Wastewater plant set to host Council’s largest solar array

17 May

- Council votes to seek planning and energy approvals for 604kW system

- Council is on track to install its largest single solar array by the end of June 2020.

At its meeting last night (16 May), Tweed Council resolved to give the green light to seek planning and energy approvals needed to install a 604kW ground-mounted solar system at the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Council will fund the $880,000 installation, which will pay for itself in energy savings over six years.

The Banora Point plant, which treats 10 million litres of wastewater every day, is Council’s single most power-hungry asset across its entire portfolio.

The solar system is expected to provide one-fifth of the plant’s power needs and save more than 730 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year – that’s equivalent to the emissions from more than 40 average households.

The 1500 high-efficiency solar panels will cover 6800m2 of land within the wastewater treatment plant facility, an area the size of a football field.

Councillor Katie Milne, Mayor of Tweed, said that the renewable energy from the site will make an important contribution to Council’s Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP) target to self-generate 25 per cent of Council’s electricity from renewable sources by 2022 and half by 2025.

“Minimising our impact on the environment is one of the ways we are working to protect and enhance our natural surroundings for current and future generations,” she said.

This installation will expand on the existing 781kW of solar PV systems already installed across Council facilities.

Council’s Water and Wastewater operations consume about $3.4 million in grid-based electricity every year, which is about two-thirds of Council’s entire power bill.  This power is used predominantly in the pumping and supply of potable water as well as in the wastewater treatment plants that process residential and industrial wastewater.

Source: Tweed Shire Council



Byron Bay Solar Farm

Location: Tyagarah, far north NSW

Capacity: 7.14 MW (DC)/5 MW (AC)

Developer: Coolamon Energy

LGA: Byron Shire Council

Estimated Cost: $6.5mil

Description: A ground-mounted system to be developed on 6 hectares of private land at Tyagarah, north of Byron Bay.

Contact: Dr Greg Wilding

Coolamon Energy

Email: gregwilding8@gmail.com


Oil and gas industry congratulates Coalition on return to government

19 May

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association congratulates Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition on their victory in the Federal election.

While vote counting continues, it seems certain the Coalition will be able to form a minority or majority government.

APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville said the Coalition’s election success suggested the Australian community wanted a stable and balanced approach to the political and policy challenges facing the nation.

“APPEA urges a clear focus on stable energy and climate policy that enables Australians to enjoy the benefits of our abundant natural resources and manage the transition to a lower carbon economy,” Mr McConville said.

“In doing so, we must not forget the critical role natural resources play in underpinning our economic well-being and that hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs rely on a reliable, affordable gas supply.”

The oil and gas industry continues to support a national climate change policy that delivers low-cost greenhouse gas emissions reductions while facilitating long-term investment decisions, and looks forward to working with Government to achieve this.

Mr McConville said it was notable the Coalition was supported strongly in the resource-rich states of Queensland and Western Australia, where thousands of jobs and significant regional communities rely on mining and oil and gas projects.

Mr McConville thanked the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan for his continued support for policies which supported those investments while addressing Australia’s long term economic, environmental and energy goals.

APPEA looks forward to working with all members of the 46th Parliament to build support for those goals.

Source: APPEA


Energy storage to go: Aggreko launches new mobile and modular battery system

20 May

  • Y.Cube is a new 1MW standard unit housed entirely in 20-ft container
  • Seamless integration with Aggreko’s thermal and solar generation offering
  • Available under various contract durations as “Energy-Storage-as-a-Service”

Aggreko, the world’s leading provider of temporary power, temperature control and energy services, is adding mobile and modular energy storage to its 10GW fleet of distributed energy assets.

The Y.Cube is a fully integrated, ready-to-install lithium-ion battery system, built on the decade-long expertise of energy storage pioneer Younicos, which Aggreko acquired in 2017. Housed entirely within a standard 20-ft container, the 1MW units can be delivered and quickly deployed worldwide.

The system can cover a variety of applications from 1MW up to multi-MW power output and is available in two versions: a 30-minute “power” unit and a 60-minute “energy” unit. The 20-ft container houses batteries, inverters, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), fire protection and auxiliary components. These are tested and pre-assembled by Aggreko experts and controlled by intelligent software. It is designed for a wide ambient temperature range from -20°C to +50°C to match the often-challenging requirements of remote customer sites.

Dan Ibbetson, Managing Director Global Products and Technology at Aggreko, said: “Renewable energy is increasingly affordable, but not yet as universally available as it should be, while energy demand is increasing. Battery storage systems offer the flexibility required for safe and stable use of wind and solar power and increase the efficiency of thermal units.

“We have successfully combined proven battery expertise from Younicos with Aggreko’s containerisation experience in the Y.Cube. The Y.Cube enables us to provide cheaper, cleaner and smarter energy wherever it’s needed for our customers.

“It is designed to fit seamlessly within the Aggreko fleet and can be easily combined with solar and thermal products to provide our customers with the lowest cost of energy. We are now building a fleet of Y.Cubes, which will enable us to quickly deploy on short notice.”

The Y.Cube is available for short-term needs for as little as six months or for periods of years under Aggreko’s “Energy-Storage-as-a-Service” model. It can also be bundled with Aggreko’s other hardware systems as part of the company’s “Microgrids-as-a-Service” offering.

Karim Wazni, Managing Director Aggreko Microgrid and Storage Solutions (AMSS), said: “We’re already seeing considerable interest from a range of sectors and applications. One of the most economically attractive propositions is to combine the Y.Cube with natural gas and solar generation in off-grid applications. This could include remote mining sites – in weaker grids like islands – or, with gas generators only to provide bridging power – for example in datacentres.”

Aggreko will be deploying the Y.Cube as part of its hybrid microgrid solution at the Granny Smith gold mine in Western Australia, as well as in several African mining projects. AMSS is also working with island communities and datacentres to introduce the Y.Cube.

Source: Aggreko



St Patricks Plains Wind Farm

Location: Near Miena, in the Central Highlands of Tasmania

Capacity: Up to 300 MW

Developer: Epuron

Description: The project will include up to 80 wind turbines across a number of rural properties in central Tasmania. It will connect via a new substation to the on-site Palmerston to Waddamana powerlines owned by TasNetworks. Electricity will then be transmitted both north and south depending on the network needs, allowing hydro power generators to ramp down and save water during windy periods.


Hellyer Wind Farm

Location:  Hampshire, Central Tasmania

Capacity: Up to 150 MW

Developer: Epuron

Description: Up to 40 wind turbines planned in a sparsely populated area in Central Tasmania which is used almost exclusively for plantation forestry operations. The project can be built without relying on a new Bass Strait interconnector, and can help drought-proof Tasmania by allowing existing hydro generators to hold back water otherwise needed for power generation. The area has existing high voltage (110,000 volt) transmission lines suitable for connection.


Guildford Wind Farm

Location: Guildford, Central Tasmania

Capacity: Up to 300 MW

Developer: Epuron

Description Up to 80 wind turbines planned in a remote area east of Waratah which is used almost exclusively for plantation forestry operations. The area has existing high voltage (220,000 volt) transmission lines suitable for connection.

Contact: Shane Bartel

Tel: (02) 8456 7400

Email: info@epuron.com.au


McGowan Government creates Energy Transformation Taskforce

20 May

- Taskforce to implement Government's Energy Transformation Strategy 

- Stephen Edwell appointed independent chairperson of the taskforce 

Energy Minister Bill Johnston today established the Energy Transformation Taskforce, which will implement the McGowan Government's Energy Transformation Strategy.

The strategy will deliver a cleaner, affordable and more reliable electricity supply to Western Australian households and businesses for decades to come.

Former Horizon Power chairperson Stephen Edwell, who is an economist with extensive experience in energy sector regulation, market design, policy and utility reform, will chair the taskforce.

The taskforce will report directly to the Minister for Energy and will be supported by the Energy Transformation Implementation Unit, a new unit within the Department of Treasury.

The taskforce will deliver the Energy Transformation Strategy's Whole of System Plan to facilitate a more co-ordinated approach for the power system of the future.

It will also produce a Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap to guide the integration of solar panels, battery storage and electric vehicles into the power system.

The strategy will improve network connection and electricity market arrangements to cater for the growth of renewable energy into the future.

For more information, visit http://www.treasury.wa.gov.au/Energy-Transformation/Energy-Transformation

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston:

"I'm confident that Stephen Edwell's abilities and experience will be instrumental in progressing the McGowan Government's Energy Transformation Strategy.

"Mr Edwell was the inaugural chairperson of the Australian Energy Regulator and has successfully led major reform projects in Western Australia and Queensland, including creating WA's electricity market. 

"I look forward to working with the taskforce, industry and consumer stakeholders to deliver on our vision of a cleaner and more resilient power system."

Source: WA Government



Dundonnell Wind Farm

Excavations of turbine foundations at the Dundonnell Wind Farm in Victoria will continue this week with two complete so far and two more currently underway. Following the installation of the site sheds, roofing, electrical, plumbing and fencing works have all commenced with site crews looking to set up shop over the weekend. At the Transmission Line worksite, transmission pole foundation construction continues with a total of 46 pole foundations poured. At the Blue Gums substation, civil and earthworks are ongoing. A steady delivery of poles to site from Melbourne will continue throughout the upcoming week.


Policy briefing: despite Coalition victory, the clean energy transition will continue

20 May

An unexpected federal election victory for the conservative Liberal / National Coalition led by Scott Morrison signals a new environment where state, territory, corporate and community action will need to drive and bolster the momentum for renewable energy development in Australia.

With an inadequate renewable energy policy at the federal level, a significant amount of grassroots support for climate action and renewable energy development will be a main driver to stimulate new policy approaches and renewable energy projects. Key market fundamentals, such as the cost competitiveness of renewable energy, will also continue to influence the deployment of wind, solar and, increasingly, battery storage to replace the anticipated retirement of over 25,000MW of thermal coal capacity by 2040.

In many respects the election result signals that the past 3 years of strong growth in the renewable energy development is anticipated to continue, despite, rather than because of, federal government policy. Current projections from the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) confirm renewable energy development of 5523MW is committed this financial year.

State governments will now need to do much of the heavy lifting to support higher levels of renewable energy development and grid augmentation. With the ambitious Renewable Energy Targets (RETs) of Victoria (40% by 2025) and Queensland (50% by 2030) states will be under increased pressure to set higher state based RETs, announce further rounds of reverse auctions and implement additional measures to support grid expansion, electric vehicles and battery storage.  In NSW, a renewed focus on renewable energy growth may not see an explicit state based target but instead an acceleration of its Transmission Infrastructure Strategy. With the Coalition in power, the impact of state and territory policy will be a key factor influencing the investment environment for renewable energy development over the next three years.

Ongoing development of corporate Power Purchase Agreement’s (PPA) will also be a key market driver. The maturing of initiatives such as the Business Renewables Centre - Australia which acts as a clearing house for aggregating off takers and connects buyers with generators and other service providers will continue. We can expect to see more corporates also join the RE100 movement, with major banks such as Westpac and ANZ having already signed on and more planning to follow.  As corporate Australia continues to see the moral and financial imperative of responding to climate change, and the ongoing impact of volatile energy prices, we expect to continue to see a significant strengthening and deepening of the corporate PPA market.

Support for two major pumped hydro projects received bipartisan support throughout the election period, the A$4.5 billion Snowy Hydro 2.0 (2000MW) and Tasmania Battery of the Nation initiative, comprising a second HVDC undersea interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria. It can be expected that these projects will also continue to be expedited.

Market institutions like the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Energy Security Board (ESB) will also play key roles, with the strong support of state ministers for market reform and system planning at COAG Energy Council expected to counter the views of the incoming federal energy minister. AEMO’s Western Victorian Transmission Upgrade competitive tender is a strong signal for more competition and innovation in grid augmentation, as it works to accelerate the implementation of the Integrated System Plan (ISP). If the tender is successful in driving down price and accelerating development of urgently needed grid upgrades, we expect to see AEMO seek to adopt this approach across the National Electricity Market (NEM).  Market reforms such as the streamlining of the Regulatory Investment Test – Transmission (RIT-T) will also continue to be pursued by the ESB and implemented across the market.

The clean energy transition will continue in Australia, and levels of activity will remain strong overall due to the need to shift to cheaper and cleaner forms of generation and reduce exposure to power price volatility. This activity we expect to be underpinned by ongoing purchasing of offtake by state based auctions and corporate PPAs. While the re-elected federal government’s climate and policy agenda is neither coherent nor comprehensive in reducing regulatory and technical hurdles or supporting jobs and investment in vulnerable communities’, it will remain a key focus for state and local governments, AEMO, the ESB, corporates and communities.

Given the strong election result for the Coalition in Queensland and the Hunter Valley in NSW, a clear focus must be put on the jobs and economic security outcomes which can be achieved from broad scale renewable energy development and the creation of new zero carbon fuel exports such as hydrogen. Significant potential exists for the renewable energy industry to make economic development outcomes and community benefit sharing the standard approach for all renewable energy projects.

Renewable energy developers and investors who can identify innovative and leading ways to help achieve a more “just transition” in rural and regional Australia, with projects which tap strong resources and achieve excellent technical performance will be best placed to secure offtake and respond to the challenges in this new political and policy environment.

Source: Energy Estate



Woodvale Evaporation Ponds – 60MW solar power plant

22 May


- 60MW Solar Project planned to be developed at Woodvale 10km north of Bendigo.

- Project to produce emissions-free, renewable energy to meet the electricity needs of thousands of Bendigo homes.

- Unique characteristics of the Woodvale Evaporation Pond Complex make it a compelling candidate for a Solar Power Project.

- Project repurposes redundant evaporation ponds.

- Large-scale project improving Bendigo's resiliency to electricity grid problems.

- Opportunity to alleviate local transmission and distribution network constraints.

- Project in alignment with state and local renewable policy objectives.

GBM Gold Limited (ASX: GBM) is pleased to announce plans to develop a 60MW Solar Project on the Woodvale Evaporation Pond Complex site. The Woodvale Complex comprises a facility of multiple evaporation ponds where groundwater was historically pumped as part of gold mining activities and associated dewatering processes. The project will repurpose the ponds as a solar power plant of 60MW capacity. This is an ideal reuse of a redundant facility as the ponds enjoy excellent sun exposure, are not readily visible to adjacent residences and are located close to where the power is needed.

The City of Greater Bendigo has a goal of 100 per cent renewable energy generation from local and regional sources. The Woodvale Solar Project has the potential to be a significant step towards achieving that goal. The solar power project is planned to be connected to the sub-transmission network in Bendigo via a 66kV power line and will tie into a new sub-station situated on rehabilitated Ponds 4 and 5 at Woodvale. Powercor advised that the Woodvale Solar Power Project may be connected to the existing BETS-EHK 66kV line. This is a very promising outcome as grid connection is often one of the most costly and difficult aspects of power projects.

This project could provide significant long-term environmental and economic benefits for the Bendigo community with an improvement in energy security and an estimated 100 jobs created during construction.

Woodvale - 60MW Solar Project

The Woodvale Evaporation Pond Complex is located approximately 10km north of Bendigo. The facility covers approximately 174 hectares of freehold land owned by GBM Gold. The ponds were constructed to evaporate water from underground mining operations in Bendigo. Woodvale was operational until 2016 when a decision was made to process groundwater through a water treatment plant, making the site redundant. It was planned to return the site to agricultural land use. Construction of a Solar Power Project, as an alternative, can be implemented in a short timeframe giving immediate benefit to the entire Bendigo region.

The Company will involve the local Community in further development of the solar project and will continue to engage as the project progresses through the approval process with the City of Greater Bendigo and subsequent construction phase.

Woodvale Evaporation Pond Complex

The implementation of the solar project will utilise Ponds 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 6 and 7 along with existing infrastructure at the Woodvale site (see figure below). Pond 1A will be retained as a pond and operate as floating solar, enabling containment of rainfall on the site. Ponds 1B, 2, 3 and 7 will have spillways removed so that they do not retain water. A standard solar system will be installed on these ponds.

GBM Gold subsidiary, Kralcopic Pty Ltd is the registered holder of Mining Licence MIN5364 for the operation of the Woodvale Evaporation Facility. Kralcopic has prepared a rehabilitation plan in accordance with the Mineral Resource Development Act (Victoria). The approved rehabilitation work plan envisages a deep fill zone in Pond 6.

The plan encompasses the elements required to re-instigate the ponds for a solar complex: -

  1. a) Removal of contaminants (salts and metals) from the base of the Ponds 1, 2, 3 and 7;
  2. b) Removal of seven stockpiles from a previous reconstruction of Ponds 1, 2 and 3; and
  3. c) Disposal of the material from Ponds 1, 2, 3 and 7, and the stockpiles to a repository in the floor of Pond 6 in accordance with the current work plan for the mining licence.

A level area similar to Ponds 1-3 will be created in Pond 6 making it more suitable for the installation of Solar Panels. The work required to prepare the complex for the development of a solar project retains the extensive infrastructure on the site.

The ponds are designed to maximise the amount of sunlight impinging on them with screening around the boundaries of the property.

The solar project will be connected to the sub-transmission network in Bendigo via a 66kV power line. The 66 kV sub-transmission loop for Bendigo is planned to connect to the grid at the Eaglehawk Zone Substation. The new sub-station for Woodvale will be located on the rehabilitated Ponds 4 and 5 area.

The Woodvale Solar Project, will provide sustainable and reliable energy security for the City of Greater Bendigo, providing environmental and economic benefits to the region as a significant contributor to the electricity supply for Bendigo.

Source: GBM Gold



Bowmans Creek Wind Farm

The scoping document for Epuron’s Bowmans Creek Wind Farm, located about 10km east of Muswellbrook in NSW, has been lodged with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, the first stage in the planning process. Bowmans Creek Wind Farm would involve the construction, operation, maintenance and eventually the decommissioning of around 70-80 wind turbines. The turbines will connect to the existing Ausgrid 132kV or TransGrid 330kV transmission line network, directly into the Liddell 330kV substation and/or the Muswellbrook 132kV substation.


Infigen announces Smithfield OCGT firming acquisition

23 May 

Infigen Energy (ASX: IFN) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the 109MW flexible, fast-start Smithfield Open Cycle Gas Turbine (“OCGT”) in Western Sydney, New South Wales, for $60m in cash. In addition, Infigen announces the expected payment of a half-yearly distribution of 1 cent per security with respect to 2H/FY19. Payment of any distribution remains subject to the determination of the Boards in June 2019 and will be announced to the market in accordance with ASX Listing Rules.

Smithfield OCGT transaction highlights:

  • Strategically located flexible, fast-start generator with 109MW of capacity on one of the best load corridors in the National Electricity Market (“NEM”);
  • Direct access to city gate gas hub, the Sydney Short Term Trading Market (“STTM”), for reliable gas supply;
  • Smithfield’s firming capacity positions Infigen to significantly grow its Commercial and Industrial (“C&I”) customer base in New South Wales;
  • Enables Infigen to profitably grow intermittent renewable energy generation by 300-400MW, on a Capital Lite basis;
  • The acquisition is expected to facilitate a substantial increase in contracting into higher priced, longer tenor and more stable markets, delivering higher quality of earnings;
  • Expected remaining useful life of 20-30 years;
  • Meets Infigen’s 12% post tax nominal levered equity return hurdle on a standalone basis, with additional value created as increased renewable volumes are firmed.

$60m of cash was paid on closing. Up to $14m of additional cash is to be paid, i.e. $1m for each MW of rerated capacity by AEMO from 109MW to 123MW received prior to November 2019, representing a maximum payment of $74m. The purchase was fully funded by cash on balance sheet.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ross Rolfe, said: “The acquisition of the Smithfield peaking plant and the expected reintroduction of distributions on a sustainable basis, represent two important milestones in the further successful execution of our business strategy. The ownership of firming capacity in NSW will enable us to substantially increase the renewable energy we sell to our growing customer base on a reliable and firm basis, and to increase the number of customers we serve.”

Commenting on the business strategy, Chairperson, Len Gill, said: “The entire Board is particularly pleased that our business strategy and capital allocation policy have allowed Infigen to invest in growth, continue to reduce leverage, and return value to security holders.”

Source: Infigen



Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park

DP Energy Australia has applied for consent to vary its existing development authorisation for the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park. The variation application only relates to the wind farm component, with an increase in the maximum tip height of each wind turbine generator from 150 metres to 185 metres (with the maximum rotor diameter up to 155 metres and hub height up to 107.5 metres). The nominal generating capacity of each wind turbine would be increased to 4.5MW, with a consequential reduction in the number of wind turbines, from 59 to 50 machines. There is no change to the solar component, ancillary infrastructure or overall generating capacity of the wind farm, although minor changes to the approved windfarm layout have been sought to avoid recently identified microwave links.



Yandin Wind Farm

Warradarge Wind Farm

The Western Australian Economic Regulation Authority has granted electrical generation licences to the 214 MW Yandin Wind Farm and the 180MW Warradarge Wind Farm. Alinta Energy’s Yandin Wind Farm, located in the Shire of Dandaragan approximately 150km north of Perth, will consist of 51 wind turbine generators. Bright Energy Investment’s Warradarge Wind Farm, in the mid-west region of Western Australia approximately 260km north of Perth, will also involve the construction of 51 turbines.


GPG (Naturgy Group) and Vision conclude a financing agreement for the construction of a 180 MW wind farm in Australia

23 May

- Naturgy, through Global Power Generation (GPG), its international subsidiary of power generation, has closed a financing of up to 284 million Australian dollars (176 million euros) to complete the development of the Berrybank wind farm, whose work began on last month of January.

- The Berrybank wind project was awarded to the company last August and is located in the state of Victoria, about 150 km from Melbourne.

GPG, the international power generation subsidiary of Grupo Naturgy, has closed a financing agreement worth up to 284 million Australian dollars (176 million euros) with VISION, a vehicle for financing land-based wind projects launched in collaboration with institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) and Vestas Wind Systems.

The amount will be used to build the Berrybank wind project. The park, which has a capacity of 180 MW, is located in the Australian state of Victoria and is expected to come into operation in the second quarter of 2020. Once connected to the network, it will be one of the largest wind farms in this region.

Berrybank was awarded to GPG in the last renewable energy auction convened by the state of Victoria. The award includes an agreement to sell energy for 15 years with the aforementioned Australian state.

VISION will provide 100% of the financing that will be allocated to the construction phase of the project and has already obtained the corresponding regulatory approvals.

Source: Naturgy



Yongala Solar Farm

SSE Australia just completed commissioning of its 2.6 MW Yongala Solar Farm, a fixed tilt, east-west layout, grid-connected solar farm 210 km north of Adelaide. Major suppliers included:

- Inverter/step-up transformer: SMA

- Panels: Seraphim

- Mounting: Solar Mounting Systems

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