Energy Storage pioneering Australia’s National Electricity Market

18 September

The first attempt at retrofitting a battery behind an existing renewable power plant has pioneered the largest integrated renewable energy and battery system in Australia and among the largest in the world.

Today, Edify Energy is pleased to release the Knowledge Sharing Report for Gannawarra Energy Storage System (GESS), a symbiotic relationship of battery and solar, outpacing policy and strengthening the future of accessible renewable power.

Identifying the need for dispatchable renewable energy, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP), together with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided a $25 million grant towards a solution. Rising to the challenge Edify commenced the audacious challenge to retrofit a Tesla Battery system to an existing 50MW solar farm in Gannawarra, Victoria. Edify and Wircon, in a 50 – 50 JV provided the private capital to deliver GESS.

The deployment of GESS unearthed several complex and multifaceted challenges, in a classic example of technology outpacing regulatory reforms. The issues faced demanded new regulatory, commercial and technical pathways. The Knowledge Sharing Report released today stands to disseminate these learnings, to benefit the broader sector in the future development of hybrid systems.

These learnings highlight that while there is a potentially significant opportunity to retrofit batteries to existing renewable projects to better utilize the sunk cost from network connection infrastructure and expand the options to these projects in managing evolving market risks, the process of executing such arrangement is complex (with more complexity today than in 2017). For the retrofit model to gain traction, a more seamless retrofit connection process is required that removes barriers to entry by preserving the technical status of the existing generator in recognition of the utility that batteries provide to the system.

As large-scale solar and wind continue to cement their place as the cheapest source of electricity in Australia and globally, with speed to market advantages over conventional power plants, the use of batteries and other storage technologies will play an increasingly important role in their continued deployment at pace and scale. As a sector, we need to identify the most efficient regulatory, physical and commercial solutions to achieve this.

During the high temperature and demand events in Victoria in January 2019, the Gannawara Solar Farm and GESS worked in an integrated manner in very trying climatic conditions (that will only increase in frequency) to provide electricity when it was most needed by Victorian consumers. The timing of the release of solar power was managed by the battery to coincide with the highest demand periods and demonstrated how the combination of renewables and batteries can provide reliable on-demand power at a time when conventional generators were vulnerable to failure.

Edify will continue to play a market-leading role in pursuit of this vision by bringing into operation a portfolio of renewable energy and storage projects, creating dispatchable power stations. It is our ongoing obsession to bring to life sustainable, reliable and affordable energy to Australian electricity consumers. We aim to deliver many more projects like GESS and will continue the steadfast march towards a responsible, renewable energy future.

A copy of the GESS Knowledge Sharing report can be found here.

Source: Edify Energy


AltEnergy Industry Directory

As a subscriber you may have received from us last week email advice about the launch of our new product, the AltEnergy Industry Directory (AEID). We are pleased to note that already a number of companies have registered to be in the AEID, which will be launched in November. The AEID gathers together industry contacts in one convenient, searchable online directory for people who are seeking specific suppliers, trades and services, and provides a platform for businesses to connect with other industry participants. More details, including how to make a listing for your company, are provided here on our FAQ webpage



Silverleaf Solar Farm

The NSW Department of Planning & Environment has placed on exhibition Engie’s proposed Silverleaf Solar Farm in northern NSW.

The proposal is to construct and operate a 120 MW solar farm about four kilometres north of Narrabri with the following components:

- Solar arrays consisting of about 440,000 single‐axis tracking panels up to four metres in height, supported by about 5,150 tracker units.

- Construction of a transmission corridor, supporting 132 kV power lines, connecting the proposal site to the existing TransGrid substation located on Stoney Creek Road.

- Inverter and transformer stations evenly distributed across the site, with onsite cabling and electrical connections between solar arrays and panel inverters.

- Internal solar farm substation.

- Cables and trenches.

- Internal access tracks including car parking areas.

- Operational and maintenance office including staff amenities block.

- Perimeter security fencing.

- Landscaping around the perimeter of the site where required.

Subject to planning and environmental approvals, the construction of the proposal is expected to take between nine and 12 months.

Although not included as part of the proposal at present, the proposal may be modified in the future to include battery storage.


Kanowna Solar Farm switched on

20 September

One of the smartest solar projects in the country has been officially switched on today with Northern Tablelands MP and Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall opening the Kanowna Solar Farm, west of Moree.

Mr Marshall said the 9-megawatt solar farm at Bullarah, 95 kilometres west of Moree, was constructed by Uralla-based company Meralli Solar and marked a positive step towards strengthening the region’s renewables power supply.

“This solar farm is renewable energy at its absolute cutting edge and represents what the future could possibly be like right across rural and remote NSW,” Mr Marshall said.

“Due to the farms isolated location engineers have pushed the boundaries when it comes to creating new ways to store solar power and connect to the grid.

“Meralli Solar has pioneered a design and build more efficient than other manufacturers and has used innovative DC technology to maximise output and battery storage, so they are able to send power to the local grid at times of peak demand.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to attend today’s opening and experience first-hand what the future of solar energy in our region looks like.

“The farm’s almost 28,000 solar panels cover an area of almost 7 hectares, generating electricity and valuable income for the landholders, who have intelligently diversified their farming operations with this development.”

Mr Marshall said it was fantastic to see local companies like Meralli Solar pushing the boundaries and looking for new ways to keep our lights on.

“Every region should play to its strengths, and while some parts of the State help provide traditional base load power, ours is leading the way with more and more renewables projects from east to west,” Mr Marshall said.

“As a region, we can very soon enjoy the reputation as being a net-exporter of energy and turning around decades of history when we relied on other parts of the State for our power.

“I congratulate Morelli Solar on its drive to try and address some of the fundamental issues facing renewable energy companies in rural areas and it’s great to see these innovations taking place in in our region.”

Source: Adam Marshall MP


Tailem Bend Solar Project approved for self-forecast generation by the Australian Energy Market Operator

23 September

Vena Energy, one of Asia-Pacific’s leading independent power producers, announced today that the 95-megawatt (MW) Tailem Bend Solar Project in Southern Australia has been granted approval for self-forecast generation by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

The approval was granted after an eight-week assessment period by AEMO, making Tailem Bend the first semi-dispatched renewable energy project in the National Electricity Market in Australia to switch from AEMO’s forecasting tool to the self-forecasting model.

“Self-forecasting has the potential to garner significant benefits to the wider management and operation of the market and renewable industry,” said Anil Nangia, Managing Director, Vena Energy Australia.

“This includes greater industry capability and responsibility to the communities being serviced by renewable generation, improved system security and stability, reduced Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) costs of the generators, and more efficient market outcomes”.

The Tailem Bend Solar Project achieved its commercial operate date in April this year. Vena engaged a forecasting provider Proa Analytics to install the necessary hardware and software, including on-site equipment such as sky cameras and pyranometers, that would pave the way for self-forecast generation. The installation was completed by mid-June, and Proa Analytics was able to start submitting generation forecasts on behalf of Vena Energy for the Tailem Bend Solar Project in July.

Proa Analytics Managing Director Matthew Jeppesen stated that “We believe that self-forecasting for renewable generation is a significant step forward for the Australian energy industry and are delighted that Tailem Bend Solar Project is the first to achieve this milestone.”

The Tailem Bend Solar Project is one of the largest in Southern Australia, capable of generating 200-gigawatt-hours of renewable energy per year, which is able to meet the annual electricity demands of up to 40,000 homes. Vena Energy is progressing over 2,400MW of renewable energy projects across the country including Tailem Bend Solar Project Stage 2, and a Tailem Bend Battery Energy Storage Project.

Source: Vena Energy


CEFC and NFF back ready-made clean energy solutions for Australian farmers

23 September

In an Australian first, the CEFC and the National Farmers Federation (NFF) have collaborated to back ready-made clean energy solutions for Australian farmers, with the twin goals of increasing on-farm efficiency and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

In a practical new guide for Australia’s 85,000 farming enterprises, the CEFC and the NFF have identified 51 opportunities where farmers can reduce their energy bills by improving energy efficiency and switching to renewables.

The investment commitments start at under $10,000, making them cost effective at a time of farm stress and drought.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “We are delighted to work with the National Farmers’ Federation in developing this important guide for Australia’s farmers, who have a well-deserved reputation for innovation and land care. The solutions can help farming businesses better manage their energy costs, increase their efficiency and lower their carbon emissions.

“Already more than 1,100 agriculture projects are drawing on $260 million in CEFC finance to invest in solar PV, lower emissions farm equipment, energy efficient machinery upgrades and biomass energy-from-waste.

“This guide is another exciting way we are bringing the substantial benefits of one of our newest industries, clean energy, to one of our most established, agriculture.”

NFF CEO Tony Mahar said: “Together with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, we aim to present forward-looking solutions to help Australian farmers manage rising energy costs.

“This guide collates information on proven and emerging technologies. It establishes how farmers can reduce their energy consumption and lower emissions, using realistic cost estimates.

“Clean energy leads to greater efficiencies and productivity, and an overall lower emissions profile for the agribusiness sector. We believe this guide will help Australian farmers lower their energy bills, reduce their emissions footprint and ultimately, be more productive and competitive.”

The potential energy efficiency technologies range from variable speed drives and smart controls to best-in-class tractors and refrigeration equipment. Renewable energy solutions include increasingly cost-effective solar PV as well as on-farm microgrids, which are particularly relevant in remote areas or where network connections are expensive.

The guide – Transforming Australian Agriculture with Clean Energy – draws on the work of the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Agricultural Engineering.

While energy consumption patterns vary across farming enterprises and production systems, the guide finds that there are significant opportunities for farm operations to immediately reduce energy consumption as well as lower energy related emissions. The challenge for the sector is to understand the available options, the scale of the potential investment and the potential emissions savings.

The guide sets out seven steps for farmers to embrace clean energy. Presented in an easy-to-read dashboard format, the 51 technology solutions include:

  • Simple improvements to irrigation, heating, cooling and vehicle fuel efficiency – typically requiring an investment of $5,000 or less
  • New strategies to generate and store energy such as small-scale wind, solar PV and hydroelectric systems – typically requiring an investment of up to $25,000
  • Emerging technologies such as microgrids, biomass generation, precision application and digital sensors, robots and drones which have the potential to revolutionise farming practice.

You can read the full report on the CEFC website.

Source: CEFC


Proa delivers first solar farm self-forecast approved by Australian Energy Market Operator

23 September

Proa is now delivering the first solar farm self-forecast to be approved by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) for dispatch of the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Proa’s solar self-forecasts for the 95 MW Tailem Bend Solar Project in South Australia, made in partnership with Vena Energy Australia, owner and operator of the solar farm, are the first to be accepted into AEMO’s centralised dispatch process that orchestrates power generation across southern and eastern Australia.

“Proa is proud to be the first to pass AEMO’s rigorous assessment for forecast accuracy and reliability. This achievement demonstrates Proa’s quality and innovation,”, said Dr. Victor Depoorter, Proa’s Technical Director. “Providing more accurate forecasts of solar and wind generation means that all other assets across the NEM are used more efficiently. This enhances system security, reduces electricity prices and reduces emissions. The first self-forecast provided by a renewable generator is a significant milestone for Australia’s energy industry.”

“Solar farms themselves strongly benefit from providing self-forecasts through improved operations and reduced FCAS costs.”

The ability for solar and wind farms to submit self-forecasts for NEM dispatch was made possible through a partnership between the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and AEMO. Previously, solar and wind forecasts were only made by AEMO itself. Proa also leads a 2 year ARENA funded project to demonstrate its new solar forecasting technology at three other solar farms: Kidston and Oakey 1 in Queensland and Bannerton in Victoria, with $728k ARENA funding and total project budget of $1.4M.

Victor Depoorter said: “Proa also gratefully acknowledges our partner Vena Energy Australia. Companies like Vena Energy are leading the clean energy transition, and on innovative projects such as this are working make that transition faster and more secure for all.”

The Proa Forecasting System integrates geostationary satellite imaging, on-site cloud imaging and other data to provide highly accurate forecasts of solar generation from 5 minutes up to 7 days ahead. Proa is now working to integrate other solar farms into AEMO dispatch, whilst also continuing to deploy and improve its forecasting algorithms.

Source: Proa Analytics


SA Government releases Hydrogen Action Plan to international experts

24 September

Premier Steven Marshall will today release South Australia’s Hydrogen Action Plan, including the commitment of over $1 million towards a landmark study to identify optimal locations for renewable hydrogen production and export infrastructure.

The announcement will be made to hundreds of global experts at the opening of the International Conference on Hydrogen Safety at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The conference, jointly held by the International Association for Hydrogen Safety and the South Australian Government, is the leading global event on hydrogen safety, bringing together the best and brightest minds in hydrogen.

Premier Marshall said the export of hydrogen presents significant economic opportunity for South Australia.

“The Liberal Government is ambitious for South Australia, and we are focused on achieving a step-change in our State’s economic growth,” said the Premier.

“We welcome new industries that build on our natural advantages, such as hydrogen, and believe that it fits well into our state’s burgeoning enterprise culture and start-up sector.

“This initiative will drive the export of hydrogen from South Australia both interstate and overseas, bolstering our economy, and presenting future job opportunities.

Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the plan builds upon the state’s leading role in hydrogen and renewable energy.

“This initiative fits in perfectly with our plan to help deliver more reliable, more affordable and cleaner energy for our state,” said the Minister.

“Our Government is also drafting key chapters of the National Hydrogen Strategy on behalf of COAG Energy Council with Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.

“South Australia is also a member of the Japan based Green Ammonia Consortium.

“It’s likely that nowhere else in the world is as well positioned as South Australia to produce, consume and export 100% green hydrogen.

“Some of our longest-standing and closest trading partners are signalling that they will need hydrogen to make their energy transitions over coming decades, and we want to make the most of that growth opportunity by becoming a hub for the export of renewable energy.

The Hydrogen Action plan sets out twenty key actions across five key areas to help scale-up renewable hydrogen production for export and domestic consumption, and contribute to the South Australian Growth State Plan being developed by the Marshall Liberal Government.

It will help underpin a safe and secure export sector, as well as accelerate hydrogen into the South Australian domestic economic.

A copy of the Action Plan is available at

Source: SA Government


Federation asset management to become largest shareholder in Windlab

24 September

Federation Asset Management today announced that it has agreed to acquire an 18.4 per cent interest in Windlab Limited.

Windlab is a publicly listed wind energy development company with operations across Australia, Southern Africa and North America totalling over 7,500MW of potential capacity across over 50 projects.

Head of Federation Renewable Energy, Stephen Panizza said that Windlab possesses an enviable track record, world-leading technologies and a significant development portfolio.

“Federation intends to provide the support required to bring Windlab’s exciting stable of projects to fruition. We look forward to collaborating with the company to assist it to achieve its full potential,” Mr Panizza said.

Source: Federation Asset Management


Macquarie announces commitments to mobilise climate finance

25 September

- Macquarie joins leading financial services firms and governments at the UN Climate Action Summit to launch new climate finance reports and commitments

- Macquarie plans to develop a 20 GW pipeline of renewable energy projects, including 4 GW in emerging markets

- Final close approaching on a $A1 billion agriculture fund targeting improvements in on-farm energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions

- Plans to extend energy and green impact reporting on assets and projects

This week, during the United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit in New York, Macquarie Group (Macquarie) joined other public and private organisations to launch two landmark reports, on the low carbon transition and on climate adaptation, and announced a series of new commitments.

Supporting global initiatives

The Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI) was established in January 2019 by Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, bringing together the Chief Executives of Allianz, Axa, Enel, HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Macquarie with the CIO of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), to consider how to mobilize and scale private capital for climate solutions. CFLI members contributed to the report and made a series of group commitments, including a collective commitment to deploy $US20 billion of emerging market climate finance by 2025, and a new partnership to work more closely with publicly funded development finance institutions.

The Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) was established by Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, World Bank and is guided by over 30 commissioners from OECD and non-OECD governments and the private sector, including Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake. Its focus is on helping investors, government officials and other stakeholders gain a better understanding of the current and future resilience challenges and accelerating climate adaptation action in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture and supply chains.

Macquarie has drawn on its experience as a world leader in green finance and infrastructure, and its growing role as a developer of renewable energy projects, to support these two global initiatives.

A commitment to develop 20GW pipeline of new renewable energy projects

Speaking during the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Ms. Wikramanayake outlined Macquarie’s intention to develop a pipeline of 20 GW of new renewable energy projects over the next five years through its Green Investment Group (GIG). Around a fifth of these projects are expected to be in non-OECD emerging market countries where climate finance flows have historically been weaker. Many of these projects are expected to be backed by power purchase agreements arranged by GIG with corporate clients. This follows Macquarie raising $A1 billion of share capital for investment through an institutional placement in August 2019, following an active period of investment in renewables projects, alongside other sectors.

As part of the CFLI, Macquarie will work to support emerging market countries to create conditions conducive to greater private investment, including in new partnerships with public finance bodies such as Development Finance Institutions and through the development of new green banks. GIG has announced it is working alongside the UN Green Climate Fund to support the Government of Mongolia in developing its own green bank, the Mongolian Green Finance Corporation. GIG is exploring opportunities to extend this green bank advisory offering to other countries. Macquarie is also accredited by the UN Green Climate Fund to deploy concessional finance into climate mitigation and adaptation projects in emerging markets.

Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer said: “I’m delighted that our Macquarie teams have been able to contribute to these important United Nations initiatives on climate mitigation and adaptation. Over the last decade we have played a leading role in facilitating the shift towards renewables, with a particular focus on trying to address the various challenges that remain to full transition, including the need for a stronger pipeline of projects and integrating these with energy grids.  We are increasingly broadening our focus by seeking new solutions to emissions reduction across agriculture, waste and real estate and working to ensure our infrastructure investments are more climate resilient.”

Strengthening our approach to energy and green impact reporting

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), the world’s largest infrastructure manager, with $A120.2 billion of equity under management, has also announced its intention to introduce carbon and energy reporting for its fund portfolio companies. These metrics will enable MIRA to make better investment and asset management decisions and, over time, set future targets for the businesses within each fund portfolio to achieve a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

GIG today announced a ground-breaking new initiative to increase the availability of standardised, climate-related data. In partnership with BloombergNEF (BNEF) GIG’s pioneering Carbon Score methodology will be combined with BNEF’s market-leading renewable energy project data to build a tool to assess the green impact of over 40,000 wind and solar assets globally, 60% of consented projects.

Supporting energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction in agriculture and real estate

MIRA is also approaching final close of $A1 billion on its most recent agricultural fund, which has a mandate to target improved on-farm energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions through sustainable farm management practices. Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is an investor in the fund and is working with MIRA and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), a world-leading scientific institution, to develop an emissions reduction benchmarking model to be shared with the broader farming sector. The model will enable emissions intensity targets to be established that are consistent with Science Based Targets, a global industry program initiated after the COP21 Paris Agreement.

Macquarie also announced that it will become a member of RE100, a global corporate leadership initiative bringing together businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity and will source all of the energy supplying its premises and data centres from renewable sources by 2025. Consistent with the dedicated power purchase agreements it has created for clients, Macquarie will seek to develop projects to supply the green energy for its new Sydney headquarters and Melbourne office. Macquarie has been carbon neutral in sourcing its energy supply since 2010 through the purchase of carbon credits.

Macquarie has a long track record of investing in renewable energy projects. Since 2010, Macquarie and the Green Investment Group, which was acquired in 2017, has helped finance more than 22 GW of generation capacity in onshore wind, offshore wind, solar, thermal, hydro, waste-to-energy, storage and energy management projects, investing or arranging over $A8 billion in FY19 in projects around the world. In 2019, Macquarie was accredited by the Green Climate Fund. GIG continues to support the UK Government in a joint venture to invest in transformational projects across India and Africa. In 2018 Macquarie launched a £500 million Green Loan, the first of its kind in the world.

Source: Macquarie Group


Installation of Identiflight technology complete at Cattle Hill Wind Farm

25 September

Goldwind Australia and IdentiFlight today announced installation of the IdentiFlight technology is complete and the technology is ready for the learning period at Cattle Hill Wind Farm in the Central Highlands of Tasmania.

IdentiFlight’s tower-mounted optical units are designed to detect flying objects and then use algorithms to identify them as eagles. If an eagle’s speed and flight path indicate a risk of collision with a wind turbine, a signal is sent to shut down the specific wind turbine.

Sixteen IdentiFlight towers and the IdentiFlight base station have been installed at the project site. Once the wind farm is operational, the location of the IdentiFlight towers will allow them to shut down any of the forty-eight Goldwind turbines as necessary. Thirteen of the forty-eight Goldwind turbines have been installed at the project site to date.

Tom Hiester, President of IdentiFlight International explained, “The IdentiFlight team recently completed installation, testing and calibration of the IdentiFlight units covering the Cattle Hill Wind Farm site. Through artificial intelligence and machine learning during the turbine commissioning period, the IdentiFlight technology will learn to become highly proficient at identifying Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles.

“Goldwind and IdentiFlight have forged the working relationship needed to successfully implement such a sophisticated machine vision system over 10,000 kilometres away. As with all artificial intelligence systems, the more we see around the world, the better the system gets.”

John Titchen, Goldwind Managing Director, said this is the first installation of its kind in Australia.

“We’re very pleased to partner with the IdentiFlight team as the first wind farm in Australia to trial this newly available innovative eagle monitoring and detection technology. The system is one of the project’s key initiatives to mitigate Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle impacts and we look forward to sharing the results of this Australian trial following the wind farm becoming operational.”

Construction of the project is progressing on many work fronts, with approximately one hundred and fifty staff working on site. Installations of Goldwind turbines are ongoing with two main cranes currently on site. Commissioning of turbines will commence shortly. Construction of the wind farm is planned for completion by the end of 2019. Once operational, Cattle Hill Wind Farm will produce enough clean energy to power the equivalent of approximately 63,500 Tasmanian homes.

Source: Goldwind Australia


Delivering the grid of the future

26 September

Integrating distributed energy resources for the grid of the future: Economic regulatory framework review 2019

Rooftop solar penetration has reached the point where a choice needs to be made between distribution networks spending billions on new substations and poles and wires to cope – or start delivering the grid of the future so consumers aren’t landed with unnecessary costs.

In a new report out today the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has called on distribution network businesses to lead implementation of major reforms urgently to open the way for renewable energy and avoid the need for significant new network investment.

The report, Integrating distributed energy resources for the grid of the future, was published as part of the AEMC’s 2019 Economic regulatory framework review.

Releasing the report AEMC Chairman John Pierce said networks were increasingly cutting solar PV flows off from the grid because of the power system’s inability to connect new technologies.

“We need electricity networks to become trading platforms where consumers are the drivers of change,” Mr Pierce said.

“We are already seeing more take-up of distributed energy resources like batteries, electric vehicles and smart appliances. They can smooth peak demand on the grid and help stabilise the power system – making the most of all the energy in the system, wherever it’s produced or stored.

“A grid-enabled trading platform will open up a whole new world of opportunities for households and businesses – providing payments for services like frequency control and network support to make the power system stronger and enable higher levels of domestic demand response.

“But escalating penetration of rooftop solar; industry-wide failure to comprehensively introduce cost-reflective customer reward pricing; lack of network visibility of low voltage network constraints; and inadequate technical network standards and compliance; are combining to reduce system security and efficiency,” Mr Pierce said.

The AEMC distributed energy resources blueprint identifies initiatives that can be implemented starting immediately and sharpens focus on reforms already underway that need to pick up speed. There are 10 key actions to deliver distribution networks that will work for the future through an integrated program with all the market bodies and the Energy Security Board.

“There are serious choices to be made. To keep building traditional infrastructure and passing on those costs to consumers or get on with the job of implementing reforms to increase access to the network for new solar connections; to improve reliability and security while that happens; and to avoid gold-plating,” Mr Pierce said.

“Consumers are already doing their part and investing in their own rooftop energy generation but distribution networks are not moving quickly enough to realise the value of those investments,” Mr Pierce said.

“Where new rules are required to accelerate change we will push ahead with proposals for new distribution network pricing, access and connection arrangements if proponents don’t start that process themselves by early next year. We won’t stand by and allow the current situation to continue.

“Failure to act now would mean either fewer people are able to export solar to the grid, or all consumers will pay more to build new substations and poles and wires that are rarely needed.”

The AEMC’s Grid of the future program identifies implementation pathways to make distribution networks fit for the future. These include:

- Distribution networks and the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to focus on implementing cost-reflective network tariffs which reward customers who have invested in solar PV for using and storing electricity in ways that help the grid work most efficiently. The need for costly augmentation of the grid is reduced by making sure price incentives encourage consumers to export their excess energy back to the grid when it is most valuable. Networks and retailers have been able to do this since new rules were made in 2014. By keeping flat tariffs in place they are failing to give consumers the incentive to charge batteries or electric vehicles at times that reduce both energy bills and load on the grid.

- Distribution networks to improve visibility of loads and voltages on low voltage distribution networks (between homes and substations) so existing and future constraints can be identified and addressed. The AEMC has found distribution networks have very limited information on real time loads and voltages downstream of the zone substations, making it difficult to determine where local constraints exist or where they are likely to develop in the future. This in turn makes it hard for network businesses to find optimal solutions for alleviating these constraints.

- Rule change requests from distribution networks or other stakeholders in relation to possible improvements in managing network operational information and system security supports. We are also collaborating with St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria and the DEIP access and pricing working group to reform network charging arrangements in light of the changing relationship between consumers and the power system. Instead of paying only for energy consumed, customers would pay for access to the services they need through the network and be rewarded where they can provide services back to the grid. The total revenue networks can earn would continue to be regulated, with lower total network costs.

- Market bodies (AEMC, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), AER) with Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), consumer groups or Standards Australia to accelerate developing technical standards and information provision to support the integration of solar and other distributed energy in the grid. This includes:

- developing new AER guidelines for the evaluation of revenue proposals from distribution businesses for projects to better integrate distributed energy resources

- monitoring the roll out of smart meters, including a review into competition in metering arrangements. Smart meters provide more granular data that helps with managing energy use and the operation of distributed energy resources.

- identifying distribution businesses’ future data requirements, including additional meter data that should be collected

- developing a standard ’value of customer export’ methodology to help identify where building more network capacity will provide greater overall benefits for consumers

- improving understanding of the information customers need about their distributed energy resources

- coordinating work across industry on the technical aspects of integrating distributed energy resources.

- Jurisdictional governments and safety regulators to develop mechanisms to improve distributed energy resources’ compliance with technical standards.

“It is very costly to invest in generation and network infrastructure when it is only used for a few hours each year to service peak demand.

"By more efficiently using the energy produced by distributed energy resources, and by encouraging consumption and storage of energy when it is cheapest, both power bills and demand on the electricity network can be reduced,” said Mr Pierce.

“That’s why the ability for customers to choose to reduce demand in a manner that is suitable to them is such an effective part of the energy market’s toolkit,” said Mr Pierce.

The AEMC will monitor progress on our recommendations as part of our annual review of the economic regulatory framework.

Updates will be available on our Grid of the future microsite.

This review is part of the AEMC’s Consumer action plan.

Source: AEMC



CopperString Transmission Line Project

CuString Pty Ltd has submitted to the federal Department of the Environment & Energy a Notification of Variation to Proposal for its CopperString Townsville to Mt Isa transmission line project in North Queensland. Two proposals that CopperString considers important to be integrated into the Project and evaluated within the EIS and approvals processes have been received since the EPBC Referral Decision on 17 May 2019. 

  1. The option to add a spur line to connect the Kennedy Renewable Energy Project (including the

Kennedy Wind and Solar developments) into the CopperString Project; and

  1. An option to adjust the eastern connection point with the electricity network to an area (Lansdown) identified with the Townsville City Council Planning scheme as an industrial and energy park.

In both cases CopperString considers that these changes will result in a more robust project, and importantly provide support for the policies and programs of the Queensland Government through enabling the development of renewable energy resources as well as supporting the Townsville City Council Planning Scheme. Both the proponents of the Kennedy Energy Project and Townsville City Council have indicated support for these amendments.

CopperString requests that the connection to the Kennedy Renewable Energy Project and the shift in proposed eastern connection point at Lansdown be included as part of the project ‘action’ and considered during the EIS and approvals process.

Source: CuString Pty Ltd


Australia’s clean energy investment outlook

Executive summary

After a record breaking two years of investment in large-scale wind and solar projects, the pace of projects reaching financial close has slowed dramatically over the past two quarters.

The Clean Energy Regulator announced this month that the large-scale 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) has now been met. What happens next is unclear.

Quarterly investment commitments in new renewable energy projects reached a high of over 4500 MW in late 2018, but has since collapsed to less than 800MW in each of the first two quarters of 2019.

There has been a rapid increase in the number of utility-scale batteries being committed across Australia, combined with a proliferation of pumped hydro projects being investigated. There is no shortage of potential from utility scale batteries or pumped hydro to support the continued deployment of variable renewable energy projects. These storage projects can play a significant role to complement and support the continued deployment of renewable energy in a way that delivers a more resilient, affordable and reliable energy system.

However a lack of federal energy policy certainty and combination of a range of regulatory challenges mean that investment confidence in large-scale renewable energy and the accompanying energy storage is fragile. As Australia’s coal fired generation continues to close, there is a clear need for policy and regulatory reform to support the continued deployment of renewable energy and energy storage that will continue to reduce Australia’s energy sector carbon emissions, secure system reliability and lower energy prices.

The full report is available here.

Source: Clean Energy Council


Vestas-Marand wind turbine assembly facility in Geelong commences production

26 September

Together with Marand Precision Engineering (Marand), Vestas is proud to announce a significant milestone for their new wind turbine assembly facility in Geelong. The facility has commenced production of 4MW Drivetrains and Hubs for two projects awarded under the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction.

Located at the former Ford Motor manufacturing site on the Princes Highway in Geelong, the facility is part of the Vestas Renewable Energy Hub (the Hub), a multi-disciplinary industry development initiative designed to support the Victorian Renewable Energy Target and Victoria’s New Energy Technologies strategy.

The products produced and tested at the facility are bound for the Dundonnell Wind Farm and Berrybank Wind Farm in Western Victoria.

“I am pleased to see our Geelong facility commence production on schedule. This milestone could not have been achieved without the skills and experience of our local manufacturing service provider Marand,” said Peter Cowling, Head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand, “Vestas is extremely proud to be generating local business and job opportunities, providing new skills in the local work force and building Geelong as Australia’s new renewable energy hub.”

“Marand is happy to celebrate this important milestone with Vestas,” said Marand CEO Rohan Stocker. “We are leveraging our extensive manufacturing expertise and business systems, as well as growing our capability in the wind turbine assembly area.”

Dundonnell Wind Farm owner Tilt Renewables and Berrybank Wind Farm project developer/owner Global Power Generation (GPG) (the international electricity generation subsidiary of Naturgy Energy Group) welcomed the announcement.

“As one of the largest beneficiaries of the new Turbine Assembly Facility, we are very pleased to contribute to the creation of new manufacturing jobs, as well as training opportunities for people in the City of Geelong and south-west Victoria,” said Deion Campbell, Chief Executive of Tilt Renewables.

“It is a honor for Global Power Generation (GPG) to be part of this challenging opportunity to contribute to the Victorian industry capability in Wind Turbine Technology through our partnership with Vestas for the Berrybank Wind Farm project¨, said David Santo Tomás, Projects Director of GPG Australia.

In addition to the wind turbine assembly facility, the Hub also includes four other initiatives:

  1. Establishing the Western Victorian Service Support Centre to service the growing Vestas turbine fleet in Western Victoria;
  2. Entering into a multi-year partnership with Federation University’s Ballarat Renewable Training Centre to deliver training and employment opportunities for wind turbine technicians;
  3. Establishing the Vestas Australian Main Component Logistics Centre in Geelong, a specialist facility for the largest turbine spare parts;
  4. Forming a partnership with Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus to research the next generation carbon fibre to use in making wind turbine blades longer, stronger and more productive.

Source: Vestas


Have your say on Snowy 2.0 Main Works

26 September

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is calling for community feedback on the Snowy 2.0 Main Works proposed for the Snowy 2.0 project.

Executive Director of Resource Assessments, David Kitto, said community input is a vital part of the planning process and encouraged everyone to have their say on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposal.

“If approved, the Snowy 2.0 Main Works would involve the construction of an underground power station with a generating capacity of around 2,000 megawatts and approximately 27km of power waterways linking the existing Tantangara and Talbingo Reservoirs.

“It could increase the generation capacity of the existing Snowy Scheme by almost 50 per cent and provide 350,000 megawatt hours of large-scale storage capacity for the National Energy Market.

“Our role is to assess the infrastructure application and work towards the best outcome for the community and State of NSW, in consultation with all stakeholders.

“We appreciate the level of community interest in this project, and we want to give the community sufficient time to have their say. This is why we are exhibiting the EIS for the project for six weeks, which is two weeks longer than the normal exhibition period,” Mr. Kitto said.

The Department is also holding a public information session to assist the community to better understand the assessment process and to listen to the community’s views on the project:

Location: Monaro Car Clubhouse, 11 Bolaro Street Cooma NSW 2630

Date: Thursday 17 October 2019

Time: From 6pm to 8pm.

After exhibition closes, the Department will consider all community submissions received, along with feedback from other government agencies and councils, as part of its rigorous assessment process.

A separate application for the development of a Segment Factory in Polo Flat to provide concrete tunnel linings for the Main Works will also be submitted by Snowy Hydro in the coming months.

An application to connect the proposed underground power station with the national electricity grid will be submitted separately by TransGrid in early 2020.

Each application requires a separate approval and an EIS, which will be publicly exhibited to provide the community an opportunity to comment on each stage.

The community is invited to have their say on the Snowy 2.0 Main Works by Wednesday 6 November on the Department’s Major Projects website.

Source: NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment


National Smart Energy Summit

26 September

The Smart Energy Council is pleased to announce the first-ever National Smart Energy Summit will take place in Sydney on 10th December 2019.

The Summit will be a significant national event, bringing together business leaders, policy makers, academics and civil society leaders to highlight the investment decisions being made by corporate Australia to reduce their emissions and cut power bills.

The Summit will be an opportunity to hear about a vision for Australia’s future that goes beyond 100% renewables, including building big renewable energy infrastructure projects and a new hydrogen economy than can power north and south-east Asia.

John Grimes, CEO Smart Energy Council said “Given the unprecedented level of investment being made by corporate Australia in renewables, the Summit will be the perfect opportunity to explore the drivers underpinning investment decisions and to hear from the businesses that are making it happen.

The Summit will also explore the real potential for Australia to become a renewable energy exporting powerhouse and what needs to be done to bring that vision forward.”

The National Smart Energy Summit will be held at The Hilton in Sydney with tickets expected to go fast.

The NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has been invited to open the Summit. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr Zhengrong Shi, SunMan
  • Professor Martin Green, UNSW
  • Professor John Hewson, ANU
  • Simon Corbell, Energy Estate

Details of the program and speaker line up are available at:

Source: Smart Energy Council



Batchelor, Manton Dam & Katherine Solar Farms

Following consideration of Eni Australia Limited’s application to vary its generation licence and consideration of the two submissions received, the NT Utilities Commission has approved and executed the variation of Eni Australia Limited’s generation licence, with effect 10 September 2019, in accordance with section 32 of the Electricity Reform Act 2000. The varied licence includes Batchelor Solar Farm and Manton Dam Solar Farm power stations, and a battery energy storage system at the Katherine Solar power station.


Yarra Ranges Solar Farm Key Stakeholder Workshop

The Yarra Ranges Council is holding a Key Stakeholder Workshop to inform and involve participants in the Yarra Ranges Solar Farm feasibility work conducted to date. Yarra Ranges Council has undertaken this exciting feasibility study to explore the potential for large scale solar generation at selected sites within the municipality with the aim of offsetting local emissions, provide for its long-term energy needs, and potentially provide surplus power to partners and the local community. Council is considering the deployment of medium to large-scale solar photovoltaic generation on several local sites including former landfill.

A consortium led by Enhar, with support from the Australian Energy Foundation, was commissioned by Council to undertake a feasibility study and engage key local stakeholders.

The workshop was an opportunity for select stakeholders from across the community, local and State government, business and the energy sector, to learn about the key findings of the project to date and to explore opportunities for local participation presented by the proposed solar developments.

Earlier this year the council invited tenders from suitably qualified and experienced parties for a Solar Landfill Feasibility Study to conduct a feasibility study and business case analysis to transform current unproductive Council owned or managed land into productive renewable energy generating facilities. The study will need to assess the suitability and viability of establishing solar and other renewable technologies at Council owned or managed sites in Coldstream, Healesville, Wesburn and Lysterfield.

Source: Yarra Ranges Shire Council


Have your say: Making it simpler to install cost saving energy storage

26 September

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is proposing changes that would make it easier to install cost-saving electricity storage and solar energy systems.

The community is invited to have their say on proposed changes which would allow residents and businesses to install electricity storage technologies such as batteries.

The changes would also allow residential or commercial solar development, and associated storage infrastructure, to be considered as exempt developments, potentially removing the need to submit a development application to council. Previously exempt development was limited to 10kw solar energy systems.

Executive Director of Planning Policy Luke Walton said there is currently no clear approval pathway for electricity storage infrastructure.

“Electricity storage technologies, such as utility and residential batteries, are becoming more efficient and affordable and their take-up is fundamental to our energy future.

“Our planning system needs to keep pace with changing technology and community expectations. If we can make it easier for people to install cost-saving electricity infrastructure then we should do so.”

Mr Walton said the aim is to provide a modern, secure and affordable energy system.

“Electricity storage and larger, more efficient residential and commercial solar energy infrastructure are critical if we are to properly prepare for a future that relies increasingly on renewable energy.”

For more information and to have your say on the proposed changes please visit our Draft Plans and Policies Portal page.

Source: NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment


Vast Solar completes capital raise and wins international award for world-first dispatchable renewable energy technology

26 September

Australian concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) company Vast Solar has recently been awarded the CSP Technology Innovation Prize at the international CSPPLAZA Conference 2019 held in Suzhou, China.  The Company’s world-first modular tower CSP technology uses sodium as the heat transfer fluid to deliver a system that could unlock the huge potential of CSP globally by generating energy at lower cost than coal, gas and other renewable and storage technologies. 

The technology has been proven at Vast Solar’s Pilot Plant in regional Australia, where it has been delivering electricity to the grid since early 2018.  To build upon this world-first achievement, Vast Solar initiated a capital raise in early 2019 to progress development of its 30MW CSP Reference Plant and today it is pleased to announce the completion of this process, with further support gained from existing investors.

CSP, which uses heliostats – mirrors that track the sun in two directions – to concentrate solar radiation onto a receiving tower, is rapidly becoming the preferred means of generating cost-effective dispatchable renewable power in sunny regions.  IRENA projects there will be 633GW of installed CSP by 2050, with utility-scale projects currently under construction in China, Morocco, Chile and the UAE.

Vast Solar’s fundamental innovation has been to combine the advantages of central tower CSP systems with a modular solar array architecture.  The technology combines the best elements of molten salt tower and thermal oil trough systems to achieve very efficient distributed energy collection at high temperatures.

The use of liquid sodium as the heat transfer fluid to transport energy from the receivers to the molten salt storage tanks has enabled the modular design that delivers very high optical efficiencies and excellent thermal performance and control. When built at scale, Vast Solar’s CSP technology will deliver dramatic cost and performance benefits, including in construction and operation, making CSP much more cost effective to build and to operate.

Collecting the award at the conference in Suzhou in front of CSP leaders from around the world, Craig Wood, CEO of Vast Solar, said:

“It is an honour to be recognised at this prestigious ceremony.  Following the success of our pilot project, we are looking forward to commercialising the technology and we welcome international partners that can help us fully realise the potential of this groundbreaking technology.

“Our innovations have delivered world-leading control of HTF temperatures which enables higher operating temperatures and power cycle efficiency, increased energy capture through superior transient ride-through and reduced risk to downstream equipment. 

“In the coming years, we expect Vast Solar’s CSP technology to play a major role in energy developments here in China and around the world.  Like Vast Solar, China is a world leader in CSP and we believe a partnership would be mutually beneficial, as well as advancing the CSP industry more broadly.”

Source: Vast Solar

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