COAG Energy Council agrees to significant reforms to the electricity sector

14 July

The COAG Energy Council has today agreed to a significant set of reforms which will deliver a more affordable and reliable electricity system as we transition to a lower emissions future.

At the meeting in Brisbane the Energy Council agreed to immediately act on 49 of the 50 recommendations of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (NEM) which was presented to COAG leaders five weeks ago.

Following the eight month review led by Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, these significant reforms have been agreed to in record time and will help to drive down power prices and ensure we have a more reliable system well into the future.

Key recommendations which the Energy Council agreed to include:

  • A new Generator Reliability Obligation which will require intermittent sources of generation to provide an appropriate level of backup to guard against blackouts;
  • The introduction of Energy Security Obligations to provide the necessary support services (Frequency Control and Ancillary Services and inertia) to intermittent sources of generation;
  • A new requirement for large generators to give a minimum three years notice before closing; and
  • The establishment of an Energy Security Board to oversee the health, security and reliability of the NEM.

Also at the meeting the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) outlined their comprehensive plan for this summer. As part of this plan the market operator will be able to contract for more supply to make sure there is no shortfall.

Following an update from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on its review into retail electricity prices the Energy Council agreed to provide greater transparency on the price and availability of long-term electricity retail contracts as well as to give consumers greater real time control over their energy consumption.

Importantly governments will be provided with greater visibility of retail electricity prices, retail margins and factors affecting price to ensure they are in a stronger position to respond to any inappropriate market practices.

Source: Federal Government

 

ERA grants Greenough River Solar Farm electricity licence

The Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) has granted an electricity licence to Greenough River Solar Farm Pty Ltd for its solar generation farm 50 km south east of Geraldton.

This is the second stage of the solar farm’s generating works, which will expand its capacity from 10 megawatts to 40 megawatts.

Electricity generators with a capacity over 30 megawatts require a licence.

The solar farm will supply to the South West Interconnected System.

Greenough River Solar Farm Pty Ltd is a subsidiary of General Electric and Western Australia’s largest electricity generator, Synergy.

The licence covers a period of 30 years starting on 13 July 2017.

Source: WA Economic Regulation Authority

Click here to go to online datasheet: Greenough River 2 Solar Farm

 

Low Head Wind Farm public consultation

The project involves the construction and operation of a wind farm and associated transmission line at Low Head in North Eastern Tasmania. The proposal is for ten wind turbines with a total maximum generating capacity of 35 megawatts, and for a twin 22 kV transmission line from the wind farm to the George Town electrical substation.

The proponent has lodged a Development Application with a supporting Development Proposal and Environmental Management Plan (DPEMP) to George Town Council.

The proponent has referred the proposal to the Australian Government for consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999. The Australian Government has determined that the proposal is a controlled action (EPBC reference number 2012/6450) on the grounds that it is likely to have significant impact on the following matters of national significance:

Listed threatened species and communities (sections 18 and 18A); and

Listed migratory species (sections 20 and 20A).

The application was referred to the Board of the Environment Protection Authority (the Board) for assessment under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

Public Comment Invited Until 26 August 2017

Source: Tasmania EPA

Click here to go to online datasheet: Low Head Wind Farm

 

Australian Clean Energy Summit shows business is booming but political agreement still elusive

18 July

It’s time for politicians to agree on a carefully-designed Clean Energy Target and put in place the framework to deliver continued new investment in the energy sector, the Clean Energy Council said while launching day one of the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said rising power prices are a huge concern across the country and the business sector is increasingly frustrated about the inability of politicians to come together on energy and climate to provide the necessary stability for new investment to fix the issue.

“We have a business sector which is increasingly recognising the economic opportunities provided by clean energy, both in meeting their own energy needs and in building multi-million dollar wind and solar projects across the country,” Mr Thornton said.

“The energy transition towards cleaner energy is underway, but we are still missing policy beyond 2020 which would provide businesses with confidence to invest their money. There are jobs going begging, economic benefits being wasted and power prices spiralling out of control.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the inability to agree on some kind of long term energy policy is driving the cost of power up significantly for everybody.

“The only thing that is helping is the $8 billion worth of large renewable energy projects that are either under construction or will start in 2017. This new generation will help to push down the cost of power, but this level of new investment is unlikely to continue beyond 2020 without a clear policy roadmap.

“It takes years for the investments of today to have a major effect on the cost of power, yet politicians are still arguing over whether to support any energy policy at all.

“Currently the only policy acting to keep prices down is the national Renewable Energy Target (RET). It is helping to provide an incentive for new large projects to be built, as well as encouraging households and businesses to install their own renewable energy to keep their power prices lower,” he said.

With the RET delivering billions of dollars in new investment via dozens of projects – and the debate continuing about the Chief Scientist’s proposed Clean Energy Target – the Australian Clean Energy Summit features some of the industry’s leading lights for a frank and fearless discussion at a critical time for Australia’s energy policy.

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

Australian big business missing out on renewable energy opportunities: new report

18 July

While many major Australian companies do not believe their customers expect them to use renewable energy, most Australians say they would reward big businesses if they make the switch, new research by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has found.

  • Less than half (46 per cent) of the major Australian companies surveyed are actively procuring renewable energy
  • Even those companies using renewable energy aren’t using very much: renewable energy makes up 10 per cent or less of their energy use
  • Four out of five Australians believe businesses should use renewable energy
  • Three quarters of Australians would buy a product or service that was made with renewable energy over a comparable one that wasn’t

Australian business has the opportunity to capitalise on the considerable medium to long­term benefits from renewable energy, according to the Business of Renewables report launched today by ARENA and the Clean Energy Council ahead of the Australian

 Clean Energy Summit in Sydney.

In a first­of­its­kind study, ARENA commissioned research to understand why Australian businesses appear to be falling behind their global peers in making the switch to renewable energy, and to help business leaders to drive change.

More than 90 of Australia’s largest public and private companies were surveyed to find out whether Australia’s biggest businesses are embracing renewable energy, what’s holding them back or propelling them forward, and their plans for the future.

Just under half (46 per cent) of Australian companies are actively procuring renewable energy, but for most of these companies renewable energy accounts for 10 per cent or less of their energy use.

However, Australian companies appear to be falling behind their global peers. Seven of world’s largest companies plan to be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy in the long term. In the US, nearly two­thirds of Fortune 100 and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have set ambitious renewable energy or sustainability targets.

A number of Australian companies are leading the way in renewable energy, including Telstra, which recently announced a deal to build a 70MW solar farm, and zinc refiner Sun Metals which is building a 116MW solar farm in Queensland.

However, the report highlights a widening gap between those businesses that are going renewable, and those that aren’t. While most companies not using renewables had no plans to, those which were already using renewables plan to use more. Based on this data, it is estimated corporate investment in renewable energy could total $439­910 million in the next 18 months, with solar PV being the priority.

The findings also suggest there is confusion and misconceptions about the cost and benefits of renewable energy among Australia’s business leaders.

Many Australian businesses also appear to be out of step with the attitudes of consumers. Most companies surveyed (57 per cent) believed their customers had no expectation around renewable energy.

However, an IPSOS poll of over 1000 Australians commissioned by ARENA found 80 per cent of Australians believe big business should be using renewable energy.

More than three quarters (76 per cent) of Australians would choose a product or service made with renewable energy over a comparable one that wasn’t. Four of ten indicated they would be willing to pay a premium.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said that Australian companies could benefit greatly from adopting renewable energy.

“The benefit for big business is substantial. Consumers are more likely to reward companies that take the plunge with greater loyalty and higher tolerance of price fluctuations that may come with renewable energy procurement. Using renewables helps create a positive impression of a business.” Mr Frischknecht said.

“If companies stand on the sidelines for too long, they risk falling behind their competitors in terms of saving on energy costs, reaching sustainability targets and meeting changing customer expectations.” CEC Chief Executive Kane Thornton said there was a strong business case for investing in renewable energy.

“With the cost of renewable energy falling so rapidly this decade and public support so strong, investing in clean energy is really a win­win for Australian businesses.

“The business sector is starting to switch on to the fact that the smart money is now in renewables as a way to address rising and volatile power prices. ARENA’s work over the last few years has clearly shown there is an appetite among agribusiness operations, miners, telcos and many more to invest in clean energy and storage once they begin to realise the cost savings available and the expectations of their customers.”

Source: ARENA

 

1 megawatt solar PV installation powering up Brisbane Technology Park

19 July

APN Funds Management Limited, as Responsible Entity for Industria REIT, is pleased to announce that it has entered an agreement to install 1 megawatt of solar PV across 6 buildings at Brisbane Technology Park (BTP).

This market leading initiative is unique to Industria at BTP and will reduce the impact of rising and volatile energy costs imposed on Industria’s tenants. The energy produced will be distributed through an embedded network that passes on the green power generated to improve occupancy cost outcomes and environmental credentials.

The yield on the $1.6 million capital investment is approximately 15%. Industria will also hold energy rates at levels consistent with FY17 pricing – extending the benefits of being an Industria tenant.

Alex Abell, Fund Manager of Industria REIT: “This is a great win-win outcome that leverages the abundance of sunshine in Queensland to future proof and add value to Industria’s assets. Our proactive approach will result over 40% of energy being generated on-site, reducing the costs and improving the ESG credentials for our tenants, whilst also providing a healthy return for our security holders.”

Industria has partnered with GEM Energy to deliver the project, which will include almost 3,000 solar panels and be one of the largest business park installations in the country. The installation is scheduled to complete in early 2018.

Source: APN Funds Management

 

NEW PROJECT – Hillston Sun Farm

Project overview

OVERLAND Sun Farming Pty Ltd (OVERLAND) proposes to develop the Hillston Sun Farm, a large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generation facility and associated infrastructure in the Riverina region of south-western NSW (the project). The project will have an estimated nominal capacity in the order of 85 MWac (MW) and once operational will provide enough electricity to power up to 32,000 homes each year (AEMC 2016).

OVERLAND proposes to develop the project on a site within the Carrathool Shire local government area (LGA), approximately 3.5 kilometres (km) south of the township of Hillston. The site encompasses an area of approximately 393 hectares (ha), of which 293 ha will be developed. The site has been highly modified by past disturbances associated with land clearing, cropping, livestock grazing and weed invasion, and is currently used for broad acre cropping. The development footprint (293 ha) within the site boundary has been refined through the project design process to site project infrastructure to avoid environmental constraints as much as possible.

The project will connect to the Essential Energy 132 kV electricity distribution network that originates at the Hillston Substation. The site is in close proximity to the Hillston Substation, and there is a range of connection infrastructure in the vicinity. The development footprint has been designed to minimise the length of connection infrastructure required to connect the project infrastructure to the electricity grid. The site’s proximity to the Hillston Substation means that the connection infrastructure will avoid major road and rail crossings.

The project is a State significant development (SSD) which requires development consent under Part 4, Division 4.1 of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) from the Minister for Planning, or his delegate.

Contact:

Brett Thomas

CEO & Managing Director

Overland Sun Farming

Email: brett.thomas@overlandsunfarming.com.au

 

Walgett Solar Farm approved

Epuron Island GP’s proposed 29 MW solar farm at Walgett in NSW approved by Department of Planning & Environment. The proposed development site has an area of 91 ha, including a 58 ha development footprint, and is located approximately 5 km north of town. The project includes approximately 90,909 solar panels mounted on either single axis‐tracker or fixed mounting frames (up to 3.5 m in height), up to 14 inverter stations each containing an inverter and a 22 kV or 33 kV transformer, and a 66 kV underground power line connecting to the existing Essential Energy substation approximately 2.4 km south.

Contact:

Jess Picton

Project Manager

Epuron

Tel: (02) 8456 7400

Email: j.picton@epuron.com.au

 

Applications received by the Queensland Government’s Department of Energy and Water Supply for generation licences for Canadian Solar’s proposed 55 MW Oakey Stage 2 Solar Farm to be located on the Warrego Highway west of Oakey, and APA Group’s proposed 110 MW Darling Downs Solar Farm, to be located 40km west of Dalby

 

Monadelphous contracts update

19 July

Engineering company Monadelphous Group Limited (ASX:MND) (“Monadelphous” or “the Company”) today announced it has been awarded a number of new work packages with a combined value of approximately $55 million.

The Company has received a Notice of Award to provide mechanical decommissioning, demolition, civil, structural, mechanical and piping works associated with Shaft 1 and Shaft 2 Surface Infrastructure for the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Project – operated by Oyu Tolgoi LLC mine operations located in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. The works are scheduled to be completed in early 2019.

In addition, Monadelphous has been awarded a contract for piping modification and fabrication for Technip Oceania Pty Ltd (TechnipFMC) on the hook-up and commissioning phase of Shell Australia’s Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas project in the Browse Basin, approximately 475 kilometres north-northeast of Broome, in Western Australia.

The Company's renewable energy business, Zenviron, has been awarded a contract, in consortium with Vestas – Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd, to provide engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the 54 MW Salt Creek Wind Farm for Tilt Renewables. The project, located in western Victoria, is expected to be completed in July 2018.

“The diverse nature of these contract awards underlines the success of the Company’s markets and growth strategy,” Monadelphous Managing Director Rob Velletri said. “We are particularly pleased to have secured an initial package of work on the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Project in Mongolia which highlights the continuing expansion of our core services overseas.”

Source: Monadelphous Group

Click here to go to online datasheet: Salt Creek Wind Farm

 

Photon Energy mandates Pottinger as financial advisors for Australian project pipeline

19 July

Photon Energy NV has mandated financial and strategic advisory firm Pottinger Co Pty Limited, to advise on a capital raising for a solar PV project pipeline with a total generation capacity of over 1 GW in Australia.

Photon Energy’s pipeline is being developed in NSW and includes the previously announced 316 MW solar project at Gunning in New South Wales, as well as several other large-scale projects totaling around 700 MW. The combination of increasing energy prices, Large Generation Certificate prices and strong solar irradiation have turned Australia into one of the most sought-after destinations for utility-scale PV power plant investments in the world. Photon Energy NV expects to close the financing round in Q4 2017.

Photon Energy NV is seeking to bring in financial and strategic investors to accelerate development of these important solar energy projects.

“The outstanding track record of Pottinger in energy infrastructure financing has convinced us that they are the right advisors for selecting the most suitable financing partners for our 1 GW PV project pipeline. We are looking forward to working with their team on creating the highest possible value from our ambitious project development effort on the world’s sunniest continent” commented Michael Gartner, Managing Director of Photon Energy Australia.

“Mandating Pottinger is an important step in strengthening our position as one of the leading PV project developers in Australia today. Given the attractive economics of PV power plants in Australia on the back of continuously falling investment costs, our Australian PV project pipeline is on track of becoming the most valuable asset in our Group” explained Georg Hotar, Chief Executive Officer of Photon Energy NV.

Pottinger combines business leadership, investment banking, strategic consulting, big data analytics, entrepreneurship and other skills to help companies and governments unlock growth, reduce risk and accelerate impact.

Source: Photon Energy

 

Now is the time to look at the Tully Millstream project again

19 July

I have written to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, requesting that the Australian Government support an updated feasibility study for the Tully Millstream Hydroelectric Scheme (TMHS), north-west of Tully, in North Queensland. I strongly believe this project has great merit. A serious feasibility study has not been undertaken since the late 1980s.

The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) undertook a full technical study, which was completed in 1988. Sadly, the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (in which the project would be partially located) in late 1988 by the Commonwealth Government, resulted in the scheme not being progressed, due to perceived environmental concerns.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Ever since the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area derailed the TMHS, there has been a deep and sustained level of resentment in North Queensland, that the region was robbed of a major piece of economic infrastructure and the benefits that would have flowed from it. Residents from across North Queensland still regularly express their strong support for the TMHS.

Being born and raised in Tully and having represented the region in the Queensland Parliament since 2006, I can testify to the ongoing and abiding frustration of the community, especially given the declaration also resulted in the demise of our local timber industry. I believe the people of North Queensland certainly deserve to have this important project re-examined on its merits.

NOT JUST ANOTHER FEASIBILITY STUDY

This process is proposed to be an updating, or modernisation, of the feasibility study of the proposed TMHS. As, such, this request for resources is not for ‘just another feasibility study’. The passage of almost three decades means there are a number of issues which need to be re-assessed, to allow for the project to be properly evaluated. These include:

  • Contemporary construction and hydro turbine standards;
  • Contemporary environmental regulatory parameters;
  • How the project would interact with the current national electricity market;
  • How the project would interact with current electricity demand trends;
  • How the project would interact with current electricity transmission infrastructure;
  • Options for technical variations, or variations in scale or scope of the original scheme;
  • Potential opportunities for irrigated agriculture, tourism and recreation; and,
  • An updated estimate of base case costings.

THE PROJECT

The TMHS involves creek diversions from the Tully and Herbert River basins into two new dams (Wooroora and Nitchaga). The 600 megawatt station would be constructed underground between Koombooloomba Dam and the Tully River. The reliability of rainfall in the Tully region and the elevation of the site combine to provide a sound technical proposition for a hydroelectricity project.

WHY NOW?

1.The Australian Government has a stated commitment to developing Northern Australia, as well as a structured policy framework and allocated funds in furtherance of this goal.

2.The Australian Government has demonstrated a commitment to hydroelectricity, by recently announcing a feasibility study to expand the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectricity Scheme.

3.The environmental debate regarding climate change has shifted from the protection of trees to carbon emissions, in particular, shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

SOME FACTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT

  • The declared Wet Tropics World Heritage Area covers some 900,000 hectares of north-eastern Queensland.
  • The new water storages would inundate 4,300 hectares of land, but only 1,290 hectares of this land would be located within the declared Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
  • This is less than 0.2 per cent of the overall Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and could hardly be described as having a catastrophic impact on the future of the declared area.

COLLABORATION WITH SMEC

Earlier this year, I approached SMEC to ascertain its interest in updating the feasibility study for the TMHS. SMEC responded enthusiastically and utilised the comprehensive 11 volume engineering study it completed in 1988, to prepare a feasibility review document. SMEC is well positioned to undertake the work proposed in the feasibility review document.

OTHER MATTERS AND CONCLUSION

The TMHS project has the potential to create opportunities for irrigated agriculture on the Tully River, regional tourism operators and products and recreational activities for local residents. The ancillary benefits and opportunities that could be created by the proposed TMHS being constructed are not insignificant and should not be underestimated.

I am a long term supporter of the TMHS – a true believer. As a North Queenslander and a North Queensland MP, I have waited a long time for the policy agenda to suit a serious proposal to revive the TMHS. I believe that time is now. Another generation of North Queenslanders should not be denied the opportunity to benefit from this major piece of economic infrastructure.

Source: Member for Hinchinbrook, Andrew Cripps

 

Jacobs wins roles on major new wind farm project in Australia

20 July

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE:JEC) has been appointed by the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF), to carry out the project management and owners engineers’ roles for a proposed 200 Megawatt wind farm in Western New South Wales, Australia.

The AUD$450 million (US$356 million) Silverton Wind Farm will produce approximately 780,000 Megawatt hours of renewable energy annually, enough to power more than 137,000 average Australian homes. The energy produced from the wind farm’s 58 turbines is predicted to reduce CO2 emissions by 655,000 tons annually, which is the equivalent of taking 192,000 cars off the road each year.

PARF is a partnership created by Australian energy company AGL Energy Limited (AGL) to develop, own and manage approximately 1,000 Megawatts of large-scale renewable energy infrastructure assets and projects. The PARF’s equity partners include AGL and QIC, on behalf of its clients the Future Fund and those invested in the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund. The Future Fund is a sovereign wealth fund which aims to invest in projects that benefit future generations of Australians.

“Jacobs has a proven history in successfully delivering all types of renewable power generation projects,” said Jacobs Senior Vice President Patrick Hill. “In wind, we have completed hundreds of projects globally and we have an extensive history in this market in Australia, especially working with AGL.

“This project builds on the support we have provided AGL in the renewables market, delivering two of Australia’s largest solar power plants at Nyngan and Broken Hill. Jacobs will provide leading edge project management capabilities combined with our engineering skills to help AGL deliver this landmark project,” added Hill.

Source: Jacobs Engineering

Click here to go to online datasheet: Silverton Wind Farm

 

New PPA signed as renewables program underpins 500 MW of capacity

20 July

EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s leading energy retailers, today announced it had signed a long-term agreement to buy 100 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy from the 150 MW capacity Coleambally solar farm developed by Neoen in New South Wales.

The Coleambally power purchase agreement (PPA) is EnergyAustralia’s fifth since it announced in December 2016 a $1.5 billion program to underpin new wind and solar projects across eastern Australia. EnergyAustralia’s commitment has now underpinned new wind and solar developments with more than 500 MW of total capacity.

EnergyAustralia Executive – Energy Mark Collette said continued investment in new supplies of cleaner energy was critical to underpinning Australia’s system as existing coal generation is retired.

“We’re really pleased to add a quality renewable project like Coleambally to our power purchase portfolio,” said Mr Collette.

“We have a neutral view about the technology that will replace existing coal as a source of base-load supply, so long as it supports the delivery of reliable, affordable and cleaner energy. One thing is clear though – renewables are part of the solution and will make a major contribution to the development of a modern energy system in Australia.

“Bringing on these new supplies will require billions of dollars of investment but doing nothing means higher prices and less reliable energy for all customers. Families and businesses are depending on industry and government to get it right,” Mr Collette said.

Mr Collette said there was reason for optimism as recent public statements by federal and state governments showed there's good understanding of Australia’s energy challenge. He said the recent Finkel Panel report on the future security of the national electricity market was a good, solid blueprint for governments to work together on a bipartisan, national approach to energy.

Located in the Riverina region of New South Wales, the Coleambally solar farm is being developed by French company, Neoen.

The farm will produce enough emissions-free, renewable energy to meet the electricity needs of more than 50,000 households. The project will create around 300 jobs during construction and seven ongoing operational roles.

Since EnergyAustralia announced its PPA program seven months ago it has secured agreements for 385 MW of renewable energy for its customers from projects with total capacity of more than 500 MW. The PPAs will help the company met its obligations under the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target, which requires retailers to have 23.5% of total energy in the national electricity market provided by renewable sources by 2020.

Neoen Managing Director – Australia, Franck Woitiez said his company was looking forward to working with EnergyAustralia.

“EnergyAustralia’s 12-year commitment to the Coleambally PPA is an important step in developing this new solar farm as we expand our renewable energy portfolio in Australia,” Mr Woitiez said. “Now, with EnergyAustralia’s support firmly in place, Neoen can concentrate on reaching financial close before the end of 2017.”

The Coleambally commitment follows EnergyAustralia’s agreements to buy:

  • All the output from the 48.5 MW Manildra solar farm in New South Wales
  • Eighty per cent of the output from the 142 MW Ross River solar farm in Queensland
  • All of the output from the 60 MW Gannawarra solar farm in Victoria, and
  • Sixty per cent of the output from the 113 MW Bodangora Wind Farm in New South Wales.

EnergyAustralia’s existing renewable energy program includes the rights to more than 450 MW of electricity from wind farms in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, which produce enough power to meet the annual electricity needs of 300,000 average homes each year.

Source: EnergyAustralia

Click here to go to online datasheet: Coleambally Solar Farm

View PDF