CEFC invests $30 million in world first Woolworths green bond

29 April

The CEFC has invested $30 million in the Woolworths Group green bond, the first certified green bond issued by an Australian retailer and by a supermarket business globally, and an exciting milestone in the continued development of Australia’s green bond market.

The $400 million green bond will help fund the Woolworths 2020 sustainability strategy, through the installation of LED lighting, energy efficient refrigeration, solar panels and other clean energy technologies.

CEFC Debt Markets Lead Richard Lovell said: “This green bond has been instrumental in setting new standards and expectations across the entire retail industry. Woolworths’ work on a green bond framework has increased its business-wide focus on sustainability. It sends a strong message to participants of Woolworths’ extensive supply chain and makes a clear statement about its sustainability and emissions reduction objectives to the estimated 30 million customers who shop the Woolworths brand each week.

“This retail-focused green bond also provides a new asset class for institutional investors seeking opportunities that meet environmental, social and governance requirements. It creates a simple and highly transparent way for the private sector to invest in clean energy technologies.

“The CEFC’s investment in this bond enables us to continue our support for Australia’s emerging green bond market, actively monitor the secondary market for green bonds and gain useful insights into the emissions profile of Australia’s supermarkets.”

The Climate Bonds Initiative has certified the bonds and has developed a global low-carbon buildings criteria for supermarkets as a result of Woolworths’ commitment to green bonds. The Climate Bonds Initiative is an international, investor-focused not-for-profit organisation working to mobilise the $100 trillion bond market, for climate change solutions.

Woolworths Group Chief Financial Officer David Marr said: “We’re pleased with our inaugural green bond transaction. The issue of the bonds is a further reflection of our ongoing work to improve our environmental impact and operate a more sustainable business.

“The transaction has given us the opportunity to build relationships with a number of new investors who focus on ESG investment such as the CEFC, supporting our objective of diversifying our investor base.

“We hope that the success of this transaction will drive the development of the Australian green bond market, delivering higher awareness of its benefits for corporate Australia and how funds are allocated."

Woolworths Group includes well known Australian and New Zealand brands Woolworths, Countdown, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Big W. It has over 3,000 stores, more than 200,000 employees. Since 2015 the group has reduced its emissions by 13 per cent.

View the Woolworths Group Green Bond Framework.

Source: CEFC


GCL System awarded patent for shingled solar modules in Australia

29 April

GCL System Integration Technology Co. Ltd (GCL System), a world's leading one-stop intelligent and integrated energy system provider, announced it had been awarded a patent for its shingled cell modules from IP Australia (Patent No. 2016393430), further enhancing its patent portfolio. The granted patents in both Australia and China, meanwhile a patent-applying status in the US and Japan, is expected to help GCL System further establish a presence in the world's high-end markets. Industry watchers will be able to catch the GCL SI shingled cell modules and cast mono modules at Intersolar in May.

Shingled cell technology refers to a mainstream manufacturing process of high-density modules used within the photovoltaic industry. Use of shingled cell designs has drawn considerable attention from stakeholders for its efficiency, higher efficiency and higher power output and comparably lower balance-of-system (BOS) costs. Industry insiders estimate that if the adoption of shingled cell technology and the incorporation of SE-PERC high-efficiency cells continues to further increase this year, the shingled module power of 60-type can be expected to increase to 340-350W. When compared to 270W modules popularized in 2017, this represents an increase in power output of 80W in just two years.

The key point of shingling technology is to revolutionize the module-level technology of high-efficiency modules, which has resulted in an influx of investment by PV companies into the research and development of large-scale manufacturing of shingled cell modules. Increased shingled module production capacity has led to higher application rates and widespread industry acceptance of the modules in several major high-end markets, including Europe and Japan.

Shingled modules is typically used in high-efficiency application scenarios. Projects currently using shingled cell modules include the Top Runner Program and the Technology Top Runner Program, two programs under the aegis of China's National Energy Administration (NEA) supplied by GCL. The aesthetic design of the shingled modules also makes them ideal for use in distributed residential rooftop.

With continuous technological breakthroughs, GCL SI expects to improve its competitive advantage and continue its expansion into high-end markets.

Source: GCL-SI



Kadina Solar Farm

Location: Kadina, South Australia

Capacity: 5.95 MW

Developer: Redmud Green Energy

Description: Copper Coast Council has approved the project comprising of more than 15,000 solar panels across a 13 acre site. The solar farm will connect to SA Power Networks Kadina East substation.

Contact: Mark Yates

Redmud Green Energy

Tel: (08) 8119 0777

Email: admin@redmud.net.au


ERM Power launches Corporate PPA offering

29 April

New product helps businesses efficiently lock in renewable generation ERM Power is launching a new Corporate Renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) product to facilitate easier access to renewable energy sources for commercial and industrial customers.

“This allows commercial and industrial businesses to buy a partial interest in the output of a large renewable power station, to support their business and environmental energy objectives,” said Executive General Manager Trading David Guiver.

“Working through ERM Power, businesses can enjoy the benefits of a PPA without the intricacies of negotiating and managing a complex contractual arrangement directly with a renewable energy provider.”

Mr Guiver said many large corporates were committed to moving to 100% renewable energy, given sustainability targets and continued volatility in the wholesale markets.

“PPAs are an increasingly popular option, but businesses must proceed cautiously if negotiating these directly, as there may be hidden pitfalls,” Mr Guiver said.

“Our new product helps businesses secure exposure to renewable energy generation as part of their energy mix in a way that’s simple, transparent and efficient.”

In Australia, PPA contracts will typically be for the purchase of large scale generation certificates (LGCs) and the energy revenue produced by a renewable energy generator for a typical term of 15 years.

With ERM Power’s offering, for an agreed fixed price, businesses will receive a percentage of the energy revenue and the LGCs generated by the renewable operator, with the LGCs more closely aligned to their mandatory requirements. Customers can choose their level of participation in increments of 5% and have the added flexibility of a three-year agreement.

ERM Power has the ability to aggregate multiple business customers to gain access to large PPAs, opening up opportunities that haven’t necessarily been available to smaller business customers.

ERM Power will handle all aspects of the PPA on behalf of customers including sourcing the project, negotiating the terms and conditions and managing financial settlements, providing customers a peace-of-mind commercial arrangement.

Mr Guiver said the new product was a natural evolution for ERM Power, building on the company’s commitment to supporting the development of renewables infrastructure in Australia.

ERM Power has entered into offtake agreements with developers of wind and solar farms and has also launched new-generation financial instruments into the wholesale market to support developers of renewables infrastructure.

To support the new product, ERM Power is calling for expressions of interests from renewable project developers and asset owners with projects located within either Victoria or New South Wales, connected to the NEM, with an installed capacity of 10MW or more. Uncontracted and partially contracted assets interested in offtake agreements for a 3-5 year term are being encouraged to respond.

Parties interested in participating should email corporateppa@ermpower.com.au to obtain further information, with formal expressions of interest due on or before 10 May 2019.

Source: ERM Power


Labor will make the South West of Western Australia a Renewable Energy Zone

29 April

The massive renewable energy investment potential in Western Australia will be unlocked under a Shorten Labor Government, which will make the South West a Renewable Energy Zone.

A Renewable Energy Zone will allow for increased investment in renewables, which will create jobs and bring power prices and pollution down.

After years of outright opposition to renewable energy by a state Liberal government, Western Australia is lagging behind other states, who are reaping the benefits of large-scale renewable energy.

Only 7.5 per cent of South West Interconnected System (SWIS) energy comes from renewables, but this is set to significantly grow as Western Australia moves to address regulatory and administrative barriers to more investment.

In addition the state energy company, Synergy – partnering with Cbus Super and Dutch Infrastructure Fund – plans to invest in renewables through the Bright Energy investment fund.

We’ve already seen an uptake in renewable energy investment, with 1,000 MW of new renewable capacity seeking connection in the South West of Western Australia.

The Climate Institute has estimated the South West of Western Australia has enormous potential for renewable energy development in wind, solar and bioenergy, and almost 1,500 jobs could be created with the right policies to develop the region’s renewable potential.

Renewable energy development needs new transmission and other infrastructure investment, to translate potential into real economic benefits.

That’s why designating the South West of Western Australia as a Renewable Energy Zone is so important.

It will mean the region will benefit from potential support from Labor’s $5 billion Energy Security and Modernisation fund. This is an integral part of Labor’s nationwide Energy Plan to deliver 50 per cent renewable energy by 2050.

Labor’s comprehensive Energy Plan will support the orderly transition to 50 per cent renewables by 2030, will deliver new transmission investment, and a just transition for affected communities and workers.

After six years, the Liberals still can’t deliver a coherent energy policy, with the Australian Energy Market Commission only this week again calling for “policy certainty integrating emissions reduction and energy policy.”

Only Labor has a plan to invest in renewable energy, modernise the electricity system, and bring power prices and pollution down.

The Liberals have nothing but a record of failure and baseless scare campaigns.

This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for increased investment in renewables, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.

After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready.

Source: Australian Labor Party


Nexif Energy’s Lincoln Gap project remains on track

30 April

Lincoln Gap Wind Farm, located near Port Augusta in South Australia, has exported its first energy generation with project owner Nexif Energy providing a financial solution to keep the project on track.

Nexif Energy has proactively negotiated with Senvion and made successful arrangements to ensure continued progress on the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm while Senvion addresses its financial difficulties and requirements.

These arrangements will be implemented over the coming days and include the provision of funding for Senvion’s on-site subcontractors through direct payment of amounts owing to continue work on the project, which is quickly taking shape.

Nexif Energy has been working hard on the positive pathway forward for the project and its workers over the past two weeks since becoming aware of Senvion’s difficulties.

At the same time, the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm has celebrated a major milestone. Early last week sustained operations commenced from the first of the wind farm’s turbines with the project exporting its first meaningful generation to South Australia’s electricity grid. Since then, another two wind turbines have commenced operations.

Founder and Co-CEO of Nexif Energy Matthew Bartley said: “We are pleased with the progress made on commissioning by Senvion Australia in light of the uncertainty over the past two weeks and look forward to continuing good progress given the new arrangements in place to channel financing to the project’s subcontractors and service providers.’’

Senvion’s direct subcontractors on Lincoln Gap Wind Farm have been notified of the arrangements with payments targeted over this coming week.

Work on the project is proceeding and erected turbines are being commissioned with increased pace with three wind turbines now operating and exporting power to the grid. One extra tall crane is currently on site for lifting the wind turbines on top of the towers and a second such crane is due on site in early May to substantially increase the rate at which the turbines are established and generation output over coming months.

Source: Nexif Energy


New report: public kept in the dark on climate change

30 April

A new report by the Climate Council finds the Federal Government has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the public in the dark on climate change.

“I think most Australians would be outraged if they knew the full story. The Coalition Government has slashed climate science funding, censored important information and repeatedly made false claims,” said the Climate Council’s CEO, Amanda McKenzie.

“The Federal Government censored a UNESCO report on climate change and World Heritage sites, convincing the UN agency to delete all references to Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. This is not the kind of behaviour we expect from a democratic country,” said the Climate Council’s Head of Research, Dr Martin Rice.

“The Federal Government has repeatedly tried to avoid scrutiny by releasing greenhouse gas emissions data just before Christmas or on the eve of football grand finals, when fewer people are paying attention,” he said.

“Climate Cuts, Cover-Ups and Censorship” Key Findings:

- The Government’s tenure has been characterised by slashing climate science funding, cutting effective climate change programs, rejecting advice from expert domestic and international bodies, misleading claims from Federal Ministers, a lack of any effective climate programs, and consistently covering up poor performance.

- Deep funding cuts and job losses at the CSIRO have weakened Australia’s climate science capability. As a result, Australia is unprepared to cope with the impacts of climate change.

- The government’s lack of climate change action is the defining leadership failure of the past decade. We have not tackled climate change, the consequences are with us, and we must work very quickly to prevent catastrophic consequences.

- Australia’s next government must adopt credible climate policy and a transparent and accurate approach to reporting and tracking Australia’s climate performance to ensure the public can appropriately evaluate its performance.

“The test of a good climate policy is simple. It must be aligned with the science, it must be clear and effective, and it must deliver greenhouse gas emission reductions consistent with the Paris targets. Our current policy fails on all three counts,” said Climate Councillor, Professor Will Steffen.

“On this pathetic performance, Australia is unlikely to meet its weak 2030 emissions reduction target. And yet senior ministers continue to falsely claim that emissions are going down and that our Paris targets will be met,” said Professor Steffen.

“Delaying action has not made the problem go away. It has just reduced the time we have left to cut emissions and made it more challenging to do so. The Federal Government has squandered many opportunities and this will cost us dearly,” he said.

Australia has recently experienced its Angriest Summer as climate change accelerates. 

“Heatwaves have become hotter and last longer, while droughts, intense rainfall and bushfire conditions have become more severe,” said Ms McKenzie.

“As Australians experience escalating consequences into the future, they are likely to view this period of missed opportunities and failed leadership with deep dismay,” she said.

Source: Climate Council


A message from the clean energy industry

30 April

Attention politicians,

Federal politics has failed to deliver long-term climate and energy policy. Despite the lack of certainty, we have been working hard to get on with the job of cleaning up our electricity sector and reducing power prices.

2018 was a record-breaking year as the clean energy sector committed over $20 billion worth of investment in new wind and solar farms creating over 13,000 new direct jobs in rural and regional Australia. We also reached 2 million Australian homes with solar power.

We have delivered this remarkable amount of investment because of the 2020 Renewable Energy Target, which has provided a precious four years for the industry to make informed investment decisions.

But that target has now been met and the momentum of our industry is at risk.

We need our Federal Government to put in place strong and enduring policy that will set a clear course for lowering our emissions in the electricity sector, so that we can continue to deliver more of what Australians want – clean and reliable electricity at a­ffordable prices.

We can’t a­fford to waste any more time.

Ahead of this Federal Election, we are calling on you to commit to strong and long-term clean energy policy.

We have the skills and expertise to transform Australia into a clean energy superpower. Don’t stop us now.

Source: Clean Energy Council


Entura appointed owner’s engineer for Jemalong Solar Farm

30 April

Specialist power and water consulting firm Entura has been engaged by Genex Power to deliver owner’s engineer services for the Jemalong Solar Farm in New South Wales.

The 50 MW solar PV project, near Forbes in central-west New South Wales, was recently purchased by Genex Power.

Entura was previously appointed as Owner’s Engineer for Stage 2 of Genex’s 250 MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project and 270 MW Kidston Solar Project in Queensland. Entura also conducted due diligence work on the Jemalong Solar Farm prior to the purchase of the project by Genex Power.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with Entura again to support the delivery of our latest project, in New South Wales,” said James Harding, CEO of Genex Power.

“Entura’s wealth of experience and capability in renewables and their integration into the network makes Entura the ideal partner to enable the success of our projects.”

As Owner’s Engineer on the Jemalong project, Entura will play a vital role in ensuring timely, quality outcomes for Genex Power during the design and construction phase of the project, working closely with the preferred engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, UGL.

Entura’s scope includes review of detailed design documents, EPC contractor’s plans, test plans and the provision of technical advice on key aspects of generator registration, construction and commissioning activities.

Genex Power expects the solar farm to be operational by the second half of 2019, with the capacity to power 23 000 homes, offsetting more than 100 000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

Commenting on the appointment, Entura Director Dale Bryce said, “We are pleased to be acting as Genex’s Owner’s Engineer at Kidston and now at Jemalong, helping Genex deliver its renewable energy vision.

“As believers in dispatchable renewables we have tuned our capabilities accordingly, especially in utility-scale hydropower, solar and wind farm developments, combining these with very strong power systems and grid connection capability.”

Entura is one of the leading consultants in renewables development and integration in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region, with significant experience in utility-scale hydropower, solar and wind farms, energy storage and grid connection. The firm works with clients to help tackle the challenges of creating hybrid renewable energy projects, from grid-connected and utility-scale to small, isolated systems.

Source: Entura


Electrical infrastructure investment powers jobs

1 May

Queensland’s publicly-owned electricity businesses are investing billions of dollars in new and improved capital works, supporting thousands of jobs from the Far North to the southern Gold Coast.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham told Parliament today that more than $1.5 billion in the current Budget was allocated to Energy Queensland capital works, supporting more than 7300 jobs state wide.

Queensland’s transmission company Powerlink has $232.7 million allocated for capital works in 2018-19. This infrastructure investment will support more than 400 jobs.

“This is our publicly-owned electricity assets at work, assets that belong to the people of Queensland, re-investing in jobs and economic growth for the people of Queensland,” he told Parliament.

Among the dozens of projects state wide is the $28 million project to upgrade the substation that powers Mackay’s central business district.

“This important project will improve the reliability of the electricity supply for more than 4600 existing customers, including operators in the tourism, entertainment and business precinct,” he said.

Speaking outside Parliament, Member for Mackay and Assistant State Development Minister Julieanne Gilbert said the upgrade would improve reliability of supply for more than 4600 existing customers, including operators in the tourism, entertainment and business precinct.

“Mackay Regional Council has identified the city’s riverfront as a priority development area, so it reinforced the need to upgrade this ageing substation,” she said.

“For new and existing businesses in Mackay, that means help to grow and create jobs into the future.

“The project itself will support the almost 200 Ergon jobs locally and also mean work for construction contractors locally.”

Fabrication of the buildings, control panels and switchboards is underway at Ergon Energy’s workshop at Banyo in Brisbane.

Dr Lynham also highlighted in Parliament the latest Powerlink project to be completed: a $12 million project to replace secondary systems at Tully substation, supporting up to 28 jobs over four years.

He told the house that replacing secondary systems - the control, protection and communications equipment that operate the transmission network - was cost-effective because it prolonged the life of the substation and avoided or delayed the need for new infrastructure.

“A significant proportion of Powerlink’s annual capital works is now in connecting new renewable energy projects to the grid, increasing supply and helping Queensland reach its target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030,” Dr Lynham said.

“Those important projects include new substations for the Coopers Gap wind farm near Kingaroy, the Mount Emerald wind farm near Cairns and the Whitsunday and Hamilton solar farms in North Queensland near Collinsville.”

Source: Queensland Government


Energy storage innovation heating up with GAS-TESS launch

1 May 

South Australian energy innovator 1414 Degrees strides ahead with its unique patented thermal energy storage system (TESS) powered by biogas. The gas started flowing today from SA Water’s Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant, the company’s first commercial pilot site.

South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, launched the GAS-TESS by releasing the biogas from the wastewater digestors.

Executive Chairman of 1414 Degrees, Dr Kevin Moriarty said “This marks a pivotal phase in the commissioning process, firing the burners for the first time and heating up the thermal energy store. Importantly, we will pay for the biogas we use and sell electricity at market prices to test the revenue model.”

The GAS-TESS will enable SA Water to time-shift the use of its biogas to produce electricity and heat on demand, rather than use the biogas as its generated.

SA Water’s CEO Roch Cheroux commented, “SA Water is working to reduce operational expenses to maintain low and stable water prices for our customers. Time shifting of heat and electricity output from the GAS-TESS is expected to provide more control over heat flows to maximise our biogas generation and result in reduced costs of our energy requirements.”

“Partnering with us to pilot this world first technology demonstrates visionary leadership for SA,” Dr Kevin Moriarty explained. “The wastewater management industry is watching closely, as are many other heat dependent industries looking to reduce energy costs, save jobs and lower environmental impacts.”

Globally, biogas is an increasingly important source of energy, from wastewater management to agribusiness and landfill gas.

Dr Kevin Moriarty states “Renewables are about more than wind and solar. It’s time to put our vast sources of biogas to more efficient and sustainable use. Naturally occurring biogas has the potential to lower the cost and increase the stability of energy with reduced demand on fossil fuels.”

The GAS-TESS is co-funded by the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund (RTF) and 1414 Degrees shareholders. The development of the technology was assisted with a grant from the Federal Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

“This shows South Australia is leading energy technology development, something the Marshall Government is fully committed to. 1414 Degrees’ TESS is the result of collaboration within our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, leading to global opportunities for SA. This new thinking is solving problems and creating opportunities as we transition to a new energy environment. It will take innovative companies like 1414 Degrees to ensure energy security,” said Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

Executive Chairman Dr Kevin Moriarty said “We have a clear vision to scale our clean TESS technology to gigawatt hour capacity and stabilise renewable generation. Our progress today marks another step forward.”

1414 Degrees’ energy storage systems will support grid stability by feeding power back into the grid at peak times and provide heat for industrial purposes, thereby reducing costs for consumers and creating a more reliable source of power.

Source: 1414 Degrees


Unlocking investment in renewable energy in South Australia

1 May

A Shorten Labor Government will unlock South Australia’s renewable energy potential – bringing in more investment and more jobs with the creation of a Renewable Energy Zone in the state.

Labor will make the Spencer Gulf region a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), encompassing the stretch from the north of Adelaide, along the Yorke Peninsula, and around the top of the Spencer Gulf down to Whyalla.

Labor announced last year we would establish a series of zones – based on an area’s renewable energy potential to bring a strategic approach to developing Australia’s renewable energy industry and delivering our 50 per cent renewable energy target.

These zones will help coordinate investment in generation, storage and transmission, and signal to investors the future sites for job-creating projects.

South Australia’s Renewable Energy Zone will support increased investment in renewables, which will create jobs and bring power prices and pollution down.

The Climate Institute estimates that these areas could support up to 1,300 new jobs in renewable energy for people in regional South Australia.

South Australia has led the country with renewable energy investment, but we still have huge untapped potential in the Spencer Gulf region.

Unlocking this potential will supply cheaper, cleaner, renewable energy, as well as providing a vital source of regional employment and reinvigorating towns around the Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent regions.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has acknowledged the potential of these areas for wind, hydro and solar energy. Renewable energy development needs new transmission and other infrastructure investment to translate potential into real economic benefits.

That’s why designating the Spencer Gulf Region as a Renewable Energy Zone is so important.

It will mean the region will benefit from potential support from Labor’s $5 billion Energy Security and Modernisation fund. This is an integral part of Labor’s nationwide Energy Plan to deliver 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Labor’s comprehensive Energy Plan will support the orderly transition to 50 per cent renewables by 2030, will deliver new transmission investment, and a just transition for affected communities and workers.

After six years, the Liberals still can’t deliver a coherent energy policy, with the Australian Energy Market Commission only this week again calling for “policy certainty integrating emissions reduction and energy policy”.

Only Labor has a plan to invest in renewable energy, modernise the electricity system, and bring power prices and pollution down.

The Liberals have nothing but a record of increasing prices and pollution and baseless scare campaigns.

This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for increased investment in renewables, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.

After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready.

Source: Australian Labor Party


Rushed new Queensland solar rules to drive up costs, and lead to industry slow-down

2 May

New rules rushed through by the Queensland Government are likely to hit the commercial solar sector hard when they come into effect in less than two weeks, and will make it harder for the state to meet its own renewable energy target, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Anna Freeman, the Clean Energy Council’s Director of Energy Generation, said the new regulations for solar meant that electricians had to be used for work such as carrying unplugged solar panels or bolting them to a rail.

“This is like having to call in an electrician to hang a TV on a bracket on your wall. It’s absurd. It would be virtually impossible to electrocute yourself by handling an unconnected panel. You’re at greater risk from plugging in a toaster at home,” Ms Freeman said.    

“The changes will drive up the cost of building both large solar farms and commercial solar systems installed in places like shopping centres, schools, swimming pools and factories. Estimates from solar businesses are that the cost of building commercial projects will increase by 10 to 20 per cent, delaying the payback period for businesses and schools, and making many projects unviable.

“Combined with the effect on large-scale solar farms, these changes will slow the installation of solar across the state and make it more costly for businesses to control their energy costs.

“Not even an electrical apprentice will be able to handle and attach an unconnected solar panel, so the opportunities for apprentices to work in the new solar industry are going to be slashed. At the very time in which the Federal Labor Party announces its commitment to boost apprenticeships in renewable energy, the Queensland Government continues to persist with a regulation that will kill off many clean energy apprenticeships.

“From 13 May, those businesses which already have projects under construction are going to have to wear this extra cost, without the ability to pass this on to their customers. This means many small- to medium-sized businesses will be out of pocket,” she said.

Ms Freeman said that the sudden regulatory change had not been justified, with the government not able to demonstrate a single safety incident on a solar farm relating to the mounting and fixing of solar panels.

“To our knowledge, no other jurisdiction on the planet has such extreme and unnecessary regulation in place,” she said.

 “We are asking the government to immediately delay this new regulation before people start losing their jobs, so that proper consultation can take place with the solar industry.

“If the Palaszczuk Government is willing to return to the table, we are confident that we can work co-operatively together with all parties to find a way forward that does not destroy jobs and investment.” 

Source: Clean Energy Council



Willatook Wind Farm

Public comment has been invited by the federal Department of the Environment & Energy on Wind Prospects’ proposed Willatook Wind Farm west of Willatook in South West Victoria in Victoria. The proposal is for a project with an estimated output capacity of approximately 400 MW. It covers approximately 7,600 ha of private and public land located within the Moyne Shire. The proponent proposes to install up to 86 wind turbines and a battery storage facility within the site boundary. The wind turbine model being considered for the purposes of this referral is the GE-158 4.8MW.


New rules to boost emergency power supplies at lower cost

2 May

Enhancement to the reliability and emergency reserve trader – final determination 2 May 2019

Chairman of the Australian Energy Market Commission, John Pierce, today released new rules for the emergency reserves framework which backs-up power supplies in the national electricity market.

The reliability and emergency reserve trader (RERT) is the national electricity market’s emergency reserve – it has always been part of the market’s reliability safety-net – and is used by the system operator, AEMO, as a last-resort mechanism to keep the lights on.

“The new RERT rules boost the power system’s emergency reserve mechanism to protect reliability at the lowest possible cost to consumers,” Mr Pierce said.

“The changes also underpin the Energy Security Board’s proposed retailer reliability obligation (RRO) which encourages investment in long-term capacity so AEMO is not forced to intervene more than necessary with higher cost safety-net options.”

There has been a shortage of generation capacity on only a few days in the past decade, all during extreme heatwaves. AEMO has only used the RERT to supply demand three times in the history of the market in November 2017, January 2018 and in January 2019.

“The market is at a cross-roads,” Mr Pierce said.

“The power system is changing from a small number of large generators to a large number of smaller generators and varied capacity providers; the supply-demand balance is tightening; and there are more extreme heat events that can drive demand to peak suddenly when power stations are already under strain.

“Using emergency reserves more frequently means higher costs associated with the RERT making their way onto consumer bills,” he said.

“It’s time to enhance the emergency reserve framework to provide AEMO with the flexibility it needs to meet the operational challenges arising from the restructure of the generation sector.

The new RERT rules:

- Improve incentives for customers to reduce demand and minimise the need for emergency reserves: We want incentives for more demand response so retailers and demand response providers can, for example, reward customers who reduce energy use during heatwaves. Costs of emergency reserves will be recovered, where possible, from customers who caused the need for the RERT.

- Increase transparency: AEMO will provide regular updates on how the RERT is procured and used, and how much it costs.

- Clarify the trigger: the RERT can be triggered if AEMO forecasts a breach of the reliability standard which requires enough generation to service 99.998% of consumer demand. This clarity helps the market plan operations and budgets.

- Increase the lead time to buy reserves to 12 months: so the RERT can become part of the planned retailer reliability obligation (RRO). The RRO has two triggers. The three-year trigger requires retailers to bring dispatchable firm capacity to market if there is a supply gap three years out. If retailers have not filled the gap 12 months out then AEMO can use the RERT.

- Encourage a lower-cost competitive market response: We want the market to deliver lower cost reliability so we can reduce the need for emergency reserves. There are new requirements for emergency reserve providers to enable this.

- Provide guidance to AEMO on costs: in relation to the appropriate costs of emergency reserve contracts, for it to consider when entering into emergency reserve contracts.

- Provide AEMO with flexibility: AEMO has flexibility and discretion as to how the reliability standard is incorporated in its day-to-day operations, particularly through its modelling and forecasting of power system risks.

“At the same time it is more important than ever to address structural problems in the market’s ability to supply consumers with power when they need it – especially if those market issues are triggering the need for emergency reserves more often,” Mr Pierce said.

“The RERT played an important part in shielding Melbourne from even more widespread and longer power shortages during January’s extreme weather event that coincided with unexpected generator breakdowns.

“But it’s not a tool to deliver more day-to-day supply to the market, or to underpin new investment. It’s an emergency mechanism that’s used when electricity supply can’t meet consumer demand.

“The larger issue is to get the overarching policy framework right to support the least-cost commercial investments in the energy sector.

“Reliability is holding up for now. But we need some policy stability and coordinated solutions like the RRO that can address the root cause of problems not more costly ‘stop gap’ measures,” he said.

“The RERT’s design is very specific to make sure it does not undermine incentives for efficient investment in the capacity the system needs.

“The RRO would make retailers enter into agreements with generators and demand response providers who can guarantee capacity through variable weather conditions. This means the reliability standard in each region could be met if and when gaps are expected.

“It is a solution that would encourage investment in demand response and the right types of technology to support reliability – and it’s a key action that governments can take right now to boost everyday market reserves and address consumer concerns about their power supplies.

“The COAG Energy Council is already considering the RRO so it can start on 1 July as planned – and address supply issues that have emerged in the changing power system,” Mr Pierce said.

Source: Australian Energy Market Commission


WA's newest wind farm officially opens

2 May

- Minister Johnston attends formal opening of Badgingarra Wind Farm in Hill River

- Energy output from the wind farm could power 115,000 Western Australian homes

- The 130 megawatt wind farm will be co-located with the Badgingarra Solar Farm

Energy Minister Bill Johnston today officially opened APA Group's new Badgingarra Wind Farm in Hill River, 220 kilometres north of Perth.

The $315 million Badgingarra Wind Farm consists of 37 wind turbines (3.6 megawatt) and will be co-located with APA's $40 million 17.5 megawatt Badgingarra Solar Farm, which is under construction.

Badgingarra's potential annual energy output is equivalent to powering about 115,000 Western Australian homes.

The project has received a network access connection offer to the Western Power network (North Country region).

Together with APA's nearby Emu Downs Wind and Solar Farms, the projects create a 247.5 megawatt renewable energy precinct.

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston:

"I'd like to congratulate the APA Group and everyone else involved with the construction of the Badgingarra Wind Farm.

"It's well recognised that a major transformation is underway in our State's electricity sector, with rapid uptakes of rooftop solar panels and battery storage systems at households.

"This transition is expected to continue in the coming decades and is being replicated in electricity sectors all over the world.

"Projects, such as Badgingarra, illustrate the great potential we have in Western Australia to take advantage of these changes, particularly in creating valuable regional opportunities.

"The McGowan Government is committed to minimising the costs of the transition to renewable energy technologies, which is why we're developing a Whole of System Plan and Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap."

Source: WA Government


Sale of first Australian wind farms to Epic Energy

2 April

BayWa r.e. has sold the first of its new Australian wind farm developments to leading energy infrastructure company Epic Energy.

The two wind farms, known as Timboon West and Yawong, are located in Western Victoria and were acquired by BayWa r.e. in 2017 as part of their investment in the Future Energy team and pipeline of wind and solar projects. 

During 2018, BayWa r,e, contracted, financed and constructed the two projects with commercial operations achieved by the end of that year. 

The projects have been sold with a 15-year O&M contract in place with Vestas and a PPA to sell 100% of the power to Alinta Energy until 2030.

With a combined capacity of 14.4MW generated from four Vestas V126 3.6 MW turbines, the wind farms will produce enough clean energy to power 9,000 Australian homes.

David Shapero, Managing Director of BayWa r.e. Wind Pty Ltd., said, “The sale of our first two Australian wind farms marks an important milestone in furthering our wind farm investment in both Australia and the wider APAC region. Having only started construction of these projects in March 2018, we are delighted to have these wind farms operational and sold in little more than a year. Of course, the Future Energy team were involved from much earlier, progressing the projects from greenfield and we are rapt to see the projects realised. The APAC region is an extremely important market for us and we are pleased to be advancing the region’s renewable energy credentials with these projects.”

BayWa r.e. will continue to support Epic Energy on the Timboon West and Yawong wind farms, providing ongoing technical management in the immediate term through its team in Melbourne.

“We’re really pleased to have secured the deal with Epic Energy. We look forward to developing an ongoing relationship with them and, through our services team, ensuring that both wind farms continue to operate at peak efficiency and make a positive contribution to Australia’s wind energy market long into the future,” added Mr Shapero.

Clive D’Cruz, Chief Executive Officer of Epic Energy, said “As Epic Energy’s first investment in renewable energy, the Timboon West and Yawong wind farms mark an important new chapter in our company’s history. As a long term owner and operator of energy infrastructure, we are excited to leverage our knowledge, experience and capabilities to meet Australia’s transitioning energy needs, and look forward to continuing to work with BayWa r.e. and building on the relationship established through this acquisition."

Across the globe, BayWa r.e. has brought over 2,500 MW of wind and solar projects online and its plans are no less ambitious for Australia, with further wind and solar farms in development and construction.  BayWa r.e.’s Yatpool solar farm is expected to be operational by the end of 2019. 

BayWa r.e. is investing heavily in the APAC renewable energy market. In addition to the development of these Australian renewable energy projects, it also has projects in development and construction in Malaysia and Japan, and is continuing to seek development opportunities in Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Source: BayWa r.e.

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