Vestas and Utopus Insights to pilot energy forecasting solutions for renewable power plants in Australia

15 March

With the increasing amount of renewable energy in the system, grid operators must address the challenge of balancing supply and demand from intermittent energy generation. One way of meeting this challenge is to use advanced forecasting tools to provide predictability in renewable energy generation in order to keep the grid stable.

In support of Vestas’ efforts to provide forward-looking renewable energy solutions, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced today that Vestas was awarded funding to develop a new short-term wind energy forecasting solution for Australia. The funding is part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program.

The solution will allow ARENA to more accurately forecast energy generation from wind power plants, reduce wind generators’ dispatch uncertainty, and improve system stability by better anticipating supply from renewable sources through accurate weather forecasting. Such forecasting solutions can also benefit power plant operators’ bottom line by reducing financial penalties for inaccurate forecasts and increase revenue opportunities through making smarter, data-driven decisions about selling energy into spot markets in countries like Australia. Being able to better predict energy generation is a valuable tool in assessing the minute-to-minute value of energy and thus how to achieve maximum revenue for energy when selling into spot markets.

From both the system and power plant view, this forecasting solution is both an important stepping stone to a world where wind and solar energy become the dominant sources of electricity, and a part of Vestas’ efforts to provide a broad array of renewable energy solutions that provide benefits to energy systems as well as to customers.

The solution will be developed by Vestas together with its wholly-owned energy analytics solution provider, Utopus Insights. The solution will improve upon the Australian Wind Energy Forecasting System’s (AWEFS) 5-minute forecast and will be deployed and piloted at Infigen Energy’s Lake Bonney 2 and 3 Wind Farms, two co-located wind farms in South Australia.

“An important challenge in wind and solar power is predicting fluctuations in generation to ensure system stability by balancing the energy supply and demand in the market”, explained Peter Cowling, Head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is responsible for forecasting electricity generation from wind and solar farms across Australia. Incorrect supply forecasts or inability of generators to meet targets can result in power system instability and higher operating costs. Wind and solar farms are penalised for failing to meet required output levels, and conversely can be required to curtail generation to match overly conservative forecasts.

“We hope to offer a much more advanced forecasting solution that can reduce generator dispatch uncertainty, lower the operational cost of balancing energy supply and demand, and limit energy price volatility and regulatory complexity”, said Cowling. “Our solution will help deliver sufficient and reliable energy to the market”.

The solution will apply advanced data science techniques including deep learning to high-resolution wind turbine SCADA data, granular short-term hyper-local weather forecasts and meteorological data to deliver greater accuracy in energy forecasts. The solution will utilise Utopus Insights’ proprietary weather forecasting, coupling physical and statistical models with an industry-best 1 km² precision. This is a significant improvement on traditional global weather forecasts, which operate at coarser temporal resolution and 16 km² spatial resolution.

“While it’s true that renewable energy is intermittent, with the right digital intelligence, it is no longer unpredictable. Our solution unlocks the value of renewable energy as a predictable and reliable source of power”, said Chandu Visweswariah, Founding President and CEO at Utopus Insights. “Between our deep experience in energy analytics, proprietary hyper-local weather modelling, and Vestas’ massive amount of turbine data, we are using the power of partnership to usher in a new era of energy digitalisation”.

“From an energy market standpoint, Australia is leading the world in many ways; creating an industry-leading product for that market is essential and differentiating. This product will help with improving the accuracy of power output forecasts in real time, making renewable energy more competitive against conventional energy sources and enabling customers to make smarter and more profitable decisions about the energy they generate”, said Balakrishnan G. Iyer, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at Utopus Insights.

After the 12-month development and trial phase, Vestas will share its learnings from the pilot with the energy industry, focusing on project challenges, learnings, forecast performance and self-forecast benefits for renewable generators and the broader market.

Source: Vestas



White Rock Wind Farm

The Federal Department of the Environment & Energy has extended the time in which to make a decision whether to approve a controlled action in relation to White Rock Wind Farm Stage 2, 20km west of Glen Innes in NSW. Goldwind Australia is currently constructing the 75 MW stage 1 of the project, and has sought a modification to its plans for stage 2 which would see up to 48 new turbines installed, producing up to 202 MW. The Department of the Environment & Energy has extended the period in which the Minister must make an approval decision under the EPBC Act to 25 July 2019.


$9 million funding to enhance short term forecasting of wind and solar farms

18 March

Solar and wind farms will trial providing their own short-term generation forecasts, under a funding initiative by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in partnership with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA today awarded $9.41 million to 11 projects to trial short-term forecasting at large-scale wind and solar farms across Australia.

The trial comprises at least 45 per cent of the National Electricity Market’s (NEM’s) registered wind and solar capacity, which collectively provides a total of 3.5 GW of renewable electricity generation.

ARENA’s funding will help to explore the potential for wind and solar farms to provide their own, more accurate, forecasts of their output into AEMO’s central dispatch system.

The projects will enable further capability development, and provide valuable information to the market on delivering forecasts on a five-minute basis. Forecasting technology and factors that affect the accuracy of forecasts in different weather, operational conditions and geographies will also be investigated.

AEMO is currently responsible for forecasting how much electricity will be generated by wind and solar farms, the output of which varies depending on the weather and time of day. If these supply forecasts are wrong or generators can’t meet their target, it can result in power system instability and higher operating costs.

Wind and solar farms are penalised for not meeting a required output level or can be required to curtail their generation to match an overly conservative forecast.

Under the market changes that AEMO has facilitated as part of this initiative, all wind and solar farms registered in the NEM will be able to submit their own 5-minute ahead forecasts to AEMO, for use in central dispatch in order to improve the accuracy of market outcomes. The ARENA-funded trial will be exploring the benefits that this new capability brings to the system.

The portfolio of 11 projects will involve a range of weather forecasting technologies including onsite cloud cameras that can predict the timing and impact of passing clouds on a solar farm, wind speed radars, Japanese weather satellites, infrared, crunching of Bureau of Meteorology data and machine learning algorithms.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said these trials will provide test cases for wind and solar to do their own five-minute forecasts just as traditional power plants do.

“Working with AEMO, we’re supporting these trials to help avoid generators being unfairly penalised for inaccurate forecasts while also supporting system security by better matching demand with anticipated supply from variable renewable generators.

“Much like traditional energy generators, we’re aiming to show that renewable energy is now capable of providing accurate measurement of energy output,” Mr Miller said.

“With almost half of all solar and wind power generation taking part in projects in this initiative, this will lead to better deals for wind and solar farms, lower costs and more accurate data for AEMO,” he said.

“Some solar and wind farms will be sites for several different technologies and some technologies will be tested across multiple sites so we will begin to understand the strengths of different approaches in different locations.

“Improving forecasting of wind and solar generation will help better integrate variable renewable energy into the grid, reduce grid instability and reduce costs. It is a win-win for everyone,” he said.

“We are extremely pleased to see the collaboration between market participants, forecasting service providers and ARENA to deliver highly innovative solutions to the renewable energy sector,” said AEMO’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Audrey Zibelman.

“Weather is the fuel for an ever-increasing proportion of the electricity generated across Australia, so it is vitally important that we foster innovation and rapid development of world leading technologies and services. As the market operator, we require the best possible information in real-time to manage the secure and reliable delivery of energy to Australian consumers, 24/7,” said Ms Zibelman.

Source: ARENA


Carnegie Clean Energy Limited recapitalisation process commences

18 March

The board of Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (‘the Company’) advises that it has placed the Company and its subsidiaries EMC Co Pty Ltd, Energy Made Clean Pty Ltd and EMC Engineering Australia Pty Ltd into voluntary administration. The CETO wave energy subsidiary companies have not been placed into voluntary administration. Richard Tucker and John Bumbak of KordaMentha Restructuring have been appointed as voluntary administrators.

The appointment of the voluntary administrators provides the mechanism and pathway to recapitalise the Company and for it to return to its core business of wave energy.

Mooney & Partners Pty Ltd, a company associated with director and shareholder Grant Mooney, together with key stakeholder Asymmetric Credit Partners Pty Ltd, have agreed in principle to provide interim funding support to the voluntary administrators so that they can pursue a recapitalisation of the core Carnegie wave energy business. As part of the recapitalisation proposal, the Energy Made Clean business will be sold or wound-down, there will be no further losses from this business that will be funded by shareholders. The interim funding support is subject to finalisation of documentation and other approvals.

The recapitalisation proposal being developed will allow shareholders to participate in that future through an equity raising whilst dealing with the current creditor build-up and legacy issues associated with the solar-battery business.

The board and management team is progressing with the recapitalisation proposal in earnest to enable shareholders the ability to show their support for the clean energy potential and intellectual property it has developed.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy



Angas A-CAES Project

Hydrostor Australia is seeking development approvals from the state government for its advanced compressed air energy storage facility project utilising an existing mine shaft within the disused Angas Zinc Mine in Strathalbyn, South Australia. The facility would have a maximum capacity of 5 MW and would connect to the electricity grid via underground cables to the Strathalbyn East Substation. Surface infrastructure would also include a switch yard and a reverse osmosis plant.

The $30 million commercial demonstration project will use the existing mine to develop a below-ground air-storage cavern that uses an innovative design to achieve emissions free energy storage. The facility will provide synchronous inertia, load shifting, frequency regulation and support for grid security and reliability.

Utilising the existing mine will help to increase renewable energy supply to the South Australian and national energy grid while also converting a brownfield site into a clean energy hub.


AECOM appointed to one of world’s largest renewable energy construction projects, the Solar River Project in South Australia

18 March

AECOM, a premier, fully-integrated global infrastructure firm, has been appointed as owner’s engineer to support the Solar River Project in the pre-financial close (FC) development phase, post-FC construction phase and delivery and compliance commissioning phases of the project.

AECOM will provide a full suite of owner’s engineer technical services including project management, owner’s site representative and superintendent services over the entire design, construction and commissioning phases of the project.

The Solar River Project in South Australia’s Mid North is one of the world’s largest solar power projects and one of the largest energy construction projects in Australia. The Solar River Project will include a 200-megawatt photovoltaic array comprising more than 630,000 solar panels along with a 100-megawatt battery, one of the largest batteries in the Southern Hemisphere. Once completed, the project’s capacity should be able to supply 90,000 South Australian homes with reliable and affordable energy.

“We are looking forward to contributing to this exciting and important project for South Australia, the local Ngadjuri Aboriginal Nation and Australia’s energy supply, which will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing clean energy to over 90,000 households,” said Rajesh Arora, technical director of AECOM’s Australia New Zealand Power and Industrial group.

AECOM has a strong track record of performing owner’s engineer roles on a large number of renewable-energy projects, including the Mount Emerald Wind Farm in Queensland, the Ararat and Murra Warra Wind Farms in Victoria, the Crookwell 2 Wind Farm in New South Wales and Willogoleche Wind Farm in South Australia.

“Solar River’s project, comprising solar panels, large scale storage and a supportive local community, is exactly the type of opportunities that South Australia needs to deliver affordable, reliable and clean electricity,” said Dan Van Holst Pellekaan, South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining.

“The Marshall Government’s energy policies are attracting investment, creating more competition and reduce costs to households and businesses.”

The Solar River Project is a South Australian company based at the University of Adelaide’s ThincLab venture incubator. Further updates on the project will be available at

Source: AECOM


Interested in speaking at All-Energy Australia 2019?

The Call for Speakers is now open.

The Conference at All-Energy Australia is the one place for the renewable energy industry to come together to be inspired, innovate and connect with one another over 2 days. Returning to Melbourne on 23-24 October 2019, we are looking for experts in the renewable and clean energy sector to present within the sessions, take part in panel discussions and facilitate sessions.

Submissions close on the 3rd of May 2019.

More information is available here.


Risen Energy commemorates the start of construction of the Merredin Solar Farm

18 March

To commemorate the start of construction of the 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm, Risen Energy (Australia) conducted a Ground Breaking Ceremony with Honourable Mia Davies, MLA, Member for Central Wheatbelt, Cr Ken Hooper, President, Shire of Merredin and Eric Lee, General Manager Risen Energy (Australia) on Friday March 15.

This ceremony reinforces the importance of the working relationship between the State, Council and Risen Energy (Australia) in developing such a significant project within the region.

Risen Energy (Australia) is developing the Merredin Solar Farm, the largest solar farm committed to construction in Western Australia. Once completed the solar farm will have an expected output of 281GWh of electricity annually, generating enough green energy to power approximately 42,000 Western Australian homes.

The Merredin Solar Farm is located on 460ha of former farming and grazing country adjacent to the Western Power Merredin Terminal and will connect to the Merredin Terminal at 220kV.

A diesel power station is also located adjacent to the Terminal on Robartson Road.

Initially construction will involve bulk earthworks to prepare the site for installation of the solar panels and substation equipment.

Full construction of the solar installation starts soon and will continue through to mid-late 2019. Merredin Solar Farm will commission and commence power sales in Q4 2019.

As owners of the Merredin Solar Farm project, Risen Energy (Australia) will progress the project from detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and ultimately the operation of the solar farm. They will supply the latest PV panel technology to allow it to supply power to the grid. Ultimately, integrated battery storage will be incorporated in the solar farm to provide continuous power during periods of peak demand.

The Merredin Solar Farm will endeavour to use as many local resources as is possible including labour, equipment, contractors and accommodation. It is anticipated that around 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the plant which will have approximately 360,000 solar panels installed at the site.

Once operational, the solar farm will require 3-5 full time workers to maintain the installation.

When completed the Merredin Solar Farm will supply power to homes, businesses and industries in the wheatbelt region and the South West. The completed facility has a projected life of 30 years. At the end of the facility’s useful operating life, all physical infrastructure will be removed, and the land returned to its former agricultural use.

The Merredin Solar Farm has worked closely with local government to deliver the approvals for the Merredin Solar Farm project. This has included focusing on planning consents at a local, regional and state level. The development approvals established certain conditions on the solar farm’s construction. These include sourcing permits for elements of the installation, the upgrading of identified roads potentially impacted by the development and compliance with environmental requirements. Merredin Solar Farm will continue to liaise with the Merredin Shire and government agencies to ensure these requirements are satisfied.

Merredin Solar Farm has worked closely with the State Government’s corporate entity, Western Power to determine the most appropriate connection to the local electricity grid. This connection will be into the existing high voltage Merredin Terminal Substation, which ultimately feeds into the Western Australian transmission network. Western Power is currently expanding its facility at the Merredin Terminal to enable the solar farm to connect.

Merredin council’s support of renewables has created a renewable energy hotspot for this Wheatbelt town.

Risen Energy (Australia) is one of the largest and most reliable suppliers of solar panels within Australia.

“Merredin Solar Farm is our second acquisition of a utility-scale solar farm which we will progress from detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and ultimately the operation. Our first acquisition was for the 100 megawatt (AC) Yarranlea Solar Farm in South West Queensland where construction is underway.” said John Zhong, Project Development & Investment Director, Risen Energy (Australia).

“Risen Energy (Australia)’s long term goal is the establishment of 2GW of solar farms over the next few years. This reinforces our intention of becoming a key player in the national solar industry.” said Zhong.

Source: Risen Energy


Hydrogen gives new life to Toyota’s Altona car manufacturing plant

19 March

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced funding for Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited to start the transformation of part of its decommissioned car manufacturing plant in Altona Victoria into a renewable energy hub to produce green hydrogen for transport.

The $7.4 million Toyota Australia Hydrogen Centre is part of a larger transformation planned for the former car manufacturing site.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA will provide $3.1 million towards the Toyota Australia Hydrogen Centre project. The Hydrogen Centre will include solar PV and battery storage to cover the incremental energy requirements for the production of renewable hydrogen through electrolysis and utilisation for both mobile and stationary applications.

The project will aim to demonstrate an end-to-end process for the hydrogen creation chain; from producing hydrogen through electrolysis to the compression and storage of hydrogen and electricity generation via hydrogen fuel cells.

The Hydrogen Centre will also include an education centre and Victoria’s first commercial scale hydrogen vehicle refuelling station infrastructure on site to allow the refueling of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The project will produce at least 60 kg of hydrogen per day with on-site solar PV and battery storage to contribute to the incremental energy requirements of the whole site.

Hydrogen is set to play a larger role in the transition to a low carbon economy. A report last year prepared for ARENA by ACIL Allen Consulting has shown that Australia is in a strong position to take advantage of a future hydrogen export market.

Hydrogen could potentially be used as a way for Australia to export renewable energy to other countries, particularly in Asia. Japan has already set a 10-year strategy to become a large scale importer of renewable hydrogen.

As an emission free fuel, hydrogen can also be used to power vehicles and help decarbonise Australia’s transport sector. Hydrogen can also be a form of energy storage, as it can be stored within the gas network and used to power gas appliances.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Darren Miller said Toyota’s Hydrogen Centre would demonstrate hydrogen as a viable fuel source for transport and as an energy storage medium.

“Toyota is helping to pave the way for more renewably powered vehicles in Australia, where the uptake of electric vehicles has been slower than other countries.

“The demonstration of low cost hydrogen production and distribution is key to the uptake of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles in areas such as truck, bus and government fleets,” Mr Miller said.

“Australia holds a competitive advantage to play a global role in the emerging hydrogen export market due to our existing expertise and infrastructure. We’re excited to see Toyota add their skills to the mix and be a major player in increasing the uptake of hydrogen applications in different sectors.”

Toyota Australia’s President and CEO Matt Callachor said the Hydrogen Centre was a step towards the company meeting its target of zero emissions from sites and vehicles by 2050.

“This is a very exciting time for Toyota Australia. Today’s announcement with ARENA aligns with our global drive to promote sustainable mobility and to play a leading role in the transition to a decarbonised future.”

“Hydrogen has the potential to play a pivotal role in the future because it can be used to store and transport energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources to power many things, including vehicles like the Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle.

“Right now, the biggest factor to the success of hydrogen being widely available is a lack of infrastructure. The sooner we move to a zero emission society the better, and Toyota is committed to making this a reality.”

Source: ARENA


Flawed assumptions cast doubt on dodgy 45% modelling

19 March

New Australia Institute analysis of the BAEconomics modelling by Brian Fisher, released today shows that it is based on numerous flawed assumptions which cast serious doubt to the validity of the claims contained.

Key problems with BAEconomics model:

- Appears to assume renewable energy technology does not improve over time, while our aging coal fleet gets more efficient every year.

- Firming costs for renewable energy up to $200 MWh when the Government-owned Snowy 2.0 is offering contracts at $70MWh

- No details around electric vehicles and how they will shape transport emissions.

“While there is legitimate debate on the best climate policy for Australia, it is important that information is factual,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute.

“The Energy Minister has the resources of the entire public service. It is strange that he prefers the work of a consultant to the Minerals Council to that of his own department.”

“The modelling assumes firming costs for renewable energy could be as high as $200 MWh when the Government-owned Snowy 2.0 is offering firmed renewable contracts at $70MWh,” said Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute.

“There is simply no evidence for the claim that a 45% emissions target would be an ‘economy wrecking target.’ In fact, Australia Institute research finds that Australia can reduce emissions by far more than 45% with minimal impact on the economy.”

Source: The Australia Institute



Nevertire Solar Farm

The Nevertire Solar Farm project will involve all works necessary to design, construct, test, commission, decommission, energise and train staff in the operation of a 105MW solar farm including, inverter stations, onsite substation and a 1.5km long powerline connecting the solar farm to the existing Essential Energy 22/66/132kV substation.

The scope of works consists of the following but not limited to:

  • Design, supply of materials, construction, testing and commissioning of a 1.5km 132kV transmission line connecting the Nevertire Solar farm to the existing Essential Energy 22/66/132kV substation in Nevertire.
  • Design, supply of materials, construction, testing and commissioning of a new 22‐33/132kV on site substation.
  • Design, supply of materials, construction, testing and commissioning of approximately 364,000 solar panels and associated cabling.
  • Design, Supply of materials, construction, testing and commissioning of up to 55 inverter stations, of up to 4.92MW capacity and a 400V/22-33kV transformer.
  • Design, supply of materials, construction and commissioning of 3m high Perimeter security fencing and site access tracks.
  • Design, supply of materials, construction, testing and commissioning of permanent staff amenities, site office and car park. Design, supply of materials and construction of an intersection with the entrance to the Nevertire Solar Farm consisting of, a channelised right turn lane and an auxillary left turn lane treatment. Provision of size B gateway turning signs 300 metres either side of the intersection.

Key infrastructure components of the project include:

  • Solar arrays comprised of approximately 364,000 modules (solar panels).
  • Mounting frames: single axis‐tracker units or fixed mounting frames.
  • Inverter stations: up to 55 inverter stations, each containing an inverter up to 4.92MW capacity
  • A 400V/22‐33kV transformer.
  • Cabling, electrical connections and switch‐gear, attached to the mounting frame structures, to interconnect modules.
  • Underground cabling interconnecting arrays and inverter stations.
  • An onsite substation containing one 22‐33/132kV transformer and associated switchgear.
  • Internal access tracks to allow for proposal maintenance.
  • Permanent staff amenities and offices with a small number of permanent parking spaces.
  • Perimeter security fencing: a chain‐mail/ barbed‐wire security fence up to 3m in height.
  • Specific native vegetation screening from specific visual impact locations.
  • A 132kV power line connecting the solar farm to the Nevertire zone substation approximately 1.5km east of the proposal.

The project will involve the use of the following plant and equipment: Excavators, Loaders, Cranes, Trucks / semi-trailers, Graders, Concrete pumps, Water carts, Vibratory roller, Delivery vehicles, Telehandlers, Mulchers, Concrete agitators, Concrete vibrators, Trenchers, Piling drilling rig, Loader, Power tools, Light Vehicles

Full details are available here.

Source: ICN Gateway


Successful completion of retail bookbuild

19 March

Completion of retail bookbuild

Tilt Renewables Limited ("TLT") advises that it has successfully completed the retail bookbuild component ("Retail Bookbuild") of its underwritten 1 for 2 pro rata entitlement offer ("Offer"). The Offer was announced on 20 February 2019 and will raise approximately A$260 million.

The clearing price under the Retail Bookbuild was NZ$2.22 per new ordinary share ("New Share"). This price reflects a premium of NZ$0.47 per New Share over the application price of NZ$1.75 under the Offer. Therefore, eligible retail shareholders who elected not to take up their entitlements and ineligible retail shareholders will receive NZ$0.47 for each New Share not taken up by them.

Deion Campbell, CEO of TLT commented “we very much appreciate the ongoing support for TLT from our retail shareholders as well as the broader market. We are particularly pleased with the response to the retail shortfall bookbuild, which cleared at a premium to the previous closing price, delivering an excellent result for renouncing retail shareholders. We now look forward to completing the development of the Dundonnell Wind Farm and executing on our exciting development pipeline”.

The shares taken up under the Retail Bookbuild are expected to commence trading on the NZX on 21 March 2019, and the ASX on 22 March 2019.

Source: Tilt Renewables


First Australian solar farm in Antarctica opens at Casey research station

19 March

The first Australian solar farm in Antarctica will be switched on at Casey research station today.

Australian Antarctic Division Director, Mr Kim Ellis, said the system of 105 solar panels, mounted on the northern wall of the ‘green store’, will provide 30 kilowatts of renewable energy into the power grid – about 10 per cent of the station’s total demand over a year.

“This is the first solar power array at an Australian Antarctic research station and amongst the largest in Antarctica,” Mr Ellis said.

“It will reduce Casey station’s reliance on diesel generators for electricity, cutting fuel costs and emissions, as well as boosting the station’s capacity in peak periods.”

The project is a collaboration between the Australian Antarctic Division and Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, to investigate a range of energy efficiency and energy management options at Australia’s Antarctic stations.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said the project was an opportunity to pool energy-efficiency expertise from the hot deserts of the Middle East and the cold desert of Antarctica.

“This project will help to build expertise in, and the performance of, solar systems in cold and remote environments,” Mr Al Ramahi said.

“It will test the durability and suitability of the solar panels to the strong wind and snow load in Antarctica and help us to determine if it is an efficient way of powering a station.”

Masdar sourced the solar panels from Aleo Solar in Germany, while Australian Antarctic Division engineers undertook wind modelling, produced technical drawings, and devised a special mounting system of brackets and rails to fit the corrugated shape of the green store cladding.

Engineering Services Supervisor at Casey, Doreen McCurdy, said her six-person team first installed the brackets and rails to hold the panels flush against the wall.

Then they installed external cable ducting, internal cable trays, a switchboard, and three inverters to convert the variable direct current (DC) into 240V alternating current (AC).

The team faced some challenging conditions with temperatures as low as -7°C and a number of blizzards.

“The cold was a challenge, as the brackets and bolts are small and fiddly and can’t be installed while wearing gloves, so we had to use hand warmers to keep our fingers nimble,” Ms McCurdy said.

“On windy days we had to focus on the internal installation, as the elevated work platform we use outside can’t operate in winds above 15 knots.

“Once all the rails and brackets were in place though, we were able to install about 15 panels a day.”

While the panel installation is unusual in its flush mounting against a wall, it has been designed to strike a balance between maximum solar gain and stability in the wind, as well as ensuring the panels are easy to install, access and maintain.

There are now plans to look at connecting the panels up to a battery storage system and whether solar farms might be suitable for use at Australia’s other stations.

“Once the solar system is running we’ll see an immediate energy contribution and we’ll be able to see how it performs as part of the station’s power grid,” Mr Ellis said.

“From there we can then look at how to get more out of the technology in the future.”

Source: Federal Government


Businesses unlock $14M windfall from corporate renewable PPAs with Flow Power

20 March

  • Since 2018, Flow Power customers on corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) collectively saved $14m
  • The popularity of PPAs has grown significantly in the last year
  • 241MW remains of Flow Power’s 445MW renewable agreements from ten renewable plants

New analysis from business energy retailer Flow Power reveals that businesses signed onto its corporate renewable PPA product secured total savings of up to $14m since the start of 2018.

The analysis highlights the significant opportunity for businesses to drive down energy expenditure, while benefiting from the long-term nature of these contracts, which serve as a secure platform to achieve sustainability goals.

The popularity of PPAs has risen as businesses have turned to these agreements as a hedge against potentially volatile future energy prices.

Unlike most corporate renewable PPAs, which serve as financial tools and require additional energy contracts, businesses that enter into these agreements with Flow Power match their load to generation from one or more renewable plants, benefit from wholesale spot pricing and rates tracked against their usage.

ANCA CEO Chris Hegarty comments: “Advanced Manufacturing in Australia is a global race with product cost being a key factor. Flow Power is more transparent on costs, came out as far cheaper than the quotes we sourced from traditional energy providers and is sourced from 100% renewable – partnering with them was simply the best choice for ANCA.”

Of its 445MW wind and solar offering, Flow Power has allocated 204MW to Australian businesses. This is testament to the growing awareness and appetite for these agreements in the Australian market, and Flow Power’s success in meeting this demand.

The remaining 241MW could power more than 200 commercial and industrial businesses for the next ten years.

Matthew van der Linden, CEO of Flow Power, comments: “Last year, we set a fairly ambitious target of having ten offtake agreements, and wind and solar in every state. We’re excited to say that we’ve met this goal.”

He continues: “The savings that businesses can achieve with corporate renewable PPAs is significant. And this is just the beginning. We’re looking forward to seeing these deals gain traction as the market continues to embrace them.

It’s critical that we support Australia’s growing pipeline of renewable projects, and PPAs are the way to do this.”

Source: Flow Power


Council to defer planning decision on proposed solar farm in Baringhup to Minister for Planning

20 March

Mount Alexander Shire Council will request the Minister for Planning determine a planning permit application for a proposed solar farm in Baringhup, as resolved at a Council Meeting last night.

Council will make the request in recognition of the proposal’s significance to the Victorian Government’s renewable energy targets, conflicts between state and local planning policies, and to enable a more efficient and accessible planning process.

“In the light of all these factors, we consider it appropriate to refer the planning application to the Minister for a decision,” said Cr Bronwen Machin, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire.

“If the Minister agrees, this will shorten the time frame for a decision and will bring the review to here in the shire with Council requesting any public hearings be held at the Baringhup Community Hall. The fact the review will be held in the shire will ensure the community of Baringhup get a chance to have a say.”

One of the main concerns about the planning application is whether the loss of productive agricultural land for a solar farm is an acceptable planning outcome.

While the solar farm could contribute to jobs and reduce greenhouse emissions to contribute to Victoria’s energy targets, there are concerns about the impact of the development on the amenity and environment in the Baringhup district.

The development raises issues such as solar glare, visual amenity, impact on local road networks, noise, potential loss of agricultural productivity and impacts on native vegetation and biodiversity.

Council received a planning permit application (PA297/2018) for the use and development of a renewable energy facility (solar and energy storage) in Baringhup in October last year. The proposed development includes about 260,000 solar panels on a 292 hectare site on Baringhup West Road.

The estimated $195 million development has the potential to generate 75 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. It includes plans for a utility zone with a battery storage facility, satellite construction compound, and buildings for operations and maintenance.

Council has already received 16 objections from local landholders and interested parties, one pro forma objection with about 250 signatures opposing the development, and one submission supporting the development.

“The conflict in planning policy, scale of the proposal, significance of issues raised, and links to state-wide energy and economic targets sets this application apart,” said Mayor Machin.

“We must make decisions with strong consideration to the net community benefit and sustainable development. At the same time it’s very likely that any decision we make would be subject to VCAT at a significant cost to ratepayers,” she said.

If the Minister agrees to take on the decision, an independent planning panel will be appointed review the application, and make a report and recommendation to guide the decision.

The local planning scheme aims to facilitate development of infrastructure for energy supply but lacks specific policy relating to the development of solar farms. There are precedents for Ministerial decisions on solar farm applications in the areas of Shepparton and Wangaratta.

Source: Mount Alexander Shire Council


Australian cleantech barometer: investors and innovators signal robust growth ambitions

20 March

Specialist cleantech investors are expressing strong confidence in Australia’s innovative clean energy sector, with 82 per cent expecting to increase investment levels over the next five years, according to new analysis from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

The positive investor sentiment is matched by robust expectations of business growth from the cleantech innovators, who are considering increasingly diverse economy-wide applications for clean energy technologies.

With access to $200 million in CEFC finance, the Innovation Fund invests in technologies and businesses that are ready for early-stage seed or growth capital, with the assistance of ARENA.

In the lead up to its first Cleantech Showcase, the Innovation Fund conducted its first Australian Cleantech Barometer. The Barometer tested investor and innovator sentiment about the current and future state of Australia’s emerging cleantech sector, across a tightly targeted group of active investors and innovation companies.

Innovation Fund Executive Director Ben Gust said the responses highlight the strength and diversity of Australia’s cleantech investment opportunities.

“We see increasing awareness of the role innovative companies can play in the economy-wide transition to lower carbon emissions, both from investors and the innovators themselves. It’s about developing novel solutions to new and difficult challenges, as well as creating businesses with long-term investment, employment and economic potential,” Mr Gust said.

“We found that 71 per cent of investors are confident about the overall growth potential of the sector in the next five years, and more than 80 per cent expect to increase their investment levels over that period.

“But while almost two out of three cleantech investors are motivated by the positive environmental impact of cleantech innovation, they are also sending a clear message to innovators about the importance of business fundamentals. Innovators need to demonstrate the strength of management capability and build confidence in the commercial potential of their technologies to capitalise on this investor interest.”

Since it began investing in December 2016, the Innovation Fund has committed $56 million to nine businesses offering diverse cleantech solutions – from second life batteries to smart meters; state-of-the-art energy monitoring to the internet of things. Mr Gust has led the Innovation Fund since February 2018, building on a long career in venture capital in Australia’s well-established life sciences sector, with board roles in a number of successful start-up companies in Australia and the US.

He said it was encouraging to see early-stage cleantech innovators considering a wide range of applications for their technologies. Almost half of the innovators identified vehicles as an area of focus, with emerging interest in biofuels and bioenergy, energy efficiency and manufacturing.

Despite the positive growth expectations for cleantech, the majority of innovators (84 per cent) expressed concern about both the level of capital available to support cleantech growth in Australia, and the level of investor awareness and understanding about the cleantech sector (89 per cent).

Mr Gust added: “Like start-ups in all sectors, one of the biggest issues for new cleantech businesses is attracting capital from committed and informed investors. We see it as critical that cleantech innovators and investors work together to build deep understanding about business growth potential, capital requirements and long-term investment horizons.

“While the current lack of depth in Australian cleantech venture capital provides a unique opportunity for the Innovation Fund, the healthy growth of the sector needs greater diversity in sources of capital. Given the tailwinds behind cleantech innovation we look forward with confidence to the emergence of additional investors in the coming years.

“Through the Innovation Showcase we are pleased to provide around 80 investors and industry leaders with an opportunity to hear about cleantech trends and opportunities from seven promising early-stage cleantech companies. We are also pleased to be supporting these innovative companies in promoting their business objectives with specialists in the cleantech sector.”

The Cleantech Showcase takes place in Melbourne on 20 March 2019.

Source: CEFC


7 GW of renewables up for grabs in new online marketplace

21 March

The Business Renewables Centre – Australia is off to a flying start, launching an online marketplace to connect renewable energy buyers with project developers.

The member-only marketplace already has more than 7,000 MW of wind and solar listed across 67 separate projects, put up by 30 different renewable energy developers.

Based on the Rocky Mountain Institute’s successful model, the Business Renewables Centre – Australia (BRC-A) launched in 2018 with $500,000 funding from ARENA, along with $150,000 each from the New South Wales and Victorian governments.

At the outset, the BRC-A said its goal was to procure 1 GW of renewable energy by 2022, ramping up to 5 GW by 2030.

According to Program Director Jackie McKeon, with the 2020 Renewable Energy Target already met, corporate power purchase agreements are the main way for new solar and wind farms to be financed.

“Our goal is to simplify and accelerate corporate purchasing of renewables and storage,” Jackie McKeon said.

“In Australia, we’ve seen around 30 corporate PPAs for solar and wind energy, and there is potential for many more as corporate clean energy targets grow.”

Offering free membership for the first year of operation, the BRC-A offers a ‘Buyer’s Roadmap’ to guide the procurement of renewable energy, an online resource library and access to the new live marketplace.

Early membership goals have been exceeded, with more than 100 members signed up since they launched in October last year.

The BRC-A took over from the WWF Renewable Energy Buyers Forum, which operated from 2015.

“The Centre offers an independent, one-stop-shop roadmap for corporate PPAs where buyers, developers and service providers can connect and learn,” McKeon said.

ARENA investment director Phil Cohn says the new Business Renewable Centre is off to a strong start.

“It’s great that there are already more than 100 members from across the electricity system,” Phil Cohn said.

“Renewable generators, large energy users, retailers and service providers are looking to work together to find new ways to better utilise the renewables that are coming online,” he said.

Two years ago, ARENA launched the Business of Renewables report which found that Australian corporates were lagging behind those of other countries like the United States and Europe.

At the time, just 46 per cent of Australian businesses were procuring renewable energy, and for those that were it generally made up less than 10 per cent of their usage.

That was despite four out of five Australians believing that businesses should use more renewable energy, and three quarters saying that they would be more inclined to buy products or services from those that did.

The early success of the BRC-A shows that business heard the message, and that corporate power purchase agreements will underpin a new wave of renewable energy development.

Information about joining the Business Renewables Centre – Australia is available here.

Source: ARENA


FTC Solar enters Australia with Voyager single-axis tracker

21 March

FTC Solar, a diversified products and services company featuring single-axis trackers, PV design software, and engineering services, announces its entry into Australia with an office in Brisbane, Queensland.  FTC Solar has already designed over a dozen utility-scale projects spanning hundreds of MWs in Australia and is expanding its local presence to focus on the delivery of its new Voyager single-axis tracker.  Voyager recently achieved Independent Engineering compliance for key Australian codes and standards, and FTC Solar has signed commitment letters with customers to deliver 190MWp of the product in 2019.

Voyager is a next generation, single-axis tracker that provides industry-leading ease of installation, performance, and reliability, driving the lowest total installed cost.  The FTC team that brings the Voyager tracker to market does so with the experience of designing and installing GWs of third-party single-axis tracker projects in addition to delivering over 1 GW of FTC Solar’s AP90 tracker.

The Voyager tracker is designed with an architecture that requires the fewest posts/module, the least DC cabling, and among the most efficient installation processes in the industry.  And, the single row, 2-portrait module mounting architecture allows engineers to make the most of the available land while maintaining suitable accessibility for cleaning and mowing in higher GCR designs.  What this all means is that the Voyager tracker provides the lowest installed cost per watt in the industry.

FTC Solar is a global organization whose regional offices provide the best support to regional customers.  Led by Cameron Meekin, Director, FTC Australia continues FTC Solar’s tradition of supporting both local customers and economies.  “Australia’s solar industry has grown exponentially in the last few years and is poised to continue this trajectory” said FTC Solar’s CEO, Tony Etnyre. “FTC Solar’s experience in designing large-scale PV projects combined with our industry-leading tracker technology positions us to enable Australia’s continued renewable energy growth.”

Source: FTC Solar



Clarke Creek Wind Farm

Clarke Creek Wind Farm is located within the locality of Clarke Creek, approximately 150 kilometres north-west of Rockhampton in Central Queensland. The wind farm extends approximately 55km north to south along the Broadsound Range.

The Queensland Government has recently approved the construction and operation of up to 195 wind turbines and ancillary civil and electrical infrastructure.


The Project is currently in the final phases of feasibility and will inform the final investment decision in mid 2019. Construction is planned to start in Mid-2019 and be completed by mid 2021.

Construction delivery

Lacour Energy has partnered with Goldwind Australia to deliver the Project. Goldwind will supply wind turbines to the project and manage construction works.

Major subcontractors will be appointed for the following work packages:

- Design and construction of the civil and electrical balance of plant (onsite roads, foundations, buildings and electrical reticulation);

- Logistics; and

- Wind turbine installation.

Smaller work packages are available (listed below) to assist with the above mentioned work packages.

Full details are available here.

Source: ICN Gateway

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