Another step forward for Wide Bay wind farm project

22 February

One of the largest grid-connected wind farms in the southern hemisphere is a step closer for the Wide Bay-Burnett region, with the Palaszczuk Government granting development approval for Forest Wind.

Minister for Planning Cameron Dick said the project, which is proposed to comprise of up to 226 turbines, would provide a huge boost for the local economy.

“If it proceeds, this project could create around 440 jobs during construction and a further 50 full time jobs during operation,” Mr Dick said.

“This is a major clean energy project for Queensland and will contribute to our target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

“Forest Wind has the potential to generate up to 1200 megawatts of electricity at capacity, which is enough to supply one in four Queensland homes.

“This is enough power for all homes across the Wide Bay-Burnett, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast combined.

“The wind farm is proposed to be developed within state forest land between Gympie and Maryborough, a unique location and a great example of coexistence between established southern pine timber plantations that support our forestry industry and new large-scale renewable energy.”

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the project would join Queensland’s existing 5500 megawatts of renewable energy capacity.

“Since December 2016, almost $5 billion has been invested in almost 2500 MW of new renewable generation in Queensland, creating almost 5000 jobs.

“More generation helps put downward pressure on power prices, and give Queenslanders have the lowest electricity prices on the eastern seaboard.”

Forest Wind Holdings Chairman James Pennay said the project’s location has been carefully selected to take advantage of the plantation’s large working environment.

“We have established a three-kilometre separation distance from residents to wind turbines to ensure industry, the local community and the environment can coexist harmoniously,” Mr Pennay said.

“We have been undertaking consultation with the local community and stakeholders and we are looking forward to continuing that engagement through the next phase of the project’s development, including with the Butchulla and Kabi Kabi first nation peoples.”

The wind farm, which is valued at around $2 billion, could increase Queensland’s installed power generation capacity by approximately nine per cent.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the development approval is a significant milestone for the project and great news for jobs in the region.

“Forest Wind will be able to harness the Wide Bay-Burnett region’s great local wind resource, which flows in directly from the Pacific Ocean,” he said.

“Subject to final consideration and the company finalising all contractual agreements, construction could commence as early as the fourth quarter of 2020.”

Mr Dick said the project is being advanced as an Exclusive Transaction by the Queensland Government’s Investment Facilitation and Partnerships Group within the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.

“This group aims to provide a clear entry point for major investment projects and a customised and streamlined pathway to decision-makers across government,” he said.

Source: Queensland Government



Daisy Hill Solar Farm

Location: Kidman Way, Hillston in NSW

Capacity: 10 MW

Developer: ITP Development

Status: 2020, Feb – development application being assessed

Estimated cost: $13.2mil

LGA: Carrathool Shire Council

Description: The Daisy Hill Solar Farm will consist of 2 x 5 MW projects and subdivision

Contact: Mishka Talent

Portfolio Manager

Tel: (02) 6257 3511



Health of the National Electricity Market

24 February

The Energy Security Board (ESB) has today published the Health of the National Electricity Market (NEM), an annual check-up recommended by the Finkel Review. The Health of the NEM report is an assessment of how the NEM is functioning and where improvement is required. This is the third report.

Full details are available at

Source: Energy Security Board


Biggest WA wind farm blades hit the road

24 February

Blades for wind turbines to be constructed at Western Australia’s biggest wind farm, the 51-turbine 214 MW Yandin Wind Farm, will this week travel around 200 km from the port at Henderson in the state’s south to the wind farm’s Mid West site in the Shire of Dandaragan.

Only one of the whopping 24 tonne blades (including frames) can be loaded on to each truck, with a convoy of three trucks (making up the blades for one turbine) travelling at a time to avoid major traffic disturbances along the route.

The Yandin Wind Farm is a RATCH-Australia and Alinta Energy investment managed by Alinta Energy. Alinta Energy’s Head of Construction Timothy Knill said that transporting the blades was one of the most complex and critical aspects of the project’s construction.

“These are the biggest wind turbine blades to ever be transported by road in Western Australia. Most people have no concept of just how big these things are, and therefore how tricky it can be to get them from a port to site.

“A 747 aeroplane generally has a wingspan of about 65 metres, and these wind turbine blades are just under 75 metres.

“Or to put it another way, imagine transporting a blade which is longer than the wingspan of a 747 along roads that were never designed for such a massive load and now you’re closer to understanding the scale and complexity of this effort.

“Once we get them to site and mobilise our cranes, the process of piecing each turbine together will only take days, not weeks,” he said.

The blades (from 4.2 MW Vestas V150-model turbines) are primarily made from epoxy resin reinforced with glass and carbon fibre.

Construction is on track and the Yandin Wind Farm is due to commence operating in the third quarter of this year.

Source: Alinta Energy



Morwell Solar Farm

A community drop-in session will be held on 10 March in Morwell in support of ARP Australian Solar’s proposed 70 MW solar farm consisting of 230,000 solar panels on 157 hectares of land currently used for grazing. ARP is working towards submitting a development approval application for the Morwell Solar Farm to the state government by the end of April.


Windlab Limited – impairment of investment in joint venture

24 February

Windlab Limited (ASX:WND) (‘Windlab’ or the ‘Company’) advises that its financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2019 will recognise a non-cash impairment to the carrying value of investments in joint ventures relating to Kennedy Energy Park (Kennedy), expected to be in the range of $10m to $20m.

Windlab is in the process of finalising a review of the carrying value of the investment as part of preparing its accounts, which includes engaging independent advice. Any final impairment charge remains subject to audit. The announcement of Windlab’s results for the year ended 31 December 2019 is expected to be made on 28 February 2020.

The review of the Kennedy investment has taken into account information contained in Windlab’s ASX releases during February relating to the current status of the dispute with the EPC contractor at Kennedy, including the recent adjudication decision and the ongoing standstill agreement with the contractor. While Windlab remains confident of Kennedy’s position in relation to the dispute, including its right to receive delay liquidated damages, the short-term outcomes and path to ultimate resolution are uncertain and material to any current appraisal of the value of Windlab’s investment in Kennedy. Given the uncertainty, Windlab believes the approach it has taken to the valuation of the investment in Kennedy is prudent.

The impairment also results from movements in forecast future electricity prices and other inputs to Kennedy’s valuation model and is partially offset by a decrease in the value of Kennedy’s PPA liability, which is recognised as a derivative liability in its financial statements.

This impairment is non-cash in nature and has no impact on Windlab’s compliance with its debt covenants or the ongoing operation of its business.

Federation Asset Management Pty Ltd, under the terms of the Process Deed announced on 20 January 2020, are aware of the impairment and the current status of the Kennedy project.

Source: Windlab


Big plans – small footprint – renewable energy solutions for the community

25 February

A community-driven initiative of five large and medium-scale solar installations will power almost half of the energy needs at four of Central Highlands Water’s water and wastewater treatment plants.

The four sites chosen have the potential to make up to 70 percent of the utility’s total electricity load, and include Ballarat North and South Wastewater Treatment Plants, Lal Lal and White Swan Water Treatment Plants and the White Swan pump station.

Central Highlands Water Managing Director, Mr Paul O’Donohue said the solar initiative has been driven by the community, who asked for improved sustainability of their water supply systems as a key priority.

“As part of our Let’s Talk Water campaign, the community told us they valued the use of renewable energy, but at no extra cost to them.

“We are pleased to be able to deliver on that goal with this initiative, which is also a step forward in delivering our Emissions Reduction Pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2025. The solar panels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,745 tonnes per year and generate 3500 MWh (megawatt hours) of renewable energy, equivalent to the average annual energy use of 750 Victorian homes.

“The solar is designed so that the majority of the energy is used to power the treatment plants, and from time to time some of the renewable energy will be exported to the grid,” said Mr O’Donohue.

“It will also deliver added value for our customers by taking pressure off the region’s electricity grid and reducing peak daily electricity demand, to help combat power outages in peak periods such as summer.

“We’re committed to finding innovative and cost-effective solutions that benefit our customers, and this project will also contribute to the Victorian Government Renewable Energy Target of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

“It is a long-term investment in our community, building on our other existing renewable initiatives like smallscale roof mounted solar at our Learmonth Road office, the Daylesford and Maryborough Water Treatment Plants and a mini-hydro electricity generators at Lal Lal Water Treatment Plant and at the Goldfields Superpipe.

“While looking for solutions to help combat climate change, we also want to make sure they support or provide employment and economic benefits to our region,” he said.

Source: Central Highlands Water



Bomen Solar Farm

Construction and Funding Update – Bomen Solar Farm

  • All panels were installed on target by end of January 2020
  • Solar farm 100% mechanically complete as at early February 2020
  • TransGrid completed its negotiated works at the Wagga North Substation in January 2020
  • Testing and commissioning underway
  • RES appointed Asset Manager in January 2020
  • Beon appointed O&M Contractor in February 2020
  • Funding requirements at financial close met from existing cash
  • First draw down of debt took place in Q3 2019


Completion of Mannum Solar Farm

25 February

- MPower strengthens market leading position in small-scale utility solar farms

- Construction of 6.8MWDC solar farm successfully completed

- Project comprises 17,000 solar panels and single axis tracking system

MPower, Australia’s leading specialist renewable energy, battery storage and microgrid business, is pleased to advise that it has successfully completed the construction and commissioning of the 6.8MW Mannum Solar Farm Project in South Australia that was announced in June 2019.

Successful completion of the Mannum Solar Farm Project strengthens MPower’s market leading position in small-scale utility solar farms. MPower is specifically targeting smallscale utility solar farms in part due to their relative ease in connection to the grid. In January 2020, MPower announced that it had commenced work on a further two new grid connected solar farms after signing Limited Notices to Proceed with Astronergy Solar Australia Pty Ltd.

The grid-connected 6.8MWDC Mannum Solar Farm Project is owned by a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar and comprises approximately 17,000 solar panels and utilises single axis tracking technology. The tracking technology facilitates the movement of the solar panels to track the sun during the day, thereby maximising the power output of the solar farm.


MPower’s Chief Executive Officer Nathan Wise commented: “Completion of the Mannum Solar Farm Project marks another milestone in MPower’s journey as a leading renewable energy integrator. With three solar farms of this size now completed and a further two new solar farms underway, MPower has a proven capability and is well positioned to benefit from the future growth in this sector.”

“Our recently announced sale of MPower’s product distribution businesses will enable us to focus our attention on small-scale utility solar farms and other renewable energy projects where MPower has a proven track record of delivery.”

Source: MPower


New technology for WA’s electricity network

25 February

- Western Power rolls out stand-alone power systems to regional Western Australia

- Improving power reliability, while boosting WA jobs 

The State Government continues to roll out stand-alone power systems (SPS), with Western Power planning an additional 100 units for Round 2 of the SPS project.

The units are being installed in the Mid-West, Goldfields, eastern Wheatbelt and the Great Southern regions.

The SPS project follows the success of a pilot trial in 2016, which significantly improved power reliability with customers avoiding more than 200 hours of power interruptions over the past three years.

Round 1 of the SPS project involved installing 57 SPS units this year.

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston:

"The McGowan Government is committed to revitalising our energy sector, and ensuring our system provides reliable and safe power, while utilising new and emerging technologies.

"Stand-alone power systems provide an economical alternative to replacing poles and wires in many low population density rural areas.

"This project is also boosting local jobs with supplier Hybrid increasing employees from seven to 29, including six apprentices, providing valuable training and skills for young locals.

"To further support this, I'm driving legislative change through the Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019, which includes provisions for the use of new technologies in Western Power's network, specifically stand-alone power systems and energy storage devices."

Source: Western Power


VivoPower International PLC half year report

25 February


The Company commenced development of the first project under the ITP investment agreement, Yoogali Solar Farm, in July 2018. Yoogali is a 15 MW project that is expected to receive connection approval later in 2020. The approval timing was delayed from original estimates due to an increasingly rigorous Australian regulatory approval process for projects over 5 MW in size.

This increased scrutiny is being driven by the number of new solar projects coming on-line in certain areas of Australia resulting in network stability issues and causing delays to new project approval. Projects under 5MW are not subject to the same approval process and, at present, are not experiencing the same delays as larger projects. Accordingly, we are examining the options available to accelerate Yoogali through downsizing or division of the solar farm into smaller projects. A second 5MW solar project under the ITP agreement, the Daisy Hill Solar Farm, is under development and is expected to complete development and connection approval by June 2020.

Source: VivoPower


The Quarterly Carbon Market Report–Quarter 4 2019 shows record highs for all carbon markets

26 February

The Quarterly Carbon Market Report–Quarter 4 2019 released today by the Clean Energy Regulator shows that throughout 2019, Renewable Energy Target (RET) and Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) carbon markets delivered more than 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent abatement towards the Paris Agreement targets and this is expected to ramp up to more than 59 million tonnes in 2020.

David Parker, Chair of the Clean Energy Regulator, reported that total renewable investment grew strongly to a record 6.3 GW in 2019 – this is a record year for carbon markets in Australia. It is expected that 2020 will achieve similar results, although the mix of renewables will likely differ.

“This ongoing growth demonstrates the RET has not acted as a cap on renewable investment. On the contrary the market is finding a way to maintain investment levels. Including rooftop solar, the RET generated almost 44 TWh in 2019 and we expect to see the biggest step up to 56 TWh in 2020,” Mr Parker said.

“The Report also shows that 25 per cent of electricity in 2019 came from renewables and this is predicted to grow to 34 per cent by 2023.

The ERF also hit a record year with almost 15 million Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) issued in 2019. This is likely to rise to over 16 million ACCUs in 2020.

An optional delivery contract under the Climate Solutions Fund is being trialled to increase flexibility for project developers. This will likely result in an increase in project registrations in 2020.

Source: Clean Energy Regulator


Water Corporation commits $30 million to solar energy

26 February

- McGowan Government committed to reducing the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions

- Around 15,000 kilowatts of renewable energy produced through installation of solar energy panels on Water Corporation buildings, borefields and pump stations across the State

- $30 million committed over three years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 

The McGowan Government is working with the Water Corporation to reduce its energy use, committing $30 million over three years for solar energy projects around the State.

The Water Corporation will install about 45,000 rooftop solar panels, which is the equivalent of powering 4,400 households and reducing its emissions by around 18,000 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of taking 7,700 cars off the road.

Since 2018, the McGowan Government has invested $2.8 million on 30 renewable energy projects at Water Corporation sites throughout the State, including six in regional Western Australia.

This further $30 million commitment over the next three years will see solar panels installed atop around 50 Water Corporation pump stations, other buildings and borefields throughout the State.

The project is part of a broader Water Corporation initiative to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which includes energy efficiency, tree planting, and emissions offsets.

The Water Corporation delivers essential water and wastewater services across 2.6 million square kilometres of WA, which requires a significant amount of energy.

Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:

"The State's water supplies are being adversely affected by climate change and the decline in rainfall, particularly in the South-West.

"It is important water utilities take every opportunity now to lead by example and do what they can to increase the use of renewable energy, such as solar, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that fast-track climate change.

"I am pleased the Water Corporation is utilising its assets around the State to take positive steps to reduce its energy footprint.

"It is great to see the Water Corporation remains committed to exploring and adopting new technology to increase the use of renewable energy."

Source: WA Government



Harapaki Wind Farm

Location: Hawke’s Bay, NZ

Capacity: ~176.3 MW

Developer: Meridian Energy

LGA: Hastings District Council

Status: 2019, council granted development consent

Description: Located within the Maungaharuru Range in Hawke’s Bay, approximately 35km northwest of Napier, NZ. The Harapaki Wind Farm site consists of two adjacent wind farm sites (Hawke’s Bay Wind Farm and Titiokura Wind Farm) that were originally consented in 2006. In 2010, Meridian purchased the consents for both sites. As of 2019, Meridian has approval to construct and commission a 41-turbine wind farm. No confirmed start date has been set for construction.

Contact: Meridian Energy




SEANZ Member Genesis Energy to build 300MW Solar Farm

26 February

SEANZ member, gentailer Genesis Energy has announced it is in advanced planning to build a 300MW solar farm in the northern Waikato. The farm will be New Zealand's biggest solar farm by a big margin and is another indicator that the economics of electricity generation have tipped in favour of commercial and large-scale solar.

SEANZ Chair Brendan Winitana says "this is a fantastic signal for the industry, solidifying the importance of solar in the mix of generation as not only cost-competitive to other large scale generation options but also for reducing carbon emissions".

Genesis Energy have released little detail on the plan but with the project in the early stages of development it is expected to be a couple of years before the farm comes fully online.

In a statement released this week Genesis Energy said:

"The Genesis Future-gen programme continues to identify multiple renewable opportunities to transition away from baseload thermal generation and deliver on our commitment to no longer use coal during a normal hydrological year by 2025. This will ensure the continued delivery of reliable and affordable electricity, key to enabling the decarbonisation and electrification of other industry sectors.

Construction has now begun on the new 450 GWh per annum Waipipi Windfarm in Taranaki, through the Tilt Renewables partnership. It will be operational in 2021 and Genesis will buy its entire output of zero-emissions, renewable electricity.

Genesis has also agreed key terms for a 300 MW solar farm in the upper North Island to generate a further 550 GWh per annum of electricity. Combined with Waipipi, these two projects will collectively enable a reduction of 550,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum".

Source: SEANZ


Climate change strategy update

26 February


We have a key role to play in enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy. We do this through our well positioned portfolio of high-quality iron ore, copper and aluminium. We do not mine coal or extract oil and gas and 76% of our electricity consumption at our managed operations is supplied by renewable energy.

In 2015, we supported the outcomes of the Paris Agreement. Since 2008, we have reduced our absolute greenhouse gas emissions from our managed operations by 46% (or 18% when excluding divestments).

Our ambition is for net zero emissions from our operations by 2050. We have set new targets for scope 1 & 2 emissions for our managed and non-managed operations (on an equity share basis):

  • A 30% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030 from 2018 levels
  • A 15% reduction in absolute emissions by 2030 from 2018 levels

Our growth, overall, between now and 2030 will be carbon neutral. This is underpinned by approximately $1 billion of climate-related spend over the next five years.

Source: Rio Tinto


Renewable hydrogen bonanza for Gladstone

27 February

An Australian first $4.2 million gas injection facility will be built in Gladstone to deliver renewable hydrogen into the city’s gas network, thanks to the first grant from the Queensland Government’s $15 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund.

Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk said in an Australian-first, Gladstone will become the first entire city in the nation to be on a blend of natural gas and hydrogen.

“Using renewable hydrogen, Australian Gas Networks (AGN) will trial the blended hydrogen gas with a view to converting Gladstone’s network to hydrogen in the future,” the Premier said.

“The Queensland Government is working hard to drive the hydrogen industry forward, to create highly skilled jobs, especially in regional Queensland.”

Speaking from the Gladstone Hydrogen Forum, Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said that AGN, part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) has been offered more than $1.7 million through the fund to build a blending facility to deliver 10 per cent renewable hydrogen into the gas network.

“This project will be the first in Australia to blend renewable hydrogen into a gas network with residential, commercial and industrial customers,” Mr Dick said.

AGN’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ben Wilsonsaid AGIG is proud to partner with the Queensland Government on this ground-breaking project.

“This project supports Gladstone’s vision to be a key hub for Queensland’s domestic and hydrogen export industry, just as it is for natural gas today.

“Queensland, and Australia as a whole, has the potential to be a renewable hydrogen superpower, with jobs and economic growth from supplying clean energy to Asia and elsewhere.

“Domestically, zero-carbon hydrogen offers a pathway to zero emissions from our gas networks and for transport, particularly heavy haulage. AGIG is a leading player in this transition with hydrogen projects now underway in four Australian states,” Mr Wilson said.

Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett said AGN had formed a partnership with Central Queensland University (CQU) providing access to the blending facility for CQU staff and students to build skills in hydrogen technologies.

“I am pleased that CQU will be partnering with AGN to create educational, training and research opportunities for local workers,” Cr Burnett said.

“This is about creating more jobs in more industries, and Gladstone is perfectly placed to tap into the exciting renewable hydrogen industry.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Nick Klomp said CQU was excited to be part of a project that signalled a very positive early step towards Gladstone’s emerging hydrogen fuel industry.

“CQU is working towards establishing a hydrogen park in Gladstone to drive the many opportunities that this emerging hydrogen industry will create,” Professor Klomp said.

“We look forward to working with a range of community groups, industry and government bodies to ensure CQU plays an important role in this project.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said renewable hydrogen represented enormous opportunity for Gladstone and Queensland.

“It’s great to see such a high level of interest from local industry, and some great outcomes from the Hydrogen Industry Development Fund to support our jobs in our region,” he said.

Mr Dick said over 100 stakeholders had attended today’s forum in Gladstone, with previous events held in Townsville and Brisbane.

“Hydrogen produced from renewable energy is widely considered to be the ultimate, clean renewable fuel and at today’s industry forum regional stakeholders heard about the opportunities emerging for the industry in Gladstone and Central Queensland,” Mr Dick said.

“Along with the AGN project, Gladstone has also been selected as the location for The Hydrogen Utility’s (H2U) latest project, H2-HubTM Gladstone, a proposed $1.61 billion industrial complex for the large-scale production of green hydrogen and ammonia.

“I can also announce today that Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) has approved a variation to ACCIONA’s Aldoga Solar Farm lease, to allow them to investigate renewable hydrogen production as part of the project. The variation allows an additional 24 months to explore feasibility.

“Since the release last year of the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019–24, we are seeing increased private sector investment and will continue to position Queensland to be at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production in Australia by 2030.”

Source: Queensland Government


AEMC sticks with outdated loss factors, undermining investment confidence

27 February

The decision by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to retain the existing marginal loss factor (MLF) regime, which is no longer fit-for-purpose, will further undermine investor confidence in new clean energy generation.

In the past year, the lack of investor confidence has already seen new investment in large-scale renewable energy collapse by more than 50 per cent.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the decision to retain the existing regime did not reflect the needs of the current Australian energy industry.

“While industry welcomes debate and analysis of alternative reforms, simply retaining the current regime is deeply problematic and undermines the energy transition underway in Australia,” Mr Thornton said.

“We had expected that the AEMC would consider how losses could be shared by generators in a way that presents less volatility and more manageable risk, without increasing consumer costs or ignoring transmission losses.”

“The AEMC has missed an opportunity to think openly and creatively about reform to the current flawed MLF framework.”

“It is disappointing that the AEMC undertook very little of its own analysis of the possible options, particularly given its extensive critique of the independent analysis undertaken by Baringa Partners for the Clean Energy Council. The Baringa work was only ever intended to be indicative of potential wholesale market impacts as a potential input into a full cost benefit analysis that we had expected the AEMC would undertake.”

Measures taken by the Australian Energy Market Operator to improve transparency have been a positive move, but ultimately do not fully address the impact the current MLF regime is having on investors.

“To ensure a robust future for the energy industry, Australia requires a market framework that supports the transition to new clean forms of energy generation,” Mr Thornton said.

Source: Clean Energy Council



Mypolonga Solar Farm

Location: 955 Mannum Road, Mypolonga, SA

Capacity: 4.95 MW

Developer: Terregra Renewables

LGA: Rural City of Murray Bridge

Description: Approximately 15,000 solar PV panels proposed mounted on single-axis trackers in two major clusters on ~14 ha of land previously cleared for primary production activities. In addition to the panels, the proposal includes one modular control building and reactor being the ‘HV switchgear, metering & reactor’ and two modular inverters with transformers.

Contact: Graham Pearson


Terregra Renewables



Powerco welcomes BESS to the Whangamata community

27 February

Powerco’s new multi-million dollar grid sized battery was officially opened in Whangamata today.

The Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), situated at Powerco’s substation just south of Whangamata, is a large-scale dedicated battery and bespoke generator with state of the art switching system to provide stand by power to the CBD.

Powerco General Manager Asset Strategy and Investment, Ryno Verster said Powerco understands that Whangamata needed a more secure power supply and the solution is a first for Powerco and a first for New Zealand.

“As far as I know this is the first time a large grid scale battery (2 Megawatt, 2 Megawatt-hour) has been used in this manner in New Zealand, to provide standby power to a community should there be a complete loss of electricity supply.”

Whangamata is supplied by a single 33,000 Volt line running through some rugged and environmentally sensitive terrain from Waihi.

“The line between Waihi and Whangamata has recently undergone extensive maintenance and refurbishment,” he said. “However due to the rugged terrain and the severe weather the line remains subject to a high level of risk. We believe the BESS will provide a step change in our network performance for the CBD,” said Mr Verster.

“When damage occurs to that line all power is cut to more than 5700 properties,” he said.

“The BESS will automatically fire up if there is a power cut in the bulk supply to Whangamata and will power up around 1000 properties in and around the CBD – essentially maintaining supply to the commercial heart of the town,” he said.

“To achieve this, the Whangamata distribution network is automatically reconfigured into an islanded network.  When the main supply is restored, the network reverts back to its normal operating state.”

“We have talked to the community extensively,” said Mr Verster. “We understand that many of the businesses in Whangamata generate 80 – 90 percent of their income over the holiday season and so if we can minimise their risk and duration of power cuts, particularly over those periods, we can minimise the adverse economic impact to the area and community.”

The battery is capable of supplying the CBD, during peak business hours, for a period of 1-2 hours, during which time normal supply outages would often be restored.

“For longer interruptions, when paired with the generator, we will be able to maintain supply indefinitely.

“This is state of the art technology,” he said. “BESS has a range of possible applications we will investigate further in the future, but the primary benefit to customers will be a fast-acting back up power supply to the central business district.

“We are proud to have created this innovative solution.  We are also excited about exploring the further opportunities and benefits that could be derived from the BESS for the Whangamata community.”  

“As an example of our future plans, we envisage cooperating with the community on schemes that could extend the reach of the BESS to larger parts of town, by managing demand when the main supply is interrupted. There is also potentially scope to work with local customers who generate electricity from solar PV systems, to store their excess daytime generation in the battery, and draw back electricity from the BESS after hours.”

“Lastly, we also look forward to applying some of the know-how that we’ve gained on this milestone project to improve supply reliability to other remote communities connected to the Powerco network.”

Source: Powerco


Victoria’s transmission rules shake-up is just the beginning

28 February

The announcement by the Victorian Government to remove the application of certain parts of the National Electricity Law (NEL) from the state’s electricity network is the latest sign that Australia’s existing regulatory framework is being challenged by the pace of the clean energy transformation.

The new legislation was introduced into the Victorian state parliament last week. If passed, it will allow the state’s Energy Minister to bypass the application process of determining the cost-effectiveness of transmission projects via the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RiT-T).

​Instead, the Energy Minister may opt for an alternative (and presumably quicker) process to determine the cost-benefit assessment for the transmission project. This process may potentially be via the independent Victorian Essential Services Commission or through an internal process conducted by the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance. The provisions of the bill also consider a situation in which the Energy Minister may determine that no assessment is required. Under these circumstances, a project would be unable to recover its costs through the current regulated revenues pathway approved by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). This would not be a concern, however, for non-regulated, revenue focused projects.

This change signals the state government’s frustration with the delay in assessing transmission augmentation projects, which are necessary to unlock grid congestion in the North-West of the state. Several gigawatts of proposed wind and solar generation projects in this region are currently unable to connect to the grid.

The bill is also a damning indictment of the failure of the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to properly anticipate and amend the regulatory environment in a timely way to facilitate the energy system’s transition to zero emissions. If the AEMC wants confirmation that its proposed CoGaTI (Coordination of Generation and Transmission Infrastructure) reform package needs a fundamental reboot, then this is surely it.

Victoria is not alone in exploring the approach of removing the NEL from certain priority areas for renewable energy development. The NSW Government has also foreshadowed its willingness to remove the application of the RiT-T for the development of its priority Central West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), as it works to accelerate the development of up to 3GW of clean energy generation.

It remains to be seen whether NSW will adopt a similar approach to the Victorian opt-out or if it will develop a more focused and region-specific mechanism. What is clear is that if NSW wants to see the timely development of the Central West REZ, and other REZs across the state, it will need to consider some sort of mechanism to accelerate the development of transmission infrastructure.

Across the renewables sector we should expect to see further interventions by state and territory governments as existing market institutions struggle to keep up with the pace of the energy transition. This will be heightened by the growing consequences of the absence of national government leadership in mapping a path to a zero-emissions electricity sector.

Source: Simon Corbell, Energy Estate


Cancellation of proposed SPP Offer

28 February

1414 Degrees Limited (ASX:14D) announced on Monday 24 February an offer of discounted shares to shareholders so they could support the next phase of its technology roll-out centred on solar generation and storage at the Aurora Project.

However, global economic and market conditions have significantly deteriorated this week and the Company is not going to proceed with the offer. Directors will continue to monitor conditions and note that there is adequate working capital that will be boosted by a $2.748m R&D refund next week.

The SiliconAurora acquisition and plans for 1414 Degrees’ Silicon Power Plant as a heat and power supply solution for industry has prompted major finance and industrial entities to engage with its commercial and business team to study the benefits and applications. At the same time the SiliconAurora team are advancing power and heat offtake sales to drive the project financing.

Management have been undertaking a number of measures that will reduce recurrent expenditure. The Company has leased new premises that will allow it to combine the corporate and engineering teams at one site to ensure common focus on the development and commercialisation of its technology, with the benefit of reducing accommodation costs.

Source: 1414 Degrees



Forest Wind Farm

The Forest Wind project has seen great interest from businesses and job seekers all across the Wide Bay region including businesses based in local towns like Poona, Boonooroo, Kia Ora, Cooloola Cover, Maryborough, Gympie, Tin Can Bay, Tiaro and Bauple. So far, over 50 businesses have registered their interest and will be included on our supplier database. Businesses on the database will receive information about upcoming supplier engagement events so that businesses are aware of the opportunities and requirements in the procurement phase. We have added a job seeker category too so we can connect job seekers to local businesses. You can register your business or employment interest on the supplier database at

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