WA’s largest battery on its way to Kalbarri

12 December

The largest utility-scale battery ever to be connected to the Western Power electricity network left Perth today headed for Kalbarri, where it will become the centrepiece for a new microgrid, powering the Kalbarri community in the event of a network outage.

The battery transport is a significant milestone for the integration of renewable energy resources into the grid.

The 5MW battery building is 25 metres long, five metres wide and weighs just under 60 tonnes. It’s taken nearly a full day to load the battery onto the trucks for transport.

It will be a key part of the microgrid design suppling a minimum of 2MWh at any time when there is a network outage.

Work has been going on in the background to prepare the Kalbarri network for the microgrid installation, including enhancements that will allow the network and battery to become islanded and draw directly from renewable sources during a network outage.

The microgrid is an innovative solution that adds another level of certainty for the Kalbarri community, particularly during its peak tourism season where power demand almost doubles. We have worked collaboratively with the Kalbarri community, and will continue to work alongside them as the project evolves.

The beauty of this design is that it not only enhances supply reliability, it will have the flexibility to grow with the population of Kalbarri, which in turn supports local businesses.

We expect to complete construction of the microgrid, which includes the underground connection of the battery, by early 2020 with commissioning and operational trial completed later next year.

The transport and delivery of the battery demonstrates Western Power’s commitment to build a green solution for the Kalbarri community’s reliability issues.

Source: Western Power


Christmas/NY greetings

On behalf of the team here at AltEnergy we wish subscribers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Whether you are at work, at home, or away on holidays over the Festive Season please take care and stay safe.

Thanks for your support this year, and we’ll be back with you again in 2020 with plans to further improve our service and products.


Commission approves changes to White Rock Wind Farm

13 December

The state’s Independent Planning Commission has approved changes to a wind farm in the New England Region.

Goldwind Australia received planning approval in July 2012 to build the 119-turbine White Rock Wind Farm, 20km west of Glen Innes, in two stages.

Stage one, comprising 70 turbines with a maximum tip height of 150m, is already operational.

However, the company lodged an application with the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment in January last year to modify its existing project approval for stage two – specifically to: 

  • reconfigure the layout of turbines and ancillary infrastructure
  • reduce the number of turbines from 49 to 48
  • increase the dimensions of the wind turbines (maximum tip height from 150m to 200m and rotor diameter from 121m to either 140m or 170m)
  • increase the capacity of the existing substation to accommodate stage two and potentially cater for additional energy projects in the locality
  • increase the project area from 13,176ha to 15,053ha, and
  • increase vegetation clearing by 169ha.

The matter was referred to the Commission for determination because the Department received more than 25 public objections during exhibition.

Commissioners Peter Cochrane (Panel Chair), Wendy Lewin and Adrian Pilton were appointed to consider the modification application and make a final decision.

The Commissioners met with the Applicant, Department and Glen Innes Severn and Inverell Councils and inspected the site and surrounding area. They also held a public meeting to listen to the community’s concerns which centred on biodiversity, visual and noise impacts.

After carefully considering all the evidence and weighing the community’s views, the Commission has today (Friday 13 December 2019) determined to approve the modification application, subject to conditions.

“The Commission agrees with the Department’s finding … that on balance the proposed modification has merit, and is in the public interest as it would contribute 995,000 megawatt hours per annum of renewable energy to the National Electricity Market and assist in reducing GHG emissions (approximately 955,000 tonnes per year),” the Commission concluded in its Statement of Reasons for Decision.

“The Commission finds that the Project, carried out subject to the imposed conditions, achieves a reasonable balance between maximising the use of the wind resource and managing potential impacts on the environment and surrounding landowners.”

Source: NSW Independent Planning Commission


ENGIE looks to grow renewables pipeline through new fund

13 December

ENGIE Australia & New Zealand today announced plans to establish a renewable energy equity platform to support further investment in low-carbon developments.

ENGIE ANZ Chief Executive Officer, Augustin Honorat said establishing the fund would allow ENGIE to help customers seeking affordable, green energy.

“We’ve put ENGIE at the forefront of the Australian Power Purchase Agreement market this year with innovative partnerships with Lion, L’Oréal and others involved in the zero-carbon transition,” Mr Honorat said.

“We see a growing demand for green energy and through this equity platform ENGIE can accelerate the construction of additional wind and solar capacity, while ensuring competitive pricing for our customers.”

ENGIE has appointed financial advisers Natixis and Azure Capital to investigate the establishment of the equity platform, including a partial selldown of ENGIE’s Willogoleche Wind Farm in South Australia.

Source: Engie



Lockhart Microgrid Energy Project

Location: Lockhart, NSW Riverina Region

Capacity: 10 MW solar farm & 25 MWh battery storage system

Developer: Better Energy Technology

LGA: Lockhart Shire Council

Expected cost: $22mil

Status: DA being assessed by Southern Regional Planning Panel

Description: The proposed development would be located on Lockhart Kywong Road on a 16ha site adjacent to an existing Essential Energy substation. The microgrid is planned to provide sufficient power to support the town of Lockhart, which will remain on the grid. The project will include approximately 28,000 panels, 4 containerised 3400KVA inverter stations, and a battery system consisting of approximately 6 containerised batteries

Contact: Gordon Hinds


Better Energy Technology

Email: gordon@betterenergy.tech

Website: https://www.betterenergy.tech/


Early Yallourn closure can be absorbed by increasing renewable energy supply, new analysis finds

16 December

The inevitable early closure of the ageing Yallourn power station could be absorbed by 2023, and supply shortages and price spikes avoided, by immediate investment in replacement renewable supply and storage, according to new analysis by Reputex commissioned by Environment Victoria.

Speculation is rife that Yallourn, Victoria’s oldest, most unreliable and polluting coal-burning power station, will close well before its currently scheduled closure date of 2032. The ageing power station creates significant risk to Victoria’s energy security, particularly over hot summer months when demand is high and coal generators are more vulnerable to failure.

Immediate investment in renewable energy generation and battery storage would reduce wholesale prices faster than current trends and help avoid a price spike at the moment of closure, like those seen when Hazelwood power station closed in 2017.

“Yallourn has broken down 33 times in 18 months. Almost everyone accepts it will close before the announced 2032 timeframe. The question is how soon, and how well we prepare for it,” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle.

“The Victorian government has a simple choice: build replacement supply now to prepare for Yallourn’s inevitable closure and reduce risk to the energy system, or be hit with price spikes and the risk of blackouts when the decision comes out of a boardroom in Hong Kong.

“From a climate risk perspective, Yallourn should close as soon as possible. From an energy perspective, there is now a plausible combination of solutions that enable Yallourn to close by 2023 in a way that has minimal impact on the grid and on power prices.

“The vast majority of Victorians want action on climate change, and they want affordable and reliable power. This analysis shows we can have all three.

“By building the large-scale renewables, transmission upgrades and battery storage outlined in this analysis, together with continuing the roll-out of the Solar Homes program, the impacts to the electricity system of Yallourn closing can be eliminated.

“The Andrews government needs a plan for replacing Yallourn’s output before it closes – whether it has a catastrophic break-down in a summer heatwave or it is in response to credible climate targets and growth of renewable energy.

“Here is one plan that is achievable within 3 years, and we call on the government to ensure the necessary replacement is built now. The public expects the Victorian government to manage the risks to our energy system while tackling our very high greenhouse gas emissions.”

The analysis also found that building renewable generation and storage solutions involves an additional 27,000 job-years, bringing investment worth $6.8 billion to Victoria’s economy.

“We call on the government to ensure some of the replacement supply is built in the Latrobe Valley and to extend the funding of the Latrobe Valley Authority, whose important role in supporting workers and bringing new economic activity to the region must continue,” said Dr Aberle.

The RepuTex analysis is available here.

Key findings from the RepuTex report:

-  “A combination of large- and small-scale renewable energy (an additional 2.6 and 0.3 GW respectively), along with ‘big battery’ storage (0.6 GW), small ‘virtual power plants’ storage (0.5 GW), and other demand-side participation (0.2 GW), can provide the available resources necessary to compensate for the absence of Yallourn by the summer of 2023/24.”

- “This includes both enough annual energy to mitigate wholesale price rises and maintain regional power reliability through heatwaves and other extreme events to prevent ‘blackouts’.”

- “Modelling indicates that with effective planning the Victorian market can compensate for the closure of Yallourn as early as April 2023.”

- “Even if Yallourn continues to operate this date, these new measures would position Victoria to mitigate future capacity failures as existing facilities age.”

Source: Environment Victoria


ESCO Pacific and Shell to drive growth in Australian solar

16 December

- Shell invests in ESCO Pacific for a 49% stake in the business

- ESCO Pacific is one of Australia’s most successful solar companies, focused on the development and long-term asset management of utility scale solar projects

- Investment is expected to accelerate development of ESCO Pacific’s pipeline of projects and further expand Shell’s global power business

ESCO Pacific and Shell have announced today that they have formed a strategic partnership, combining ESCO Pacific’s solar development and asset management expertise together with Shell’s global scale and energy capabilities.

ESCO Pacific is a successful and experienced Australian focused utility scale solar developer, having delivered to market nearly 500MW of projects since 2017, with a further 350MW of solar assets under long term management.

Shell’s investment will enable ESCO Pacific to further accelerate development of its project pipeline as well as opening up significant opportunities with a wider range of corporate off-takers looking to procure renewable power.

ESCO Pacific will continue to operate under its existing management and brand. The business will be expanding its project pipeline both organically and by acquisition, while continuing to deliver projects to market in the coming years. In addition ESCO Pacific will be growing its asset management portfolio.

ESCO Pacific’s Founder and Managing Director Steve Rademaker said, “ESCO Pacific has been one of the fastest-growing independent solar developers in Australia. We’d like to build on that growth and continue our rapid scaling by leveraging the resources that the Shell investment makes available to us. This partnership is a testament to the success of our strategy, our business and our team”

Shell Australia Country Chair, Zoe Yujnovich added, “Today’s announcement of Shell’s investment in ESCO Pacific, coupled with the recent acquisition of ERM Power, supports a pathway for Shell to supply more and cleaner energy to utility, commercial and industrial customers in Australia. As the energy mix shifts in the years ahead, Shell intends to grow with the creation of a material integrated power business.”

“This investment in ESCO Pacific brings us into the rapidly growing solar market in Australia,” said Marc van Gerven, Vice President, Onshore Renewable Power at Shell New Energies. “With their proven track record of developing projects, we will accelerate the delivery of renewable electricity to utility, commercial and industrial customers.”

ESCO Pacific Chairman, Darryl Flukes said: “We’re excited by what this agreement means for our company’s ambitions. This partnership with Shell recognises the strong capabilities of the ESCO Pacific Team. We are delighted to partner with Shell.”

Source: ESCO Pacific


Renewable Energy Zones: Supercharging Australia’s clean energy future

16 December

Developing enough renewable energy to meet Australia’s commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement requires us to accelerate the decarbonisation of the electricity sector. It is imperative we focus on realising the massive potential of the nation’s unique and abundant high-quality wind and solar resources.

The identification of 35 Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) across Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) is the first step in advancing decarbonised electricity supply. Last week, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released its latest draft of the Integrated System Plan (ISP) which clearly shows that across the REZs there is sufficient resource potential for renewable energy to supply a minimum of 155,000MW of generation. This capacity is equivalent to roughly 315 TWh.

If we unlock this potential, we can deliver more than enough clean electricity to achieve a 100% renewable energy scenario (approximately 196 TWh) and would be well on the way towards achieving 200% renewables (approximately 396 TWh).

​One of the challenges is the existing distribution and transmission networks. The existing network system is often highly constrained making it difficult to deliver clean, affordable electricity within the NEM. Our networks were not designed to shift large amounts of energy from areas that are rich in wind and solar resources. New or augmented transmission is needed.

New transmission infrastructure is currently funded through the RIT-T or regulatory investment test for transmission. This process is a mechanism that allows for cost recovery to come from end consumers. The RIT-T has proven incapable of moving fast enough to enable the timely development of REZs.

Alternative approaches to the RIT-T are now being considered. These solutions should allow for expedited investment and development of transmission infrastructure. Of these alternative approaches, the most promising is the NSW Government’s recently released Electricity Strategy. The strategy focuses on prioritis ing the development of the Central West REZ by 2025. The Central West REZ has the potential for up to 3000 MW of new, clean electricity generation, enough to power up to 1.3 million homes each year.

In the Electricity Strategy, NSW signals it will streamline and accelerate the planning approval frameworks in the Central West REZ. NSW will not only attempt to alleviate the current cumbersome RIT-T process but possibly remove the REZ from the existing RIT-T framework altogether. In addition, the NSW Government will seek to establish a more timely cost-benefit analysis mechanism for all REZs. This will enable generators to contribute up front to the costs of building new transmission infrastructure in return for guaranteed grid access.

It seems we are making progress on removing policy roadblocks, but if alternative approaches are not implemented, investment in Australia’s clean energy future will plateau.

More rapid policy and regulatory change is required if we are to maximise our nation’s abundant wind and solar resources and respond in time to mitigate climate change.

Source: Simon Corbell (Energy Estate)



First community-owned solar farm offers cheaper power, financial returns to NSW north west

16 December

The NSW town of Manilla will host Australia’s first community-owned solar farm thanks to a partnership with Providence Asset Group, a leading Australian investor in renewable and clean energy projects.

Providence Asset Group Chief Executive Officer, Henry Sun, said the Manilla Solar Farm was the first of up to 30 community solar initiatives to be rolled out across regional Australia, not only reducing the impact of high power prices but also helping to strengthen the viability of rural and regional communities.

“We are thrilled Manilla is the first project to be officially launched and it’s been a pleasure working with people who share our belief in the potential of renewable energy to improve the well-being of communities and the environment – now and for future generations,” Henry said.

“It’s also an ideal example of communities thinking innovatively to help shape their futures and expand the prospect for more employment opportunities and economic benefits.”

Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc. (MCRE) formed in 2013 with the aim of developing a community-owned renewable energy project, and early this year joined forces with Providence Asset Group. The result is Manilla Solar, which will now spearhead the construction of the 4.9MW solar farm on a 20ha block on the Manilla Rd, within 3km of the electricity substation. The design ensures minimal disturbance to the existing landscape and includes natural screening to minimise its visual impact.

The solar farm will be connected to the grid to allow access to the local community, as well as the wider energy market, while the battery storage capability creates further opportunities for the sale of the power that’s generated.

Construction is expected to start in June 2020 and the farm is anticipated to be producing electricity by April 2021. Providence Asset Group is currently working towards up to 30 more community-owned solar farms across NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

“With the price of electricity from traditional energy sources rising, solar farms like the one we’re establishing at Manilla are going to become increasingly important. This community model represents a ‘win-win’ for both the host community in the form of cheaper power and money back into the area, and the investors who are guaranteed an attractive investment return,” Henry said.

MCRE President Emma Stilts agreed it was an exciting opportunity for the town, and the culmination of a lot of hard work.

“It’s been quite a journey to get to this point, thanks to the efforts of a lot of committed people. So, to be able to formally announce the launch of this solar farm project, in conjunction with Providence Asset Group – a company that shares our vision for cleaner and greener energy generation – is very satisfying and we’re eagerly anticipating the next steps,” Emma said.

“Community members and business will now have the chance to invest in the project, with the knowledge the electricity produced will be sold to locals at a cheaper rate than retail electricity, and that a portion of all profits will come back to the Manilla community.”

Director Business and Community for Tamworth Regional Council, John Sommerlad, congratulated Providence Asset Group and Manilla Community Renewable Energy for the foresight in pursuing and launching the solar farm project, and emphasised the benefits for the wider region.

“The current drought has illustrated just how important it is for our region to diversify its industries for the benefit of our local economy, and this project is the perfect example of this. The potential employment opportunities for local contractors and businesses during the construction phase, and beyond, is great news and the financial and economic returns will flow well into the future,” he said.

Source: Providence Asset Group


CEFC investment targets renewables sweet spot for community and commercial energy users

17 December

A new investment push from the CEFC and specialist investor Infradebt into smaller utility-scale renewable projects aims to benefit regional communities and industrial and commercial energy users.

The CEFC has committed up to $50 million in debt finance to Infradebt to invest in greenfield renewable projects which generate less than 25MW of energy.

These smaller-scale developments are ideally suited to regional communities, can be constructed close to demand and grid connections, and are also suitable for industrial and commercial sites. They have struggled to secure institutional investment compared with larger-scale projects, which can deliver greater economies of scale.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “Australia is a world leader in financing rooftop solar PV, as well as very large-scale solar developments, of 50MW or more. Projects of 25MW or less can also play a critical role in our clean energy transition.

“These developments require less land, meaning they can be built closer to regional communities to meet local energy demand. They can also be more easily integrated into the grid, drawing on existing infrastructure to deliver secure energy supplies.

“Projects of this scale are also attracting increasing interest from industrial and commercial energy users, who have the space and the energy demand to warrant investment in their own energy supply.”

Through its new mandate with Infradebt, the CEFC will invest alongside the Infradebt Ethical Fund (IEF), an ethically-screened infrastructure debt fund that finances Australian infrastructure projects with a focus on renewable energy and social infrastructure.

The CEFC commitment will increase Infradebt’s committed discretionary capital by 50 per cent, to about $150 million, with the potential to finance a total of more than 100MW in new clean energy developments.

The finance will help close an investment gap in the renewable energy sector for smaller utility-scale projects valued between $10 million and $50 million. Such projects can struggle to raise debt finance because the minimum loan requirements of most institutional financiers are better suited to larger projects.

Construction has already begun on the first two projects to be financed under the new mandate, for 5MW solar farms at Trundle Hill and Peak Hill in NSW. When operational, each farm is expected to generate 28,000 MWh of energy a year, enough to power 4,000 homes.

Infradebt Chief Executive Officer Alexander Austin said the IEF invested to make a sustainable difference.

“Our aim is to give superannuation funds and other long-term investors the opportunity to make a positive social and environmental impact at the same time as they enhance returns from the defensive part of their portfolio,” Mr Austin said.

“We know the renewable market and we work with projects that are usually too small to obtain finance from traditional banks. That experience and point of difference has helped deliver solid returns in the past two years.

“The CEFC investment will help us continue that work and strengthen our focus on an under-utilised segment of the renewable energy market.”

The IEF has a portfolio of 22 projects, including the 20MW Chinchilla Solar Farm and the 34.5MW Brigalow Solar Farm in Queensland, the 20MW Swan Hill Solar Farm in Victoria and two 5MW projects in South Australia.

The IEF has also financed solar projects that provide power to Alice Springs and the Voyages resort at Uluru, as well as microgrids meeting up to 80 per cent of the daytime energy needs of the remote Northern Territory communities of Lake Nash, Ti Tree and Kalkarindiji.

Mr Learmonth added: “This commitment with Infradebt will extend the benefits of CEFC finance to a previously untapped segment of the market, closing a persistent investment gap.

“CEFC finance has helped build a thriving clean energy sector in Australia, through investments in large-scale renewables, as well as rooftop and small-scale solar projects through our aggregation finance programs.

“Working with Infradebt is an effective and efficient way of reaching projects in between these, in terms of size and value, creating exciting opportunities for regional communities and businesses to further benefit from low cost low emissions renewable energy.”

Source: CEFC


Tilt Renewables completes sale of Snowtown 2 wind farm

17 December

On 5 December 2019, Tilt Renewables announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell the Snowtown 2 wind farm, as a result of the strategic review that was announced in June 2019, for an enterprise value of A$1,073 million.

Tilt Renewables is pleased to announce completion of the sale of Snowtown 2 wind farm to an entity wholly‐owned by funds managed by Palisade Investment Partners Limited (‘Palisade’) and First State Super has occurred today. As a result of the completion Tilt Renewables has now received approximately A$455m, after transaction related costs. 

Deion Campbell, Chief Executive of Tilt Renewables, welcomed completion of the transaction; “the sale of Snowtown 2 is an important milestone for Tilt Renewables and highlights the value that can be produced from a high quality, well managed renewable energy development pipeline”.

Tilt Renewables will continue to assist in the operation of Snowtown 2 for a period of 6 months, under an Asset Management and Transitional Services Agreement.

No employees of Tilt Renewables are directly employed by the Snowtown 2 entities and as such, no Tilt Renewables personnel will be transferred in conjunction with the sale.    Following completion of the transaction, Tilt Renewables will continue to own and operate the nearby Snowtown 1 wind farm.

Source: Tilt Renewables



Power generated by GE’s Haliade-X 12 MW prototype in Rotterdam to be bought by Eneco utility company

17 December

- Purchase enables Eneco to provide renewable energy to its customers

- Haliade-X sets a new world record for amount of energy produced in 24 hours

- Extensive testing of prototype will enable Haliade-X to obtain Type Certificate by 2020

- Haliade-X positions GE Renewable Energy to compete in fast-growing offshore wind market

Eneco, Future Wind (a Joint Venture between Pondera Development and SIF Holding Netherlands), and GE Renewable Energy today announced that Eneco will purchase all of the electricity generated by GE’s Haliade-X 12 MW prototype.  The announcement was made during a ceremony to inaugurate the prototype that was recently installed at the port of Maasvlakte-Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The prototype set a new world record this past weekend by being the first wind turbine ever to generate 262 MWh of clean energy in 24 hours, enough energy to power 30,000 households in the region. Over the next five-year period, the Haliade-X prototype will undergo a series of tests to validate the turbine’s power curve, loads, grid performance and reliability. The tests will also allow GE to validate operational procedures for installation and services teams and obtain a Type Certificate for the Haliade-X in 2020, keeping GE on track to commercialize the turbine by 2021.

Frans van de Noort, COO of Eneco said: “We are very proud of our cooperation with Future Wind and GE Renewable Energy, as it enables Eneco to purchase the green power produced by the Haliade-X prototype and to get hands on experience with this innovative and powerful new turbine that represents the future of offshore wind energy.”

Diederik de Bruin, Project Manager at Future Wind said: “we are glad to be able to collaborate with GE Renewable Energy and having the world’s first 12MW wind turbine installed at our SiF site in Rotterdam. We believe this milestone is relevant not only for the global offshore wind industry, but also proves how Dutch companies (such as SiF and Pondera) are engaged with the development of renewable energy.”

John Lavelle, CEO of Offshore Wind at GE Renewable Energy, said “Along with the industry’s compelling value proposition, technology innovation is a key driver of the offshore wind market. Because it is the most powerful machine in the industry, the Haliade-X allows our customers to drive down the cost of wind energy and speed the adoption of clean, renewable energy. The testing that the prototype will undergo is one part of a multi-faceted testing process that will enable us to commercialize the Haliade-X by 2021, just in time for the strong growth uptick we are seeing in offshore wind worldwide.”

The Haliade-X technology has been selected already as the preferred wind turbine for 4’800 MW of power in several offshore windfarms: the 120 MW Skip Jack and 1,100 MW Ocean Wind projects in the US, and the 3,600 MW Dogger Bank project in the UK. Serial production of the Haliade-X 12 MW will start at the second half of 2021.

The Haliade-X program is part of a multi-million dollar investment that will contribute to reducing the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) by making offshore wind a more competitive source of renewable energy. One Haliade-X 12 MW turbine can generate up to 67 GWh* of gross annual energy production, providing enough clean energy to power 16,000* European households and save up to 42,000 metric tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of the emissions generated by 9,000 vehicles** in one year.

The global offshore wind market is projected to grow from just over 20GW today to 190GW by 2030 according the Global Wind Energy Council, and the International Energy Agency has projected that the total investment in offshore wind could top $1 trillion by 2040.

* Gross performance based on wind conditions on a typical German North Sea site.

** According to EPA Greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator

Source: Eneco


Edify Energy solar farms first to use artificial intelligence for energy market participation using AMS software

17 December

Edify Energy and AMS complete deployment of AI software on a 438 MWp portfolio of utility-scale solar farms in Queensland and Victoria, Australia.

Last week, Edify Energy completed the process of going live with AMS’ AI-backed trading platform across five operational solar farms that Edify manages and partly owns. This portfolio represents the first use of AI-based trading for utility-scale solar anywhere in the world. The trading enablement rollout at Edify began in October 2019 and now covers a portfolio totaling 438 MWp of installed capacity. The solar farms under Edify Energy’s management using AMS’ trading platform are Daydream (180 MWp), Hayman (60 MWp), Whitsunday (69 MWp), Hamilton (69 MWp) and Gannawarra (60 MWp).

AMS’ AI-based software services help Edify Energy and other renewable asset managers navigate increasing price volatility and maximize returns in the Australian National Electricity Market.

The effects of rising price volatility are especially acute in Queensland, where, during the three-month period August-October 2019, energy prices were negative for a total of 98.5 hours: 25 times higher than during the same three months in 2018. Prices were negative during approximately 8% of daylight hours. AMS’ trading platform skillfully addresses and alleviates this market volatility by self-executing a "precision trading" strategy. The platform uses a range of inputs and a proprietary machine learning algorithm to predict prices, optimize around local constraints and recommend bids that maximize financial returns.

“AMS' software services enhance our capability in renewables trading and complements the other technical, physical and commercial aspects of power station operations and management,” said John Cole, Edify Energy Chief Executive. “As one of the leading asset managers and owners of renewable energy and storage assets, we’re always looking to innovate and improve asset performance. AMS’s AI solution is generating real value for the solar farms’ owners and will help us navigate price volatility and constraints, particularly through the summer and shoulder months. It has been a pleasure to work with the AMS team.”

“Deploying our AI on solar in Queensland and Victoria represents a significant expansion of AMS’ capabilities,” said Seyed Madaeni, CEO of AMS. “Edify Energy has shown real vision and been an excellent partner to work with. We’re proud of the results we’re getting already. We believe that this is the first time AI trading of solar has been deployed anywhere in the world and demonstrates AMS’s ability to manage assets under a range of market conditions. As renewable installations increase in Australia and around the world, this type of software service will become essential for renewables asset managers to improve returns. With AMS AI, solar’s future is even brighter.”

Over the last year, AMS has built a contracted pipeline of more than 2,000 MW of solar, wind, pumped hydro and battery storage assets in the US and Australia. Earlier this year, AMS deployed its trading platform at windfarms in South Australia and Victoria.

Source: AMS


Vestas secures 21 MW order from BayWa r.e. for two projects in Australia

17 December

Vestas has secured a 21 MW order with the leading global renewable energy developer, BayWa r.e. for the Diapur and Ferguson wind farms in the Western region of Victoria, Australia.

Diapur Wind Farm will feature two V150-4.2 MW turbines, while the Ferguson Wind Farm will comprise three V136-4.2 MW turbines.

In addition to the supply and installation of the turbines, the order also features a 25-year AOM 4000 service agreement which aims to maximise uptime and ensure optimised performance of the project.

Turbine delivery is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2020.

Source: Vestas


AEMO releases energy summer readiness report

17 December

We have today released our 2019/20 summer readiness report, setting out plans and actions AEMO, the industry and government jurisdictions have taken to prepare Australia’s power system for the summer ahead.

The 2019/20 summer readiness report follows months of collaboration with governments and industry stakeholders to proactively manage heightened risks to power system operations identified in AEMO’s 2019 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (released in August). It is focused on four pillars:

- Sufficient available resources

- Continuing operational improvement

- Contingency planning

- Collaboration and communication

“The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is forecasting both warmer than average and extreme temperatures this summer, and an ongoing and significant risk of bushfires with drier than usual conditions. These risks add to the deteriorating reliability of some of the older coal generation plants,” said AEMO Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Audrey Zibelman.

“Whilst unexpected events can and do happen, particularly when the power system is under significant pressure and most prone to failure, AEMO has worked diligently to prepare the power system appropriately, including the procurement of emergency resources.”

Since last summer, AEMO is pleased to see 3,700 megawatts (MW) of increased generation in the National Electricity Market, with rooftop and grid-scale solar generation representing approximately 90 per cent of this increase.

“The introduction of these resources delivers a welcomed improvement to reliability and reduces the need to procure further out of market reserves,” said Ms Zibelman.

For the 2019/20 summer, AEMO has secured 125 MW of reserves through off-market generation, along with demand management programs where customers are paid to shift or reduce their energy usage. The reserves include 61 MW of long notice Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) contracts and 64 MW through the joint AEMO/Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) demand side participation trial.

Additionally, AEMO has entered into a total of more than 1,500 MW of short and medium notice RERT agreements across the NEM, which allow AEMO to more rapidly enter into reserve contracts if required. Of this, more than 1,000 MW is available for Victoria and South Australia, and the remainder in NSW and Queensland, to cover risks associated with extreme heat and system scenarios.

“AEMO remains focused on the real risk to power system operations this summer. It is pleasing to see the level of interest from RERT providers, as this initiative enables AEMO to have sufficient resources to manage possible high-risk scenarios that can occur in summer, such as extreme or extended heatwaves, bushfires and unplanned generation or transmission outages.

“With the majority of these resources purchased under arrangements where payment is only required when AEMO needs them to avoid load shedding, they are a necessary and cost-effective insurance policy for the reliable operations of the system,” said Ms Zibelman.

AEMO has also been working closely with generators across the NEM to identify whether there are existing or anticipated fuel supply risks to operations. Current drought conditions are projected to have minimal impact on supply adequacy this summer.

Looking beyond this summer, AEMO will continue to work closely with the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Regulator, industry and governments to progress developments that will enable an affordable, reliable, and secure energy system for Australian energy consumers now and into the future.

AEMO will continue to use the Energy Live online media portal to provide the community with live updates on events, as and when they occur, throughout summer. In the meantime, check out our latest Energy Live podcast which goes into detail about how AEMO prepares for the summer season from an operational standpoint.

Source: AEMO


Zenith solar powers IGO Nova Operation  

18 December


- Zenith Energy Solar PV power plant is now live and providing zero emissions energy to IGO’s Nova Nickel‐Copper‐Cobalt Operation, 360km south east of Kalgoorlie

- Zenith’s unique battery‐free Hybrid Solar PV‐Diesel power system maximises production from the Solar PV unit and combines with Zenith’s fuel‐efficient diesel power generation facility to provide smooth, reliable power without the need for battery stabilisation

- The plant has been successfully commissioned and is already delivering IGO savings in diesel consumption of approximately 6,500 litres per day

- The Hybrid Solar PV‐Diesel Facility is already providing IGO with significantly lower power generation costs and reduced carbon emissions

Remote power generation specialist, Zenith Energy Limited (ASX: ZEN) (Zenith or ‘the Company’), is pleased to announce that its wholly‐owned subsidiary, Zenith Pacific (SIR) Pty Ltd, has started supplying power to Independence Group NL’s (ASX: IGO) Nova Nickel‐Copper‐Cobalt Operation in the Fraser Range of Western Australia from its Hybrid Solar PV‐Diesel power generation facility.

The plant, which is built, owned and operated by Zenith, is already exceeding performance targets for power output and energy efficiency.

Zenith Energy’s Managing Director, Hamish Moffat commented: 

“The proprietary hybrid system developed by the Company is able to seamlessly manage the fluctuations in solar PV energy production to provide smooth, reliable power, without the need for batteries to stabilise energy delivery to Nova.”

“Batteries have their place in energy systems, but they are still expensive to deploy for these applications. Our unique, locally developed hybrid system eliminates the need for batteries and represents a major step forward in the capital cost optimisation, operating efficiency and environmental performance of Solar PV hybrid energy systems in remote locations.” 

“The combined 26.6MW system includes new 5.5MWp of state‐of‐the‐art PV modules, single axis tracking, inverters, and communications and control system.

“The system Zenith has installed also features high‐efficiency, diesel‐fuelled generators that combine with our unique control system to optimise solar and diesel power delivery.” 

“We are absolutely thrilled with the performance of the system to date, which is saving Nova in the order of 6,500 litres of diesel every day. Importantly, this is the first hybrid Solar PV‐diesel installation that has been funded on a commercial, standalone basis – without any Government subsidies.”

“As a local, independent power producer we are proud to be at the forefront of delivering cost effective energy solutions that improve environmental outcomes for Australia’s resources industry.”

“This is Zenith Energy at its best – applying outside the box thinking to deliver reliable, cost‐efficient power in the most challenging locations.”

IGO’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt Dusci commented:

“At IGO we are striving to reduce our carbon footprint. The implementation of new technologies with the construction of a hybrid‐solar system at Nova will enable IGO to reduce our CO2 equivalent emissions by approximately 6,500t per annum. The solar facility will also decrease our cost structure through reductions in our diesel fuel usage.”  

Zenith will supply power from the Solar PV‐diesel hybrid system under an initial six‐year period, with an option for IGO to extend for a further two years.

Source: Zenith Energy


Tonsley solar installation reaches important milestone

18 December

Work on one of Australia’s largest rooftop solar arrays reached an important milestone this week, with approximately half of the project now generating renewable energy for the Tonsley Innovation District thanks to an innovative delivery scheme developed by the two companies involved in the project.

With almost 4000 panels already laid for the installation by ZEN Energy on behalf of Enwave Australia, the project will ultimately comprise a total installed capacity of 2.34 megawatts delivered by approximately 7400 solar panels across the five-hectare MAB roof at the Tonsley site. Once completed, the system will form one of Australia’s largest single rooftop solar arrays.

The installation is part of Enwave Australia’s Tonsley District Energy Scheme to deliver clean, competitively priced energy to Tonsley tenants and residents via smart renewable technology. Cleantech and renewable energy is one of four industry focus sectors at Tonsley and the district is becoming a national hub for the development of related innovative technology.

Extracting solar energy from the panels as soon as possible has been an important goal of the installation. To achieve this goal, ZEN Energy and Enwave Australia worked together to devise an innovative delivery approach that would allow approximately half of the installation to be commissioned and switched on ahead of time, rather than waiting for the entire installation to be completed as is the practice for more standard delivery models.

As ZEN Energy Technical Manager Daniel Hope explains:

“One of the goals of the Tonsley District Energy Scheme is that at least 30% of all energy consumed on the site will be generated from solar panels mounted on the MAB roof. From day one of the project we were aware and really mindful of this target and made sure that we did all we could to design our delivery method around it.”

“Thanks to the excellent work of our installers, consistent and open dialogue with Enwave Australia, and great engagement with SA Power Networks and the overarching client Renewal SA, we are really pleased to now be at a stage where the first 3800 panels have already been installed and are now already generating clean renewable energy for the site.”

Enwave Australia Project Director Ray Egan explained how pleased Enwave Australia was to achieve this important milestone for the project, and what it meant for the goals of the Tonsley District Energy Scheme:

“It is a great achievement by all parties involved to achieve this milestone. By working together as a community, Enwave Tonsley is able to capture value for tenants through economies of scale, efficiency of operations and implementation of innovative technologies and utility services solutions. In the future the network may incorporate battery storage and potential use of hydrogen as well as innovations provided by tenants at Tonsley and beyond.”

With the Tonsley District Energy Scheme launched only months ago by the Government of South Australia, Enwave Australia, and ZEN Energy, the milestone marks a fast turnaround from launch to energy generation for the scheme, with work continuing on the installation ahead of an expected completion date for the full solar energy system early in the new year.

Source: ZEN Energy


Genex achieves financial close for the 50MWAC Jemalong Solar Project & the refinancing of the 50MWAC Kidston Solar One Project

18 December


  • Project Financial Close achieved for JSP and refinancing for KS1;
  • Execution of EPC and O&M Contracts with Beon Energy Solutions for JSP; and
  • Commencement of construction for JSP.

Project Financial Close:

Genex Power Limited (ASX: GNX) (Genex or Company) is pleased to announce that it has successfully achieved Financial Close for the 50MWAC Jemalong Solar Project (JSP) in New South Wales and the refinancing of the existing debt facility for the 50MWAC Kidston Solar One Project (KS1), operating at the Company’s Clean Energy Hub in Kidston, North Queensland.

The total debt funding package of $192m includes a senior loan facility and structurally subordinated HoldCo facility. The senior facility has been independently verified as a Green Loan and is the first Green Loan globally to be Certified under the latest internationally recognised Climate Bonds Standard v3.0. The 100MWAC Portfolio Financing includes the largest Certified Green Loan by an Australian renewable energy group.

Westpac Banking Corporation has been appointed as the Agent and Security Trustee for the senior facility.

Commenting on the debt funding package, Genex CEO, James Harding said:

“Genex welcomes the funding provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, DZ Bank AG, Nord/LB and Westpac Banking Corporation. The 100MWAC Portfolio Financing includes the largest Certified Green Loan by an Australian renewable energy group. Genex is now in a strong position to grow earnings from its portfolio of renewable energy assets.”

Commenting on the HoldCo facility, Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) CEO, Ian Learmonth said:

“This transaction consolidated the strong working relationship with Genex, which began with the CEFC’s investment in the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub near Townsville in 2017. Our first investment with Genex was in the Kidston Solar One Project – an innovative project that was the first of its kind in Australia to co-locate a large-scale solar farm with a large-scale pumped hydro storage project.

It is great to support Genex in utilising the strong base of the Queensland Government contracted Kidston Solar One Project to build another new solar farm in New South Wales. The clean energy generated by the Jemalong Solar Project will provide more electricity capacity to the grid as it prepares for the upcoming retirement of coal powered generation.”

Execution of EPC and O&M Contracts:

Genex is also pleased to announce that it has successfully executed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract and an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Contract with Beon Energy Solutions (Beon) for JSP.

Beon is one of the leading EPC companies in Australia for large-scale solar projects, with experience amounting to more than 500MW, of which approximately 290MW is under construction. Beon is a subsidiary of Victoria Power Networks Pty Ltd and has a successful model for the delivery of renewable energy and infrastructure projects founded on safety, reliability, quality, cost-effectiveness, sustainability and community engagement.

Following Financial Close and the execution of the EPC and O&M Contracts, construction has now commenced for JSP. It is anticipated that construction will occur over a 12-month period, with operations/first cash flow in Q4 CY 2020.

Commenting on Beon’s appointment, Genex CEO, James Harding stated:

“Genex is very pleased to enter into the EPC and O&M contracts with Beon, who have a strong history of renewable energy construction in Australia, complemented by their in-house expertise in grid connection, commissioning and electrical works. We look forward to continuing an excellent relationship with Beon throughout the construction and operation of the Jemalong solar farm and as we look to expand our portfolio of assets over the coming years.”

Source: Genex Power



Job-generating Wide Bay wind farm proposal gaining momentum

19 December

A proposed large-scale wind farm project in the Wide Bay region, valued at up to $2 billion, is moving forward thanks to facilitation support provided by the Palaszczuk Government.

Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the Forest Wind project could create around 440 construction jobs and boost renewables supply for Queensland’s future energy needs.

“This would be one the largest grid-connected wind farms in the southern hemisphere,” Mr Dick said.

“The wind farm would generate approximately 1200 megawatts at capacity, which will power more than 550,000 homes.

“This is enough power for all homes across the Wide Bay-Burnett, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast combined, or the entire Brisbane City Council area.

“This could increase Queensland’s installed power generation capacity by approximately nine per cent.

“The project is being advanced as an exclusive transaction as part of the Queensland Government’s investment facilitation services.

“It will now move into the detailed assessment stage, which will also include the assessment of its development application.”

Mr Dick said the proposed wind farm would be located within state forest land between Gympie and Maryborough.

“It would co-exist with established southern pine timber plantations that support our forestry industry,” he said.

Forest Wind Holdings, a joint venture between Queensland-based renewables firm CleanSight and Siemens Financial Services, has proposed to locate up to 226 wind turbines across the sites.

The plantations are owned and managed by HQPlantations on land under licence from the state.

The project has the potential to generate 1200 megawatts of renewable energy.

Together with other wind energy projects in the state, this would represent 12 per cent of Queensland’s installed generation capacity.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the Palaszczuk Labor Government would continue bringing investment and jobs to the region.

“This is yet another massive project with the potential to create work for hundreds of Wide Bay families,” Mr Saunders said.

“We’ve got the workforce and skills here locally, and we’re ready to build the big projects that will transform Queensland’s future.

“Locating the wind farm on plantation licence areas would be a first for Queensland.

“It’s a great example of private enterprise thinking outside the box to help boost renewable energy generation in our state.”

Forest Wind Holdings has confirmed that subject to receiving all relevant approvals, construction of the wind farm could commence as early as fourth-quarter 2020.

Minister for Natural Resources and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government was pushing ahead to transform the state’s energy network and achieve 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

“While there is still much work to be done before Forest Wind becomes a reality, our government recognises the significance of this project,” Dr Lynham said.

“We’ll keep working with Forest Wind Holdings and key stakeholders to facilitate the long-term access and operation of the wind farm, and to maximise the value of this land.”

Over the coming months, Forest Wind will negotiate land use and cultural heritage with the Native Title parties, the Butchulla and Kabi Kabi First Nations people, and consult with local communities and businesses.

Forest Wind Holdings Chairman James Pennay said in addition to the hundreds of construction jobs, the project could support up to 50 operational roles in the long-term.

“The project could also produce enough clean energy to supply up to one-in-four Queensland homes,” Mr Pennay said.

Siemens Australia CEO and Chairman Jeff Connolly said this investment into the state’s energy future adds to Siemens prior equity stake in the successful consortium for the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

“Through our financing arm, Siemens Financial Services (SFS), we are excited to invest in one of the world’s largest onshore wind farms in Queensland, helping Australia secure its energy future,” Mr Connolly said.

“Siemens has a long and proud history in Queensland and Australia dating back almost 150 years.

“The company has provided critical leading technology supporting infrastructure and industry – ranging from energy to water, transport, agribusiness, manufacturing, mining and resources, healthcare and even sugar and beer.

“This new partnership and joint venture is a natural extension of our relationship.”

HQPlantations CEO Jeremy Callachor said he was excited about the possibility of supporting the Queensland Government’s long-term renewable energy targets in a material way.

“We will work closely with Forest Wind Holdings to leverage complementary opportunities for improvements in fire protection and road access in the estate, and to ensure there is minimal impact on timber production,” Mr Callachor said.

Mr Dick said the project had been advanced by the Queensland Government’s Investment Facilitation and Partnerships Group within the Department of State Development.

“This group aims to provide a clear entry point for major investment projects and a customised and streamlined pathway to decision-makers across government,” he said.

Source: Queensland Government

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