Post 2025 market design for the National Electricity Market (NEM)

22 March

The COAG Energy Council has tasked the Energy Security Board with developing advice on a long-term, fit-for-purpose market framework to support reliability that could apply from the mid-2020s. By the end of 2020, the ESB needs to recommend any changes to the existing market design or recommend an alternative market design to enable the provision of the full range of services to customers necessary to deliver a secure, reliable and lower emissions electricity system at least-cost. Any changes to the existing design or recommendation to adopt a new market design would need to satisfy the National Electricity Objective. This forward work plan was approved by the COAG Energy Council at its December 2018 meeting.

Any significant changes to the electricity market design would need to be well considered, including substantial input from stakeholders and detailed consideration of alternative market designs, and telegraphed well in advance of any change to ensure there is minimal disruption to the forward contract markets for electricity.

If changes are required to deliver a long-term, fit-for-purpose market framework by the mid-2020s, then consideration of any required changes should be concluded by the end of 2020 to enable sufficient time for the market to transition to the new market framework.

Further information regarding the scope of the project, governance arrangements and forward work program can be found here. Any queries should be directed to

Source: COAG Energy Council



Delga Solar Farm

Shell New Energies submitted a referral for its proposed Delga Solar Farm in Woleebee Queensland to the Federal Government’s Department of the Environment & Energy for public comment. The referral is for construction, operation, decommissioning and rehabilitation of a proposed PV solar farm of capacity up to approximately 250 MW within an area of about 652 ha. The proposed solar farm will include; inverters, transformers, battery storage, laydown and administrative buildings, and tie into an existing grid-connected Powerlink substation that is located within the property.

The site has historically been used for cattle grazing and is currently used for grazing purposes as well as containing petroleum related infrastructure including;

  • Coal seam gas (CSG) development wells operated by QGC Pty limited;
  • High pressure gas gathering lines and gas trunklines;
  • Water trunkline;
  • Fibre Optic Cabling; and
  • Overhead 132kV power lines.


Roadmap a valuable first step to NZ’s hydrogen network

22 March

Refining NZ welcomes the publication of the H2 Taranaki Roadmap as a valuable step towards a national hydrogen strategy.

Launched last week by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods, the report outlines a future based on the potential of green Hydrogen in Taranaki for export, for use in industrial processes and to transition jobs beyond oil and gas.

“I commend the Government for progressing work on the opportunities hydrogen presents as New Zealand transitions to a low-carbon economy,” says Refining NZ CEO Mike Fuge.

Refining NZ considers developing New Zealand’s hydrogen infrastructure up and down the country will be critical to achieving the Government’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

“This Taranaki Roadmap is a valuable step towards a network of green hydrogen hubs across the country, including at Marsden Point, “Green hydrogen, produced with zero emissions and using a renewable energy source, has enormous potential for Northland and for greening New Zealand’s overall transport fuel supply. Adding green hydrogen to the refining process would immediately improve the carbon footprint of the fuel products we make,” says Mr Fuge.

Refining NZ is the largest producer of pure hydrogen in the country and is planning a facility capable of generating green hydrogen from solar energy. This new energy source has the potential to power the refining process, fuel the logging trucks that arrive at Northport every two minutes and provide export to Japan or other markets.

“Our aim with this facility is to ensure the skills that our talented engineers, operators and maintenance crew bring to maintaining the refinery can stay in the region and transition to the next generation of renewable energy for New Zealand while generating robust shareholder returns for the next 60 years and beyond,

“Hydrogen can make a significant contribution to our aspirations for a low carbon economy but for that to be meaningful industry and government need to be willing and able to build a network of hubs in Taranaki, in Northland and elsewhere as soon as we can, “The H2 Taranaki Roadmap offers an important model for transition to a low carbon economy, a model that should be central to regional growth plans throughout the country,” says Mr Fuge.

Source: Refining NZ


Element 25 to trial making metal using renewable energy

26 March


- Pilot studies for Intermittent Dynamic Electrowinning using renewable energy

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $490,000 in funding to mining and metals company Element 25 Limited (E25) to examine the viability of using renewable energy in their metal production process.

In a first-of-a-kind project, E25 will test the extent to which renewable energy solutions such as wind and solar could be used to power the electrowinning processes in the production of Electrolytic Manganese Metal (EMM) without reducing the quality of the product.

Electrowinning is an upgrading process where an electric current is passed through a metal salt solution causing the metal to be deposited in an electroplating process.

Manganese is used in the creation of specialty steel but also can be used in the creation of lithium ion batteries.

The process traditionally relies on grid connected power sources that can provide a steady and continuous flow of energy. E25 will investigate the impact on the electrowinning process utilising high levels of variable energy supply from wind and solar, requiring the process to respond dynamically to the changes in generation being output.

The project will involve lab scale tests to assess how EMM responds to variable renewable energy, field studies to collect solar and wind resources and a pilot study to examine how EMM production will respond to actual solar and wind data collected in a full scale test.

The study will be part of E25’s Butcherbird development, Australia’s largest onshore manganese resource to be located 130 km south of Newman, Western Australia. Pre-feasibility studies are being carried out for the project.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project could open up new opportunities for renewable energy integration into the metals processing and export markets.

“The resource processing sector is an area in which there is currently low penetration of renewables. ARENA is helping to grow the potential of renewables providing viable alternatives to traditional methods through funding the demonstration of integrating new and emerging technologies.

“The use of renewables could be expanded to other types of metal processing, increasing the opportunities for Australia to export renewable energy or emission-free resources to the world,” Mr Miller said.

“Australia is currently the third largest producer of manganese ore and if the project shows that renewables are a viable option, it could help to revolutionise the way metals are produced, even creating a new industry in Australia where ore is processed right here using Australia’s low cost renewable energy sources, rather than have the raw product exported and processed offshore using fossil fuel based energy,” he said.

Element 25’s Executive Director Justin Brown said: “Element 25 welcomes ARENA’s involvement in the groundbreaking Butcherbird High Purity Manganese Project. The funding that ARENA has committed will help put Element 25 at the forefront of the integration of renewable energy into the downstream processing of high value ores in Australia.

“Making metals with renewable energy makes sense. If successful, this work will have a significant impact on our project economics, but will also pave the way for other Australian companies to integrate renewable energy into their resource projects to add value right here in Australia,” he said.

Source: ARENA



Playford Utility Battery Project

SIMEC ZEN Energy is seeking to develop a 100MW/100MWh (nominal) Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in the Port Augusta Council Area at Port Paterson, to complement renewable energy generation projects proposed to be development by the company in the Upper Spencer Gulf region.

As a reference to the extensive history of power generation in the region, the development is named the ‘Playford Utility Battery Project’ (PUBP). The PUBP comprises of a number of battery storage structures, along with associated inverters, transformers and other electrical equipment installed on-site and connected to the existing electricity transmission network via ElectraNet’s Davenport substation.


Operations & Maintenance contractors sought for Swan Hill Solar Farm

Impact Investment Group is seeking expressions of interest for an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) contract at the Swan Hill Solar Farm (VIC). IIG is targeting an initial 5-year O&M term with the option for a further 5 years.

The Swan Hill Solar Farm is a 19MWp-capacity plant approximately 2km west of the Swan Hill township. It reached practical completion in mid-July 2018.

The O&M services broadly required include:

  • Daily management and operation of the solar facilities
  • Preventative and corrective maintenance of the plants' various systems, equipment and lands.
  • Remote Monitoring and Control of facility
  • Minor capital works if required
  • Compliance with applicable laws, regulatory approvals, permits and related agreements

Expressions of interest are due by 5pm, 5 April 2018.

The selection timetable and the criteria to be addressed are available here:

For further information, please contact

Rosie Bennett

Asset Manager - Renewable Energy Infrastructure

0425 754 367

IIG is a leading Australian impact investment funds manager and co-investor. Our mission is to shift capital towards investments that blend financial returns with deep social and environmental impact, and to lead by example in using all of our resources to create the world we want to live in. The Swan Hill Solar Fam is one of the seed assets in Impact Investment Group's Solar Asset Fund.

Source: Impact Investment Group


Pirie solar project advances

26 March

- 5 MW solar project has the capacity to power 1,700 homes

- $8 million+ project comprising 17,000 solar panels

- Project on track to be substantially complete this financial year

MPower Group Limited (the Company) is pleased to announce that design and installation work at the Pirie Solar Farm in South Australia is advancing well with the installation of all solar panels now completed. The project is on track to be substantially completed this financial year.

The 5MW project, valued at more than $8 million, comprises approximately 17,000 solar panels and features the latest 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.

Once completed, the solar farm will have the capacity to power up to approximately 1,700 homes.

Renew Power Group Pty Limited, based in Sydney, is the developer and owner of the Pirie Solar Farm.


Chief Executive Officer Nathan Wise commented: “The Pirie Solar Farm will bring a new, dependable and renewable energy source to South Australia, supporting the transition to renewable energy and further boosting the state’s renewable credentials.

“The project demonstrates the continued rise of decentralised power generation and the move away from centralised power stations. MPower’s involvement in this project has sparked interest in future renewable energy projects and we are encouraged by the level of demand.

“We have a growing pipeline of projects in the proposal phase including solar, battery storage and hybrid systems across Australia and the Pacific Islands.”

Source: MPower


Delivering affordable and reliable power

26 March

The Underwriting New Generation Investments program is a key part of the Morrison Government's plan to deliver affordable and reliable power.

The Government received a strong response to the Underwriting New Generation Investment program's Registration of Interest process, with 66 proposals submitted across a range of generation types and states in the National Electricity Market.

The Government has carefully considered the 66 proposals against the program's guidelines and has agreed to a shortlist of 12 projects - six renewable pumped hydro projects, five gas projects and one coal upgrade project.

As recommended by the ACCC, the selection process has been technology neutral, with projects selected for the shortlist representing a range of fuel types.

The projects deliver a balance which includes renewable, affordable and reliable power for families and businesses and ensure we meet our 2030 targets.

The shortlist comprises:

Alinta Energy                                       

East Gippsland, Victoria                   


Alinta Energy                                       

Reeves Plains, South Australia     


Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners                                                                       

Gatton, QLD                                         


APA Group                                           

Dandenong, VIC                                 


Australian Industrial Energy           

Port Kembla, NSW                             


Sunset Power Pty Ltd &
Delta Electricity Pty Ltd                    

Lincoln Gap, South Australia          

Renewable Pumped Hydro 

Rise Renewables                                

Baroota, SA                                          

Renewable Pumped Hydro 

UPC Renewables                               

Armidale, NSW                                   

Renewable Pumped Hydro 

BE Power Solutions                           

Cressbrook Reservoir Crows Nest, QLD 

Renewable Pumped Hydro

Hydro Tasmania:
Battery of the Nation                       


Renewable Pumped Hydro

SIMEC Zen Energy                             

Eyre Peninsula, SA                             

Renewable Pumped Hydro


Lake Macquarie, NSW                      

Coal Upgrade 

The list includes Tasmania's Battery of the Nation project which has been previously announced.

The shortlist represents a combined capacity of 3,818 MW of new generation.

Importantly, the emissions intensity of individual projects was considered when finalising the shortlist. The weighted (by capacity) emissions profile of the shortlist is around 0.27 t CO2-e per MWh, compared to the 2018 NEM average of 0.82 t CO2-e per MWh. This is around one third the emissions intensity of the National Electricity Market and reflects the significant new pumped hydro and low emissions gas projects in the shortlist.

The Government will continue to engage with proponents that have not made the shortlist, but meet the guidelines.

Projects that included generation types that are currently not legal in Australia (such as nuclear) were rejected, and the Government decided not to pursue proposals submitted by generators/retailers that currently hold significant market share, in line with the recommendation by the ACCC.

As an objective of the Underwriting New Generations Investment program, the Government will be targeting a 25 to 30 per cent reduction in wholesale prices in each NEM region by 2021.

Today, the Government is also announcing a new program to address supply and affordability issues specifically for high energy-intensive and trade-exposed customers in North and Central Queensland.

As part of our plan for a stronger economy, the Government will provide $10 million over two years for the program, which will fund a business case that will focus on short and long-term customer energy requirements and future generation opportunities to meet customer needs.

The program will develop a detailed roadmap and identify viable locations for firm generation including coal, gas, pumped hydro, and biomass opportunities, including Collinsville and Gladstone.

The Government will conduct detailed evaluation and feasibility of projects in North and Central Queensland through the Underwriting New Generation Investments program.

These projects include but are not limited to a new HELE coal project in Collinsville, upgrades of existing generators as well as gas and hydro projects.

In addition, the program will focus on:

- Network infrastructure requirements,

- Energy use requirements - specifically the ability for large trade exposed energy users to obtain long term contracts that will allow them to remain competitive,

- Contractual mechanisms,

- Government programs, policies and support options, and

- Jobs, wages and investment impacts of supporting affordable and reliable energy options.

The program is targeted to deliver at least 1000-2000 MW of new on-demand capacity with wholesale costs of below $60/ MWh.

The Government's Underwriting New Generation Investments program is a direct response to Recommendation 4 of the ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry, and is part of our broader policy package delivering a fair deal for all energy users.

The increasing supply challenges in the National Electricity Market as witnessed in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria this January, demonstrates the need for more generation to address significant shortfalls in the market.

The strong response to the underwriting program demonstrates there is no shortage of willingness to invest in Australia's future energy supply.

The Morrison Government is taking action to drive down electricity prices by increasing competition and increasing supply in the market.

What the Morrison Government understands but Labor doesn't, is that we need enough reliable 24/7 baseload power to ensure that the lights come on when you flick the switch - whether you are in Queensland or Victoria. That's why we're stepping in to back new reliable generation.

Further information can be found at

Source: Federal Government


Government funding for power generation risks spooking investment confidence

26 March

Government funding for the extension of a coal-fired power plant in New South Wales would spook private investors in new clean energy generation, the Clean Energy Council said following the announcement of the shortlist of projects under the Morrison Government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the idea of potentially underwriting one of Australia’s oldest, dirtiest and inflexible power plants was clearly at odds with the objective to support more flexible generation and the transition to a clean and smart energy system,” Mr Thornton said.

“Government funding for extending the life of existing coal is at odds with the original recommendation of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and simply serves to spook private investors who have backed renewable energy and storage technology to the tune of more than $20 billion over the last year alone.

“If we want to bring prices down for consumers, we need to create the conditions to encourage new private investment, not discourage them. Extending the life of an existing coal-fired generator would only makes it more difficult to mount the business case for new investment in clean energy.

"The UNGI program is rushed and lacking in transparency, and has the potential to corrode this fragile investment confidence.

Pumped hydro is one of the lowest cost and most flexible forms of new clean generation which can underpin renewable energy. The shortlisting of half a dozen pumped hydro projects is welcome and appropriate in this context.

“A further feasibility study into new coal generation in Queensland is baffling, and an objective feasibility process should again confirm that a new coal plant in the state doesn’t make economic sense. 

“We encourage the Federal Government to focus on long-term market-based energy policy to provide investment confidence and a shift from the current trend of picking winners and distorting the energy market,” he said.

Source: Clean Energy Council


Innovation in electricity networks

27 March

Innovation within electricity networks has become essential in Australia to ensure our 20th century grid is able to deliver power the way consumers of the 21st demand.

Released today at the Great Expectations: The Interactive Grid seminar, the Innovation in the Electricity Network Sector report by Energy Networks Australia highlights the innovations undertaken by energy networks to address the challenges of our evolving energy system.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said integrating renewables into the system was a focus, while grid resilience was being improved at a local and system-wide scale.

“The generation, distribution and consumption of energy is undergoing extensive change, particularly with the increase in distributed energy resources such as household solar and storage,” Mr Dillon said.

“Across Energy Networks Australia member organisations, innovative projects are being undertaken to address the challenges to the grid that are occurring with this transformation.

“Previous Energy Networks Australia research outlined how our policy settings and incentives are discouraging Australian research and development into smarter networks.

“It’s important we progress initiatives such as regulatory sandboxing to ensure our grid evolves to serve customers’ needs.”

Today’s report is a product of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap (ENTR) and highlights a number of case studies detailing innovative projects by networks.

The benefits associated with the transformation of Australia’s power system include:

- direct participation by customers

- accommodating all generation and storage options

- enabling new products, services, and markets

- providing power quality and reliability

- optimising asset utilisation and providing operational efficiency

- anticipating and responding to system disturbances

- operating resiliently and managing environmental impacts.

Source: Energy Networks Australia


Defence invests in first large scale solar array

27 March

Defence has invested $4 million in a new solar power facility at the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station near Geraldton, Western Australia.

The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Defence, said the site is a key component in the Australian Signals Directorate’s architecture defending Australia from global threats.

“It is exciting that we are now producing for the first time solar powered signals intelligence,” Minister Pyne said.

“The facility is the first large scale solar array developed by Defence, which has now increased its expertise in the procurement and installation of such facilities.”

The Hon Melissa Price MP, Minister for the Environment and Member for Durack, said she was delighted to open the 1.2 megawatt solar photovoltaic facility.

“The new solar powered intelligence facility will free up electricity to meet the demands of approximately 400 households in the local community,” Minister Price said.

Source: Federal Government



Berrybank Wind Farm

Global Power Generation’s proposed 302 MW Berrybank Wind Farm in Victoria was declared not a controlled action by the federal Department of the Environment & Energy. The project area covers ~5000 ha in the Western Plains district, and was a successful applicant for the Victorian state government’s VRET scheme auction.


New wind farm a further step to low carbon future

27 March

Mercury has committed to the construction of the first 33 of 60 consented wind turbines at Turitea near Palmerston North, representing a key milestone in New Zealand’s renewable energy development.

Mercury’s Chief Executive, Fraser Whineray, says that current market conditions indicate that new renewable energy capacity is required for New Zealand, and Mercury is pleased to step forward with a wind farm development it has been working towards for 15 years.

The 119MW Turitea wind farm will generate 470 GWh per annum on average, enough electricity to power 210,000 cars. When generation connects to the national grid at Linton, with commissioning expected to begin from late 2020, Turitea will be New Zealand’s third largest wind farm.  It will be the first large-scale generation addition to New Zealand’s capacity since 2014.

“The estimated $256 million project supports the opening up of a further $750 million investment opportunity in wind energy development,” Mr Whineray said.

Transmission and other infrastructure from this project is scaled to support the development of the remaining 27 turbines at Turitea and on the Puketoi range to the east, where Mercury has consents to construct a 53-turbine wind farm.

Turitea and Puketoi are regarded as preeminent among existing opportunities for wind farm development in New Zealand due to a combination of high average wind speeds and proximity to the national grid.

Reaching this important milestone is part of a journey started 15 years ago when Mercury committed to a strategy of adding wind generation to its portfolio of renewable generation assets, Mr Whineray said.

“With this announcement, Mercury has realised the ‘awesome foursome’ of renewables - hydro, geothermal, solar and wind - that enhance our contribution to New Zealand’s green energy future,” Mr Whineray said.

“The Turitea wind farm will contribute to New Zealand’s sustainable, low emissions future, as well as to our country’s energy freedom by making more renewable, kiwi-made electricity available for homes, businesses and vehicles around the country.

“The development of renewable energy projects in provincial New Zealand also helps to support local economies through more jobs and spending, Mr Whineray said. “And, when we break ground for this in a matter of months, it further establishes the Manawatu as New Zealand’s hub for wind energy production. It’s one of the best locations in the world.

“Mercury acknowledges and thanks local councils, landowners and iwi for their engagement through the process of getting to this milestone, and we look forward to working with them and other stakeholders during the construction activity to follow.”

Mercury already generates around 6,800GWh of renewable electricity per annum, approximately 16% of New Zealand’s total electricity generation, from its hydro and geothermal stations located in the central North Island, close to areas of high demand and growth.

It operates solar business Mercury Solar, and has a 60kWp solar array at its Penrose R&D centre.  Mercury also owns 19.99% of Tilt Renewables, which operates and develops wind farms in New Zealand and Australia.

Project details

Mercury has contracted with Vestas-New Zealand Wind Technology Limited, a local subsidiary of Vestas Wind Systems A/S (the world’s largest wind turbine supplier), to construct and maintain the Turitea wind farm.

This arrangement consists of a full engineer, procure and construct (EPC) contract and a long-term service and availability agreement.  Mercury is contracting separately with Electrix Limited and Transpower for the design and construction of the 220kV transmission line and grid connection to Linton.

These transmission assets will cater for generation growth at the site, and the future development of the nearby Puketoi wind farm.

On-site construction is planned to start around August 2019 and the overall cost for the project is estimated to be $256 million. This will be funded from existing debt facilities.

Source: Mercury



Innovative plantation based wind farm for the Valley

28 March

An iconic new renewable energy project for the Latrobe Valley has been proposed in the plantations above the now closed Hazelwood Power Station.

Straddling the Latrobe City Council, Baw Baw Shire and South Gippsland Shire Councils, the Delburn Wind Farm is proposed to bringing jobs and clean energy to the Latrobe Valley. The wind farm will power approximately 200,000 homes and will offer the opportunity for community co-investment in the project. The plantation will host up to 53 turbines with a total capacity of 300 MW and total height of up to 250 metres. The wind farm will cost approximately $400-500 million and offset 980,000 tonnes of carbon per annum.

Project developer Peter Marriott from OSMI said “Throughout Europe, wind turbines are a natural fit with forestry plantations, coexisting on the one site. In this case, we are pleased to be operating within a HVP Plantations Latrobe Valley estate, to develop what will be the first forest based wind farm in Australia.”

“Construction isn’t planned to commence until 2022 – this phase is really about engaging early with neighbours and the local community to ensure this project is well designed and well supported.”

“One of the first activities is to hire a local community engagement officer to ensure we have an avenue for genuine community participation in this project. We also have a public survey open to gather local feedback on the benefit sharing model, investment and any concerns people may have.”

OSMI will be directly reaching out to those residents identified within 1-2 kilometers of the proposed wind turbine locations over the coming month.

OSMI is a company bringing over 25 years of wind farm development experience in Victoria and actively investigating the feasibility of forestry based wind farms throughout Victoria.

Interested community members are invited to fill in the public survey to help guide the project and show their interest in the investment opportunity. The survey is available at

Source: OSMI Australia



Bowen Solar Farm

Infigen Energy’s planned 100 MW Bowen Solar Farm, to be constructed on Bruce Highway in Bowen northern Queensland, was approved by the Federal Government’s Department of the Environment & Energy without conditions after being assessed under the EPBC Act. The project involves the construction of a large-scale solar farm within a 137.6 ha development footprint, connected to the grid via the existing high voltage line within the property.


NSW’s biggest renewable energy show starts Tuesday

28 March

Smart Energy 2019 – NSW’s biggest solar, battery storage and renewable energy conference and exhibition – kicks off on Tuesday 2 April.

Just two months from a likely federal election, national energy and climate change policy and politics will be front and centre at Smart Energy 2019.

Keynote speakers on 2 April include:

  • Alan Kohler – ABC finance guru and Business Editor, The Australian.

Australia’s Climate Change Fiasco – Still Going.

  • Dr John Hewson – former Federal Opposition Leader (Liberal Party)
  • Oliver Yates – Independent candidate for Kooyong (against Josh Frydenberg)
  • Simon Corbell – former ACT Deputy Chief Minister and Energy Minister and Chief Adviser, Energy Estate. Moving Beyond 50% Renewables
  • Ian Learmonth, CEO Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • Violette Mouchaileh, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

Australia’s first electric van will be officially launched at 11am on 2 April.

New solar, battery and energy management products from Longi Solar, Apha ESS and ACSolar Warehouse will also be launched.

With more than 80 companies exhibiting, you will see the latest solar, battery storage and smart energy management products on display, as well as the latest electric vehicles from Hyundai, Nissan and ACE.

Smart Energy 2019 is being held at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney on 2-3 April 2019.

Source: Smart Energy


Queensland’s hydrogen future closer to reality

28 March

Queensland has celebrated the state’s first ever delivery of green hydrogen to Japan, marking a significant step forward for the state’s hydrogen industry.

Exported by JXTG, Japan’s largest petroleum conglomerate, the hydrogen was produced at QUT’s solar cell facility, located at the Queensland Government’s Redlands Research Facility.

“This demonstration of renewable hydrogen being successfully exported overseas is an exciting first step in producing and exporting hydrogen at a commercial scale in the future,” Ms Palaszczuk told Parliament today.

“I applaud the project partners on making this a reality.”

The Premier also announced $250,000 in funding for the establishment of a renewable hydrogen pilot plant at the Redlands Research Facility.

“This will ensure the knowledge within the hydrogen industry in Queensland continues to grow at pace with the international market,” she said.

“My Government’s commitment to backing renewable resources combined with our existing gas pipeline infrastructure and export facilities make us the ideal state to lead the future production and export of hydrogen,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick said a hydrogen showcase was being held at Parliament today outlining the benefits and opportunities of a home-grown hydrogen industry.

Hydrogen industry experts Professor Ian Mackinnon and Dr Neil Thompson from QUT, regarded as world authorities in the field, attended the briefing.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have world-class researchers and hydrogen industry representatives in Queensland, and Professor Mackinnon and Dr Thompson hold substantial academic and industry credentials in the field of research and commercial applications of hydrogen,” Mr Dick said.

“We have heard about international research and development opportunities, latest emerging technology, and industry experiences from some of our best industry players.

“Queensland has a strong future in hydrogen production and export and we are putting steps in place to make that happen, including the development of a hydrogen strategy for Queensland which will be released later this year.”

Professor Mackinnon, from QUT’s Institute for Future Environments, said the green hydrogen exported to Japan was produced by adding water and acid to a chemical called toluene using solar power as the energy source in the electrochemical conversion process.

“The toluene is converted to a substance called methyl cyclohexane (MCH), which is an energy efficient and safe method for transporting hydrogen,” Professor Mackinnon said.

“In this form, hydrogen can be shipped using conventional road and pipeline infrastructure.

“Once it has arrived at its destination, the renewable hydrogen is extracted from the MCH and the toluene can be re-used in the transportation cycle.”

Source: Queensland Government


More affordable and reliable energy for regional Australia

28 March

Regional and remote communities will benefit from more affordable and reliable power under the Morrison Government's plan to support the installation of microgrids - stand-alone power systems that can maintain a connection to the grid or operate off-grid.

The Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund will support up to 50 off-grid and fringe-of-grid communities to investigate whether establishing a microgrid is cost-effective and whether existing off-grid capabilities can be upgraded with modern technology.

The $50.4 million fund is part of the Government's plan for a stronger economy and will be open to applications from regional and remote communities in every state and territory.

The fund will unlock private sector and community investment in new generation and storage and enable new forms of ownership, taking proposals like the Daintree region project to investment stage.

As the cost of providing off-grid electricity continues to fall, in some cases it will be cheaper to provide off-grid supply rather than maintain and replace the long power lines that connect remote customers to the grid.

Moving some remote customers to off-grid supply could save hundreds of millions of dollars in network costs and reduce bushfire risks. Microgrids will also deliver more reliable supply to remote communities.

Where feasibility studies find that microgrids are economically viable, communities can upgrade existing diesel generation or take advantage of new local generation and storage opportunities. The fund will also guide communities towards additional support, including through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The Morrison Government is taking action to drive down prices by increasing competition and supply in the market. Unlike Labor who have abandoned regional Australia, we understand the importance of investing in our regional and remote communities to ensure future energy supply and guarantee this essential service.

Source: Federal Government



FPL announces plan to build the world's largest solar-powered battery and drive accelerated retirement of fossil fuel generation

28 March

- The FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center's battery system is projected to have four times the capacity of the world's largest battery system currently in operation

- Charged by an existing, co-located FPL solar power plant, the planned battery storage center will increase the predictability of solar - extending its benefits even when the sun is not shining

Florida Power & Light Company, one of the nation's cleanest energy companies, today announced a plan to build the world's largest solar-powered battery system – four times the capacity of the largest battery system in operation – as part of an innovative modernization plan that will accelerate the retirement of two fossil fuel generation units.

The future FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will have 409 megawatts of capacity – the equivalent of approximately 100 million iPhone batteries – when it begins serving customers in late 2021 and will be charged by an existing FPL solar power plant in Manatee County. By deploying energy from the batteries when there is higher demand for electricity, FPL will offset the need to run other power plants – further reducing emissions and saving customers money through avoided fuel costs.

"This is a monumental milestone in realizing the full benefits of solar power and yet another example of how FPL is working hard to position Florida as the global gold standard for clean energy," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "Even as we aggressively execute on our plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030, we never lose sight of finding innovative ways to bring our customers the benefits of solar energy, even when the sun's not shining. Replacing a large, aging fossil fuel plant with a mega battery that's adjacent to a large solar plant is another world-first accomplishment and while I'm very pleased of that fact, what I'm most proud of is that our team remained committed to developing this clean energy breakthrough while saving customers money and keeping their bills among the lowest in the nation."

The FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center is part of an innovative modernization plan to accelerate the retirement of two, 1970s-era natural gas generating units at FPL's neighboring power plant, and replace them with clean and renewable energy. In addition to the energy storage system in Manatee County, FPL is planning smaller battery installations across the state, numerous solar power plants and efficiency upgrades to existing combustion turbines at other power plants to replace the 1,638 megawatts of generating capacity. The project will save customers more than $100 million and eliminate more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

"FPL is pioneering a clean energy revolution for our state that's come full circle for our community," said Stephen Jonsson, chairman of the board of County Commissioners in Manatee County. "It seems like just yesterday that FPL kicked off its massive solar expansion in 2016 by opening a solar power plant in Parrish. Fast forward a few years, and our hometown solar power plant is on the verge of powering the world's largest solar-powered battery system. This modernization plan is truly an incredible feat and consistent with our commitment as leaders to keep sustainability at the forefront of every project that takes place in Manatee County. It's why we continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with FPL to help do our part to shape Florida's clean energy future."

Source: FPL


More work needed to make electricity prices affordable

29 March


Much-needed reforms that are underway will help address the dysfunctional state of energy retailing in Australia, but action in other parts of the electricity market would further reduce prices for consumers, the ACCC’s first electricity monitoring report says.

Wholesale market changing but more generation capacity needed

The report notes that Australia’s wholesale electricity market prices continue to be high, due to a tightening in supply and demand conditions.

The ACCC recommended as part of its REPI report a targeted underwriting scheme for new investment in generation, which would not underwrite equity but would provide certainty for debt financing. The scheme was designed to facilitate new entrants into the wholesale market for projects that have commitments from customers.

“We believe our proposed underwriting scheme is the most effective way of reducing the impact of wholesale prices on consumers and opening the market to new players,” Mr Sims said.

“We also recommended that acquisition of electricity generators should not be allowed if this would result in the acquirer owning more than 20 per cent of capacity in any market.”

“The ACCC will continue to monitor prices and competition in the wholesale market and will call out any conduct, market failures and barriers to entry that result in higher prices,” Mr Sims said.

Source: ACCC



ElectraNet Pty Ltd applied for consent to undertake an expansion of the Davenport Substation in Port Paterson, South Australia. The project will comprise: (a) extension of the existing substation footprint; (b) installation of two synchronous condensers contained within separate buildings; and (c) associated electrical infrastructure (including transformers, firewalls and gantries), second access road, perimeter fencing, drainage and civil works.

Project need

South Australia has become a world leader in renewable energy generation. This means that traditional synchronous generation sources, such as gas-fired units, now operate less often. A secure power system needs adequate levels of system strength and inertia, which to date have been provided by traditional synchronous generators. To maintain and manage the security of the power system this traditional source of system strength now needs to be provided by other means. In October 2017, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) declared a gap in system strength in South Australia, which requires ElectraNet to use its reasonable endeavours to address this gap on an ongoing basis. AEMO’s notice identified a system strength gap at the Davenport 275 kV transmission connection point of 620 MVA each year for the remainder of the current five-year NSCAS planning horizon and beyond.


Major step forward for Australia’s first offshore wind project

29 March

Australia’s first proposed offshore wind project received a massive boost today with the Commonwealth Government approving a licence to commence technical and environmental studies off the south coast of Gippsland.

This marks a major milestone for the Star of the South project, which proposes an innovative and modern solution to meeting Victoria’s long-term energy needs.

The unique exploration licence officially paves the way for a range of studies to take place, including wind monitoring and investigations into the seabed and the marine environment.

Detailed community and stakeholder consultation will be undertaken before any studies commence.

If found to be feasible, the Star of the South would offer a clean and reliable energy solution with the potential to power up to 1.2 million homes. The project would also create new employment and investment opportunities in Australia.

The Star of the South project is formed by local Australian developers along with leading offshore wind developer and investor, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

Quotes attributable to Star of the South CEO, Andy Evans:

“We’re excited to start the next phase of our work – we’ve done a lot of background studies and look forward to getting out there and further understanding the marine environment.”

“While it’s still early days for the project, these crucial investigations will help us move forward and understand how we might progress an offshore wind project in Australia.”

“We look forward to working with government, stakeholders and local communities in Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley throughout our investigations.”

Quote attributable to Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) Partner Michael Hannibal:

“We welcome the Commonwealth Government’s decision and we look forward to continue investigating the opportunities for offshore wind in Australia, in addition to our projects developing in Europe, Asia and North America.”

Source: Star of the South

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