the Dalrymple service area for 2-3 hours while connection to the grid is being restored,” Mr Masters said.

Source: ARENA

Sunseap invests in Australia’s leading commercial solar company Todae Solar

16 January

Sunseap Group, Southeast Asia’s leading sustainable energy provider, has acquired a minority stake in Todae Solar, one of Australia’s largest solar commercial and industrial engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies.

The strategic partnership will provide further growth opportunities for both companies to deliver larger and more complex projects in Australia. Sunseap will be able to leverage on Todae Solar’s expertise in solar EPC and construction management while Todae Solar will tap Sunseap’s expertise and track record in providing power purchase agreement solutions, project financing, operations and maintenance.

Mr Lawrence Wu, Co-Founder and President of Sunseap Group, said: “This is Sunseap’s first investment in Australia’s commercial solar market and we are excited to enter into this partnership with Todae Solar, a leading player in the industry.

“We believe that this is a timely move as the outlook for solar photovoltaics in Australia is bullish and the market is growing fast. Through this partnership, we will be able to tap Todae Solar’s extensive network of commercial clients to build a solar portfolio in the country.”

Mr Danin Kahn, CEO of Todae Solar, said: “We are delighted to work with Sunseap, a leading solar energy company in the Asia Pacific Region. This collaboration will create synergies for both companies and improve the robustness of our businesses.

“We will use this opportunity to further enhance our position as Australia’s leading commercial installer as we build and strengthen our brand, and accelerate our growth. This partnership will also help expand our reach in Australia through Sunseap’s Asian clients operating in Australia.”

Mr Kahn added that despite the synergies of working together, Sunseap’s investment will not affect business as usual operations including existing (or future) partners or suppliers.

Mr Claude Von Arx, Director of Sunseap’s Australian Operations, said: “We are incredibly excited about the opportunities this new partnership will bring for both firms, and importantly, to our regional customer base in 2019 and beyond. The strategic alignment, and the subsequent complimentary synergies throughout the teams, present a genuine opportunity to consolidate our respective positions in the marketplace.”

Sunseap is one of the largest and most established players in the solar energy industry in the region. It has a pipeline of projects in Cambodia, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, including a 168-megawatt peak (MWp) solar farm in Vietnam, the largest in the country, a 62 MWp utility scale farm in the Philippines and a 10 MWp utility scale farm in Cambodia. In Singapore, it is the largest owner of solar rooftop systems, with more than 163 MWp of contracted capacity.

Todae Solar is the leading commercial and industrial EPC player with a 15-year track record of business continuity and project quality. It has installed solar power in thousands of locations across Australia including over 75-megawatt of combined solar energy for various businesses in the country.

Source: Sunseap Group

Signal Energy Australia to build 333MW Darlington Point Solar Plant in New South Wales

16 January

New project is to be Signal’s largest Australian solar project to date

Signal Energy Australia, Pty Ltd, the Australian subsidiary of Signal Energy, LLC, has been selected by Edify Energy and Octopus Investments to build the 333MWdc/275MWac Darlington Point Solar Plant in western New South Wales, Australia.

Signal Energy, LLC is a leading design/build general contractor providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services to the renewable energy industry. This is Signal’s second project in Australia, and when completed, it will be the largest solar project in the country, producing enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 115,000 NSW homes and displacing more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This will also be Signal Energy Australia’s second partnership with Canadian Solar, Inc. who will supply the solar modules for the project.

“We are extremely pleased that Edify Energy and Octopus Investments selected us to construct the Darlington Point project,” said Greg Pawson, President of Signal Energy, “Edify’s track record of success in Australia, collaboration, and focus on quality makes them an ideal customer to work with. Octopus brings a wealth of solar investment experience from Europe and we look forward to building our relationship with them.”

Construction starts in March 2019 and will be complete in 2020.  The solar plant will be built on approximately 2,000 acres near Darlington Point, New South Wales, Australia. Over 820,000 of Canadian Solar’s 1500V high efficiency HiKu (CS3W-P) will be installed on single-axis tracking systems.

Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar, said, “We are delighted to be selected by Edify Energy and Octopus Investments to provide EPC services together with Signal Energy and to supply our high efficiency and industry-leading 1500V and 400W multi-crystalline solar modules to this large-scale solar power plant. Our work with Darlington Point Solar Farm further demonstrates our strengths as a systems solutions provider with global experience. We are committed to work closely with local Australian communities in creating new jobs and to provide customers in Australia with affordable and reliable solar energy.”

Source: Signal Energy


Susan River Solar Farm

The official opening of Elliott Green Power Australia’s Susan River Solar Farm at Susan River in Queensland will occur on 5 February. The Susan River Solar Farm is the first of Elliott Green Power’s three solar farms to complete construction. The nearby Childers Solar Farm is nearing completion and the Nevertire Solar Farm, located near Warren in north-west New South Wales, has started construction. The three projects will deliver a combined 300 megawatts (MW) or 570 GWh of green power per year, which is enough electricity to power the equivalent of around 80,000 homes across south-east Queensland and north-west New South Wales.

Council now powered by 100 per cent renewable energy

17 January

Fourteen members of Melbourne’s leading universities, cultural institutions, corporations and councils combined their purchasing power to support the construction of the 80 MW wind farm at Crowlands, near Ararat.

City of Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said Pacific Hydro has installed 25 of the 39 turbines required and energy has begun flowing into the power grid.

"Making the move to 100 per cent renewable energy is the ultimate New Year's resolution. Every light on our streets, every treadmill in our gyms and every barbecue in our parks is now powered by renewable energy," the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

"We are immensely proud to be the first Australian capital city council powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. We were also the first group in this country to implement a renewable energy power purchasing agreement.

"We have led the nation in responding to climate change, securing a sustainable energy supply for the future and have shown a great example of how a major city with a $92 billion economy can influence positive outcomes in our regional towns."

The project created more than 140 regional jobs during construction as well as eight ongoing maintenance jobs. Other benefits to the local community include Pacific Hydro's ongoing installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic system and storage battery for the Crowlands town hall, making it one of regional Australia's few sun powered halls.

Construction of the Crowlands wind farm is continuing with the remaining turbines to be progressively commissioned over coming months. The project is expected to be fully completed in May.

"Leading by example, we will expand the ground-breaking project to facilitate power purchase agreements for businesses across the city," the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

"This will continue to generate investment in new renewable energy which is the cheapest cost for new build electricity generation. So it's good for the environment, great for the economy with new jobs and really good for the hip pocket to manage energy costs into the future."

Source: City of Melbourne

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