Australia’s largest integrated battery with a solar farm ready for summer

16 November

- The 25MW / 50MWh Gannawarra Energy Storage System (GESS) has completed construction and began exporting electricity to the grid on 16 October 2018 in time for summer.

- The project is among the largest integrated solar and battery facilities in the world (the largest in Australia) providing capacity to use solar energy at night.

- Financing for the GESS was underpinned by $25 million of grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Victorian Government.

- The project features a long-term commercial services agreement with EnergyAustralia, operator of the battery in conjunction with the offtake of the 60MW DC Gannawarra Solar Farm. This is an innovative model for incorporating batteries into retail and corporate offtake arrangements.

Victoria’s Gannawarra Energy Storage System (GESS), the largest integrated solar and battery storage facility in Australia, is now exporting and importing electricity to the grid and is ready to support the national energy system as demand rises over summer.

The project, developed by a consortium comprising Australian renewable energy and storage company, Edify Energy, Tesla and EnergyAustralia and co-financed by WIRSOL Energy, is currently completing commissioning and operating as a market participant in the National Electricity Market (NEM). GESS is capable of powering more than 16,000 homes through two hours of peak demand before being recharged.

This is the first time a utility-scale battery system has been retrofitted to an existing solar project, the Gannawarra Solar Farm, providing a new commercial model for other renewable and storage facilities in Australia.

Australian renewable energy company Edify Energy oversaw the deployment and construction of the project, which utilises Tesla’s lithium ion battery technology.

Energy retailer EnergyAustralia will charge and dispatch energy from the facility until 2030. This is in addition to a long-term agreement to buy all the electricity generated from the co-located Gannawarra Solar Farm.

EnergyAustralia will operate the combined solar farm and battery facility in a coordinated way that better serves the Victorian energy market than could be achieved by a stand-alone renewable asset.

GESS was selected by the Victorian Government under its Energy Storage Initiative to integrate a 25MW / 50MWh Tesla Powerpack battery with the 60MW DC Gannawarra Solar Farm. ARENA on behalf of the Australian Government and the Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) supported GESS with $25 million in grant funding.

Edify Energy CEO John Cole sees this project being a real win for Victorian and Australian energy consumers in the enablement of a low-carbon energy future. “The entire sector is aware of the potential for storage projects to not only provide invaluable services to the market and the grid, but also to enable the roll out of more and more clean and cheap renewable energy.”

“Solar plus storage is a ‘category killer’. We are very proud to have developed, structured and overseen the construction of two projects that together can serve as a model for wider adoption of storage into the market and the realisation of a high renewable future. We intend to continue our roll out of storage and renewables projects and help our corporate and other customers achieve their energy and sustainability objectives,” Mr Cole said.

Mark Hogan, Managing Director of WIRSOL Energy said, “We are delighted to reach this crucial milestone at Gannawarra Solar Farm. The overall project and how it has evolved is unique to the industry which in turn sets a benchmark for future projects and enables the ability to optimise the delivery of energy at peak times supporting demand throughout the daily cycle, providing a range of direct and indirect benefits to Victorian and Australian consumers.”

“We are proud to be a major contributor towards Victoria’s renewable energy target which also underwrites our own personal mission of deploying greater than one gigawatt of solar energy in Australia by the year 2020. Maintaining the deployment of solar, coupled with storage where appropriate, is a cornerstone in attaining sustainable and affordable clean energy, which is evidently now within reach on a global scale, specifically within Australia.”

EnergyAustralia Managing Director, Catherine Tanna, said the project is an example of what we can look forward to in a modern energy system that delivers reliable, affordable and cleaner energy for customers.

“The ability to store and quickly release energy will help integrate renewables into the system as coal-fired plants progressively retire,” Ms Tanna said. “These are the new technologies and approaches that will come to underpin our energy system, keeping customers’ lights on and their costs down.”

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio added that “We said we would deliver this for Victoria, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. This Andrews Labor Government initiative is an important part of helping us transition to a more affordable, reliable and clean energy system. We are continuing to modernise our electricity grid, strengthen our energy security and deliver real action on climate change.”

Edify Energy developed, structured and provided construction management services for the project. In addition to continuing development of other projects in its portfolio, Edify Energy will undertake the long-term asset management role for GESS, on top of the asset management role it performs for the other projects Edify Energy has developed and overseen through construction, including the Gannawarra, Whitsunday, Hamilton, Daydream and Hayman Solar Farms.

Source: Edify Energy

 

PROJECT NEWS

Bluewater Solar Farm

The federal Department of the Environment & Energy decided FRV Services Australia’s proposed 102 MW Bluewater Solar Farm in northern Queensland was not a controlled action and so does not require approval under the EPBC Act.

 

$50 million fund to support new energy storage projects to make electricity more affordable and reliable in SA

19 November

The State Government has launched a $50 million fund to support construction of new energy storage projects in South Australia, building on our efforts to make electricity more affordable and reliable for households and businesses across the state.

Grant funding from the Grid Scale Storage Fund will accelerate investment in the grid-scale energy storage needed to address intermittency in South Australia’s electricity system.

The State Government has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government agency the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with a view to coordinating the assessment of projects that may be eligible for joint funding under ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program (ARP).

“This multi-million dollar fund is more great news for both business and consumers, and is one of a range of measures the Liberal Government is taking to make electricity more affordable and reliable,” Minister van Holst Pellekaan said.

“The fund is technology neutral. Eligible projects must benefit the state by addressing the challenges that have driven up electricity prices in South Australia.

“For example, projects could boost the reliability of our network during peak periods or increase the security of supply at the fringe of our grid.

“The fund will leverage South Australia’s world-class renewable energy assets, as well as the engineering and technology expertise within our business and investment community.”

Proposals involving pumped hydro energy storage, hydrogen and natural gas storage, bioenergy, solar thermal and batteries are examples that could be submitted into one of the following investment streams:

- Stream 1 – targeting behind-the-meter projects in commercial or industrial facilities, or in the distribution network

- Stream 2 – targeting centralised, bulk energy storage projects

The single round of applications will close on 7 February 2019, to allow for successful projects to be announced by mid-2019.

There is no minimum or maximum grant amount within the $50 million Fund threshold. However, Applicants must state the amount they are applying for when submitting a Proposal.

Projects targeting financial close by the end of 2019 are preferred.

Applicants interested in applying for additional funding under ARENA’s ARP will be able to register and complete a separate second application through ARENA to be considered for co-funding.

The South Australian Government will work with ARENA to ensure projects that meet the criteria can benefit from this opportunity and get off the ground quickly.

Federal Minister for Energy Angus Taylor said the commitment from the State Government helped bridge the commerciality gap for grid scale storage projects.

“The $50 million funding commitment from the South Australian Government will help to realise a number of ground breaking projects that will help provide 24/7 reliable power,” Minister Taylor said.

“The Federal Government encourages investment in the storage and firming technologies needed to provide more affordable and reliable power to Australian families and small businesses.

“The Federal Government, through ARENA, has already committed more than $110 million in funding to support projects in South Australia, including a wide range of innovative energy storage projects.”

On behalf of the Federal Government, ARENA is already supporting feasibility studies for two prospective pumped hydro plants at Cultana and Middleback Ranges, two virtual power plants trials and has contributed towards two grid scale batteries in South Australia.

For more information about the Grid Scale Storage Fund including the Investment Guidelines and how to apply, visit: www.energymining.sa.gov.au/gssf

Source: SA Government

 

PROJECT NEWS

Wyalong Solar Farm

The NSW Department of Planning & Environment has placed Esco Pacific’s proposed Wyalong Solar Farm in central NSW on exhibition. The proposal is for development of a 130MW solar farm comprised of up to 350,000 solar PV modules, a battery storage facility, a synchronous condenser and associated infrastructure. The electricity output from the project will be supplied to the Essential Energy electricity network via high voltage cables connecting to the 132 kV transmission line which transects the development site. The batteries would be made of lithium-ion and housed in containerised packs, and provide a total capacity of 25 MW and 50 MWh. The project is a 256 ha infrastructure project with an estimated capital investment value of almost $130mil that is expected to create up to 150 jobs during construction and up to four full-time and eight part-time positions when operational. Construction is expected to take approximately nine months and the project is expected to operate for 40 years.

 

Collgar Wind Farm refinanced

19 November

International law firm Ashurst has advised the lenders on the A$409 million refinancing of the in Collgar Wind Farm Western Australia.

The refinancing of the Collgar Wind Farm consists of a A$397 million syndicated term loan facility and a A$12 million working capital facility.

Collgar Wind Farm is a renewable energy project located in Merredin, Western Australia and is to date the largest single stage operating wind farm in the southern hemisphere, with 111 turbines and a total power production capacity of 206 MW.

The funding package was provided by a syndicate of seven international and domestic banks comprising ANZ, Credit Agricole CIB Australia, CBA, BNP Paribas, HSBC, KDB and Mizuho.

The Ashurst team was led by project finance partner Chris Redden, assisted by senior associates Douglas Fung and Marina Tinning, and associates Jowa Chan, Wilson Lu and Melany Wilson. Partner Andrew Gay also advised, supported by senior associates Cheyne Jansen and Caroline Lindsey, and associate Susanah Vindedzis.

Source: Ashurst

 

New solar farm development application shines a light on jobs

A development application to construct a large solar power plant at Harlin in the Somerset region, has today been given the green light by Council.

Somerset Regional Council conditionally approved the 1500 megawatt farm to be constructed over two stages on a 2,055 hectare site east of Harlin on the D’Aguilar Highway.

The facility is proposed to be staffed seven days per week with up to 60 permanent staff. During construction, this solar farm has the potential to create up to 200 jobs.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the solar farm, once completed, would be Australia’s largest.

“This was a complex development application put together by Ethos Urban planning consultants, who have been involved in other large infrastructure projects throughout Australia, on behalf of Sunshine Energy Australia Pty Ltd,” Cr Lehmann said.

“This application has been referred to various government departments and agencies for their input and Council approved the development in line with our planning scheme which allows for such developments in rural areas.”

Cr Lehmann said Council had taken into account concerns raised by submitters during the public consultation phase and had addressed these concerns, where possible, by implementing conditions on the development application to offset these.

“For example, where residents were concerned about the solar farm being seen from the D’Aguilar Highway, we’ve requested that trees be planted along the fenceline,” he said.

“We’ve also increased offsets and stipulated that solar panels cannot be installed within 100 metres of a neighbouring property.

“We have also requested that a year after construction and operation that developers review the impact of glare and if there is an impact on neighbouring properties that additional trees be planted or the tinting of windows is to occur.

“Further, Council has conditioned the development application so that no solar panels can be installed in the flood plain.

“These are just some of the conditions we’ve placed on the developers to ensure we’re addressing the concerns of residents, where possible.”

Cr Lehmann said it was important for residents to remember that these types of proposals provide an opportunity to capitalise on an emerging market for renewable energy sources.

It is anticipated that construction of the solar farm will start mid-2019, will take up to three years to complete and be completed over two stages.

Source: Somerset Regional Council

 

PROJECT NEWS

Maryvale Solar Farm

The EIS for the proposed Maryvale Solar Farm, located approximately 15km north-east of Wellington in NSW, has been placed on public exhibition by the NSW Department of Planning & Environment. The project is described as a 125 MW AC/160 MW DC solar photovoltaic (PV) facility covering an area of 375 hectares and is estimated to consist of up to 450,000 PV panels installed on a single axis tracking system. There is an existing Essential Energy 132kV easement containing a 132 kV powerline which connects with the Wellington substation. The proposal is being put forward by a joint venture of Canadian Solar (51%), Photon Energy (approximately 25%) and Polpo Investments (approximately 24%).

 

SunPower releases performance solar panel for Australia’s residential rooftop market

19 November

SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) today launched the 19-percent efficient Performance solar panel for homeowners in Australia, available in several designs up to 325-watts. Backed by SunPower’s industry-leading 25-year warranty covering both power output and panel construction, the Performance panel delivers long-term reliability with a unique shingled cell architecture that outperforms conventional panel yield in real-world conditions such as partial shading and elevated temperatures.

"With the high-quality Performance panel, SunPower offers unbeatable value to our customers compared to conventional solar technology,” said Chris O’Brien, SunPower Managing Director, Australia. “And as with all our solar solutions, we’ve leveraged SunPower’s 33 years of experience to ensure Performance panels deliver superior aesthetics and a sleek appearance for any roof.”

This launch follows the successful 2017 introduction of SunPower’s commercial Performance solar panel now integrated into more than 350 projects in Australia, including the 349-megawatt Limondale solar power plant that is currently under construction in New South Wales and Australia's largest solar project to date.

With nameplate manufacturing capacity of over 2 gigawatts, SunPower’s Performance solar panels are the most deployed shingled solar panels globally, with proven results. DNV GL, a global independent energy expert and certification body, has named SunPower’s Performance solar panel a top performer in all five DNV GL reliability tests which included thermal cycling, damp heat, humidity-freeze, dynamic mechanical load and potential induced degradation.

The Performance solar panel is part of a comprehensive high-efficiency product portfolio that includes SunPower's Maxeon-based X- and E-Series solar panels, and, beginning in 2019, will include its newly developed next generation technology. For more on this new technology for the Australian residential market, visit www.sunpower.com.au/performance.

Source: SunPower

 

Funding facility

20 November

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (Carnegie or the Company) wishes to advise that it has implemented a $2 million unsecured finance facility (Facility) to provide funding for operations while several key projects that are currently underway are being completed.

The key projects include the 10MW Northam Solar Farm which is being constructed approximately 100kms east of Perth and the 2MW solar PV and 2MW/0.5MWh battery system constructed on Garden Island where final cabling work is being completed ahead of commissioning and final approvals from both Department of Defence and Western Power.

The Facility to provide funding while these projects are nearing completion has been provided by HFM Investments Pty Ltd, a company controlled by director Mike Fitzpatrick.

The Facility may be drawn down subject to mutual agreement and shall incur a coupon rate of 8% per annum until 28 February 2019, and 18% thereafter. The Facility can be called or repaid at any time, and matures on 28 February 2019 unless extended by mutual agreement.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

EPA considers proposal for Port Latta Wind Farm in NW Tasmania

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Nekon Pty Ltd for the Port Latta Wind Farm in Circular Head Council.

The proposal involves the construction and operation of a seven turbine wind farm with a capacity of up to 25 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The proposal also involves the construction of an underground cable to connect the wind farm to the Port Latta substation, approximately 1 km north of the site.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Warren Jones, said that the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The Board requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the Circular Head Council.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, including the potential impact on threatened fauna species, particularly avifauna, as well as noise emissions," he said.

“Conditions have been imposed to ensure appropriate management practices are in place during construction and operation of the wind farm to reduce the impact to threatened fauna as well as noise emissions," Mr Warren Jones said.

The proposal was referred to the Board in May 2018 and public consultation was open for 28 day period from 14 July 2018.Thirteen representations were received in relation to the permit application. The environmental issues raised in these representations were impacts to avian species, particularly eagles and threatened species; noise emissions; lack of transparent consultation and community engagement; and impacts to visual amenity.

The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania.

The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the Act.

The Board's environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been have been forwarded to the Circular Head Council for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.

Source: Tasmania EPA

 

Tempo commences solar project

21 November

Tempo Australia Limited (ASX: TPP): further to an announcement by Tempo in September 2018, Tempo confirms that it has entered into a Limited Notice to Proceed (“LNTP”) with Enel Green Power Australia Pty Ltd. (“Enel Green Power Australia”) in relation to the Cohuna Solar Farm, a successful project under the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction Scheme. Enel Green Power Australia is the renewable energy subsidiary for Australia of the multinational power company Enel.

The value of the works for Tempo is estimated at $15 million over a 12-month construction period commencing in the first half of 2019. The value of the LNTP is 10 per cent of the total value or approximately $1.5 million to be completed over the next few months. Under the LNTP, Tempo will commence preliminary (non-site) work prior to the execution of the final contract between the parties.

TPP stated that “Tempo continues to work closely with Enel and has established a strong relationship with Enel. We are very pleased to be working with a world leading energy organisation on this vital renewable energy project for the state of Victoria.”

Source: Tempo

 

Northam Solar commences generation

21 November

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE) is pleased to advise that the 10MW Northam Solar Farm is 100% constructed and in the commissioning phase. Limited export of power into the grid has commenced while the commissioning work is taking place. Full Commercial Operations will occur in the coming weeks once the required tests are completed successfully.

Interested parties can find out more about the project, including some visuals on the “Progress” page at www.northamsolar.com.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

ACCC releases electricity monitoring discussion paper

21 November

The ACCC is commencing a new inquiry into the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market and is consulting on how it will undertake this role.

The ACCC has been tasked with monitoring and reporting on the supply of retail and wholesale electricity in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the ACT, until 2025. It will have a focus on monitoring prices, profits and margins, including the effect of policy changes in the National Electricity Market.

The ACCC will report, at least every six months, on information it obtains from energy companies, including the prices customers are paying for electricity and the underlying factors for any significant price movements.

The ACCC will be looking to use existing sources of data, but, where necessary, will use its compulsory information gathering powers to obtain crucial information from retailers and other market participants. The ACCC will specifically be examining whether any wholesale cost savings are being passed through to customers.

In its July 2018 report on restoring electricity affordability and Australia’s competitive advantage, the ACCC made recommendations that would bring about increased competition and lower supply costs so as to reduce prices significantly for businesses and households. The ACCC has been asked to monitor the effects of policy changes, including those resulting from its July 2018 report recommendations.

A discussion paper for the inquiry, published today, is seeking submissions on three key areas:

- the analytical framework for this role, including our expectations of market outcomes and participant behaviour, and the measures we will use to monitor and analyse prices and behaviour

- how we will monitor the impact of policy developments

- the processes and timing for the collection of information, including what data we will require.

“This new long-term role for the ACCC will ensure pressure remains on all players in the energy supply chain to behave in a competitive way and only pass on those costs that are reasonable. It is also important that they pass on any cost savings to consumers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“The ACCC will also be monitoring whether the policy changes it recommended are helping to drive low prices to consumers.”

“If we find problems in the market that aren’t being fixed by existing policy tools, we will be making recommendations to government on what extra changes are needed,” Mr Sims said.

“The ACCC is interested in views on how we are to perform this new function, to ensure that we provide the most useful information to the government and the public while imposing the least information burden necessary on the energy companies.”

Responses to the discussion paper will help inform the ACCC’s first report, which will set out the ACCC’s approach to monitoring, as well as expectations for how an effectively competitive market should be functioning and how market participants should be behaving. The ACCC will hand its first report to the Treasurer by 31 March 2019.

Submissions close by 19 December 2018 and can be emailed to ElectricityMonitoring@accc.gov.au.

The discussion paper and terms of reference are available at Electricity Market Monitoring.

Background

On 20 August 2018, the then treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, directed the ACCC to hold an inquiry into prices, profits and margins in relation to the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market.

The ACCC must provide its first report to the Treasurer, the Hon Josh Frydenberg, by 31 March 2019 and a second report by 30 September 2019, with reporting to continue at least every six months until 2025.

Source: ACCC

 

Labor Shortens odds with comprehensive energy policy ahead of Federal Election

22 November

The clean energy industry welcomed the strong leadership from the Federal Opposition today, following media reports this morning about its comprehensive energy policy which could drive investment up and power prices down.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorted has recommitted Labor to a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, as part of a policy package which underlined its commitment to the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) as well as a new target of 1 million household batteries and a supportive battery storage program.  

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said Labor’s suite of policies would keep the wave of large-scale clean energy investment rolling and accelerate the move towards more batteries for homes with solar panels. Policy certainty remains essential if the regional boom in renewable energy and storage is to continue, he said.

“Labor’s decision to adopt the architecture of the NEG and pursue a return to bipartisan energy policy in the future is a welcome approach and clearly the preference of the business and investment community. However, given political bipartisanship has been elusive for more than a decade, it is a smart and sensible move for the ALP to leave the door ajar to pursue direct investment models that would deliver more clean energy investment in the absence of bipartisan support should it win government,” Mr Thornton said.

“The ALP commitment to a $200 million home battery program will be a major boost for up to 100,000 households to install batteries. We welcome the focus on safety and quality alongside the new battery program, as well as a commitment to ensure skills and training development to support the massive economic opportunity this presents.

“It is clear Labor recognises both the challenge and remarkable opportunity of moving from fossil fuels to clean energy in the decades ahead, and has moved strongly with a range of measures to modernise Australia’s energy system,” he said.

If it wins the next election, Labor will use the policy architecture of the National Energy Guarantee, which was developed by the Energy Security Board under the Turnbull Government and secured support from business, energy and consumer groups throughout Australia.

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

McGrathNicol Restructuring appointed as Voluntary Administrators to RCR Tomlinson Limited (ASX: RCR) and related entities

22 November

Appointment of Voluntary Administrators

McGrathNicol Restructuring announce that the Directors of RCR Tomlinson Limited ACN 008 898 486 and its Australian subsidiaries resolved on 21 November 2018 to appoint Jason Preston, Jamie Harris, Matthew Caddy and Rob Brauer as Voluntary Administrators (Administrators).

The Administrators are undertaking an assessment of the business and urgently seeking funding from the RCR Group’s financiers.

The Administrators will work closely with RCR’s employees, suppliers and customers to quickly stabilise operations and to determine the appropriate strategy for the business. A sale process will be commenced immediately.

RCR suppliers are asked to ensure that they supply only in accordance with the circular to suppliers, available on the McGrathNicol and RCR websites.

First statutory meeting of creditors

A first statutory meeting of creditors must be held within eight business days after the administration begins and is expected to take place on 3 December. Meeting notices setting out the time and location for the first meeting of creditors will be distributed to RCR’s creditors over coming days.

Contact details and further information

Information will be uploaded to the McGrathNicol website (www.mcgrathnicol.com) and the RCR website (www.rcrtom.com.au).

Source: McGrathNicol

 

Note to subscribers

A search of the AltEnergy database for “RCR” provides the projects listed below. These are all the projects in our database, generating and in development, in which RCR is mentioned as being in some way involved.

AltEnergy offers no specific guidance as to the level of involvement of RCR Tomlinson in these projects or the impacts on these projects (some of which have been completed and successfully commissioned) of RCR Tomlinson and its associates going into administration.

AltEnergy suggests readers interested in any of these projects search them in our database for more details and make their own inquiries if necessary: Hayman Solar Farm, Swan Hill Solar Farm, Merredin Solar Farm, Greenough River Solar Farm Stage 2, Haughton Solar Farm, Yaloak South Wind Farm, Wemen Solar Farm, Sun Metals Solar Farm, Red Stag Timber Power Plant, Pentland Bioenergy Project, Oakey Solar Farm, Manildra Solar Farm, Longreach Solar Farm, Gannawarra Solar Farm, Emerald Solar Farm, Darling Downs Solar Farm, Daydream Solar Farm and Clermont Solar Farm.

We will not change RCR’s involvement in these projects in our database until it becomes clearer what the outcome of administration proceedings will be.

 

Pacific Hydro responds to RCR notice of administrator appointment

22 November

Following the announcement by RCR Tomlinson today that the company has appointed administrators, Pacific Hydro has secured the Haughton solar farm construction site as it works to respond to this unfolding situation.

“Our project is an important investment in North Queensland. We will take all of the steps necessary for construction to continue, while maintaining the safety and security of the site,” Pacific Hydro Interim CEO Rachel Watson said today.

Stage 1 of the Haughton solar project is a large-scale 100MWac solar photovoltaic power station currently under construction in the Burdekin region of Queensland, 60km south of Townsville. RCR Tomlinson was appointed as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor to deliver Stage 1 of the project.

Source: Pacific Hydro

 

RCR administration announcement timely reminder of privatisation failures

22 November

Union calls on developers to ensure workers entitlements are paid in full.

The Electrical Trades Union says the failure of RCR Tomlinson and its related companies is a timely reminder of why the State Government needs to fast track CleanCo investments and commit to build, own and operate renewable energy assets in Queensland.

ETU QLD NT state secretary Peter Ong said the ETU and others have been raising issues around the RCR’s solar farm business model for months. A business model which sought to cut corners with the use of unlicensed workers, poorly trained and underpaid backpackers and an appalling safety record.

“This company’s business model of significantly undercutting competitors during the tender process delivered nothing but a race to the bottom on wages, safety and conditions and highlights the perils of privatisation. We know that many workers on RCR sites in other states have not been paid their entitlements and we have reports that direct RCR employees in Queensland had not been paid as at last night either”.

“The workers rightly want commitments from the developers that they will be paid their entitlements in full, anything less will be unacceptable”.

Mr. Ong reiterated his Union’s earlier concerns that the State Government had not adequately overseen this important industry.

“This latest predictable private failure shows why the State Government needs to regulate existing contracts better and commit to owning, constructing and managing our future electricity generation assets” he said.

Mr Ong warned that companies whose business models included cutting corners on safety, using labour hire, backpackers and unlicensed workers to construct renewable assets were not only a risk to workers livelihoods and safety but the wider community as well.

“This wild west, get away with what you can, until you are caught mentality within the solar industry must stop before someone gets killed”.

Source: Electrical Trade Union

 

Neoen’s Coleambally Solar Farm begins full-scale commercial operation

22 November

- Coleambally, with its installed capacity of 189 MWp, is now the largest fully operational photovoltaic facility in Australia, producing the greatest solar energy output in the National Electricity Market by any solar generator currently;

- The 550-hectare solar farm will generate enough emission-free renewable energy to power more than 65,000 New South Wales households;

- Almost 400 jobs were created in the Riverina area during construction.

Neoen (ISIN Code: FR0011675362, ticker: NEOEN), France’s leading independent producer of exclusively renewable energy, and among the fastest-growing worldwide, is announcing that it has commenced full-scale commercial operation at its Coleambally Solar Farm in New South Wales. The 100 per cent Neoen-owned facility is a landmark project for the company and Australia’s renewable energy sector, producing the highest energy output of any solar farm in the country’s National Electricity Market at present.

Commissioned and connected by Neoen to TransGrid’s high voltage transmission network, the Coleambally solar farm is located in the Riverina region. The 550-hectare facility is supported by a 12-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with leading energy retailer EnergyAustralia. Under this agreement, EnergyAustralia will take 70 per cent of the solar farm’s energy output. The remainder will be sold directly to the market.

As the largest currently fully operational photovoltaic (PV) facility in Australia with 567,800 solar PV panels installed, the facility will produce over 390,000 MWh of clean, emission-free, renewable energy per annum, which is enough to power more than 65,000 New South Wales households. That will make a significant contribution towards reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and is equivalent to taking either 90,000 cars off the road.

With the support of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), TransGrid and other key stakeholders, Neoen continues to deliver on its promise of bringing more sustainable, reliable and competitive energy to Australians, as well as its commitment to regional economies. During construction, almost 400 jobs were created for the Riverina area, stimulating local economic activity and diversifying its industrial base. The solar farm will continue to provide a number and large variety of permanent and contracting or temporary employment opportunities during its expected service life well beyond 30 years.

Franck Woitiez, Managing Director for Neoen Australia, states: “Coleambally Solar Farm is an example of the projects that will underpin a modern energy system in Australia. Through the course of its development, we have received enthusiastic response at the regional and state level. As a long-term investor in Australia’s renewable energy future, we are proud of this achievement and would like to offer our sincere thanks to the Riverina community for allowing us to realise the full potential of this landmark project.

Neoen will continue to work with our partners, and particularly the local communities, councils and state government to ensure that the people of New South Wales enjoy clean, efficient and affordable electricity for decades to come.”

Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and CEO, concludes: "We are very proud to be bringing into service this new power plant, which is a perfect illustration of our wide-ranging expertise: our ability to work on both wind and large-scale solar projects in Australia, to negotiate purchase agreements bilaterally with utilities, and to sell part of our production in the spot market now that grid parity has been achieved. With this latest project, Neoen confirms its status as Australia’s number one independent renewable energy producer.

Australia is well-suited to the development of renewable energy, and we will pursue our future developments with the same integrity and respect for local areas as we have always shown."

Site preparations began in January 2018, with full construction and connection completed between March and September 2018.

Specialist clean energy financier CEFC, German Landesbank NORD/LB, German government owned development bank KfW Ipex and Bouygues Construction Australia Pty Ltd have all backed the development and the construction of the Coleambally Solar Farm.

Source: Neoen

 

Response to RCR Tomlinson Ltd ASX announcement

23 November

New Energy Solar (NEW) notes the ASX announcement (the Announcement) from RCR Tomlinson Ltd (RCR) dated 22 November 2018 regarding the appointment of administrators.

NEW committed to acquire the Manildra Solar Power Plant (Manildra, the Plant) from First Solar, Inc (First Solar) in June 2018. The Plant was constructed by RCR O’Donnell Griffin, a subsidiary of RCR. Construction at Manildra is complete, and the Plant is operating at full design capacity. RCR O’Donnell Griffin remains obligated to complete a small number of items to reach full completion at the Plant under the terms of its construction contract. These obligations are secured by bank guarantees.

NEW is working with First Solar to determine if there are any further considerations resulting from the Announcement.

Source: New Energy Solar

 

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