Dam upgrades bring Battery of the Nation closer to reality

16 September

Under the Hodgman majority Liberal Government, Tasmania has the lowest emissions in the country and is well on track to achieve our 2022 target of 100 percent renewable energy production, while delivering the country’s lowest regulated electricity prices.

We have nation-building pumped hydro projects being progressed to deliver clean, reliable and low-cost energy to Tasmania and mainland states.

Today I joined Hydro Tasmania’s Chief Operations Officer Jesse Clark to inspect a major upgrade of Repulse Power Station in the Derwent Scheme.

The upgrade replaces the turbine’s oil hub with a water filled hub to eliminate the risk of oil spills and will increase the systems reliability and flexibility, making it better suited to manage increased renewable energy generation as part of this government’s Battery of the Nation initiative.

This project is one of a number of scheduled dam upgrades and improvements to Hydro Tasmania’s Derwent system, which will increase electricity generation by more than 80 gigawatt hours (GWh) each year by 2021, supporting plans to make Tasmania the renewable Battery of the Nation.

Hydro Tasmania has invested around $105 million in maintenance and upgrades to power generation assets over the last 12 months, including the Repulse project.

These upgrades will help make Hydro Tasmania’s network more efficient and reliable, meaning we can generate more power with the existing hydropower assets.

The Hodgman majority Liberal Government’s Battery of the Nation and second Bass Straight interconnector initiatives, will unlock multiple large scale renewable energy projects, inject up to $5 billion into the Tasmanian economy, create thousands of local jobs, put downward pressure on power prices and provide our state with a reliable long-term revenue source.

Source: Tasmania Government


AltEnergy Industry Directory

As a subscriber you may have received from us last week email advice about the launch of our new product, the AltEnergy Industry Directory (AEID). We are pleased to note that already a number of companies have registered to be in the AEID, which will be launched in November. The AEID gathers together industry contacts in one convenient, searchable online directory for people who are seeking specific suppliers, trades and services, and provides a platform for businesses to connect with other industry participants. More details, including how to make a listing for your company, are provided here on our FAQ webpage altenergy.com.au/directory.


GAS-TESS Pilot project update

16 September

  • GAS-TESS up and running after scheduled shutdown to assess O&M requirements
  • O&M a key factor in business case for wastewater treatment utilities
  • Improvements to be fast-tracked to provide SA Water with key data for evaluating business case
  • Proposed review of revenue settlement due to delays in export approval to NEM

Operational status

The GAS-TESS was recently shut-down to install additional instrumentation and inspect it internally. This demonstrated that the unit was in good condition. An estimate for operation and maintenance (O&M) costs can now be prepared, these being a key factor for utilities evaluating biogas burning equipment over their lifetime.

The GAS-TESS is now back online supplying electricity and heat to the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Our engineers will continue test runs to refine operating characteristics and anticipate working with the Glenelg WWTP operators to evaluate the benefits of the TESS integrated with the plant systems from late September.

Commercial arrangements under the settlement agreement are underway but SA Water has advised there may be a long delay to obtain approval to export electricity to the grid. The addition of solar generation at the same time as the GAS-TESS and the current, interim network restrictions have imposed operational constraints on the site and hence GAS-TESS, so the company proposes to review the settlement agreement with SA Water.

Current performance status

A wide range of tests have been conducted to characterise the actual GAS-TESS performance compared to original design calculations and predictions. Analysis of the GAS-TESS performance is most readily obtained from simultaneous operations of the burners using biogas at the same time as energy is produced by the turbine, as this provides steady state conditions for simpler comparison with mass and energy balance calculations.

Under this regime, the combustion system burning the biogas is operating at 82.7% efficiency, almost at design specification, and some modifications to operational procedures are expected to improve performance. As expected, in this first testing phase of configuration the device is delivering only 39.8% CHP efficiency because the turbine is operating at half its potential efficiency. This is due to a number of factors but primarily caused by low heat transfer through the heat store to the energy recovery system (ERS). This results in a lower ERS gas outlet temperature and energy content, ultimately resulting in a turbine inlet temperature well below optimum.

Next Steps

As planned, the Company will upgrade the storage to increase heat transfer once the overall systems are validated. The project agreement provides for two years of operational tests, and we intend to upgrade the GAS-TESS performance in several stages.

However, the business case for the GAS-TESS is not driven just by return trip efficiency because the biogas is a by-product of a WWTP operation that must be burnt on a continuous basis whereas the heat and electricity loads of a plant and electricity export value are variable. This is one reason that SA Water proposed a GAS-TESS device - to time shift the energy supply to maximise the value of the biogas, something that the engines cannot provide. The second reason is to minimise O&M costs.

Following the positive internal inspection, some enhancements will now be fast-tracked, where possible, to provide SA Water with key performance and O&M data for evaluating the performance of the TESS compared to engines. Other performance enhancements will be rescheduled for inclusion in the design of the next version of the technology.

Source: 1414 Degrees


Delivering consistent guidance for solar development

17 September

New planning guidelines are now in place for large scale solar development, providing certainty and confidence to the sector and encouraging greater investment, as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s renewable energy boom.

The Minister for Planning Richard Wynne today introduced an amendment to all Victorian planning schemes, implementing the Solar Energy Facilities – Design and Development Guideline.

The Guidelines ensure new solar energy facilities, producing one megawatt or more, are built in appropriate locations which:

- are easily accessible to the electricity transmission network

- avoid or minimise impacts on their local environments

- consider impacts on productive agricultural areas, irrigated areas and areas of environmental importance.

It also includes a range of best-practice approaches to help developers engage with communities and ensure the least possible environmental and social impacts of their proposals.

The Guidelines were shaped by a nine-month development process including extensive consultation with communities, councils and industry and a review of best-practice standards interstate and internationally.

In addition to implementing the Guidelines, the amendment also brings permit assessment for solar facilities in line with large scale wind farms, where the Minister for Planning is the responsible authority.

This consolidated approach will reduce the administrative burden on councils and provide consistent decision making across the state.

The Guidelines and the planning scheme amendment information is available at: planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/solar-energy-facilities-design-and-development-guidelines

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“We’ve listened to the community and included a best practice approach to consultation, ensuring people can have their say from an early stage, well before a planning permit is lodged.”

“The Guidelines brings a consistent approach to assessing the appropriateness of solar developments, giving the renewable energy industry more confidence to invest.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“Victoria is the renewable energy capital of Australia and these guidelines will strengthen market certainty – boost jobs, reduce emissions and drive down energy prices.”

Source: Victoria Government



Infinite supply? Energy generation from space may be the answer

16 September

It might be dark up there, but the sun always shines in space, and now scientists believe that an orbital solar power station could be an inexhaustible source of clean energy for Earth.

Space has always represented infinite possibilities for the human race, even centuries before the first interstellar explorers made those epic voyages in the mid-20th century. The final frontier has inspired us scientifically and culturally – spawning endless movies, seminal television shows and classic albums. But now, some industry and scientific experts are suggesting, space could hold the key to delivering our global energy needs.

With Earth’s population expected to reach just short of 10 billion by the mid-point of this century, demand for reliable energy (and large quantities of it) are only going to increase. This quandary is something a team of experts at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have been working on for the past few years as part of their Space Solar Power Project.

According to Caltech, ‘Collecting solar power in space and transmitting the energy wirelessly to Earth through microwaves enables terrestrial power availability unaffected by weather or time of day. Solar power could be continuously available anywhere on earth.’

The Space Solar Power Project’s concept is based on the modular assembly of ultralight, foldable, 2D integrated elements. The project team state that the integration of solar power and radio frequency (RF) conversion in one element avoids a power distribution network throughout the structure, further reducing weight and complexity. This concept enables scalability and mitigates local element failure impact on other parts of the system.

Their most recent prototype collects sunlight, converts it to RF electric power, then wirelessly transmits that power in a steerable beam.

And now China is pursuing its own ambitions, as they are attempting to build the world’s first solar power station to be positioned in the Earth’s orbit. According to Sydney Morning Herald reporting, Chinese scientists estimate it could supply energy 99% of the time – at six times the intensity of terrestrial solar farms.

Chinese scientists first plan to build and launch small to medium-sized solar power stations (as they work to overcome challenges including the weight of such a station, expected to be 1000 tonnes, greater than 400 tonnes of the International Space Station) to be launched into the stratosphere to generate electricity, between 2021 and 2025.

Much closer to home, AEMO continues to monitor, evaluate and forecast for Australia’s energy and supply requirements as the industry transforms (see our recent 2019 Electricity Statement of Opportunities), largely due to evolving technology such as the proliferation of solar photovoltaic (PV) amongst consumers and businesses alike.

On Earth, as in space, the future for energy supply remains rife with both challenges and opportunities and the coming years will provide plenty of both. Solar power represents the majority of new generation and capacity entering our domestic energy market and will remain a key catalyst for change in the energy sectors around the world…and beyond.

Source: AEMO



Culcairn Solar Farm

Location: Approximately 5km SW of Culcairn and 26km south of Jindera in NSW

Capacity: 400 MW

Developer: Neoen

LGA: Greater Hume

Status: Prepare EIS

Website: https://culcairnsolarfarm.com.au/

Description: The project includes construction and operation of a solar PV energy generation facility and associated infrastructure, including a grid connection and battery storage. The solar and storage facility, using proven technology, will be one of the largest in Australia generating more than 800,000 MWh of electricity into the national power grid each year. Neoen plans to begin construction of the solar farm in mid-2020 and anticipates significant local employment opportunities.

Contact: Antoine Lajouanie

Neoen Australia

Email: contact@culcairnsolarfarm.com.au



Canadian solar sets a 22.80% conversion efficiency world record for p-type large area multi-crystalline silicon solar cell

17 September

Canadian Solar Inc. ("Canadian Solar" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: CSIQ), one of the world's largest solar power companies, today announced its technology team set a world record of 22.80% conversion efficiency for p-type large area multi-crystalline silicon solar cell. The record-setting P5 (casted mono) cell conversion efficiency was tested and certified by Germany's Institute für Solarenergieforschung GmbH (ISFH) in September 2019. It surpasses the previous multi-crystalline cell efficiency world record of 22.28% which was also set by Canadian Solar in April 2019.

Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar said, "I am very pleased to announce that we broke the world record yet again. This is a milestone for our P5 technology development. It proves that our multi-crystalline silicon technology can achieve efficiencies very close to mono while still enjoying the cost advantage of multi. We remain focused on expanding our technology pipeline to provide our customers with the most LCOE-competitive products."

Canadian Solar has been developing and is commercially launching its P5 cell technology and solar module products. The 22.80% record efficiency multi-crystalline cell was fabricated utilizing 157mmx157mm (area 246.66cm2) P5 silicon wafers and production-ready technologies such as MCCE (Metal Catalyzed Chemical Etch) black-silicon texturing, selective emitter, multi-layer anti-reflection coating, advanced surface passivation, and optimized grid design and metallization. Notably, the MCCE black-silicon texturing technology, originally developed and mass-produced by Canadian Solar, was used to further improve cell performance.

Canadian Solar is a technology leader in the solar industry and one of the highest ranked global solar manufacturers in terms of patent applications and patent grants. The Company has 1,422 patents granted, covering the North American, European and Asia-Pacific regions. In August this year, all of the Company's cell capacity was upgraded to mono-PERC or multi-PERC. On the module product side, Canadian Solar has pioneered the GW-scale introduction of half-cut cell modules (Ku-series), bifacial modules (BiKu), multi-bus bar (MBB), 166mm wafers (HiKu and BiHiKu) and shingled modules (HiDM).

Source: Canadian Solar



Majura Community Solar Farm

Grid connection agreement signed

The SolarShare team is extremely pleased to announce we have reached another major milestone in signing the final grid connection agreement with EvoEnergy for the Majura Community Solar Farm. The agreement took some tough negotiating as we were disappointed learn Evo wished to raise the connection costs significantly over their previous engineering estimates, but thankfully we had allowed some extra budget for this part of the scope. Despite this, we are now in a position for EvoEnergy to proceed to order the equipment required to connect the solar farm to the grid.

Finalised landscape plan

With the support of the community we have finalised our landscape plan. We would like to thank the Molonglo Catchment Group, Majura Valley Landcare Group, Fresh Landscape Design, Friends of Grasslands, landowners, community members, and a big thank you to SolarShare team member Rachel for all your efforts in bringing this together. The landscape plan is accessible on our website at this link.

Heritage site visit

We look forward to hosting an upcoming cultural heritage site visit with local Representative Aboriginal Organisations. The site visit will contribute towards the solar farm's heritage approval process.

Considering trackers

Our Engineering Procurement and Construction contractor (Epho Solar) has recently given us a proposal for using trackers on the site, to increase our annual solar output, by following the sun from East to West throughout the day. This could be a great way for us to generate more energy and have a greater impact on lowering carbon emissions. If you've been to the Majura winery recently you will see on the solar farm next door what a typical tracker system looks like. We are currently exploring whether the proposal makes sense from a financial and risk perspective, so expect more on this in our next newsletter.


Snowy 2.0 update - Exploratory Works underway

17 September

The Snowy 2.0 Exploratory Works are well underway and there has been plenty of progress on the project.

Roads contractor Leed Engineering and Construction has forged ahead with upgrades to Lobs Hole Ravine Road, despite some periods of wild winter weather, and these are due to be completed by the end of the year. A temporary pedestrian bridge is also being installed across Wallace Creek to enable our principal contractor Future Generation access to the exploratory tunnel portal site. When access is completed, the first tunnel construction will get underway with drill and blast methodology.

This exploratory tunnel will allow further geological investigations to be carried out at the underground cavern location, with horizontal core hole drilling conducted in-situ. This work is very important as it provides us with information needed to finalise the technical design of the power station cavern, which will be located hundreds of metres below ground.

Construction of the first workers’ accommodation camp is due to start in coming months and should be finished early next year. Initially, during the Exploratory Works phase, the accommodation units will be home to around 150 people. Each single bedroom unit will contain an ensuite, bed, desk, television, small refrigerator and reverse-cycle air conditioner. The Exploratory Camp will also have a gym, recreational facilities, dining area and kitchen.

Given the project’s location in the Snowy Mountains, all of these buildings are built to withstand up to three metres of snow! 

Snowy Hydro hosted its latest round of community consultations in July and August, with staff from Future Generation also attending. These sessions in Cooma, Adaminaby, Tumut, Talbingo, Tumbarumba and Shannons Flat were focused on providing information to the community as part of the Environmental Impact Statement process for Snowy 2.0 Main Works and the Polo Flat precast factory. The events were well-attended, with more than 400 people taking the opportunity to ask questions, learn more about the projects and speak directly to the project team.

The most popular topics raised by the local community included local jobs and business opportunities, traffic and noise impacts, road safety and road upgrades.

Future Generation is busy establishing a presence in the local community, with team members already moving into the old SMEC offices in Cooma. This will soon become the Future Generation headquarters for the project and house 80-100 staff, generating further economic activity for the area. SMEC staff working on the project have moved into the Snowy Hydro office in Cooma in their role as the owners’ engineers.

Source: Snowy Hydro


ACT: First outside Europe to 100% renewable transition

18 September

The Australian Capital Territory is set to become the first major jurisdiction outside Europe to transition from a fossil fuel-based supply to 100% renewable electricity, according to a new report released to by the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

The new research finds that on 1 October 2019, an energy offtake agreement with Hornsdale Wind Farm (SA) will commence, ensuring the ACT will meet its 100% renewable electricity target by 1 January 2020, and likely even ahead of this deadline.

The Australia Institute report, to be launched by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, finds that:

- The ACT is set to become the first major jurisdiction (population 100,000+) outside Europe, to achieve this transition.

- Globally, just seven other jurisdictions with populations over 100,000 have transitioned to 100% renewable electricity, and zero outside of Europe.

- While there are some jurisdictions who have achieved 100% renewable energy based on historic investment in hydroelectricity, the ACT will join a select few to have made the transition from a fossil fuel-dominated energy system.

- A further four jurisdictions (in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Uganda) also expect to transition to 100% renewable electricity during 2020.

“The ACT is a renewable energy trailblazer. Achieving 100% renewable status shows what governments can achieve with strong climate and energy policy,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute.

“This shows that states and territories are leading the way on climate action while national governments often lag behind. Australia is a perfect example.

“The ACT is set to become the first outside of Europe to join the 100% renewables club.

“While some federal parliamentarians are trying to hit the brakes Australia’s energy transition, even Parliament House will soon run on 100% renewable energy.”

Source: The Australia Institute



Jemalong Solar Farm

▪ 50MW NSW solar project acquired.

▪ Connection, planning and land secured.

▪ Construction to commence September 2019 with first revenue late CY2020.

Development milestones

▪ Located 26km south-west of Forbes, NSW.

▪ Provides geographic diversity in GNX portfolio.

▪ 128,000MWh per annum forecast (P50).

▪ Status:

✓ Land secured & Development Approval granted;

✓ GPS approved;

✓ Offer to Connect received;

✓ Key advisors and consultants appointed;

✓ BEON Energy Solutions selected as preferred EPC; and

✓ Connection Agreement.

▪ Construction on track to commence H2CY2019.

▪ Potential to double Genex’s revenue from 2020.

Source: Genex Power


Domino's pizza powered by the sun

18 September

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (Domino’s) has partnered with Construction, Supply & Service (CSS) to launch a renewable energy strategy for Domino’s stores across Australia.

The strategy, which includes energy demand controllers and renewable solar power systems, has been introduced in a bid to reduce operational impacts on the environment and electricity costs.

Since implementation at Domino’s Aspley in 2017, results have shown an incredible 34 per cent reduction in energy usage and 48 per cent saving in electricity costs.

Domino’s Australia and New Zealand CEO Nick Knight said Domino’s had plans to roll out renewable energy solutions to more stores, with Domino’s Aspley ‘lighting the way’ for others to follow.

“We are really excited that Domino’s Aspley is now sourcing power from renewable energy and are thrilled with the results.

“We are looking to implement this strategy in more stores across our network, with Domino’s Ballina, Noarlunga and Kelso already operating with solar power systems and energy demand controllers,” Mr Knight said.

“We currently have 70 stores with energy demand controllers installed – which de-energise non-essential electrical equipment during peak power usage – and an additional seven stores already in the works.

“These stores have seen energy reductions of up to 22 per cent and electricity savings of up to 27 per cent in the past 12 months alone.”

CSS General Manager Earle Strong said the future of Domino’s renewable energy strategy was bright – benefiting both the environment and stores with its low maintenance approach.

“Solar energy is increasing in popularity for many reasons, by mainly because of its versatility, sustainability and safety benefits. 

“The power consumption savings we have seen at Domino’s Aspley have been incredibly encouraging and we look forward to installing renewable energy solutions into more Domino’s stores across Australia.”

Source: Domino’s


Powering ahead with jobs growth across Sunraysia

18 September

The Andrews Labor Government has supported dozens of long-term jobseekers into meaningful employment during the construction of a new solar farm in the state’s North West.

The Beon Energy Solutions site at Yatpool, 25 kilometres south of Mildura, is nearing completion and incorporates 350,000 solar panels across 100 hectares, with the capacity to generate power to supply about 40,000 homes.

The project has created more than 190 jobs for Sunraysia, including 47 people supported into work by Jobs Victoria, the Labor Government initiative that breaks down barriers to employment through tailored programs that match jobseekers with best-fit employers.

The program focuses on ensuring people have the right support to get job-ready and among the crew at Yatpool are 15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers and 11 refugees and people who have sought asylum.

The Beon Energy initiative has been a partnership between Jobs Victoria and the Mildura Rural City Council Community Employment Program, with support from recruitment agency Chandler Macleod.

Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula visited the Beon Energy Solutions solar development today to learn from workers and management about the success of the Jobs Victoria program.

The Yatpool solar farm is nearing completion, with all solar panels installed, electrical works almost signed off and commissioning under way.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula 

“Victoria has a growing reputation as a renewables powerhouse and we’re creating local jobs which further spread benefits through the community.”

“We’re working in partnership with companies like Beon Energy Solutions to break down barriers to employment and provide support for those who need it most. The results are fantastic to see.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target has given solar and wind organisations all around the world the confidence to invest in our state – generating not just energy, but more jobs and economic opportunities for local communities.”

Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp

“We’re proud to be playing our part in supporting local jobs growth in the North West and powering ahead to create a renewable energy future.”

Quote attributable to Beon Energy Solutions general manager Glen Thomson

“The workers brought on through Jobs Victoria have played an important role on this solar project and we’re very pleased to have been able to provide support to Victorian jobseekers.”

Source: Victoria Government


Taking action to lower power prices

18 September

The Morrison Government has today reintroduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2019. The Bill was introduced into the previous Parliament, but lapsed with the proroguing of the Parliament for the 2019 Federal Election. The new law will ensure that energy firms that engage in misconduct face appropriate penalties.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2019 will amend the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) to define three types of misconduct:

- A retail pricing prohibition, which will require electricity retailers to pass on sustained and substantial electricity supply chain cost savings to end consumers.

- A contract liquidity prohibition to prevent energy companies from withholding hedge contracts for the purpose of substantially lessening competition.

- A wholesale conduct prohibition to stop generators from manipulating the spot market, such as withholding supply.

The Bill introduces a graduated, proportionate penalty regime to apply if the ACCC finds that misconduct has occurred. The following remedies will be available:

- ACCC issued warning notices and infringement notices.

- Court-ordered civil penalties up to the greatest of: $10 million; three times the value of the total benefit attributable to the conduct or 10 per cent of the annual turnover of the corporation in the 12 months before the conduct occurred.

- On the recommendation of the ACCC, Treasurer-issued Contracting Orders that will permit the Treasurer to require electricity companies to offer electricity financial contracts to third parties.

- On the recommendation of the ACCC, and following an application by the Treasurer, Federal Court issued Divestiture Orders relating to misconduct in the wholesale market.

The measures in this Bill build on the significant reforms that the Government has introduced to put downward pressure on electricity prices and hold energy companies to account. This includes:

- Introduction of the Government’s Default Market Offer ‘price safety net’ on 1 July, leading to reductions in both standing offers and high-priced market offers.

- Reform of gas pipeline regulation led through the COAG Energy Council and extension of the ACCC gas inquiry to 2025.

- Extension of the Consumer Data Right to energy, to make it easier for consumers to switch energy providers to get a better deal.

- Progression of the Underwriting New Generation Investments program to improve competition and reduce wholesale prices.

Following the Election, the Government has undertaken further targeted consultation with key industry stakeholders. As a result of this consultation, the Government made a number of amendments to the Bill to provide additional certainty.

The new law will now commence six months after Royal Assent. This will provide industry participants with a transitional period to review their practices and make adjustments if necessary to ensure compliance.

A number of other minor amendments have been made in response to consultation, including to:

- Clarify that the retail pricing prohibition applies to market offers and not standing offers, recognising that the Government has already taken action to regulate excessive standing offers by implementing default market offers from 1 July 2019;

- Confirm that governments will not be required to privatise publicly-owned assets; and

- Clarify that junior employees of electricity businesses do not face personal liability.

The legislation is consistent with similar laws in the United Kingdom which permit divestiture under the Enterprise Act and the United States which permits divestiture under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Introducing legislation to hold energy companies to account for misconduct is part of our plan to deliver a fairer, more affordable and reliable energy system and a stronger economy.

Source: Federal Government


Divestment Bill will not lower prices for consumers

18 September

The Government’s Divestment Bill will not lower energy prices for customers, is unnecessary and will discourage investment and risk increasing market volatility, the energy industry said.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive Sarah McNamara expressed disappointment in the Government’s decision to proceed with the “Big Stick” divestment legislation in its current form.

“The energy industry encourages the Government to amend the Bill to avoid unintended negative consequences for consumers,” Ms McNamara said.

“The Bill will not lower the cost of electricity, and this was confirmed by both the Treasury and the ACCC at its Senate Committee hearing.  It may result in more frequent price changes, leaving consumers confused and frustrated.  

“The Bill provides the Government with unprecedented powers to force a business to sell an asset.  This represents a significant shift in Australia’s legal framework with economy-wide implications.

“Regrettably, the Bill also provides the Treasurer with an extraordinary power to compel energy companies to contract, and will be able to specify the contract terms, conditions and prices a corporation must offer for up to three years. This creates serious sovereign risk issues for future investment in Australia’s energy market.

“This Bill greatly increases risks and uncertainty for energy market participants. The AEC encourages the Government to reconsider its approach and consult further with industry, state governments and the wider community on amendments to mitigate against its negative impacts.”

Source: Australian Energy Council


WA’s Renewable Hydrogen Fund now open

18 September

- McGowan Government opens $10 million Renewable Hydrogen Fund

- Grants available for feasibility studies and capital works projects to drive a new job-creating renewable hydrogen industry in WA

The McGowan Government has today opened a $10 million Renewable Hydrogen Fund to drive a new job-creating industry harnessing the State's renewable resources.

The fund will assist projects to develop Western Australia's renewable hydrogen industry and attract investment in hydrogen infrastructure, with grants from $300,000 to $3 million available for feasibility studies, demonstration or capital works projects.

The fund forms part of the McGowan Government's newly released WA Renewable Hydrogen Strategy which will drive WA's position as a major producer and exporter of renewable hydrogen.

The Strategy aims to harness WA's comparative advantages which include world-class renewable energy resources, vast land mass and proud history of exporting energy to international markets.

The proposal submission deadline is 5pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019. Fund details are available from http://www.drd.wa.gov.au/projects/EnergyFutures

Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:

"Renewable hydrogen could be the next big job-creating industry for Western Australia, utilising our world-leading renewable energy resources to produce, use and provide energy to our international partners.

"This fund will help to attract major private sector investment to WA to drive forward the emerging renewable hydrogen industry.

"The fund will favour those projects that create new jobs, skills and training opportunities - particularly in regional WA.

"Priority will be given to applications that fall within WA's four strategic focus areas for investment and demonstrate progress towards meeting the goals identified in the Strategy: export, use of renewable hydrogen in remote applications, blending in the gas network and use in transport."

Source: WA Government


CPV announces breakthrough in its IGU panel size – now 2.3m x 1.2m

18 September


  • ClearVue confirms panel size breakthrough increasing size to a 2.76 sqm panel – 2.3m x 1.2m
  • New size significantly expands sales opportunities for the ClearVue PV product

Smart building materials company ClearVue Technologies Limited (ASX:CPV) (“ClearVue” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce that it is now able to produce a panel size of up to 2.3 m (2300 mm) high by 1.2 m (1200 mm) wide, or a 2.76 sqm panel – nearly double the largest previous panel size.

The new panel size significantly expands the sales opportunities for the Company to integrate the product into projects where larger panel sizes are required including for aesthetic purposes giving architects and façade engineers complete design flexibility for their projects.

The triple-glazed low-e power generating panel continues to offer the same high-transparency, energy efficiency and acoustic control benefits of the company’s earlier smaller sized panels with the first production-quality prototype producing 52.3w peak of power under standard testing conditions.

The new floor-height sized panel has had power and performance testing completed at Shanghai Solar Energy Research Centre, a certified industrial testing laboratory in Shanghai, China, using standard test equipment and testing procedures. The first large-scale prototype has since been re-tested by researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) during mid-September 2019 in outdoor natural sunlight illumination conditions in Perth, Western Australia. ECU’s measurement results have confirmed the validity of the characterisation results received from China, and the test measurements/results made in the Shanghai laboratories.

Additionally, the engineering and fabrication techniques for increasing the electric power output ratings in the new 2.3m x 1.2m sized panel have already been researched by ECU and ClearVue with the expectation that the next batch of factory-fabricated window products of this size will produce in excess of 60w peak power per panel.

This next batch is currently being readied for production.

As with earlier versions of the ClearVue PV IGU product, the design has been created to ensure that ClearVue’s licensed manufacturers can easily integrate the production of this larger panel size into their production lines without the need for additional capital expenditure.

Commenting on the new panel sizing, ClearVue Executive Chairman, Victor Rosenberg, has said:

“ClearVue’s ability to create larger floor-height sized power-generating IGU and window panels has been a major goal that the Company has been working towards over the last 12 months – the larger panel is a major breakthrough for the Company and significantly opens up our opportunities to engage with architects and engineers seeking an uninterrupted view through the windows they are installing into newbuild projects.

The new size fits the requirements that many architects require for a floor-to-ceiling visual effect with most high-rise floors in the 2.3 to 3m range. Where the floor height is at the higher end of that range a smaller lowlight or highlight panel can easily be deployed with this larger panel and ideally this can be used to integrate the smart façade functionality such as automated ventilation that the Company is exploring in conjunction with Arup as was announced by the Company in July.

We are looking forward to commencing production of the next batch of large format IGUs in the coming 6 to 8 weeks and then to updating the market on the test results but more importantly we are looking to forward to being able to confirm commercial availability thereafter.”

Source: ClearVue



Upper Fraser River Hydro

Pioneer Energy's new multimillion-dollar 8.1 MW hydroelectricity station near Alexandra in the Central Otago region of New Zealand has officially been opened. The project consists of an intake weir, pipeline, penstock, transformer and powerhouse to generate enough electricity from water sourced from the Fraser River to power 4000 households. The scheme's powerhouse is 3km upstream of the Fraser Dam, near where the inflow from Rough Creek joins the Fraser. The water intake is a further 3.5km upriver from the powerhouse.

Source: Otago Daily News


Renewable energy to future-proof global trade

19 September

A new research project at The Australian National University (ANU) will redefine Australia's trade relationship with the Asia-Pacific based on renewable energy and contribute to reducing global emissions.

Launched by Energy Minister the Hon Angus Taylor MP today, the ANU Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific project will provide a blueprint for how Australia can become the region's renewable energy powerhouse.

The project, an Australian-first, brings together a range of research disciplines at ANU to "future-proof" Australian global trade based on the nation's abundant renewable energy.

The project is funded by the ANU Grand Challenges scheme - which invests in research to solve some of Australia and the world's most pressing problems.  ANU is investing $10 million in the project which runs from 2019 to 2023.

The research will provide the knowledge base to underpin the development of major renewable energy export industries potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars from the ground up. It will also develop technologies and policies that can be applied in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

Project lead Professor Ken Baldwin said: "In a rapidly decarbonising world, Australia needs to transform from exporting fossil fuels to exporting renewables.

"Iron ore and coal are our two biggest exports. But changes are already underway in the Asia-Pacific region and Australia will not be able to rely on traditional fossil fuel exports indefinitely.

"At the same time, the Asia-Pacific will drive two-thirds of the world's energy demand in coming decades. So helping the region move to renewables is also an urgent challenge.

"This project will help Australia contribute to this challenge. It will show how we can harness our abundant renewable energy to ensure we remain an energy export powerhouse.

"In Australia's northwest, we have some of the best solar and wind resources in the world, located on ample land, largely Indigenous, and with low population density.  

"Our program will create the knowledge to drive Australian zero-carbon exports of electricity, hydrogen fuels, products and capabilities.

"This could reduce global carbon emissions by the equivalent of more than three times Australia's domestic emissions, as well as provide sustainable growth and development opportunities for Australia."

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said:  "Energy is an important issue for all humans on this planet.

"Meeting the world's energy needs while transitioning to a low carbon future is both a major challenge and opportunity.

"But this is a challenge we can rise to and ANU has a fundamental role to play.

"We have world-class expertise in energy, the Asia-Pacific and Indigenous policy. This project combines this unrivalled expertise with ambition and vision. It will deliver targeted social, environmental, economic and technological outcomes with real impact.

"The ANU Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific project is a powerful example of how energy change will transform Australia's economy and exports for the better, while delivering major benefits for our nation, our region and the world."

Source: ANU


Climate Change Response released – have your say

19 September

The Territory Labor Government has launched its draft Climate Change Response, which builds on the Climate Change Discussion Paper and outlines the Government's approach to addressing climate risk and creating new economic and business opportunities.

Across Australia, the transition to a low-carbon economy has begun. For the Northern Territory, a Climate Change Response will offer new opportunities for Territorians and Territory businesses while delivering social, economic and environmental benefits.

The Climate Change Response aims to: 

- Continue to facilitate the growth of renewables to diversify and strengthen the Territory economy and enable new export industries;

- Build on existing initiatives across the Northern Territory to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, in line with the Territory Government’s long-term aspirational target of net zero emissions by 2050; and

- Proactively respond to the impacts of climate change.

All sectors within the Northern Territory need to be engaged to realise the benefits. The transition to a low-carbon economy needs to be carefully managed to ensure ongoing economic investment in the Northern Territory.

Low-carbon economic development is underpinned by the growth of a renewable energy industry and the Northern Territory is in the best position to capture opportunities like this.

Solar is the cheapest form of new electricity generation, and the Northern Territory has one of the best solar resources in the world.

There are skilled workers within the Territory who have experience delivering ambitious infrastructure projects, and an energy corridor for domestic and international renewable energy export that can meet the increasing demand for renewable energy from neighbours that include Timor-Leste, Indonesia, and Singapore.

Growing the renewable energy industry will build further on the action the Territory Labor Government has already undertaken across the Northern Territory.

For example, under different solar and energy efficiency grants offered by the NT Government since 2016, Territorians and Territory businesses have saved an average of almost $10 million per year and the associated reduction in emissions is equivalent to taking 7,000 cars off the road.

Climate change is one of our most pressing global challenges. The impacts can be observed across all sectors and pose risks to Territorians, the economy, and natural systems.

Have your say on the draft Response by visiting www.haveyoursay.nt.gov.au

Quotes from the Minister for Climate Change, Eva Lawler:

"Our great Territory lifestyle is unbeatable, from our fishing to our world-renowned national parks, and Territorians know there is no better place to live.

“Climate change threatens everything that makes the Territory lifestyle great and that is why the Territory Labor Government has developed a Response for action.

"Territorians support action on climate change, want more renewables and want to see our environment protected for future generations

"Responding to climate change helps us protect the things we value the most — the things we can't put a price on — and will create economic opportunities for Territorians and Territory businesses through the creation of new industries and local jobs.”

Quotes from ALFA (NT) CEO, Dr Jennifer Ansell:

“The Climate Change Response will further strengthen the growing carbon industry in remote Aboriginal communities where there are few other industry and employment options.

“A strong Territory leadership on climate change policy is vital to growing the Indigenous Carbon Industry.

“In particular, the Territory’s aspirational target of net zero emissions by 2050 will continue to drive innovation and opportunity in the developing carbon industry and increase economic activity for existing and new Territory based carbon offsets projects.”

Quotes from ConocoPhillips Australia West President Chris Wilson:

“The Darwin LNG plant will next year become the world’s first LNG facility to install a large scale battery to reducing the facility’s CO2 emissions.

“This will reduce emissions from power generation by 20 per cent while saving thousands of tonnes of fuel gas and significant maintenance costs. DLNG are now working on other opportunities to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions such as alternative energy generation.”

Source: NT Government


GE Renewable Energy to integrate energy storage for the 200 MW Solar River Project

19 September

The Solar River Project and GE Renewable Energy announce today that GE has been selected for the supply and integration of one of the largest grid-scale battery technology hybrid deployment to be installed for the Solar River Project in South Australia. The energy storage system, called the Reservoir, will be coupled to a large 200 MW photovoltaic generation plant.

The Solar River Project CEO Mr Jason May said, “The award of the battery to General Electric is another major milestone for the project. General Electric is a world leader in renewable energy storage technology, and we are very excited to have them on board. General Electric brings a cutting-edge technology to South Australia, by delivering huge energy transfer capacity with an intelligent operating system”.

Solar River Project will see a 200-megawatt photovoltaic array, which includes more than 640,000 solar panels and the installation of GE’s 100-megawatt, 3 hours battery storage system, delivering almost 300 MWh storage capacity, which could transfer up to 400 megawatt hours of electricity per day, one of the largest batteries in the Southern Hemisphere. The Solar River Project, one of the world’s largest grid-scale hybrid renewable projects, will be located in South Australia’s Mid North, halfway between Burra and Morgan, and aims to supply enough affordable and reliable renewable energy to power 90,000 South Australian homes.

The South Australia Electricity Grid has one of the peakiest loads in the world, and the battery energy storage system can allow the plant to deliver firm generation and assist in smoothing peaks, contributing to a more stable network for years to come. The storage system is designed to capture the energy produced by the solar sources, for use in time of power demand, which can increase the availability of the plant and enable optimal use of the solar PVs.

Prakash Chandra, Renewable Hybrids CEO, GE Renewable Energy, says “The Solar River Project will be a flagship for the renewable energy industry and for GE’s role in building out Renewable Hybrid plants. Hybrid solutions have become a reality, driven by the demand for reliable and dispatchable renewable energy, which we can integrate using our proprietary controls technology to optimize asset and customer outcomes. We are proud to have been selected by the Solar River Project to deliver this very important project that will benefit a large community in this part of the world.”

The Solar River Project received Crown Development Approval in June last year, and Stage 1 of the project is intended to see the first electricity generated in early 2021. For further information and updates: www.srproject.com.au

Source: GE Renewable Energy


Consultation commences on proposed rules to better control power system frequency

19 September

The AEMC today commenced consultation on three rule change requests that relate to how electricity generators operate their equipment to help control the frequency in the power system.

Stable frequency is an important part of maintaining a secure power system. Frequency varies whenever electricity supply does not exactly match consumer demand and uncontrolled changes in frequency can cause blackouts.

Chief amongst the proposed changes is the introduction of a mandatory obligation for all registered generators in the national electricity market to help to control power system frequency. Further proposed changes would see the removal of incentives which may have caused generators to become less responsive to frequency over time.

Two of the rule change requests were submitted by AEMO, and the other by Dr Peter Sokolowski, a power systems academic from RMIT University.

Each of these rule change requests builds on previous work undertaken by AEMO and the AEMC. In particular, the AEMC’s Frequency control frameworks review, which concluded in July 2018, and AEMO’s incident report into the Queensland and South Australia system separation event on 25 August 2018, have both provided an important foundation for understanding and assessing the issues.

These reports found that, in recent years, the control of frequency in the power system has been deteriorating. This deterioration is mainly due to the detuning of the frequency responsiveness from existing synchronous generating plant. At the same time the increased connection of variable generating technologies makes the task of managing power system frequency following system disturbances more challenging. 

The final report of the AEMC’s Frequency control frameworks review highlighted several issues with the existing market and regulatory arrangements for frequency control, and included a collaborative work plan that set out a series of actions that would be progressed by the AEMC, AEMO and the AER to address issues related to frequency control in the national electricity market over the short, medium and long term.

AEMO’s rule change requests are related to this work plan. In particular, the action that AEMO communicates whether there is a need to implement interim measures to address the deterioration in frequency performance before a longer-term mechanism for frequency control is implemented.

The Commission acknowledges the immediate need to improve frequency performance in the power system and sees the three rule change requests as an opportunity to improve power system security, which the AEMC has identified as one of the five key priority areas for reform in the national electricity market.

In determining a solution, the Commission will seek to address system security first and foremost. When the fundamental system security needs are met, the Commission will seek to investigate further improvements to the frequency control arrangements to increase the overall economic efficiency of frequency control in the national electricity market.

Submissions on the consultation paper are due by 31 October 2019.

Source: AEMC


Hydrostor announces close of US$37 million growth financing

19 September

Funding highlights accelerating shift toward higher-value long-duration energy storage technologies and market opportunities

Hydrostor, a leading developer of Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) projects, announced today the closing of US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing. RBC Capital Markets acted as Hydrostor’s advisor on the transaction.

Meridiam, the global developer, asset and fund manager specializing in sustainable infrastructure and energy transition projects, has formed a strategic partnership to support the origination and development of Hydrostor projects. Elisabeth Hivon, partner at Meridiam, has joined Hydrostor’s Board of Directors.

Renewable energy developer and independent power producer Elemental Energy participated in the fundraising. Hydrostor also received additional funding from existing investors including Canoe Financial, ArcTern Ventures, MaRS Catalyst Fund and Lorem Partners. The financing included a combination of equity, debt, project development and cash commitments, and an asset acquisition.

Energy Technology company Baker Hughes, a GE Company (BHGE), will also be a strategic partner. BHGE’s turbomachinery technology forms a critical part of the overall A-CAES system, and as part of the agreement, BHGE will supply electric motor compressor and turbine generator solutions for Hydrostor’s projects globally.

Hydrostor expects to use the financing to complete construction of its second commercial reference facility, its Angas Project in Australia, and to advance the company’s pipeline of large-scale A-CAES projects. Those projects represent over 2 GW and 16 GWh of deployment potential in the USA, Canada, Chile and Australia, while the company expands opportunities with significant global project potential across many other markets.

“Hydrostor’s A-CAES is well positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for flexibly-sited, long-duration energy storage as power grids continue to decarbonize and adapt to higher penetrations of intermittent renewable energy,” said Hydrostor CEO, Curtis VanWalleghem. “This funding will enable our development team to continue advancing the late-stage projects we have under way. We are thrilled to collaborate with, and benefit from, the expertise of Meridiam in project development and financing; BHGE’s industry-leading technology, service capabilities and commitment to advancing low-carbon solutions; and Elemental Energy’s renewable project development and operations experience.”

“Meridiam is thrilled to be joining Hydrostor in the development of its future A-CAES projects in Canada, the USA, Australia and Chile. We believe that the unique expertise of our two firms, combined with the know-how of other strategic partners, will position our team for success in developing numerous projects which will improve renewable energy reliance and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Elisabeth Hivon, new board member representing Meridiam.

The funding announcement comes on the heels of recent milestones associated with Hydrostor’s Angas A-CAES Project in South Australia. That project has achieved permitting approval, started construction and received AUD$9 million in combined funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Advancing Renewables Program, and the South Australian Renewable Technology Fund (separate from and additional to this financing). The company’s other commercial reference system is the Goderich A-CAES Facility in Ontario, Canada, which is contracted to the province’s grid operator, IESO, and expected to be operational in the next month. The Goderich Facility was recently selected as a finalist for this year’s Energy Storage North America (ESNA) Innovation Award.

In recent weeks some of the most significant single investments ever made in energy storage have been in companies focused on long-duration technologies that can address immediate, high-value opportunities. According to research firm Wood Mackenzie, global energy storage deployments will grow thirteenfold over the next six years, from a 12 gigawatt-hour (GWh) market in 2018 to a 158 GWh market in 2024. Such growth “will include a shift from short-duration systems providing high-value, but limited-size markets such as frequency regulation, to long-duration systems that can start to displace diesel, oil and natural-gas peaker plants.”

Source: Hydrostor

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