Moira Shire approves another large scale solar project

21 December

Moira Shire is leading the way in renewable energy development with a planning permit for a $112 million solar farm on Kaarimba Road, Wunghnu approved this week.

CEO Mark Henderson said the site consisted of 270 hectares which would house more than 200,000 solar panels, producing approximately 102 megawatts of power.

"X-Elio Australia Pty Ltd is a Spanish based company which specialises in the development of solar farms. They have constructed solar farms across the world including Japan, South America, the Middle East, USA and Mexico," Mr Henderson said.

"The proposed solar farm will help to diversify the local and regional economy and strengthen Moira’s reputation as a council that embraces renewable energy investment.

"Conditions will be set out to ensure a 10 metre wide landscaping buffer will minimise visual impact around the solar farm."

Mr Henderson said the electricity produced on site will connect back into the grid and provide improved energy security for Numurkah, Cobram and Yarrawonga.

"Local tradespeople wherever possible will be used to construct and install the solar panels and ancillary facilities," he said.

"After the initial construction period, X-Elio will employ staff to maintain the land, including slashing grass, eradicating weeds and vermin, managing the landscape buffer and general maintenance of the project."

Approval of this project follows close on the heels of a $175 million, 100 megawatt solar farm by Neoen Australia Pty Ltd and set on 500 hectares near Drumanure, which was given the green light by Moira Shire in August.

Source: Moira Shire Council

 

NEW PROJECTS

Name: Solar River Project

Developer: Solar River Project Pty Ltd

Capacity: 200 MW

Location: Maude, South Australia

Estimated cost: $454mil

Description: The Solar River Project comprises single axis tracking photovoltaic arrays with a combined 200MW capacity; 20MWh battery storage system, 275kV transmission line to Robertstown substation, and ancillary infrastructure including substation, access roads and temporary construction facilities

Contact: Aju Yeldhose

Project Manager

The Solar River Project Pty Ltd

Email: aju@maybros.net

 

Name: Goat Hill Pumped Storage Hydro Project

Developer: Altura Group

Capacity: 270 MW

Location: Lincoln Gap, South Australia

Estimated cost: $350mil

Description: 230-270MW capacity pumped hydro facility comprising an upper and lower reservoir, penstock, powerhouse and ancillary infrastructure including transmission lines, access roads, water supply line and temporary construction facilities.

Contact: Rosahlena Robinson

Director

Altura Group

Tel: 0429 567 037

Email: rosahlena@alturagroup.com.au

 

AusNet Services to develop Murra Warra Wind Farm Terminal Station

12 January

AusNet Services (ASX: AST) announced today that agreement has been secured with RES Australia and Macquarie Capital to develop a new transmission connection for Stage 1 of the Murra Warra Wind Farm project, located approximately 30km north of Horsham in north western Victoria.

The Stage 1 windfarm capacity will be 226MW, with a total permitted capacity of 429MW. Stage 1 of the wind farm will generate enough clean energy to power the equivalent of more than 220,000 Victorian homes, and reduce CO2 emissions by 900,000 tonnes per annum; the equivalent of almost 320,000 fewer cars on the road each year.

Additionally, the Stage 1 Murra Warra wind farm will provide approximately 150 full time direct jobs during construction and eight during operation.

AusNet Services’ Executive General Manager Commercial Energy Services, Chad Hymas, said AusNet Services was committed to supporting wind farm development and renewable energy in Australia.

AusNet Services is excited and proud to be making a meaningful contribution to this significant wind farm development that will support our industry’s transformation and contribute to continuous job growth in the region,” Mr Hymas said.

The agreement follows an extensive period of collaborative planning and design between AusNet Services and RES Australia in conjunction with industry and state planning bodies.

Mr Hymas said the project represents a further achievement in AusNet Services strategy to grow our contracted asset base while generating attractive long-term returns as we transition into a sustainable and integrated new energy future.

Source: AusNet Services

 

UNSW signs world-first solar energy agreement

15 Jan

In the first deal its kind in the world university sector, UNSW has reached an agreement with Maoneng Australia and Origin Energy to have 100% of its energy supplied by photovoltaic solar energy.

UNSW Sydney has announced a tripartite arrangement with contract partners Maoneng Australia (Maoneng) and Origin Energy (Origin) for an offsite Solar PV Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (Solar PPA).

The 15-year solar supply agreement with Maoneng is the first of its kind in Australia – bringing together a retailer, developer and corporate – and will allow UNSW to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020. UNSW believes it is the first university worldwide to go fully energy carbon neutral with 100% of its needs supplied by solar photovoltaics (PV).

“This landmark initiative is an exciting step towards realising UNSW’s goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020 and reflects our commitment to making a positive global impact,” said UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs.

“The Solar PPA arrangement will allow UNSW to secure carbon emission-free electricity supplies at a cost which is economically and environmentally attractive when compared to fossil fuel-sourced supplies.

“Over the past six months, UNSW has collaborated with our contract partners Maoneng and Origin to develop a Solar PPA model that leads the way in renewable energy procurement and reflects our commitment to global impact outlined in our 2025 Strategy.

“It is also highly significant and a testament to the world-class research carried out here at UNSW, that a technology which we played a leading role in developing is now being used to provide the university with a renewable source of emissions-free energy.

“UNSW researchers, in particular Professor Martin Green and the late Professor Stuart Wenham and their teams, have been instrumental in ensuring that solar energy is affordable and accessible to all –- today’s announcement is a testament to their work,” said Professor Jacobs.

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs. The 142kW array is part of the 692kW of solar PV arrays currently installed across rooftops at the UNSW Kensington campus.

The agreement, which was signed on 14 December 2017, will see UNSW purchase up to 124,000 MWh of renewable energy per annum from Maoneng’s Sunraysia Solar Farm near Balranald in south-western NSW, meeting UNSW’s annual energy requirement starting in 2019.

A three-year retail firming contract was also signed with Origin, as the electricity retailer, to manage the intermittency of solar production.

NSW Minister for Energy Don Harwin said the agreement was evidence of UNSW’s leadership in renewables.

“Already a world leader in solar PV technologies, this agreement is yet another demonstration of UNSW’s commitment to a clean energy future,” said Mr Harwin.

“I congratulate UNSW for entering into this agreement, it’s not only great for the environment but it will deliver jobs and investment in regional NSW."

In December 2017, UNSW’s School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering was awarded 12 projects with a total cash grant value of more than $16 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Five of those projects are focusing on the further development of UNSW’s Advanced Hydrogenation technology to improve world record commercial solar cells.

The tripartite arrangement for UNSW was supported by Norton Rose Fulbright as legal advisors who specialise in PPAs, along with energy management consulting firm Energy Action, who provided energy market analysis and advice.

This ground-breaking agreement provides UNSW with a direct line of sight over the source of renewables supply, reduced emissions, and greater certainty around prices over the next 15 years.

Kelly Davies, Senior Consultant at Norton Rose Fulbright, said: “UNSW is a true leader of innovation. The PPA market has been extremely dynamic in the last 12 months and deals like UNSW’s have been critical in driving real change in the way universities and other users procure energy.”

Energy Action’s Chief Executive Officer, Ivan Slavich, said: “This ground-breaking agreement provides UNSW with a direct line of sight over the source of renewables supply, reduced emissions, and greater certainty around prices over the next 15 years. We are seeing a strong trend amongst corporate energy users turning to PPAs as a way to hedge against future pricing movements and to meet their green energy objectives.”

Maoneng’s Project Finance Director, Kevin Chen, said: “By collaborating with Origin and UNSW and maintaining an open dialogue, we have created a corporate PPA template that we believe not only works for UNSW, but can be replicated and tailored to fulfil the specific needs of each customer.”

Origin’s General Manager, Business Energy, Ryan Willemsen-Bell, said: “Origin is proud to be a contract partner in this agreement with UNSW and we are committed to creating innovative solutions to help our customers meet their carbon neutrality aspirations.

“At Origin we are accelerating our transition towards renewables. And our customers want to be part of that, given our target to have more than 25% of Origin’s generation mix coming from renewables by 2020.

”The Sunraysia Solar Farm development will include a visitor’s centre and weather monitoring system, with UNSW staff and students having site visit access for data sharing, research and case study purposes.

An annual financial scholarship worth $10,000 is included in the Solar PPA for students studying at Balranald Central School to attend UNSW, along with a series of presentations from UNSW to the school both onsite and via webinar on renewables technology and industry. Employment of local staff and subcontractors to develop the project is also encouraging for the local economy.

Construction of the Sunraysia Solar Farm is due to begin later this year, with completion and the start of solar energy generation expected in the second quarter of 2019. Origin will be providing electricity to UNSW during the solar farm construction.

Source: University of NSW

 

Women in Renewables launches 2018 with e-mentoring program

15 January

The Clean Energy Council’s Women in Renewables Initiative (WiR) is seeking both mentors and mentees from the renewable energy industry to be part of a new e-mentoring program.

The e-mentoring program is conducted by the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA).

Women in Renewables Chair Natalie Collard said the mentoring process offers “knowledge sharing and support for career progression at its best”.

“We are aiming to make our young and dynamic industry even stronger, by enabling women in renewable energy to grow, flourish and learn from others through online paired e-mentoring,” Ms Collard said.

“Having experienced the growth myself from both having and now being a mentor, these kinds of opportunities are incredibly valuable for those on both sides of the relationship.”

Ms Collard said while the program was aimed at developing female renewable energy professionals, the Clean Energy Council is seeking both women and men to be involved as mentors.

“We’re calling on women and men in the industry to nominate themselves as mentors. By doing so they’re making a commitment to empower women and close the gender gap in the renewable energy industry. Through the e-mentoring process we hope to unlock a wealth of professional and personal potential for the industry,” Ms Collard said.

The e-mentoring program runs for nine-months, with the mentee having access to online modules, webinars and handbooks throughout this time. There will be five intakes from February to June 2018 with the relationship beginning once AWRA pairs the mentee and mentor. Eligibility and acceptance into the program is determined by AWRA.

Expression of interest forms for mentors and mentees are available online. For further information please see the Women in Renewables page at cleanenergycouncil.org.au

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

Powering ANCA with a Wind PPA

15 January

Australia’s fastest growing business power retailer, Flow Power, has announced that it has signed ANCA, a market leader in CNC machinery and systems, as one of its first customers for its Renewable Corporate Power Purchase Agreement.

The landmark agreement, one of the first of its kind in Australia, sources renewable energy from Ararat Wind Farm to allow ANCA direct access long term energy at wholesale prices. This renewable energy can be used in real time to offset grid electricity consumption, potentially saving businesses thousands of dollars in electricity costs and reducing overall emissions.

ANCA’s Group CEO, Grant Anderson comments: “At ANCA we are always looking for opportunities to reduce our impact on the environment and, as a manufacturing plant, the partnership with Flow Power to access renewable power will bring us tremendous benefits. This is a win-win helping both our business and the environment.”

“ANCA has succeed on a global scale by taking an innovative approach to manufacturing. We see Flow Power’s unique model of giving companies back the control over their energy costs as an approach that shares our core value of innovation.”

ANCA will buy its power from a renewable plant, accessing fixed rates for long term savings over a period of ten years. The agreement will buy a fixed percentage of wind and solar power directly from the renewable generator in real time, calculated at 30 minute intervals under a ‘take or pay’ arrangement, meaning that ANCA will only pay for what it uses.

Matthew van der Linden, Managing Director of Flow Power, comments, “We’re very pleased to welcome ANCA as a customer and as one of the very first companies to benefit from Flow Power’s Renewable Corporate PPA. This type of deal is a game changer. Finally, we’ll begin to see Australia to catch up with other international markets that have proven this model to be a success.”

“Flow Power empowers businesses to take control of their energy consumption. Our Renewable Corporate PPAs will open up the market to more Australian businesses and allow them to access lower power prices through agreements that have only previously been available to big corporations with the scale to negotiate one-to-one with large renewable plants.”

Flow Power’s Renewable Corporate PPAs allow businesses to benefit from lower power costs while reducing their carbon footprint and overall emissions.

Source: Flow Power

 

NEW PROJECTS

Name: Western Plains Wind Farm

Developer: Epuron

Location: 4km north of Stanley, Tasmania

Capacity: 40 MW

Description: The project will include around 13 wind turbines on the "Western Plains" property north-west of Stanley. Epuron has been measuring wind speeds on the property for many years and the high wind speeds, together with very low turbulence, provide an excellent resource for wind farm development. The project will connect to the existing Port Latta substation via a new 22 or 33 kilovolt powerline primarily located within the existing road easement.

Name: Wesley Vale Solar Farm

Developer: Epuron

Location: Wesley Vale, Tasmania

Capacity: 12.5 MW

Description: The project will occupy an area of around 35 hectares located approximately 2.5km north of the town. The land has previously been used for grazing, and as a result the project is expected to have limited negative environmental impacts. A 22 kilovolt powerline will connect the site to the adjacent Wesley Vale substation located across Mill Road from the site. The project is intended to be built in stages, and may include energy storage in the future.

Contact: Shane Bartel

Project Manager

Epuron

Tel: 0408 997 735

Email: info@epuron.com.au

 

Solar farms to go ahead

15 January

Horsham Rural City Council has issued the go ahead for two major solar farming enterprises in the municipality.

Mayor Cr Pam Clarke said that Council has approved planning permit applications to construct and operate solar farms on a 196 hectare property at Riverside (Horsham Solar Farm) and a 370 hectare property at Murra Warra, from ESCO Pacific Pty and RES, respectively.

“These companies can now make submissions to the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction Scheme (VREAS) which was launched in November. The scheme aims to support achievement of the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets which is to ensure that 25 per cent of the State’s electricity generation comes from renewable sources by 2020, rising to 40 percent by 2025,” she said.

Submissions to the VREAS for large scale technology neutral and solar-specific renewable energy will be accepted until February, with the outcomes announced in July. Proponents are required to demonstrate their ability to engage with communities and neighbours.

Cr Clarke said that it will be important for the two companies to work closely with neighbours and the community throughout the process.

“These projects are significant for the region. With a combined total investment of $470 million, incorporating up to 1,290,000 solar panels, the new solar farms will generate substantial economic activity during the initial construction phase and with their ongoing operations,” she said.

Source: Horsham Rural City Council

 

Queensland generation applications

Generation applications have been made to the Queensland Government for the Whitsunday Solar Farm and the Hamilton Solar Farm near Collinsville, which are both comprised of up to 215,280 solar panels at 320 watt (W) and 23 x 2.5 megawatt (MW) inverters, with a combined generating capacity of 68.9MW DC. The Hamilton Solar Farm comprised of up to 215,280 solar panels at 320 watt (W) and 23 x 2.5 megawatt (MW) inverters with a combined generating capacity of 68.9MW DC. Both projects will connect to the grid at Powerlink’s new Springlands substation near the Strathmore substation. The operator of the solar farms has contracted Edify Energy Pty Ltd to oversee the day to day management of the solar farm through a 20-year Asset Management Agreement. The ultimate owner of the solar farms is Welee Australia Pty Ltd, which owns 100% of the shares in the operator. The shareholding in Welee is comprised of WIRCON Australia HoldCo GmbH (94.9%) and Edify (5.1%).

Ratch Australia has also applied for a generation authority for its Collinsville Solar Farm, located approximately 5km west of the town at the site of the decommissioned Collinsville coal-fired generator. CSPV has leased the land off two other Ratch companies, which are the owners of the land and were the original operators of the coal-fired generator. The generating plant will comprise up to 163,676 solar PV panels and 21 x 500 kilowatt (kW) inverters with a combined generating capacity of 58.68 megawatts (MW) DC. This will comprise of 48,140 panels at 355W and 115, 536 at 360W. The operator CSPV proposes to connect the solar farm to Ergon Energy’s distribution network at the Collinsville 33 kV switchyard. Electricity generated is proposed to be sent into the National Electricity Market (NEM). CSPV has entered into an off-take agreement with Braemar Power Projects for 70 per cent of the solar farm’s generation. The remaining 30 per cent of generation will be sold by CSPV into the spot wholesale market in the NEM. CSPV is an entity formed specifically to own the solar farm, and will be able to draw on the expertise of its parent group. Ratch is an unlisted public company, incorporated in Australia and owned by a Thai power generation company, Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding PCL (80%), and Australian engineering services company, Broadspectrum Ltd (20%).

Source: Queensland Government

 

Community co-investment initiative to proceed in 2018

18 January

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Community Investment Testing survey.

CWP is pleased to announce that the Sapphire Wind Farm in northern New South Wales will be opened to community investment from the local community, in an Australian industry first.

With your strong interest through our series of public events and online survey in late 2017, we received pledges of $5.4 million from 337 community members, with 80% of pledges coming from the local area.

CWP is extremely encouraged by the interest shown in community investment at the Sapphire Wind Farm. It exceeded our expectations and demonstrates the level of public interest in investing in large renewable energy projects, alongside institutional investors.

Given the extent of interest and the decision to proceed, the community investment survey has re-opened to allow further pledges until mid-2018. Further, we will look to extend the investment opportunity to encompass the proposed Sapphire Renewable Energy Hub, which is proposed to add significant solar generation and battery storage to the Sapphire Wind Farm.

The local communities surrounding the Sapphire projects remain the priority for the Sapphire community investment opportunity. Direct community investment extends the benefit sharing of these renewable energy projects, on top of the existing Community Benefit Fund and Neighbour Agreements with landowners surrounding the projects.

Akin Consulting, together with Starfish Enterprises, will work closely with CWP Renewables through 2018 to finalise the design and establishment of the community investment company, which will begin operating when construction the Sapphire Wind Farm is completed in late 2018.

Source: CWP Renewables

 

10 MW Northam Solar Farm update

18 January

  • Execution of detailed documentation for 50% equity investment from Indigenous Business Australia and Perth Noongar Foundation
  • Design and construct contract executed with EMC/Lendlease Joint Venture
  • Engineering works underway and long lead items ordered
  • Largest solar project under construction in Western Australia

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE) is pleased to advise that progress continues on WA’s first merchant utility solar project, the 10 MW Northam Solar Farm, with the completion and execution of the detailed transaction documentation for the Partnership Agreement with co-equity investors Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and Perth Noongar Foundation (PNF).

The Design and Construct Contract with the Energy Made Clean/Lendlease Joint Venture has also now been executed. The Northam Solar project has a capital cost of approximately $17million, which includes Carnegie’s development fee. Significant progress has already been made with initial engineering works and long lead items ordered. The project is on track to complete in the second half of 2018 and when it will begin selling power into the Western Australian grid. It is the largest solar project currently under construction in Western Australia and the first ever to be developed on a “merchant” basis where the power is not contracted under a long term offtake agreement. Carnegie retains a 50% interest in the solar farm.

The Northam Solar Farm has been developed as a template for future projects where Carnegie receives value from multiple revenue streams including:

  • electricity sales;
  • renewable energy certificate sales;
  • reserve capacity credit payments;
  • project construction and operating and maintenance; and
  • a project development fee.

Carnegie’s Managing Director, Dr Michael Ottaviano, commented:

“This is an important step forward to formally move the project into the construction and delivery phase. We look forward to working with IBA, PNF and Lendlease on the delivery of this innovative project.”

Indigenous Business Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Rajiv Viswanathan, commented:

“IBA is excited to see this partnership come to life, demonstrating how we can work alongside Indigenous organisations and the private sector to generate positive financial and social returns from new areas of the economy”.

Perth Noongar Foundation’s Chairman, Cedric Jacobs, commented:

“We are excited about the journey we are on together with Carnegie and IBA. We recognise the tremendous effort and engagement by all parties to date”.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

Global heat: hottest five-year period on record confirmed

19 January

The hottest period on record has been officially confirmed, with the world experiencing its hottest five-years from 2013 through 2017, according to new climate data released today.

The Climate Council’s ‘2017: Record-breaking Year for Heat and Extreme Weather’ report coincides with this morning’s release of climate data from peak climate observation body the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Climate Councillor and international climate scientist Professor Will Steffen said that the global temperature averaged over the last five years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) has been confirmed as the highest ever on record for any five-year period. This record is part of a sharp, long-term upswing in global temperatures, with 17 out of the 18 years hottest years on record all occurring in this century.

“Just like dominos, temperature and extreme weather records have toppled one after the other around the globe in 2017,” he said.

“Here in Australia, we are seeing the effects of intensifying climate change first hand. We’ve seen records reach disappointing new height’s in just 12 months, with more than 260 heat and low rainfall records smashed throughout one season (winter) alone.”

“Australians have been touched by soaring temperatures, with some regions in New South Wales and South Australia experiencing daytime temperatures nearing 50 degrees last summer.

“Severe heatwaves are silent killers, causing more deaths since the 1890s than bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods and severe storms combined.”

KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:

◦The 2013-2017 period has been the hottest five-year period ever recorded.

◦2017 was the third hottest year ever recorded, and the hottest year in which temperatures have not been boosted by an El Niño event.

◦The world’s 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998 and 17 of the 18 hottest years on record have occurred this century.

◦2017 was Australia’s third hottest year on record.

◦Seven of the ten hottest years on record in Australia have happened since 2005. Five of the seven have occurred the past five years.

◦2017 broke records for hot, dry conditions with more than 260 heat and low rainfall records broken throughout winter.

◦The increasing global heat, driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, exacerbated extreme weather events around the globe and in Australia in 2017.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the global data release was timely after the Federal Government admitted that Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution levels were consistently rising, contributing to intensifying climate change.

“Climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events across Australia and around the globe. This was obvious in 2017, from severe heatwaves and bushfires, through to supercharged storms, cyclones and flooding,” she said.

“The window of opportunity to tackle climate change is rapidly closing. The release of this data is yet another warning to the Federal Government to urgently slash Australia’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels in a bid to protect Australians from escalating extreme weather events, placing lives at risk.”

“Australia has an opportunity now to continue the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology, instead of locking our country into a very dangerous future.”

To view NOAA’s full report please visit the official website.

Source: Climate Council

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