Sunshine Coast Solar Farm goes live in Australian first

24 July

The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is now live and feeding electricity into the power grid, making Sunshine Coast Council the first local government in Australia to offset 100% of its electricity consumption with energy from a renewable source.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the 15 megawatt (MW) solar farm at Valdora allowed council to take control of its own electricity supply, combating rising electricity costs and achieving an important sustainability milestone.

“All power consumed at all of council’s facilities, including our administration buildings, aquatic centres, community and performance venues, as well as holiday parks, libraries, art galleries and sporting facilities, will be offset with energy from a renewable source thanks to this nation-leading project,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“This is an exciting day for our region and for the residents of the Sunshine Coast.

“We are the first council in Australia to build and operate a 15MW utility scale solar farm which will deliver $22 million in savings, after all costs, for our ratepayers over the next 30 years.

“Our solar farm is the first, and will be the largest, to connect to the electricity grid in South East Queensland. It is also the first solar farm in Australia to operate at 1500 volts DC which enables it to operate more efficiently.

“This is an impressive pioneering project and is yet another example of our council being a national leader.

“In fact, it’s so impressive, 15 councils around Australia have already inquired about how they can follow in our footsteps.

“What’s more, is that this project has been developed and delivered solely by our council, without any assistance from either the Federal or State governments, unlike many other solar farms being developed in Australia.

“Both the State and Federal governments talk about achieving renewable energy targets – our council is getting on with and achieving ours – and well ahead of anyone else.

“Our vision is to be the most sustainable region in Australia – healthy, smart, creative.

“This leap forward in the clean energy sector helps our council to deliver on that promise.”

Downer Utilities Executive Director Trevor Cohen said Downer was pleased to partner with Sunshine Coast Council on its journey towards becoming Australia’s most sustainable region.

“Downer is looking forward to the operation and maintenance phase of this project and to continue growing our relationship with council and the local community,” Mr Cohen said.

Diamond Energy’s Managing Director Tony Sennitt said it was a great pleasure working with such a forward thinking council and to see this ground-breaking project become a reality.

“Over the past three years, Diamond Energy has supported council’s enthusiastic staff, through planning, implementation and now operation,” Mr Sennitt said.

“This project is an excellent example of how – working together – projects like this generate change in the Australian energy market.

”Energex Asset Manager Northern Steven Lynch congratulated Sunshine Coast Council for its vision and determination to deliver this clean green initiative.

“We have been very pleased to work with the Council to see this project come to reality,” Mr Lynch said.

“Energex sees grid scale projects like this as a key part of our low-carbon future.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Development and Innovation Portfolio Councillor Stephen Robinson said the solar farm would further help the region transition to a clean and low carbon economy.

“Already, 40,000-plus Sunshine Coast households have rooftop solar and with our own solar farm now generating, this is equivalent to a 140MW renewable energy power station on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Robinson said.

“At any one time during construction, up to 100 people were employed on site by the lead contractor, Downer Utilities, and 10 local companies were sub-contracted to complete on-site work – from earthworks to drilling, fencing and construction.

“I’d like to thank Downer, Energex and Diamond for delivering the project with council and thank the community for their support during construction.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the council staff who have been passionately committed to seeing this innovative project through to completion.”

FAST FACTS:

  • The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is the second largest in Queensland and the sixth largest Australia wide.
  • At its peak, the solar farm will generate 15,000 kilowatts of electricity, which will go straight into the Energex network.
  • The electricity generated over one year will be enough to power the equivalent of 5000 homes.
  • Aluminium tables held up on screw piles are used to hold the 57,000 panels above the flood plain.
  • About 36,000 tree and shrub seedlings will be planted around the solar farm’s boundaries -one of the largest revegetation projects to be undertaken on the Sunshine Coast.

Source: Sunshine Coast Council

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Sunshine Coast Solar Farm

 

Australia leading the charge in developing ground-breaking battery technology

24 July

The Turnbull Government is helping Australian innovators develop cutting-edge technology that could help revolutionise battery storage and lead to a new generation of innovative products.

Ultra-thin flexible printed batteries being developed by Brisbane-based company Printed Energy Pty Ltd will have applications in new products, including Internet of Things devices, wearable electronics, healthcare products and industrial scale solar energy storage.

Printed Energy received funding under the Government’s latest round of CRC Projects (CRC-P) grants to accelerate work on the technology.

Printed Energy’s $12 million project received a $2 million CRC-P grant that will allow the partners to continue developing the ground-breaking technology.

Today I visited the University of Queensland, one of Printed Energy’s project partners, to officially announce the grant.

Printed Energy’s work means that ultra-thin, flexible batteries for cheap portable devices and renewable energy are one step closer to reality.

Once developed, the technology could revolutionise battery storage and reduce manufacturing costs by using abundant, non-toxic materials.

Improving collaboration between researchers and industry to cultivate a more innovative and entrepreneurial economy is a key pillar of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The CRC Project stream assists in encouraging SME participation in collaborative research, solving problems and delivering tangible outcomes for industry.

In this particular project, Printed Energy worked with the University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Sunset Power International Pty Ltd and Sonovia Holdings LLC.

I congratulate the principals of Printed Energy, Trevor St Baker and Mr Brian Flannery, for their initiative in securing the printed batteries technology and helping bring it to Australia for development and commercialisation.

By facilitating business involvement in collaborative research, the CRC Projects strongly align with the Australian Government’s commitment to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries as a source of new growth and new jobs.

Source: Federal Government

 

Reduced emissions from new solar sites: a move towards renewable targets

24 July

The Territory Government today took another step to act on climate change and reduce the huge potential impacts for the Territory by announcing the commissioning of 3.325 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants in ten remote Aboriginal communities.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner today met the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) team at the Ramingining facility to see the completed project.

“Investing in renewables means we are protecting our economy, our lifestyle, our quality of life and our unique and spectacular natural environment,” Mr Gunner said.

Greenhouse gas emissions from over one million litres of diesel fuel will be saved each year following the integration of the SETuP into the power supply of each community.

Mr Gunner said the SETuP sites would contribute to the Territory Labor Government’s renewable target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, by reducing emissions and creating a platform for greater use of solar in the future.

“The Territory’s natural environments are some of the most spectacular in the world and it is important we do our part to act on climate change and work towards our renewable target,” Mr Gunner said.

“Major economies around the world are increasing the use of renewable energy sources to avoid the economic, social and environmental implications associated with the use of fossil fuels – this is an exciting milestone to achieve for remote Aboriginal communities across the Territory.

“Smart communities realise that investing in renewable energy is good for the environment and for jobs – we are restoring trust in Government and creating jobs.”

Minister for Essential Services Gerry McCarthy said SETuP will benefit the environment and community.

“SETuP facilities reduce the reliance on diesel by 15 per cent, which requires fewer fuel trucks on the road and provides a more secure energy supply,” Mr McCarthy said.

“Local jobs were created for Aboriginal rangers to conduct flora and fauna surveys and weed management, as well as land clearing and construction – we are boosting jobs to build safer, fairer and stronger communities – right across the Territory,” Mr McCarthy said.

Over 10,610 solar panels were installed to provide an average of 5,000 kWh/h per day to power over 570 households across the ten communities of Arlparra , Kintore, Nyirripi (Waite Creek), Kaltukatjara (Docker River), Mt Liebig, Areyonga, Yuendumu, Lajamanu, Maningrida and Ramingining.

SETuP is a $55 million program jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Territory Government, managed by Power and Water, with around $27 million from the NT Government.

Source: Northern Territory Government

 

Sale of first solar project to Lighthouse just the start of BayWa r.e.’s growth in Australia

25 July

BayWa r.e., a global renewable energy developer, wholesaler and energy solutions provider, has sold the 20MWp Hughenden solar plant to Australian infrastructure investment specialists, Lighthouse Infrastructure.

The plant, located in Hughenden, Queensland, is one of BayWa r.e.’s first solar projects in Australia. With construction now underway, the installation is being funded through a 13-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with one of the leading Australian energy retailers.

Matthias Taft, Board member of BayWa AG responsible for the energy business, commented on the sale: “The sale of our first Australian solar project, so soon after entering the market, is testament to our growing success in the region and the strength of Australia’s rapidly expanding solar sector and desire to reduce high electricity prices through renewables.

“We are very pleased to be working with Lighthouse Infrastructure. The company has a clear mission to increase solar generation in Australia, which we very much share. We will continue to operate and manage the Hughenden plant following its completion and look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Lighthouse Infrastructure to deliver cleaner energy for Australia.”

This will be the second utility scale solar PV investment made by Lighthouse Infrastructure, who were advised in this transaction by Planum Partners, Herbert Smith Freehills, and WSP.

For BayWa r.e, this was one of its most efficient sales and an extremely positive sign for the company’s expansion in Australia. The plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of October 2017.

Daniel Gäfke, Managing Director of BayWa r.e. Solar Pte Ltd. added: “Australia is a really exciting market for us. Given its high levels of sunlight, it’s the ideal home for photovoltaic energy. We first entered the market last year, opening offices in Perth and subsequently in Melbourne.

Since then, we’ve been working closely with the industry and government to help unlock the huge potential of renewable energy in Australia.

“We are currently investing in a further three large projects in Northern Victoria and Queensland. These projects, once operational, will have a combined output of just under 280 MW. All three are set to be generating electricity before the end of 2018 and are just the first steps in our expansion into Australia”.

Source: BayWa r.e. Solar

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Hughenden Solar Farm

 

Four new solar projects approved in NSW

26 July

NSW continues to lead the nation in clean energy development, with the Department of Planning and Environment approving four new solar projects in western NSW that could power more than 100,000 homes.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, announced that clean energy projects at Nevertire, Walgett, Gilgandra and Metz would boost local employment with up to 645 construction jobs.

“NSW’s four new solar farms will have capacity to supply 275 megawatts of energy to the grid for NSW communities, businesses and services.

“NSW continues to lead Australia in large-scale solar. We are committed to our country’s Renewable Energy Target and the State’s Renewable Energy Action Plan, and we are well on the way toward the 20 per cent target for renewable energy by 2020,” Mr Roberts said.

"Our focus is on ensuring energy security and affordability for our communities, businesses and services.”

In assessing the merits of each of these projects, the Department consulted extensively with the community, landowners and local councils.

Strict conditions are in place to control the construction impacts of the projects, and ensure there are no adverse visual impacts on surrounding residences.

“North-west NSW is fast becoming one of the solar power generation hubs of the state, and our solar investment is making a huge contribution to our clean, renewable energy targets,” said Mr Roberts.

With the addition of these four new solar farms, the Department has now approved 16 new large-scale solar projects across NSW.

“When the four new farms begin operation, NSW’s 16 large-scale solar farms will generate sustainable power for 423,000 households, with a combined capacity for 1,131 megawatts of renewable energy,” he said.

Source: NSW Government

 

Bungala Solar PV project

26 July

Reach Solar energy (Reach) today announced financial close on the second phase of the 300MWac Bungala Solar Photovoltaic (PV) project near Port Augusta.

The Bungala Solar project will be built on land leased from the Bungala Aboriginal Corporation, about 12km from Port Augusta. On full completion it will produce enough electricity for around 130,000 homes, is able to assist the grid with certain ancillary services, and is 'energy storage ready' for the future.

The financial close milestone for Bungala Two uses debt and equity commitments that were secured at the first financial close of Bungala One on 7 April 2017.

The 2 x 110MWac solar PV projects will be delivered without financial support from government. The equity providers are ENEL EGP and the Dutch infrastructure fund.

Origin Energy will purchase all electricity and renewable certificates produced by both solar projects under a Power Purchase Agreement signed in late 2016. The renewable solar energy is firmed up using Origin's generation and gas supply portfolio in South Australia and the national electricity market.

Professional services firm PwC continue to support Reach develop Bungala (balance 80MWAC for the 300MWAC site), and other solar projects in Australia including integrated legal, tax, capital advisory, debt advisory, due diligence and financial model audit services.

Source: Reach Solar

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Bungala Solar Farm

 

Federal Department of the Environment & Heritage declares WestWind’s proposed Golden Plains Wind Farm in Victoria a controlled action, requiring assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed due to impacts on listed threatened species and communities.

 

Protean and KEPCO Plant Service and Engineering enter strategic relationship for renewable energy projects

27 July

  • Protean and KEPCO Plant Service and Engineering Co Ltd have signed a project co operation agreement to jointly pursue renewable energy projects in Australia, Korea and across the Asia Pacific region.
  • Protean will identify and take the lead on renewable energy projects in Australia and KPS will identify and take the lead on projects in Korea. Elsewhere the companies will lead according to the strength of the customer relationships on a particular project.
  • The two companies will cooperate on projects involving wave energy, solar photovoltaic, other renewable energy sources and commercial and industrial energy storage systems in the growing renewable energy and microgrid market across the Asia Pacific region.
  • Cooperation under the agreement has the potential to leverage Protean’s core technologies in wave energy and energy storage systems combined with the financial strength, world class technical and maintenance capability of KPS.
  • Asia Pacific represents over 45% of the world renewable market valued at approximately US$165 billion last year and has a forecast CAGR of over 12% in the region for the next ten years. Over A$7 billion of renewable projects have been committed in Australia alone this calendar year.

Protean Energy Ltd (Protean or the Company) is pleased to announce that it has signed a project cooperation agreement (PCA) with KEPCO Plant Service and Engineering Co Ltd (KPS) a leading provider of power plant build and maintenance services in Korea and across the world to jointly pursue renewable energy projects in Australia, Korea and across the Asia Pacific region.

KPS has grown to be one of the most comprehensive plant service companies in the world built from its accumulated experience in servicing and maintaining Korea’s power plants. KPS is now delivering against its vision to be active in the build, finance and operation of a spread of renewable energy projects.

Protean CEO Stephen Rogers said this relationship provided a unique opportunity to leverage its proprietary technologies by working in conjunction with a world class organisation of the size, technical capability and financial strength of KPS.

“This is a significant milestone in the development of Protean Energy where our core technologies have been recognised by a leading international group in the power sector. Using the market networks of both organisations we can now target local and regional projects taking advantage of the rapid growth in the renewable energy sector stimulated by strong international and regional commitments.”

The PCA has been established to facilitate the companies identifying and working on renewable energy opportunities together. Bringing an improved financial and technical capacity, Protean can now target projects both in Australia and across the region. Opportunities have been identified in the region for energy storage, solar photovoltaic and wave energy systems. Korea plans to generate 20% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030 and KPS is targeting this market by sourcing key technologies such as wave energy and storage. This target has been reinforced in recent weeks after the election of Moon Jae in as South Korea’s new President. Added to this the companies will target renewable energy projects across the Asia Pacific region using the KPS existing business networks.

It is intended that the companies will pursue targeted projects by tendering, securing, developing and operating projects in joint venture with scope responsibilities to be agreed on a project by project basis. Several projects have been identified in Australia which would benefit from a joint approach by the parties under the PCA which will be tendered in the coming months.

Source: Protean Energy

 

WBHO to deliver largest utility-scale solar farm in WA

27 July

Perth-based business WBHO Infrastructure, in Joint Venture with Singapore based Phoenix Solar, has secured the EPC (Engineering, Procurement & Construction) contract to deliver WA’s largest solar project, Byford Solar Farm.

The project will be located just 35km southeast of Perth CBD, making Byford Solar Farm the first utility scale solar farm to be built within a metropolitan area in Australia. WBHO will work with the developer WestGen, with completion and commissioning expected in mid-2018.

Upon completion, the 30MW Solar Farm will span over 75 hectares and generate around 80,000MWh of electricity per year for the south-west integrated system (SWIS).

The project extends WBHO’s track record of delivering renewable energy projects. The company previously built Australia’s largest solar project, the 100MW Nyngan Solar Farm (New South Wales), and was also involved in the construction of Greenough River Solar Farm, WA’s first utility-scale solar project.

Commenting, WBHO’s Western Region Executive General Manager Will Grobler said:

“WBHO is excited about the opportunity to deliver Byford Solar Farm.

“It’s an important project. Not only will it set a new benchmark for solar projects in WA, but will also provide benefits for the local economy, with opportunities for our workforce, as well as for subcontractors and suppliers.

 

“We’re proud to be helping provide clean energy for Western Australia, and are looking forward to delivering this landmark project.”

Source: WBHO Engineering

Click here to go to online project datasheet: Byford Solar Farm

 

NEW PROJECT - Wellington Solar Farm

The Wellington Solar Farm will occupy 490 Ha of land approximately two kilometres northeast of the town of Wellington in New South Wales. The project will further diversify New South Wales’ energy portfolio and create 100 jobs at construction peak.

The 180 MW project will be powered by more than 511,630 First Solar advanced thin film PV modules, producing enough solar energy to power 55,000 homes in NSW and displace the equivalent of more than 369,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year – equivalent to taking 98,000 cars off the road.

Planning Updates and Activities

First Solar is currently preparing an application for the Secretaries Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) to the Department of Planning. Following this, the Department of Planning will assess our application and issue SEARs for the project. The submission of the formal Development Application will then be the next step in the planning process.

 Project Benefits

  • Enough to power 55,000 average homes
  • Displaces 369,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually—equivalent to taking 98,000 cars off the road
  • Lowest environmental impact of any PV technology
  • No water used for electricity generation
  • Significant economic and environmental benefits for regional NSW

Source: First Solar

Contact:

Anna Cain

Manager, Project Development

First Solar

Tel: (02) 9002 7700

Email: wellingtonsolarfarm@firstsolar.com

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