New Zealand’s largest wind farm turns 20!

13 February

From humble and ambitious beginnings as a 48 turbine, 31MW project, the Tararua Wind Farm, now 134 turbines and 161MW, is New Zealand’s largest wind farm, both in terms of number of turbines and installed capacity.

Today, Stage 1 of the Tararua Wind Farm is celebrating twenty years of safe and reliable operation.

“The first 48 turbines of the Tararua Wind Farm reached official commercial operations on 24 December 1999 and even at 20 years old the project remains one of the best performing in the world,” said Tilt Renewables’ Chief Executive, Deion Campbell.

“We are thrilled to mark the milestone of these machines reaching the end of their ‘design life’ and celebrate that they are still going strong, at this internationally iconic commercial scale wind farm site.”

Built over two stages in 1999 and 2004, without government subsidy or incentives, and on 700ha of farmland on the Tararua Ranges, stages 1 and 2 have a total of 103 Vestas V47-660 kW wind turbines, on lattice towers with a hub height of 40m. Together, Tararua 1 and 2 have the annual capacity to power around 27,000 homes annually.

“Tararua Wind Farm is another iconic global example of why Vestas is the world leader in wind generation and more broadly, sustainable energy solutions. We create technology that stands the test of time, but we also offer life-long services that are underpinned by product expertise, passion and a commitment to see our customers achieve their best results,” said Peter Cowling, Head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand.

The longevity of the wind farm is not only thanks to the best practice maintenance and management procedures employed but also to the friendships formed whilst addressing the interesting technical surprises over the project’s development, construction and operation.

“Operating this wind farm successfully has been the result of a long-term commitment by Tilt Renewables and Vestas in sharing an open and collaborative partnership, one that now influences the other projects we undertake together,” continued Deion Campbell.

Stage 1 was completed in December 1999, making it the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere at the time. This was also when Tilt Renewables (then Trustpower) took ownership, entering the fledgling wind industry for the first time.

Stage 2 was the first wind farm construction project executed by Tilt Renewables, adding 55 turbines to the existing 48 from Stage 1.

The project was successfully delivered ahead of time and budget by members of Tilt Renewables’ executive management team.

“It’s quite incredible that a wind farm so far away from Denmark has provided such a good learning opportunity for me professionally. I think it’s very much due to the openness of Trustpower and Tilt Renewables,” said Henrik Kanstrup Jørgensen, Taraura 1 Product Manager and Technical Sales backup, Vestas.

“It stands out as one of the best experiences I have had professionally and personally in my career. The team effort on this project was very unique,” said Berit Lennert Puggaard, Vestas Project Manager of Tararua Wind Farm following construction completion.

For many years this site was the best performing commercial wind farm in the world and the original turbines have already generated more than twice the design life expected production volumes.

“As landowners we are proud to be associated with Tilt Renewables and its operation of one of the most efficient wind farms in the world. We have a great relationship with Tilt Renewables, one we are sure will continue for many years to come,” said Tararua wind farm landowner, Brett Davey.

The turbines still achieve reliability similar to new turbines, a testament to the asset management program delivered by Vestas, as maintenance partner to Tilt Renewables for more than 20 years.

“Not only have the wind turbines survived the first 20 years but there is still a handful of people employed in Vestas today that were involved in the project 20 years ago,” said Bjarne Iversen, Vestas Project Manager during construction.

Three of the V90 turbines at the Stage 3 site were the first Vestas turbines in the world to reach production of one hundred million kilowatt hours, further cementing the site's reputation as one of the best in the world.

“Turbines changed significantly since 1999, with learnings from operating the V47s at Tararua influencing the designs we see today. We also understand the wind at the site very well and even though the machines are running well, it is time for Tilt Renewables to start planning for decommissioning and repowering of the site, to create the next best performing wind farm in the world.”

Source: Tilt Renewables



Tararua Repowering Project

Location: Tararua Ranges, Manawatu

Capacity: ~70 MW

Developer: Tilt Renewables

Estimated cost: NZ$250mil

Status: Resource consent applications being prepared.

Description: Re-powering Tararua Wind Farm would involve replacing the 103 smallest turbines from the first two stages with 40 larger ones, and could almost triple the project’s average annual output and nearly double the 20 year-old site’s capacity. The first stage of the 134-turbine Tararua Wind Farm started commercial production on Christmas Eve, 1999. Once completed the wind farm repowering project will be the first of its kind in Australasia.

Contact: 1300 660 623


Taking action to increase our sustainability

17 February

Our planet’s changing climate is one of the biggest issues facing organisations and individuals today. This is why Amazon has taken action to co-found The Climate Pledge to increase the environmental sustainability of our business by drawing 80 per cent of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2024, reaching 100 per cent renewable energy use by 2030, and achieving net zero annual carbon emissions across our entire business by 2040.

I’m delighted that Australia will be home to AWS’s first renewable energy project outside of the US and EU. AWS has committed to purchase 60 MW of power from a new solar project being built at the Gunnedah Solar Farm in northern New South Wales. When it becomes operational in 2021, the project is expected to generate 142,000 MWh of renewable energy annually for AWS, which is equivalent to the annual electricity of almost 23,000 Australian households.

Our investment at Gunnedah is part of our ongoing commitment to help our customers achieve their sustainability goals. This announcement is the latest in many steps we have already taken to increase our sustainability. At the same time that we unveiled our Australian investment in Gunnedah, we announced another three wind and solar projects around the world, amounting to 88 renewable energy projects that combined have the capacity to generate over 2,300 MW and deliver more than 6.3 million MWh of electricity annually. Collectively, these investments will help us achieve our commitments to the Paris Agreement ten years ahead of schedule, while creating hundreds of jobs and providing significant investment in local communities.

We are committed to running our business in the most environmentally friendly way possible, and our scale allows us to achieve higher resource utilisation and energy efficiency than the typical on-premises data centre. As customers move their compute workloads to the cloud, they benefit from AWS’s own sustainability efforts, vast features, agility, and operational experience. Sustainability is hardwired into our cloud computing infrastructure – quite literally. A recent study by the global research firm 451 Research found that AWS’s infrastructure is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of surveyed enterprise data centres, with more than two thirds of this advantage due to our more energy-efficient server population and higher server utilisation. Once the carbon intensity of consumed electricity and renewable energy purchases is factored in, 451 Research found that AWS could perform the same tasks with an 88 per cent lower carbon footprint than traditional computing solutions.

The importance of cloud computing to Australia’s digital economy is growing quickly, with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that the use of paid cloud computing in Australian organisations grew from 31 per cent from 2015-2016 to 42 per cent in 2018-2019. As the world’s leading cloud computing provider, we believe it’s vital that growth is achieved in the most sustainable way possible. Our investment in Gunnedah is the first of a series of announcements we plan to make in Australia as we strive to meet and exceed our commitments to the future of the planet. We will explore the subject of sustainability at our upcoming Amazon Innovation Day on March 31, which is part of our AWS Sydney Summit 2020. As one of the largest annual technology conferences in Australia, we will invite industry and government to come together and innovate to develop new ideas to help solve issues like creating renewable and affordable energy, reducing waste in our cities, and helping to better plan for and recover from natural disasters.

By listening and responding to our customers’ desire to be more sustainable, we hope to inspire them and others to work together to help tackle some of the biggest challenges faced by our community.

Source: Amazon Web Services



Koodaideri Power Project

Location: Koodaideri mine, Pilbara WA

Capacity: 34 MW solar farm

Developer: Rio Tinto

Estimated cost: $98 mil

Description: A solar farm and 45MW/12MWh lithium-ion battery will supply all the daytime electricity needs and approximately 65% of the annual average electricity demand of Rio Tinto’s new $2.6bil Koodaideri iron ore mine.

Contact: Rio Tinto (Perth)

Tel: (08) 9327 2000


Australian Energy Regulator highlights fall in wholesale prices

17 February

Wholesale prices continued to fall across the National Electricity Market (NEM) in the fourth quarter of 2019 (Q4 2019) according to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

The AER monitors the performance of the NEM and gas markets and provides regular, independent reports on price movements and generation.

These quarterly reports inform the AER’s overall Effective Competition Report, which provides analysis of NEM performance over a two year period. The first report was issued in 2018, with the second edition to be released later this year.

In Quarter 4, average wholesale prices were between 10 and 20 per cent lower year on year and ranged from $65 per MWh in Queensland to $87 per MWh in South Australia.

The AER’s monitoring role includes reporting on high price events. During Q4 there were a number of half hour interval prices over $5000 per MWh in South Australia and Victoria in late December, driven by high demand at a time of extreme weather.

AER Chair Clare Savage said that market monitoring and analysis helps ensure consumers pay no more than necessary for safe and reliable energy.

“These figures show that for the first time in two years, since Q4 2017, average prices in all NEM states were below $90 per MWh. This is good to see after a period of sustained high prices.

“There were some high price events late in the quarter during periods of extreme heat across the south-east of the country. We are investigating these events and will be releasing our reports into those soon,” said Ms Savage.

The extreme heat late in Q4 coupled with the unavailability of some generation plant, particularly in Victoria, had given rise to concerns that there would not be enough generation to ensure reliable electricity supply.

“The report demonstrates that the NEM coped well under the pressure of combined extreme weather and generation plant problems later in the year.

“Generator outages were progressively resolved, meaning there were no actual reserve shortfalls in the quarter and reserve contracts were only dispatched once,” said Ms Savage.

Downstream wholesale gas prices continued to trend down, with prices falling for the fourth consecutive quarter to below $8/GJ in Victoria and Sydney.

Quarterly gas production was at record levels at Roma, Queensland, coinciding with record Queensland LNG exports despite falling Asian LNG spot prices.

Source: AER



Padthaway Solar Farm

Location: Padthaway, in the Limestone Coast region SA

Capacity: 5 MW

Developer: Tetris Energy

LGA: Tatiara District Council

Description: The proposed Padthaway Solar Farm will be located adjacent to the Padthaway 33kV substation. The development application has been lodged and is currently awaiting a determination from the Tatiara District Council. An engineering report has been received from SA Power Networks.

Contact: Tetris Capital

Tel: (03) 9448 9400




Delburn Windfarm reaches next stage of development

18 February

Today OSMI has released a revised design for the Delburn Wind Farm. This represents an important milestone in the project development as this is the layout we intend to submit to the Minister for Planning for approval to construct the Delburn Wind Farm.

After completing the first round of impact assessment studies the project design has been revised to take onto account the output from those studies.  In the revised layout, the number of turbines has been reduced from 35 to 33 and a small number of turbines have been relocated to improve constructability of the project and reduce the impacts of noise on the project’s neighbours.  Internal roads and cable routes have been modified to reduce the impact on areas of native vegetation and associated native fauna.

Source: OSMI


Victoria acts to secure a more reliable energy system

18 February

The Andrews Labor Government is taking action to enable urgent upgrades to the energy transmission network, introducing legislation that will fast-track priority projects like grid-scale batteries and transmission upgrades.

Amendments to the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005 will give Victoria the power to unlock renewable projects and improve the reliability of Victoria’s energy supply.

These reforms allow the Government to override the complex and outdated national regulatory regime, which causes excessive delays in delivering transmission projects and fails to properly account for the full benefits of investments.

These changes – to be used in close consultation with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) – will focus on projects that deliver clear benefits to consumers, while increasing our capacity to import electricity during periods of peak demand.

As a first step to secure additional transmission capacity the Government will ask AEMO to call for expressions of interest to increase the capacity of the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector.

The vulnerability of the national energy network has been highlighted in recent months, with each of Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia narrowly avoiding load-shedding in late January.

Extreme heat has created unprecedented demand for electricity while ageing, coal-fired generators repeatedly let Victoria down. The transmission system is also vulnerable to bushfires and severe weather events, like the mini-tornado that brought down the Heywood interconnector this summer.

These reforms follow the Government’s record investments in renewable energy generation, which is increasing supply and putting downward pressure on power prices.

Since winning the election in 2014, the Government has brought more than 1200MW of renewable energy online with 2600MW under construction.

The Government is also putting a power station on the roofs of Victorians through the Solar Homes program, which will see solar panels, solar hot water or solar batteries rolled out to 770,000 Victorian households over the next 10 years.

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

“The existing national energy laws have let us down – they have failed to drive investment in our electricity system or provide a 21st century grid for all Victorians.”

“These reforms will help keep our energy system resilient as we face hotter summers, longer bushfire seasons, and increasingly unreliable coal-powered generators.”

“We continue to pressure the Commonwealth, as Chair of the Energy Council, for changes to the national market rules so Victorian households and businesses are not unfairly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing more reliable, cleaner and cheaper power.”

Source: Victorian Government



Dumaresq Solar Farm

Location: Dumaresq in the Northern Tablelands, NSW

Capacity: 150 MW

Developer: Halo Renewable Energy

Status: Scoping Report submitted to NSW government

Estimated cost: $220mil

Description: The Dumaresq Solar Farm will cover an area of approximately 200ha when completed, and is targeting approximately 190 MW of generation capacity plus associated +100 MW large-scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). The site is intersected by Transgrid's 330kv Dumaresq to Bulli Creek Interconnector. It is estimated that the project will offer approximately 150+ jobs during construction phase and around 5 full time ongoing jobs. Landowner support for the project has been secured.

Contact: Nicholas Assef

Managing Director

Halo Renewable Energy




Ignoring the rules risks poor energy outcomes for Victorians

18 February

Energy market participants are alarmed by reports that the Victorian Government intends to go-it-alone on transmission developments, despite the real risk of increased costs for end users as a result of poor investment decisions.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said that no industry consultation had been undertaken on the proposed Bill, nor had it been sighted.

“There is already a robust investment test for transmission in the energy sector, run by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), which serves energy customers well. Bypassing that rigorous process is fraught. Every transmission and network investment will unavoidably affect market investments, so careful and individual assessments carried out at arm’s length from politics are necessary.

“This is critical to ensure not just the timing, but also the cost-effectiveness for customers who have to pay for new links, as well as providing a predictable framework for generation investors,” Ms McNamara said.

“The AEMO 20-year integrated system plan released late last year highlighted a sensible, phased implementation approach for transmission infrastructure, which the industry broadly supports.

“Major investments like interconnectors can play an important role in maintaining security of supply, but commitments to them should only occur as a result of a rigorous cost-benefit analysis overseen by the AER under a national planning approach. "The kind of state-based intervention proposed by the Victorian Government will likely create instability for would-be investors in the energy market,” Ms McNamara said.

Source: Australian Energy Council


Maoneng and CHINT join forces to accelerate solar energy in Australia

18 February

Following an initial partnership announcement, Maoneng, the Australian renewable energy developer, and CHINT New Energy, the solar panel manufacturer and EPC contractor, have finalised the terms of a joint venture. In their efforts to accelerate Australia’s transition to renewable energy, $200m has been mandated for an initial project which aims to bring more solar farms online in Australia.

Maoneng and CHINT New Energy aim to develop a project pipeline with a combined capacity of at least 2GW by 2025. Projects will be connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM), which supplies 200 terawatt hours of electricity to around 9 million customers.

The joint venture between Maoneng and CHINT New Energy will benefit from the former’s local expertise in developing and operating large-scale solar farms and the latter’s track record of developing solar projects across the globe. Maoneng will take a 40% equity stake in the joint venture and CHINT New Energy will take a 60% stake

“By taking on fledgling large-scale solar projects and getting them across the line, we will be increasing our drive to make Australia 100% renewable. Working with CHINT New Energy, we will achieve this by either bringing these projects to financial close, completing construction, operating them — or all three. Areas in which this joint venture has extensive experience.” Morris Zhou, CEO and Chairman of Maoneng.

“Australia has the opportunity to be a solar energy giant and we’re proud to be working with Maoneng to help achieve this. We see a great investment opportunity here and look forward to putting our clean energy experience to good use.” added Dr. Lu, Chuan, CEO of CHINT New Energy.

Source: Maoneng


Councils: Victoria needs strong emissions reduction targets

19 February

Victorian councils today called on the State Government to commit to strong, ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saying that they will provide certainty and security for local communities.

The group of mayors from Yarra City Council, City of Ballarat, Darebin City Council and Moreland City Council, are calling for Victoria to set interim emissions reduction target of 70% below 2005 levels by 2030 at the upcoming review of 2025 and 2030 targets for the state.

Belinda Coates, Deputy Mayor, Ballarat City Council said councils have already been leading the charge for 20 years and are ready to step up ambition to support the state.

“Councils can’t do it alone. This bold target would facilitate stronger local and state government emission reduction partnerships across a range of areas from transport and energy, to the built environment and agriculture.

“Small regional communities like Buninyong would benefit from reaching their net zero target more quickly through a partnered distribution of small scale renewable and storage projects,” she said.

Climate targets that councils are calling for:

- 44% emissions reduction target below 2005 levels by 2025

- 70% emissions reduction target below 2005 levels by 2030

- 100% state-wide renewable energy target by 2030

The councils will meet with 9 other leading Victorian councils today at an event hosted by the Cities Power Partnership and Yarra City Council, to collaborate on ‘outside the box’ solutions to take their communities to net zero emissions.

Council leaders say that while local action on climate change is important, a state-led target is crucial to support their work on the climate crisis and will make it easier to move Victorian towns and cities rapidly towards zero emissions.

“Yarra was one of the first councils in the world to declare a climate emergency. This is the single greatest challenge of our time and it needs urgent action from every level of government, businesses and the community.

“Victoria is already a renewables advocate and leading on projects helping to reduce the upfront cost of rooftop solar for households. Strong targets in line with the science would stamp the state’s leadership on climate change,” said Cr Coleman, Mayor, Yarra City Council.

Cities Power Partnership Director David Craven said that local governments are ready to go with renewables but state support would see rapid acceleration.

“The event today underscored that councils are primed and ready to take their communities to net zero but without an interim emissions reduction target, it will be far more challenging and inefficient for them to get these projects underway,” he said.

“With a courageous state clean energy target that matches the climate science, Victoria could swiftly become a renewables leader.”

Councils calling for strong climate targets:

Misha Coleman, Mayor, Yarra City Council

Belinda Coates, Deputy Mayor, City of Ballarat

Susan Rennie, Mayor, Darebin City Council

Lambros Tapinos, Mayor, Moreland City Council

*NOTE: The targets are consistent with the advice provided to the Victorian government in order to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures.

Source: Cities Power Partnership



Goorambat Stewarton Solar Farms

Location: Benalla, VIC

Capacity: Up to 600 MW

Developer: Neoen

LGA: Benalla Rural City Council

Status: Council development approval for Goorambat East Solar Farm granted in January 2020

Description: Project comprised of Goorambat East Solar Farm north of Benalla and the Goorambat West Solar Farm approximately 7km towards Dookie. The more advanced Goorambat East Solar Farm will connect approximately 250 MW to a proposed new substation within the project area. It is proposed the project will connect into an existing 220 kV overhead transmission line. Around 250 jobs will be created during construction and there will be approximately 10 ongoing jobs in operations when the project is complete.

Contact: Kristina Yan

Project Developer

Neoen Australia





Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project

Goldwind announced that the final Goldwind wind turbine has been successfully installed at the Goldfields Agnew Mine in Western Australia as part of the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project. The Agnew project, delivered in partnership with EDL and which received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program, is the first to use wind generation as part of a large hybrid microgrid in the Australian mining sector.

The wind farm consists of five Goldwind wind turbines at 110 metre hub height and 17.85 MW generated capacity. Once completed in mid-2020, the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project will have a total installed generation capacity of 54MW, with renewables providing over 50% of the Agnew Mine’s power requirements.

Congratulations to the Goldwind team and our project partners Qwest Cranes, ICE Engineering & Construction, Nacap Pty Ltd, Southern Cross Electrical Engineering (SCEE), Rex J Andrews, and DHL on achieving this significant milestone.

Source: Goldwind



Yarren Hut Solar Farm

Location: Approximately 17km north-west of Nyngan, central New South Wales

Capacity: 28 MW (AC)

Developer: BayWa r.e. Projects Australia

Status: Scoping report completed in December 2019

LGA: Bogan Shire

Estimated cost: $40mil

Description: The Yarren Hut Solar Farm would occupy around 92 ha of rural land currently used for primary production (mixed cropping and grazing). The proposal infrastructure includes approximately 84,000 PV solar panels, single-axis trackers, modules, inverters, a substation / switchyard underground cabling, security fencing and a cable run to connect the solar farm to the Essential Energy 810/4 66 kV feeder. A 66 kV electrical transmission line is required to connect the proposal to the existing Essential Energy transmission line.

Contact: Peter McPherson

Business Development Manager

BayWa r.e.




Broadsound Solar Farm

The federal Department of the Environment & Energy has invited public comment on the Broadsound Solar Farm in Clarke Creek, Queensland. RPS Group is proposing to construct a solar power facility and ancillary infrastructure with an approximate capacity of 392 MW. The detailed design, layout and electricity generating capacity of the solar farm are not confirmed, however, the project will consist of solar arrays, above and below ground cabling, substation and inverters, control building, internal access roads and car parking within the nominated development area. The solar farm will connect to the electricity grid via the Broadsound Switching Station to be located adjacent to Marlborough-Sarina Road. The proposed solar farm connects to the grid onsite and Powerlink will be responsible for connection to the Broadsound Switching Station.



Daroobalgie Solar Farm

Pacific Hydro Australia Developments Pty Ltd (Pacific Hydro) applied for state government development approvals for its proposed Daroobalgie Solar Farm, approximately 11km north-east of Forbes and immediately east of Daroobalgie in New South Wales. The solar farm is expected to have a generating capacity of approximately 100 MW and will be comprised of approximately 420,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, associated infrastructure (i.e. substation, battery storage area, inverters, power cabling, site offices, car parking, and new access tracks) and a transmission line extension to connect the solar farm into the NEM grid. The battery energy storage system will have embedded storage of approximately 40MW/160MWh. Final layout and capacity of the solar farm facility will be determined during detailed design stage and be subject to the conditions of the development consent and any other approvals granted.


Hydrogen potential for local gas networks in SA and Victoria

21 February

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $1.28 million in funding to Australian Gas Networks Limited (AGN), part of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), to establish the Australian Hydrogen Centre which will investigate blending hydrogen into natural gas pipelines in South Australia and Victoria.

The project will undertake feasibility studies and share knowledge focused on the integration of hydrogen into existing gas networks.

As part of the project, the Australian Hydrogen Centre will explore the feasibility of blending 10 per cent hydrogen into the existing natural gas networks in regional towns that will be selected during the study, including the potential coupling of gas networks with electricity transmission networks.

The Australian Hydrogen Centre will also work on feasibility studies focused on 10 per cent blending into the entire state gas networks in South Australia and Victoria. This work will also consider the feasibility of converting the state gas networks to 100 per cent hydrogen.

The outcomes of the studies will address the technical, economic and regulatory hurdles for blending hydrogen into natural gas networks and support subsequent detailed feasibility and design to support an investment decision.

The Australian Hydrogen Centre will also be supported by the South Australian and Victorian Governments, as well as AusNet Services, ENGIE and Neoen.

The project is seen as the next step to AGN’s power-to-gas demonstration facility at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide (Hydrogen Park SA) which was co-funded by the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund. This project will demonstrate a 5 per cent hydrogen blend in gas distribution to 710 properties in Adelaide when it begins in mid 2020.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “The natural gas network could be a key piece of infrastructure to support decarbonisation of the national energy system. The network has the potential to be used for the long-term storage of renewably produced hydrogen and limit the need for electrification alternatives, which can be costly.”

“The development of a local hydrogen sector will underpin the investment in technology and skills to support the long term export opportunity. These studies will go a long way to identifying the possibility of using and storing hydrogen in local gas networks.”

AGN CEO Ben Wilson said: “AGN, as part of Australia’s broader energy industry, has commenced the new decade with a strategy that aims to deliver substantial, measurable and world-leading outcomes in minimising the current and future carbon footprint across the whole of our gas distribution business.”

“This public licence also requires total transparency so the studies will provide guidance as to both the best solution to deliver renewable gas into our networks while ensuring full engagement with all stakeholders and consumers about this step-change in Australian energy delivery.”

The feasibility studies are expected to be completed in January 2022.

Source: ARENA


The Pilbara looks to renewable hydrogen

21 February

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $995,000 in funding to Yara Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd (Yara) to support a feasibility study for the production of renewable hydrogen and ammonia.

The feasibility study will explore the potential to make green hydrogen work at industrial scale at Yara’s existing ammonia production facility in the Pilbara.

Yara will investigate producing renewable hydrogen via electrolysis powered by onsite solar PV. The renewable hydrogen produced will displace 30,000 tonnes per year of hydrogen which Yara currently derives from fossil fuels. The blended hydrogen will subsequently be converted to ammonia with a lower carbon footprint and sold for further processing into domestic and international markets. The study will also investigate using seawater for electrolysis.

In the long term, Yara is aiming to produce hydrogen and ammonia entirely through renewable energy. The study will be the first step on the path to achieving commercial scale production of renewable hydrogen for export.

Yara currently produces and exports approximately five per cent of the world’s ammonia production out of its existing facility in the Pilbara. The project will utilise Yara’s established trade partnerships and market expertise to export renewable hydrogen as ammonia from WA.

Yara will collaborate with global energy company ENGIE to deliver the feasibility study. ENGIE has a dedicated hydrogen business unit focused on developing industrial-scale renewable-based hydrogen solutions in international markets.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the feasibility study is another step to decarbonising the mining and ammonia production sectors in WA.

“Hydrogen has huge potential as a fuel of the future, and as a potential energy export for Australia,” Mr Miller said.

“Yara’s project will offer great insight into how Australia’s current ammonia producers can transition away from the use of fossil fuels towards renewable alternatives for producing hydrogen while continuing to leverage the substantial export capabilities that those companies have already established.”

“This project will support future investment in renewable hydrogen from our largest producers, which in turn will provide the economies of scale required to produce renewable hydrogen and ammonia at a competitive price for export,” he said.

“We appreciate that ARENA has recognised Yara and ENGIE’s complementary expertise and experience on this complex project via this commitment. ARENA’s support will assist in completing the feasibility study so that we can fully understand the opportunity for generating renewable hydrogen for use in our Pilbara facilities,” said Yara International Executive Vice President Production Tove Andersen.

“As an energy transition enabler, ENGIE is heartened by ARENA’s support for the joint project with Yara to decarbonise its ammonia production. This is also a great example of the government support for a renewable hydrogen industry to take off in Australia. ENGIE is ready to contribute.” says Michele Azalbert, CEO of ENGIE’s Hydrogen Business Unit.

Under ARENA’s investment priority focused on accelerating Australia’s hydrogen industry, ARENA has committed approximately $50 million towards hydrogen initiatives so far, including over $22 million to R&D projects, and almost $28 million to demonstration, feasibility and pilot projects.

Source: ARENA


ALP’s net zero announcement welcomed

21 February

The Climate Council welcomes news that the Labor party will set a target for net zero emissions by 2050 if it wins the next Federal election, but says the ALP will need to go further to deal with accelerating climate change.

“Anthony Albanese’s announcement today is a step in the right direction. It is consistent with what countries like New Zealand and the UK are doing,” said Climate Councillor Professor Will Steffen.

“I am also pleased that Labor will commit to real emissions reductions, rather than using dodgy accounting tricks. I call on the Morrison government to make the same commitment,” said Professor Steffen.

“A decade of climate wars means we have lost precious time. Labor will need to ramp up its ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2040 or 2045 like the ACT Government has done,” he said.

“Both major parties must also phase out fossil fuels. To keep Australians safe, there can be no new coal, oil or gas projects,” said Professor Steffen.

“The burning of fossil fuels was a key factor in the severity of this summer’s devastating bushfires. Australians are suffering because of climate change and the bad news keeps coming. Scientists are now investigating a possible bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

“The Federal Government must adopt a credible climate policy so that we can urgently reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a renewable economy,” he said.

Source: Climate Council



Elysian Wind Farm

Location: In the regions of Kybeyan and Tuross, NSW

Capacity: 200 MW

Developer: Elysian WF Pty Ltd (Alinta Energy)

LGA: Cooma Monaro

Description: The proposed Elysian development would comprise about 30 wind turbines and supporting ancillary infrastructure, with a generating capacity of between 180 MW and 200 MW. The proposed development site is on the ridgeline in the regions of Kybeyan and Tuross, approximately 22 km northeast of the village of Nimmitabel. The project site covers an area of about 1891 ha comprising rolling farmland, woodland and forested land.

Contact: Antony Shingler

Tel: (02) 8999 1988



Tara Springs Wind Farm

Location: Between Bendemeer and Woolbrook, ~24km west of Walcha in northern NSW

Capacity: Approximately 400 MW

Developer: RES Australia

LGAs: Tamworth and Walcha Councils

Status: Community meetings held in February 2020

Description: The site is approximately 11,500ha of farm land used predominately for cattle grazing. Between 60 to 80 wind turbines are planned rated at approximately 4-6 MW each. A new substation will be located on site.

Contact: Nathan Kelly

Project Manager

RES Australia



Termination of PHES project agreement with AGL

21 February

The Board of Hillgrove Resources Limited (ABN 73 004 297 116) (ASX: HGO) (“Hillgrove”) advises that:

- In April 2019, Hillgrove announced it had entered into binding agreements with AGL Energy Limited (AGL), to sell the right to develop, own and operate the Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) project at the Kanmantoo mine site.

- The sale was subject to the satisfaction of a number of conditions which needed to be satisfied within specified timeframes. Several of those conditions remain unsatisfied.

- After a period of extensive negotiations, Hillgrove and AGL have mutually agreed to terminate the PHES Project Agreement and associated project documents and effect a clean break without any further obligations on either party.

Since signing the Project Agreement, Hillgrove has conducted work on an underground mining project below the Giant Pit. As announced 30 October 2019, Hillgrove undertook a limited drilling programme, which resulted in the preparation of a new Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the Central and East Kavanagh underground area in accordance with the JORC Code 2012 Edition.

The resource estimate is constrained by the extent of the drilling and not by the geology, in both the along strike and down dip directions. In addition, it does not include West Kavanagh which drove the open pit optimisation. The Board has now approved an additional drilling programme to test West Kavanagh and strike extensions.

As announced 31 January 2020, Hillgrove received the regulatory approval to commence underground mining. The approval includes expanded capacity of the tailings storage facility, providing optionality for future mining within haulage distance to the Kanmantoo processing and tailings complex. However, Hillgrove and AGL could not reach agreement on a way forward that enabled Hillgrove to commence underground mining and AGL to progress development of the PHES simultaneously.

As Hillgrove is no longer bound by the PHES restrictions it will now progress the approved additional drilling programme, mine design, optimisation and feasibility studies for an underground mining project beneath the Giant Pit, and continue advancing its regional exploration.

Source: Hillgrove Resources

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