Western Downs attracts multi-national energy giant

22 August

Western Downs Regional Council announced on Friday that Shell Australia, subsidiary of multi-national oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, has set its sights on our region for the development of a 250MW solar farm at Woleebee, near Wandoan.

  • Council has approved the development of ‘Delga Solar Farm’, located 25 kilometres south-west of Wandoan, making it the eighth solar project approved in the Western Downs;
  • The project is expected to employ anywhere between 500 and 800 staff during construction, with an operational workforce of up to 10 fulltime staff; and
  • Covering 400 hectares of land, once constructed the solar farm will be able to connect into the nearby Powerlink Wandoan South substation allowing the energy generated to connect into the national energy grid.

Mayor Paul McVeigh said Shell Australia’s solar farm project is further cementing the Western Downs as a leader in renewable energy production in Australia and internationally.

“We’ve fully embraced the future of renewables and energy production in our region, and we welcome the proposal of Shell Australia onto the solar energy scene in the Western Downs,” he said.

“This interest from a leading multi-national energy company to invest in renewable energy in our region is a great boost to the Western Downs’ already impressive energy portfolio.

“The Shell Australia solar farm project will bring many benefits to our communities and has the potential to value-add to our existing resource industries and experienced network of supply chain businesses in the region.

“This project marks the eighth solar farm approved by Council, demonstrating our goal to become the Energy Capital of Australia.

The project will now wait to receive final financial approval by Shell Australia.

Source: Western Downs Regional Council


Victorian Renewable Energy Target puts state in pole position for jobs, investment

23 August

The Victorian Government’s renewable energy auction announcement today is a major step forward for communities, businesses and the state’s renewable energy industry, the Clean Energy Council said.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said more power generation is required following the retirement of the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant, and today’s announcement will turbo charge significant private investment in low cost renewable energy to fill the gap and bring power prices down.

“The state government is showing strong leadership through its Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) scheme, which will boost investment and jobs,” Mr Thornton said.

“Victoria is realising an immense opportunity to grow its economy and preserve its future energy security through the establishment of a strong and long-term VRET scheme, which will ensure the roll-out of renewable energy projects well beyond 2020.

“The renewable energy projects committed in Victoria this year add up to 685 MW of capacity, more than 530 jobs and $1.2 billion worth of investment. Today’s announcement means these figures will grow exponentially and put Victoria in a leading position to accelerate investment and job creation, at a time when interstate competition for projects is steadily increasing,” he said.

The VRET scheme has set targets to source 25 per cent of Victoria’s power from renewable energy by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. The government will introduce legislation committing to these future targets, providing confidence for the renewable energy industry to invest in the jobs and supply chain over the long term.

Mr Thornton said the auction round announced today is the largest renewable reverse energy auction program to date in Australia, building on the success of the ACT Government’s program.

“This is a significant addition to the Victorian Government’s clean energy commitments to date, which include solar trams, solar schools, an energy storage initiative and a renewable energy certificate purchasing initiative,” he said.

“Today’s announcement will help Australia move away from high-emissions power generation to cleaner renewable energy, which is in line with our emissions reduction commitments under the global climate agreement negotiated in Paris several years ago.”

Source: Clean Energy Council


Windlab to receive $10 million milestone success payment in respect of the Coopers Gap Wind Farm

23 August

Windlab Limited (Windlab) (ASX Code: WND) advises that it has become entitled to receive a milestone success payment of just over $10 million in respect of the Coopers Gap Wind Farm in South East Queensland operated by AGL Energy Limited (AGL) and the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF).

The 453 MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm in South East Queensland which is Australia’s largest wind energy project was identified and initially developed by Windlab using its industry leading wind energy prediction and assessment technology, WindScape™.

Windlab Limited (Windlab) congratulates AGL Energy Limited (AGL) and the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF) on reaching financial close which is a significant milestone for the project partners.

Windlab’s WindScape Institute originally identified Coopers Gap in 2005 from its headquarters in Canberra. Identified from its hi-resolution WindScape generated wind map it was clear from the beginning that it was a highly competitive and large-scale wind resource. Of particular interest was its location. Located in Queensland it is one of very few high-quality wind resources in close proximity to the electricity network in that State.

Windlab completed a series of virtual wind farm designs (VWF) before securing land tenure over the project. Windlab undertook many of the early stage development activities for the project before the project was acquired by AGL in 2010. Since that time Windlab has continued to play a role, supporting AGL in the completion of the project by providing wind monitoring, analysis and assessment services.

“We are delighted to see Coopers Gap reach financial close. Whilst continued market uncertainty has resulted in the project taking longer to complete than initially expected, it will now play a critical role in reducing electricity prices in Queensland.”

Stated Roger Price, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Windlab Limited. He continued “Market competitive wind resources, close to the transmission network are rare in Queensland yet critically important to balance the surge in solar generation expected to occur over the next decade. At nearly half a gigawatt, Coopers Gap along with projects like Windlab’s Kennedy Energy Park will make a vital contribution to delivering a low cost, reliable and clean electricity network for Queensland.” Under the terms of the original sale and implementation agreement for Coopers Gap Windlab will receive a final milestone success payment for the project of a little over $10million.

Source: Windlab

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Coopers Gap Wind Farm


Boosting energy security in South Australia

23 August

The Turnbull Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing up to $12 million in funding for a 30MW large-scale battery that delivers both regulated network services and competitive market services - unlocking the full potential of a battery.

Expected to cost around $30 million, the battery is the first large-scale battery to be designed, built and commercially operated in Australia and backed by private investment from energy providers.

Transmission network provider ElectraNet will design, build and own the battery at Dalrymple substation on the Yorke Peninsula and lease out the commercial operation to a major energy retailer.

It is expected to be constructed and operational by February 2018.

The development is the second phase of the Energy Storage for Commercial Renewable Integration (ESCRI) project.

Phase one consisted of a study into the potential for energy storage to benefit the South Australian network, including key aspects of a utility scale battery.

Phase two will not only supply Fast Frequency Response to help balance the electricity network and reduce operating constraints on the Heywood interconnector with Victoria, but also keep the lights on in the Dalrymple service area during a loss of supply by working together with the existing 90MW Wattle Point wind farm and rooftop solar PV systems in a microgrid.

The Turnbull Government's investment in innovative technologies, such as this large-scale battery, will help to deliver affordable and reliable energy as we transition to a lower emissions future.

Source: Federal Government


LNP to waste $4.2 billion on another unviable power project

23 August

Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister, Curtis Pitt, says the LNP has tonight fully committed to spending up to $4.2 billion on the unviable Tully Millstream hydro-electric project.

“The LNP tonight backed a motion in State Parliament calling for the project to be constructed, even though there is no funding for it and the project is unsound both financially and environmentally,” Mr Pitt said.

“Until now, all we heard was the LNP asking for a feasibility study into the potential project.

“But by voting for this project they have made a commitment to bypass the feasibility study and spend up to $4.2 billion on the project.

“This comes on top of their commitment to a new and unnecessary coal-fired power plant in North Queensland costing up to $3 billion according to the LNP’s own former Northern Australia Minister, Senator Matt Canavan.

“These are just two of the many unfunded promises the LNP has been making.

“The Palaszczuk Government supports hydro-electric power, as we have shown in our Powering North Queensland Plan. But it needs to be affordable.

“But after being floated 20 years ago the Tully Millstream project has never been initiated because it just doesn’t stack up financially and would flood 1,000 hectares of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

“The last study undertaken by Stanwell in 2012 concluded it would cost between $3 billion and $4.2 billion and would only be viable if power prices hit more than $200 per megawatt hour compared with average wholesale prices of $76 so far this financial year.”

Mr Pitt said the government’s Powering North Queensland Plan included a statewide hydro study to pinpoint appropriate locations for potential new projects.

“Our plan also takes advantage of current assets like the Burdekin Dam and the Kidston hydro project,” he said.

“We have a clear plan for our energy infrastructure, but the LNP has only thought bubbles that would place added financial costs and risks on Queenslanders while inflicting significant environmental damage.”

Source: Queensland Government

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Tully Millstream Hydroelectric Scheme


 Renewable energy a jobs boom for Victoria

23 August

The Andrews Labor Government is harnessing the power of renewable energy to drive down prices, attract billions of dollars of investment and create thousands of local jobs.

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today to announce the introduction of legislation for Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET), the largest renewable energy auction in Australia and the awarding of contracts for two large-scale solar plants to power Melbourne’s tram network.

Legislation to be introduced into the Parliament this week will set ambitious new renewable energy targets for Victoria of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

It’s the first time such ambitious renewable energy targets have been enshrined in state legislation anywhere in Australia.

Importantly, the VRET will cut the average cost of power for Victorians by around $30 a year for households, $2,500 a year for medium businesses and $140,000 a year for large companies, while driving a 16 per cent reduction in Victoria’s electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2034-35.

The competitive VRET auction for up to 650 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity will provide enough electricity to power 389,000 households – or enough energy to power Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley combined.

This first auction is expected to bring forward up to $1.3 billion of investment and create 1,250 construction jobs over two years and 90 ongoing jobs.

The Labor Government also announced the winners of a tender to help build around 138 MW of new large scale solar projects to power Melbourne’s tram network.

Bannerton Solar Park near Robinvale in the Sunraysia district is expected to provide 100 MW of solar powered electricity, while the Numurkah Solar Farm near Shepparton is expected to generate 38 MW.

This will bring forward an additional investment of $198 million and generate around 325 jobs in regional Victoria during construction.

Source: Victoria Government



Sapphire Solar and Storage

The company behind the 270 MW Sapphire wind farm have outlined plans to develop a c. 200 MW solar + storage project and with it the next big wave of renewable energy investment in the New England region.

The Sapphire solar and storage project is proposed to be located on five freehold properties within and adjacent to the wind farm. An outline of the project and a preliminary environmental assessment has been prepared and submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, marking the first phase of the development process.

Construction of the 270 MW Sapphire wind farm commenced in January 2017 and remains ahead of schedule. The first shipment of wind turbine component arrived in to the Port of Newcastle in July ready to be brought to site in the coming weeks.

Source: CWP Renewables

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Sapphire Wind Farm


Meridian puts two NZ wind farm projects on hold

During FY17 we ensured that our portfolio of renewable options was appropriately sized. Our view that demand growth will likely be moderate, combined with the cost of maintaining land access agreements, led us to discontinue Poutō wind farm, an option close to the Kaipara Harbour that was in the pre-consent phase, and put on hold Hurunui wind farm, a consented option in North Canterbury, both of which were less attractive than others in our portfolio.

Two consented North Island wind farm projects, Central Wind (Taihape) and Maungaharuru (Hawke’s Bay) remain the most attractive options. Combined, they would result in approximately 280MW of additional renewable electricity generation, providing about 800GWh of electricity per annum (equivalent to demand growth of 2%).

Source: Meridian Energy 2017 annual results


Solar thermal project for Port Augusta

24 August

The Turnbull Government has today written to SolarReserve Australia Pty Ltd about its proposal to construct a 150MW concentrated solar thermal power plant at Port Augusta, South Australia.

In the 2017/18 Budget the Turnbull Government committed to invest up to $110 million to secure the delivery of a solar thermal plant at Port Augusta.

SolarReserve was recently awarded a power supply contract by the South Australian Government, which includes the construction of the new power plant. The announcement was welcomed by the Federal Government.

Solar thermal plants operate in a similar way to traditional fossil fuel power plants with steam spinning a conventional turbine, which means they can contribute to network stability and reliability when coupled with built-in storage.

The Federal Government has asked SolarReserve to provide all the project details. The Government will ask the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to work with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), in consultation with the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency (IPFA), to provide the Government with advice on the project.

ARENA and the CEFC have a strong track record in supporting the commercialisation of emerging technologies and will use that expertise to take solar thermal to the next level in Australia.

The IPFA advises the Federal Government on funding and financing solutions for nationally significant infrastructure across all sectors, including energy.

The Turnbull Government's investment in low emission technologies will help to deliver reliable and affordable energy as we move to a lower emissions future.

Source: Federal Government

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Aurora Solar Energy Project

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