First Solar secures finance for NSW project

11 May

FS NSW Project No 1 Finco Pty Ltd, a limited liability project financing company organized and existing under the laws of Australia and an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of First Solar, Inc., entered into a term loan agreement with MUFG Bank, Ltd.; Société Générale, Hong Kong Branch; and Mizuho Bank, Ltd. (the “Credit Facility”). The Credit Facility provides for aggregate borrowings of up to AUD 151.0 million ($113 million) and has been entered into for the development and construction of a photovoltaic power plant of up to 87 MWAC located in New South Wales, Australia.

The Credit Facility consists of an AUD 140.0 million ($105 million) construction loan facility, an AUD 7.0 million ($5 million) goods and service tax facility (“GST facility”) to fund certain taxes associated with the construction of the project, and an AUD 4.0 million ($3 million) letter of credit facility. The construction loan facility bears interest at 1-month Bank Bill Swap Bid Rate (“BBSY”) plus 1.55%, the GST facility bears interest at 1-month BBSY plus 1.00%, and the letter of credit facility bears interest at 1.10%. Interest on the construction loan facility and the GST facility is payable monthly, and interest on the letter of credit facility is payable quarterly. Upon completion of the project’s construction, the construction loan facility will convert to a term loan facility, which bears interest at 3-month BBSY plus 1.45%, payable quarterly. The term loan facility matures in May 2023, and the GST facility matures in May 2020. The Credit Facility is secured by pledges of the borrower’s assets, accounts, material project documents, and by the equity interests in the entity.

The Credit Facility contains customary representations and warranties, covenants, and events of default for comparable construction loan facilities in Australia.

Source: First Solar

NOTE: First Solar is developing the 87 MW Beryl Solar Farm in NSW.

 

Downer awarded Beryl Solar Farm contract

14 May

Downer EDI Limited (Downer) announced today it had been awarded an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract worth approximately $150 million by First Solar for the 87MWac Beryl Solar Farm located about five kilometres west of Gulgong, New South Wales (NSW).

“Large scale projects are critical to our regional communities and we are looking forward to partnering with First Solar to deliver the Beryl Solar Farm that will see significant economic and environmental benefits in regional New South Wales,” said Grant Fenn, the Chief Executive Officer of Downer.

“This includes direct and indirect job creation, support for local businesses, and the development of skills in a growing renewable sector.”

First Solar’s Vice President of Asia Pacific, Steven Jackson congratulated Downer on the award.

“We look forward to working with Downer to successfully deliver the project. The Beryl Solar Farm will be one of the first large scale renewable projects to use First Solar’s Series 6 thin film photovoltaic modules. Series 6 modules deliver more watts per connection than crystalline silicon modules. This enables Downer to realise construction cost savings while maximising the energy production for the project site, resulting in a lower levelised cost of energy.”

When in operation, the Beryl Solar Farm will see electricity generated with no water use, no air emissions, and no waste production, with the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology available.

When completed, the 260,000 advanced solar modules on the Beryl Solar Farm will produce energy to run approximately 25,000 average NSW homes, displacing more than 167,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Notice to proceed has been issued to Downer under the EPC contract and construction is scheduled to take approximately 12 months.

Source: Downer Group

 

PROJECT NEWS

Narrabri South Solar Farm

EIS for Canadian Solar’s proposed $80mil, 60 MW Narrabri South Solar Farm placed on exhibition until 15 June. The project is effectively split into two “solar fields” (north and south fields) to protect existing native vegetation centrally located on the site. The project will comprise approximately 200,000 solar PV modules (Canadian Solar panels) on rows of single axis trackers. The development footprint will cover approximately 152 hectares on farmland currently used for crop raising and grazing purposes, located 10 km to the southeast of Narrabri township. It is proposed to connect the site to the 66kV Essential Energy approximately 520m to the south of the site.

Contact: Yu Chan

Senior Project Manager

Canadian Solar

Tel: (03) 8609 1844

Email: yu.chan@canadiansolar.com

 

Pollution jumps as Australia buries its head in the sand

14 May

Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution levels have jumped yet again, with the latest national government data released just days after climate change was forgotten in the Federal Budget.

Climate Council Acting CEO Dr Martin Rice said the Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory released overnight shows an increase of 1.5% in greenhouse pollution levels over the last year (December 2017).

“This is now the third consecutive year Australia has seen an increase in greenhouse gas pollution levels. Yet, the Federal Government continues to bury its head in the sand, despite the climate siren sounding for years,” he said.

“This increase in emissions comes just days after the Federal Government failed to introduce any funding measures to tackle intensifying climate change in the 2018 Budget.”

“Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the developed world, with worsening extreme weather events including severe heatwaves, supercharged storms, heavy rainfall, flooding, droughts and bushfires.”

“In fact, just this week we have seen Tasmania hit with extreme rainfall and flooding, with rainfall records smashed in the city of Hobart over a 24 hour period.”

Dr Rice said Australia was at serious risk of further cementing its reputation as a ‘global climate laggard’ following the release of the new data.

“As nations such as New Zealand continue to show true climate leadership, Australia’s recent track record should serve as an embarrassment,” he said.

“The solution is here. Australia must demand credible climate and energy policy that embraces our renewables boom, while transitioning away from ageing, polluting and inefficient fossil fuels.

“The window of opportunity to tackle climate change is rapidly closing and Australia must do its fair share instead of looking the other way, all while our greenhouse gas pollution levels rise year after year.”

Source: Climate Council

 

Mercury acquires stake in Tilt Renewables Limited

14 May

Mercury NZ Limited has reached agreement with the Tauranga Electricity Consumer Trust (TECT) to acquire a 19.99% stake in Tilt Renewables Limited (Tilt).

Mercury and TECT have agreed a total purchase price of $143,895,594.60 or $2.30 per share, payable in cash. Tilt is a listed company on the NZX and the ASX with ticker code TLT on both exchanges.

Mercury has also secured an option to acquire the remaining approximately 6.81% of Tilt shares held by TECT at $2.30 per share, payable in cash. The option is valid for six months. Any exercise of the option must be compliant with the New Zealand Takeovers Code.

Mercury Chief Executive Fraser Whineray said Tilt is an established business operating power plants in a growing renewables market, with a quality development pipeline, good governance, and a strong management team with a proven track record.

“Tilt has established a robust portfolio of operating wind farms in both Australia and New Zealand, as well as consented renewable generation projects which it can bring to market when conditions are right.”

For Mercury shareholders, this transaction is aligned with our signalled strategy for economic growth, and follows the exploration of other opportunities related to the electricity sector in Australia.

“The investment will allow Mercury to meaningfully participate in Australia’s accelerating transition to renewable energy sources,” Mr Whineray said.

The investment may provide further opportunities for Mercury to deploy funds to capitalise on Tilt’s established Australian position as projects are developed.

“Together with its other shareholders, we look forward to being part of Tilt’s contribution to growing renewable electricity generation,” he said.

Source: Mercury NZ

 

PROJECT NEWS

Silverton Wind Farm

First of GE Renewables’ 3.4MW 130 turbines successfully commissioned and feeding into the grid at AGL Energy's Silverton Wind Farm near Broken Hill in western NSW. 58 turbines will be installed in the first phase, with up to 172 turbines planned in total.

 

New Report: Renewables takin’ care of Aussie business

14 May

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Australian businesses are jumping on board the renewables boom, with almost half of the nation's major companies making the switch to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy, in a bid to take control of their power bills and tackle intensifying climate change, according to a new Climate Council report.

The ‘Renewables & Business: Cutting Prices & Pollution’ report shows that the number of Australian businesses installing solar power increased by 60% over 2016 and 2017, while total business solar capacity has more than doubled since 2016.

Climate Councillor and energy expert Greg Bourne said electricity prices for small business owners had skyrocketed by almost 90% in less than 10 years, while gas prices had tripled in half that time.

“This report shows that the rising cost of energy is the number one concern for Australian businesses over the next decade, so it’s no surprise that a variety of businesses from bakeries to breweries, and tech agencies to chilli and chicken farms, are all turning to affordable renewable energy and storage solutions,” he said.

“These businesses are actively investing in renewable energy in a bid to cut costs and take control of their power bills, while also playing a crucial role in transitioning the nation away from ageing, polluting and unreliable fossil fuels.”

“This is a world-wide transition, with businesses around the globe taking advantage of the investment opportunities associated with renewable energy, with 131 of the world’s largest companies on their way to being powered by 100% renewables.”

Key Findings Include:

- Electricity prices for residential and small businesses in Australia have increased between 80%-90% in just one decade. 


- Australian gas prices have tripled over the past five years. 


- Australia is experiencing a boom in renewable energy with over 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy projects under construction in 2018.


- Business installations of solar have increased by 60% over 2016 and 2017, with over 40,000 commercial solar systems now installed in Australia.


-  46% of major Australian companies say they are actively procuring renewable energy.


-  80% of Australians believe big business should be using renewable energy.


-  131 of the world’s largest companies plan to be 100% powered by renewable energy.


Climate Council Energy and Climate Solutions Analyst Petra Stock said businesses were naturally transitioning to renewable energy and battery storage, with wind and solar now the cheapest forms of new-build energy generation, far cheaper than a new coal power station.

“This transition is good for the pockets of business owners and good for our climate, it really is a win-win.”

“This report showcases a range of Aussie businesses who are benefiting from making the switch to solar and wind, including eight New South Wales chicken farms that are saving an astonishing $2,000 a day,” said Stock.

“It simply makes good economic sense for businesses to make the switch to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and battery storage. Renewables are taking care of Aussie businesses facing high electricity prices.”

“Despite the renewables rush, the Federal Government is still lagging behind. The proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG), in its current form, is woefully inadequate when it comes to tackling climate change, and also places Australia’s business and renewables boom at risk of grinding to a halt.”

Source: Climate Council

 

Large-scale solar shines in Queensland during record year 

15 May

Queensland is leading the national charge towards a record year for the large-scale solar industry, Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said today in launching the 2018 Large-scale Solar Industry Forum in Brisbane.

Mr Thornton said 20 projects were actively under construction, would soon start or had already been completed in the Sunshine State during 2018, and the flow-on benefits were helping regional communities in solar hotspots such as North Queensland and the Darling Downs.

“Across the country, projects which are under construction, completed or have secured financial commitment add up to $5 billion in investment, with Queensland investments contributing more than half – 52 per cent, or $2.6 billion. All up, large-scale solar activity in the state adds up to almost 2670 direct jobs and 1400 MW of new clean energy,” Mr Thornton said.

“The technology in the solar industry is forever evolving and maturing, and events like the Large-scale Solar Industry Forum allow industry professionals across all levels to network and discuss issues and celebrate achievements for the industry.”

The current boom in activity is something that will be a key topic of discussion at the Large-scale Solar Industry Forum today. The sold-out event brings together 450 solar technical professionals from across the country to learn from experts in the field.  

Mr Thornton said the dramatically falling cost of large-scale solar power this decade had sparked a huge amount of interest in the sector from construction companies and major financiers.

“Large-scale solar has gone from an emerging technology in Australia at the beginning of the decade to a genuinely game-changing form of power that is cheaper than new coal or gas. It has exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic predictions,” he said.

“Along with the national Renewable Energy Target, support from the Queensland Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has helped to make this one of the lowest-cost options we have for electricity today.”

The full program and speaker list for the Large-scale Solar Industry Forum can be found on the Clean Energy Council website. A full national list of renewable energy projects under construction, completed or starting in 2018 is also available online.

The Clean Energy Council would like to thank our major sponsor LONGi Solar for its ongoing support of the Large-scale Solar Industry Forum.

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

Pacific Hydro secures financing for Crowlands Wind Farm

15 May

Pacific Hydro has reached financial close on $80M of non-recourse project financing for its 80MW Crowlands Wind Farm near Ararat in Victoria. Finance was provided by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank Limited.

Pacific Hydro CFO Robert Spurr said of the transaction: “We are pleased to secure financing for such an important and innovative project that has been supported by so many committed stakeholders. We look forward to working further with our financiers, contractors, advisers and the local Crowlands community to successfully deliver clean energy to the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) partners in 2018.”

The Crowlands Wind Farm, approximately 25km north east of Ararat in central Victoria, will comprise 39 Senvion wind turbines. Approximately 140 jobs will be created during construction with 10 permanent positions established during operations. Construction of the project is underway with completion anticipated in mid-2019.

Power will be supplied by Pacific Hydro’s retail arm, Tango Energy. A significant portion of the energy and Large Scale Certificates (LGCs) generated from the project will be sold to the MREP group.

Led by the City of Melbourne, MREP is a 14-member buying group of local governments, cultural institutions, universities and corporations that have joined together to facilitate the construction of a new renewable energy facility. In addition to the City of Melbourne, the group includes Australia Post, Bank Australia, City of Port Phillip, City of Yarra, Citywide, Federation Square, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Moreland City Council, National Australia Bank, NEXTDC, RMIT, University of Melbourne, and Zoos Victoria.

Planum Partners acted as financial adviser to Pacific Hydro; King Wood Mallesons was the legal counsel to Pacific Hydro; and Gilbert + Tobin acted as legal counsel for the financiers.

Founded in Australia in 1992, Pacific Hydro is a global renewable energy owner, operator and developer. It operates a high quality, diversified portfolio with an installed capacity of ~850 MW across Chile, Australia, and Brazil; it is also developing a substantial number of projects totalling over 2 GW of potential capacity; and has a growing electricity retail business in Australia (Tango Energy). Pacific Hydro is fully owned by State Power Investment Corporation of China (SPIC).

Source: Pacific Hydro

 

Global Wind Service successfully erects first turbine at Badgingarra, Australia

15 May

Last Monday afternoon a team of skilled Global Wind Service (GWS) technicians successfully installed rotor on the first of the 37 x SWT-3.6DD turbines at Badgingarra wind farm in Western Australia.

GWS has been contracted by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy with the combined crane and installation scope for the wind farm, and technicians have been working on site since the end of March doing pre-installation work.

The wind farm is developed and owned by APA group and once completed, it will power more than 115,000 homes in Western Australia with green energy, saving more than 420,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Source: Global Wind Service

 

Senvion posts one of the best first quarters in terms of order intake

15 May

- Q1 revenues at EUR 256 million, with adjusted EBITDA of EUR 1 million

-  2018 guidance confirmed with 99% revenue coverage

-  Q1 order intake up 37% year-on-year to EUR 484 million, five consistent quarters of order intake growth

Hamburg: Senvion, a leading global manufacturer of wind turbines, has recorded one of the strongest first quarter order intake ever in the first three months of 2018 driven by solid business in new markets such as Australia and India in particular. Order intake growth is expected to continue in 2018 due to a large pipeline secured in key markets, and it is likely to pave the way for further growth in 2019 and 2020.

Senvion posted EUR 256 million in revenues the first quarter 2018 (PY: EUR 392 Million). The main reasons for this development were the typical seasonality, witnessed in this industry coupled with the back-end loaded nature of the installation schedule this year. In line with revenues, EBITDA was also weaker resulting in an adjusted EBITDA margin of 0.3%. Working capital was slightly higher, up 3.1% influenced by the build-up of inventory for the business installation phase in the second half of the year. Given the soft start to the year and the higher working capital the free cash flow amounted to EUR (59) million. Nevertheless, Senvion remains fully optimistic that it will meet its 2018 revenue and EBITDA targets against the background that 99% of the revenues are already covered at the lower end of our guidance range.

The order intake in the first quarter grew by 37 % year-on-year. The company's total order book amounted to EUR 5.2 billion, of which EUR 1.9 billion was in firm orders, EUR 0.6 billion in conditional orders and EUR 2.7 billion in service orders. In particular, the onshore firm order book showed solid growth in the first quarter, growing by 35% and is expected to grow even further during the course of the year. Senvion has secured multiple exclusivities and preferred supplier status in many markets totaling to more than 2.5 GW, which is expected to keep order intake at a healthy level by the end of 2018.

Senvion's CEO Jürgen Geissinger commented: "The first quarter is typically a soft quarter in our sector. We recorded thin operating margins due to lower revenues and installation levels in this quarter. However, we were able to show a very solid strong growth in order intake in the first three months of this year. It was our best first quarter in terms order intake since IPO. It is a very encouraging sign and it underscores our outlook for 2018 and 2019. Our focus is now on making sure that we deliver our cost savings program in time."

Senvion is continuing to make good progress in implementing the announced strategy. While it is still focusing on the transition of its supply chain to reduce variable costs without compromising on high quality standards, the efficiency measures in the "Move Forward Program" are contributing to decreasing fixed costs.

Manav Sharma, CFO of Senvion, stated: "Our financial performance was weaker during the quarter mainly due to cyclical nature of the business. But, we are happy to report further improvements in our opex rate and interest costs. We were able to achieve a quarterly opex reduction of 8 % on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter and we expect to maintain a stable cost base going forward. Compared with the first quarter of 2017, net interest costs were down by 34 % in the first quarter."

Source: Senvion

 

PROJECT NEWS

Girgarre Solar Farm

Leeson Group’s 118 MW Girgarre Solar Farm in Victoria approved unanimously by the Campaspe Shire Council. The project will include up to 368,000 panels on a 256 hectare development site and be connected to Powercor’s 66kV Stanhope-Shepparton line. The project will also feature a total of 18 power conversion units each comprising inverter, transformer and switchgear, and a 111.43m long and 49.63m wide Containerised Battery Storage Area.

 

Neoen begins construction on Bulgana Green Power Hub

16 May

Leading renewable energy producer Neoen today broke ground on its Bulgana Green Power Hub (BGPH) site, with State Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio turning the first sod.

At the peak of construction, the integrated wind farm and battery storage facility will create up to 230 new jobs in the Stawell region. Targeted for delivery in August 2019, the A$350 million BGPH will generate over 740,000 MWh of emission-free, clean, competitive renewable energy per annum upon completion.

Neoen Australia managing director Franck Woitiez said the continued progress of the 100 per cent Neoen-owned project would not have been possible without the support of the Victorian government and the wider community.

“We are delighted to commence construction on BGPH which is bringing a lot of opportunities in the Community. A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring the success of the facility, which will create a positive knock-on effect on the local people and economy,” Mr Woitiez said.

“We will continue to work closely with the council, neighbours and community at large and ensure any disruptions as a result of construction are kept to the absolute minimum.”

The Victorian government has committed to a 15-year Support Agreement, a move that will contribute significantly to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET), while Nectar Farms has signed a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the supply of competitive and reliable energy to its glasshouse facility. Nectar Farms will take up to 15 per cent of the energy produced by the Green Power Hub, with the remaining 85 per cent going directly into the grid.

As part of the company’s commitment to Stawell and to signify the next phase of the project, a $120,000 per annum BGPH Community Fund will be launched soon. The fund provides financial support to community groups for projects that will benefit and strengthen Northern Grampians and the surrounding region and will be open for 25 years. Projects that align with one of Neoen’s community growth focus areas will be able to apply for funding.

For any questions or concerns or to learn more about the community fund, visit the official BGPH website, or contact the team at contact@bulganawindfarm.com.au.

Source: Neoen

 

Energy Action awarded $1.2m solar PV contract

16 May

-  Energy Action secures contract to deliver a 430.8kW solar PV system at Leichhardt Marketplace owned by Local Government Super

-  Unique and innovative solution to install solar system on purpose-built carpark shades

-  Strong pipeline of solar PV projects with 40 sites currently being assessed

Leading energy management consultancy, Energy Action Limited (ASX: EAX) (The Company) has been awarded a $1.2 million contract by Local Government Super (LGS) to supply and install a 430kW solar PV system on the Leichhardt Marketplace car park in Sydney.

This latest contract builds on Energy Action’s existing pipeline of solar PV projects, with a total of over 2MW of rooftop solar PV delivered in the past 3 years and a growing pipeline of solar projects across a range of industries.

The scope of the contract with Local Government Super covers the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a 430.80kW solar power system on a new purpose-built carpark shade structure, with construction due to commence in May 2018 and completion of works expected in September 2018.

The construction cost of the installation of the carpark mounted solar PV system is $1.2m and is predicted to produce approximately 600,000 kWhrs of electricity per annum which will supply 40% of the sites required energy usage and reduce the reliance on the already constrained grid.

Scott Armstrong, LGS Property Portfolio Manager, said: “As a responsible owner, our aim is to minimise the environmental impact of our properties and maximise the returns for LGS members. We estimate that the return on the total investment from the new solar PV system at MarketPlace Leichhardt will be 13.7% per annum with a payback period of just over 7 years, and that’s great news for our members and the environment.”

Energy Action continues to witness strong demand from new and existing clients for solar PV solutions, across commercial, retail and industrial properties with a substantial increase in the number of assessments undertaken on behalf of clients to assess their suitability for solar, known as a Solar Viability Analysis.

Ivan Slavich, Energy Action’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are pleased to have been awarded this contract with Local Government Super. To date, Energy Action has installed in excess of 2MW of rooftop PV across Australia, including the iconic Sydney Theatre Company and Canberra Ikea systems, and we continue to build our pipeline of innovative solar PV projects.”

“The nature of the contract demonstrates the innovative solutions that we are working on to meet our client’s renewable energy requirements. The system will be affixed to custom car shades thereby maximising the space for available use.”

“We are currently seeing a rising demand amongst a range of commercial and industrial clients to understand the benefits of installing onsite solar. In the first half alone, we have conducted more than 20 Solar Viability Analysis projects, an increase of almost 50% compared to the second half of 2017.

“At present, we are assessing the potential for solar PV across more than 40 sites including aged care, gaming and leisure, and commercial facilities, and with electricity prices more than doubling for some clients and considerably reducing the payback period for solar projects, we expect this level of demand to continue,” Mr Slavich added.

Source: Energy Action

 

ARENA launches $7 million funding initiative for renewable energy to deliver system security services

16 May

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced a $7 million funding initiative focused on trialling how solar parks, wind farms or enabling technologies such as batteries can provide grid stability and security services.

The increase in the share of renewable energy and the retirement of traditional synchronous generators can add to system security challenges. Current techniques for managing system security events include requiring gas plants to curtailing how much electricity is produced by solar and wind farms.

ARENA will be looking for projects that offer new opportunities for renewable and supporting technologies to provide system services traditionally performed by coal and gas-fired power plants.

These projects can include system strength provision, frequency control ancillary services (FCAS), fast frequency response (FFR), inertia provision and measurement and other services that may enhance system security.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said demonstrating renewables could stabilise fluctuations in frequency and voltage which could help pave the way for more renewables to join the grid.

“System security has been a key focus of industry regulators, the market operator and participants. It was also the priority of the Finkel Review,” he said.

“As our electricity system transforms from a system of centralised synchronous generators to more diversified generation that includes more and more renewables, we need to find ways to deliver power system stability and security using less fossil fuels,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“If successful, these pilot projects will save consumers money and create new revenue streams for solar, wind and battery operators,” he said.

Previously, ARENA has funded a successful trial of FCAS at Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia and a trial at Musselroe Wind Farm in Tasmania which is still underway.

Hornsdale is now registered for six of eight FCAS markets and will provide insights into the cost-benefit of using pre-curtailment to provide FCAS services from a new technology source.

“This funding initiative will build upon these projects and invites applications for additional system services to be provided by renewable technologies,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“By reducing the need for thermal generation to keep the system stable, the cost of energy will reduce over time,” he said.

For further information and to apply, visit www.arena.gov.au/funding

Source: ARENA

 

Goldwind’s Stockyard Hill Wind Farm connection agreement finalised

16 May

Goldwind Australia and AusNet Services have signed the connection agreement for construction of connection assets for the 530 megawatt (MW) Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in Victoria.

The connection agreement, which was also signed by the Australian Energy Market Operator, set out the terms and conditions for the wind farm to connect to Victoria’s transmission network.

AusNet Services will build, own and operate a new transmission line which will run 70 kilometres south of the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm to a new 500 kilovolt (kV) terminal station and network interface.  AusNet Services will also build, own and operate the new terminal station and network interface.

Goldwind Australia’s Managing Director Mr John Titchen, said finalising the connection agreement is a key project milestone and paves the way for the construction of the wind farm. 

“AusNet Services will deliver and operate the connection of Stockyard Hill Wind Farm, Australia’s largest wind farm, to the transmission network,” Mr Titchen said.

“Preliminary works for the construction of the powerline, such as surveying and access track development, will begin shortly,” Mr Titchen said.

The Stockyard Hill Wind Farm will comprise of 149 Goldwind advanced technology turbines. Goldwind Australia will provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction services to the project and the Warranty, Operations and Maintenance services once the project is operational. Goldwind Australia has appointed a joint venture between SNC-Lavalin and WBHO as the Balance of Plant contractor for the project.

The project is expected to create up to 300 jobs during construction peaks on site and employ up to 25 permanent maintenance staff once the wind farm is complete.

Once operational, Stockyard Hill Wind Farm will produce clean energy to power approximately 391,000 Victorian homes.

Source: Goldwind

 

Allens advises Queensland Government on major solar project

17 May

Allens has advised the Queensland Government (Economic Development Queensland) on the lease of up to 1250 hectares of underutilised state-owned land for one of Australia's largest solar developments.

Following a competitive process, the Government selected Acciona Energy as the successful bidder to build and operate a 265 megawatt solar farm at Gladstone under a 30-year lease.

Acciona has also committed to making significant investments in the local community, supporting local jobs and manufacturers in delivering the project and establishing a community benefits fund to provide between $1.5 million and $3.6 million of funding for community initiatives and programs over the duration of the lease.

Allens advised on all aspects of the transaction, including the competitive procurement process, development and tenure issues and securing the community benefit arrangements. The transaction further builds on Allens' market-leading expertise in infrastructure, renewable energy and government projects.

'We're delighted to have supported the Government in facilitating this significant renewable energy project, which will be a major economic, social and environmental boon for the region,' said lead Partner Liam Chambers.

'In one of the first transactions of its kind for the Government, this project not only advances the Queensland economy as it shifts away from ageing industries, but also activates idle land and delivers important ongoing benefits for the local community.'

The advice builds on Allens' extensive experience in renewable energy development, with the firm having recently advised on three solar farms in Queensland and New South Wales, a landmark portfolio of solar farms in Queensland and Victoria and the Powering Australian Renewables Fund.

Source: Allens

 

Renewables flow for Queensland

17 May

Renewable energy continues to flow into Queensland’s electricity network, with the state’s largest solar farm to date now supplying the grid and another signed up to connect.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the 130 megawatt (MW) Clare Solar Farm near Ayr had started supplying electricity to the grid.  

“This is further progress towards reaching our 50 per cent by 2030 renewable energy target – when our five-millionth Queenslander hits high school age,” Dr Lynham said.

“We have 890MW of renewables flowing into the grid already, much of it from Queenslanders who have embraced rooftop solar panels.

“Queensland’s large-scale renewable energy capacity is set to double over the next 12 months, as our $20 billion pipeline of committed and potential renewable projects starts to deliver.

“Latest figures from the Clean Energy Council show that more than half of all activity in large-scale solar in Australia is occurring in Queensland.

“Confidence in the Palaszczuk Government’s renewable energy credentials and commitment is fuelling unprecedented investment, and we know there’s plenty more on the horizon.”

Powerlink and Pacific Hydro Haughton Solar Farm Pty Ltd have also finalised a connection agreement for the first stage of the potential 1200 hectare solar farm located about 60 kilometres south of Townsville.

Pacific Hydro has obtained planning approval from the Burdekin Shire Council for up to 500MW of solar generation – the equivalent of powering 170,000 average Australian homes.

The Haughton project is Pacific Hydro’s first in the Queensland energy market and stage one will involve connecting 100 megawatts (MW) to Powerlink’s existing transmission network.

“The Haughton Solar Farm will create around 250 construction jobs and implement a number of initiatives to encourage local suppliers and businesses to provide services to the project,” Dr Lynham said.

“Up to 10 permanent operational jobs will also be created and Powerlink’s grid connection works will support another 43 jobs.”

A total of more than $4.2 billion worth of projects are currently either under construction or financially committed, offering a combined employment injection of more than 3500 construction jobs across regional Queensland and more than 2000 MW of power.

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said Powerlink was responding to an unprecedented level of customer connection enquiries and applications.

“Powerlink expects to connect another 11 committed large-scale renewable projects over the next 12 months across the state, representing about 1600MW of renewable generation,” Ms York said.

“We also have more than 150 enquiries or applications to connect totalling nearly 30,000MW and almost all of them are from renewable sources.”

Source: Queensland Government

 

NEW PROJECTS

Bullarah Solar Farm 

Location: Bullarah, approximately 80km west of Moree in north-west New South Wales

Developer: Kinelli Pty Ltd

Capacity: 5 MW

LGA: Moree Plains Shire Council

Estimated cost: $6mil

Description: The development encompasses the construction and operation of a solar farm with a maximum transfer capacity 4.999 MW AC on an approximate 133ha site. The development will consist of:

- Two solar arrays, 3 blocks wide (east-west) and 8 blocks long (north-south). Each block is made up of 760 PV modules arranged 19 PV modules long (north-south) and 40 PV modules wide (east-west). The PV module will be a Global Tier 1 panel.

- 2 combined inverter/transformer stations.

- 8 battery storage containers with a combined storage capacity of 20 MWh (2.5 MWh per container).

- Overhead 22kV line with MV pole mounted recloser.

 

Kentucky Solar Farm 

Location: Boggabilla, approximately approximately 2.1km west of Goondiwindi in north-west New South Wales

Developer: Kinelli Pty Ltd

Capacity: 5 MW

LGA: Moree Plains Shire Council

Estimated cost: $6mil

Description: The development encompasses the construction and operation of a solar farm with a maximum transfer capacity 4.999 MW AC. The development will consist of:

- Two solar arrays, 3 blocks wide (east-west) and 8 blocks long (north-south). Each block is made up of 760 PV modules arranged 19 PV modules long (north-south) and 40 PV modules wide (east-west). The PV module will be a Global Tier 1 panel.

- 2 combined inverter/transformer stations.

- 8 battery storage containers with a combined storage capacity of 20 MWh (2.5 MWh per container).

- Overhead 22kV line with MV pole mounted recloser.

Contact: Emma Mailler

Email: emma@kinelli.com.au

 

Australia's energy transformation: network report card

18 May

A report card published today by Energy Networks Australia has found networks have made significant progress on the transformation to meet customer demand for innovative, lower-cost energy solutions.

Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, said the 2018 Report Card showed the implementation of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap had moved forward in all five priority areas identified since the Roadmap’s publication one year ago.

The only area that had not progressed as quickly as network businesses would like was developing the government and sector consensus needed to support fairer energy pricing.

“Better value for money is a priority and further reform is desperately needed if we are to enable the move to a fairer pricing system and save customers billions of dollars over coming decades,” Mr Dillon said.

“We need governments to step up and support networks as we implement pricing that gives our customers the right incentives to unlock savings for all users.”

Developed in partnership with the CSIRO, 2017’s Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap paved the way with practical, forward-looking solutions to address the complex challenges facing our nation’s electricity system.  

Setting out 45 milestones and 158 actions, the Roadmap provides a clear pathway for network businesses to respond to the evolving environment with the agility, innovation and collaboration required to secure Australia’s energy future.

The five priority areas the Report Card examined were:

-  Improving trust with customers

-  Implementing new services to achieve system security 

-  Securing a stable carbon policy

-  Incentivising efficiency and innovation

-  Developing essential information tools for a more cost effective grid.

One year on, the snapshot review found significant work had been done to strengthen collaboration between networks and other key stakeholders to ensure greater information sharing to better meet customer needs. 

One key project being developed with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) will deliver Open Energy Networks, a guideline for integrating new technologies such as batteries and solar into a modernised grid.

Cyber security capability has also been prioritised by networks, with further innovation expected over the next 12 months to deliver additional Finkel recommendations supporting the continued protection of Australia’s critical energy infrastructure and systems.  

“Overall, I commend Australian energy networks for the significant progress made in such a short time,” Mr Dillon said.

“However, we certainly can’t be complacent. More work needs to be done – particularly by government on tariff reform – but I know energy networks will continue to work together, with government and with our customers to build a smarter and more affordable energy future for all Australians.”

The Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap 2018 report card can be viewed here.

Source: Energy Networks Australia

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