Solar boosting jobs and clean energy in Shepparton

23 August

The Andrews Labor Government has approved three new solar farms for the Shepparton region that will create more than 600 jobs and generate enough clean energy to power more than 80,000 homes.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has approved permits for the Tatura East, Tallygaroopna and Lemnos solar farms, subject to conditions.

Combined, the three farms will consist of more than 650,000 solar panels and generate 175 megawatts of renewable energy into the power grid.

The approvals come after a thorough and independent planning panel process that included community consultation.

The Minister deferred his decisions for the three solar farms until further strategic work was undertaken on the future use and management of irrigation infrastructure in the GMID and consultation was completed on the now released Solar Guidelines.

In July this year, the Government released new planning guidelines for large-scale solar farms to help ensure Victoria’s transition to a clean energy future is planned properly.

The guidelines will provide more confidence to the solar sector and encourage greater investment, as part of Victoria’s renewable energy boom and give certainty for councils and developers as to what’s required to achieve acceptable outcomes for land, communities and the environment.

As the guidelines are yet to be incorporated into the planning scheme, the permits were required to be assessed against the current planning framework.

The new changes will promote investment in the right places while preventing inappropriate development not aligned with water corporation assets and future plans.

There are now measures in place to ensure irrigation infrastructure priorities are a key factor in application assessments in future.

It is expected the guidelines will be implemented into the planning scheme in the coming weeks.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne: “These permits were approved after a thorough review by independent experts and consultation with the community.”

“We’ve done the work to address local concerns and made sure all potential impacts on irrigation farmland and the district more broadly were considered in the decision.”

Source: Victoria Government


Unprecedented emissions targets set across iconic critical infrastructure assets

26 August

Household names in Australia such as Ausgrid, Melbourne Airport, Brisbane Airport, NSW Ports (Botany and Kembla), the Port of Brisbane, Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and Northern Territory Airports (Darwin Airport and other NT airports) will for the first time have emissions reduction targets through to 2030 and beyond.

The unprecedented initiative was announced today by IFM Investors, who own or co-own the assets on behalf of 7 million working Australians who are members of industry superannuation funds.

The targets will see emissions reduced by more than 200,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent annually by 2030 – the same as removing almost 70,000 cars from the road. The emissions cuts will prevent millions of tonnes of carbon entering the environment over the life of the assets.

This significant piece of work gained momentum when the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) invested $150 million last year to help drive emissions reductions and promote greater transparency and emissions reporting at some of Australia’s largest infrastructure assets.

The assets have established emissions reduction targets ranging from 8-25 per cent by 2024 to 38-100 per cent by 2030. IFM Investors has worked closely with the assets and their other co-owners to commit to meaningful emissions reductions, while maintaining returns for its investors.

The infrastructure assets have initiated sweeping programs to reduce carbon emissions through alternate power sources, the uptake of electric and low emissions vehicles, LED lighting, rooftop and large scale solar, smart management systems and energy efficient office spaces.

Ian Learmonth, CEFC CEO, said: “These infrastructure assets will operate for generations, with the targeted emissions reductions having the potential to make a material impact on cutting Australia’s carbon footprint. We congratulate IFM Investors and the asset managers for their leadership in lowering emissions and ensuring their businesses are making an important contribution to Australia’s carbon abatement task.

“This comprehensive program of activity sets an important example for other major infrastructure owners and managers in Australia. Cutting carbon emissions can deliver a long-term dividend to the environment and in most cases an improved financial performance.”

Michael Hanna, IFM Investors’ head of Australian infrastructure said: “IFM Investors is pleased to be taking an active role as a major infrastructure investor to work with the CEFC and our assets’ management teams to set carbon abatement targets and commit to annual progress reporting.

“This exciting initiative represents a genuine commitment and start to aligning our assets to the Paris Agreement, and it makes perfect business sense by reducing costs, mitigating future business risks and contributing to outcomes that our customers value.”

The latest data from the Clean Energy Regulator shows that infrastructure-related emissions account for more than half of Australia’s total carbon output, with power stations alone accounting for 50.3 per cent of emissions.

The CEFC’s investment in April last year was the corporation’s first equity commitment to Australia’s diversified infrastructure sector.

IFM Investors will apply the lessons learnt from its Australian infrastructure assets to its global portfolio.

Source: IFM Investors


CopperString 2.0 welcomes Queensland Government support and investment

27 August

The CopperString 2.0 high voltage transmission line project welcomes a Queensland Government contribution of $1.18 million to further advance the pre-construction phase of the 1,000 kilometre line between Townsville and Mount Isa.

The Queensland Government announced it will provide the grant under its North West Queensland Economic Diversification Strategy initiative. The Government’s funding further reinforces the important role the North West plays in the State’s economic future as well as the opportunity for CopperString 2.0 to deliver significant economic and environmental benefits to Queensland.

CopperString 2.0 Project Founder, John O’Brien, thanked the Queensland Government for their focus on the Townsville to Mount Isa economic zone and its acknowledgment that CopperString 2.0 offered a key piece of common-user infrastructure for reliable electricity to underpin the region’s future development.

Mr O’Brien said CopperString received strong bipartisan support from the State and Federal governments reflecting CopperString 2.0’s role driving investment and jobs.

“We are grateful to receive this funding from the Queensland Government for CopperString 2.0 as it will assist in advancing the project and is another important endorsement of the economic boost that will come from this transmission network investment,” Mr O’Brien said.

“There is at least $5 billion of investment across minerals, minerals-processing and energy infrastructure in the Townsville to Mount Isa corridor and having the right common user infrastructure will be essential to realising this potential.”

John O’Brien highlighted the broad political support for CopperString 2.0 at a State and Federal level.

“To deliver large common user infrastructure, particularly in regional Queensland, all levels of government must work together and we are in the fortunate position that all major political parties in Queensland are supporting CopperString 2.0, and now have made financial contributions to help deliver the project.”

“The feedback we have received from both industry and community stakeholders is clear that access to competitively priced and reliable power is critical to making long term, industry-building investment not only for the resources sector but for investment in other industries such as agriculture and industrial manufacturing” Mr O’Brien said.

The CopperString 2.0 project is advancing quickly and is currently negotiating key commercial agreements with Foundation Customers, regulatory / approvals frameworks with the Queensland Government and financing from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

CopperString 2.0 is currently working with NAIF through the due diligence phase of the investment process. This requires CopperString 2.0 to submit an Investment Proposal for consideration by the NAIF board in making an investment decision.

John O’Brien says an important aspect of the delivery of common-user infrastructure like CopperString 2.0 is ensuring the development and operation is structured in a way that enables the full economic potential to be realised.

“Economic modelling undertaken for CopperString 2.0 indicates the project can deliver more than $5 billion in economic benefit to the region and the State, and to achieve this we need to continue working collaboratively with the Queensland Government as they control the electricity supply industry regulation and other approvals processes.”

“Extending the national grid across such a productive and resources-rich region as North and North-western Queensland is a big economic initiative, one of the largest strategic transmission investments in Australia’s history”, Mr O’Brien said.

“We have appreciated all the hard work the State Government has put in and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the objective of delivering CopperString 2.0 in a way that provides economic and environmental benefits to all of Queensland through a more productive and sustainable North and North West region.”

Mr O’Brien says that CopperString 2.0 is committed to delivering benefits that go beyond improving the competitiveness of the minerals export supply chain. He says he wants CopperString 2.0 to fundamentally improve energy supply right across the east and west of Northern Queensland and leverage CopperString 2.0’s infrastructure to benefit communities across the entire region.

“We are committed to ensuring CopperString 2.0 becomes an important piece of community infrastructure across Northern Queensland. That’s why we’re doing things like offering our fibre optic capacity at no charge to any communications service providers who will pass on the benefits to the community.” Mr O’Brien said.

Source: CopperString 2.0



Alberton Wind Farm

Synergy Wind’s proposed Alberton Wind Farm in South Gippsland, Victoria has been approved with conditions by the federal Department of the Environment & Energy. The approval is to construct up to 34 wind turbines and associated infrastructure and has effect until 30 April 2050. Conditions relate to protection measures for the Orange-bellied Parrot, the Swift Parrot and the White-throated Needletail.


Revised Development Approval for the Ceres Project

27 August

The South Australian Government has approved the variation to the Development Approval for the Ceres Project, a $1.6 billion wind energy development on the Yorke Peninsula.

The revised Development Approval allows for the latest wind turbine technology to be used on the site, with an increased maximum tip height of up to 220 metres, and an increased rotor diameter of up to 160 metres. The total number of turbines has been reduced from 187 to a maximum of 170 (based on 3.7 MW turbines). The wind farm output is capped at around 630 megawatts, and it is expected that higher capacity, more efficient turbines will be installed, resulting in fewer turbines.

The Ceres Project will produce power when it is needed most – reducing the use of more expensive forms of generation which will put downward pressure on electricity prices. The high voltage undersea cable, coupled with a synchronous condenser and flywheel will also contribute to increased network security and reliability.

Input from the local community has helped shape the Project. For example:

  • employment and business opportunities will be actively promoted on the Yorke Peninsula;
  • aerial spraying activities will be supported by stopping turbines as needed;
  • $150,000 a year will be allocated to a community fund and $50,000 a year to a community fire-fighting fund for the 25-year life of the wind farm;
  • there will be over 135 kilometres of underground cables to ensure no overhead powerlines;
  • there will be setbacks of at least 2 km from coastal settlements and of 1.3 km from neighbouring households, which exceeds Government requirements.

Direct local benefits have been estimated at $8 million per annum for the 25-year life of the wind farm.

As per the original approval, the revised Development Approval includes a number of conditions that must be met that relate to the construction and operation of the wind farm and associated infrastructure such as transformers, underground transmission lines and cabling.

Source: Senvion


Aurecon advises Spark Infrastructure on the build of its first renewable energy generation project in Australia

27 August

Engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon has been appointed by Spark Infrastructure as the owner’s engineer for the Bomen 120 MWdc bi-facial solar photovoltaic (PV) project currently under construction near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

This appointment follows on from Aurecon’s role as technical advisor to Spark Infrastructure for its acquisition of the project earlier this year. Aurecon’s role as owner’s engineer includes reviewing the detailed design and the performance of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, Beon Design Solutions (Beon), and will work closely with Spark Infrastructure’s own resources to oversee the construction and delivery process.

“This project is significant for a number of reasons and demonstrates how Australia’s energy market continues to transform. We are seeing new participants enter the renewable energy market, including this being Spark Infrastructure’s first solar PV generation project, as well as the involvement of large corporate customers who are increasingly purchasing energy generated by these types of projects.

It also shows how far renewable energy technology has come, with Bomen, when completed, being the largest bi-facial solar project in Australia,” Aurecon’s Global Service Leader for Power Generation, Paul Godden said.

“The use of 310,000 bi-facial solar panels, which are transparent on both sides enabling sunlight to be harvested from both the front and rear of the panel, is expected to produce enough power for the equivalent of 36,000 Australian homes. These types of panels are expected to produce higher energy yield by absorbing the light scattered from the ground and surroundings,” Paul said.

“It’s exciting to see significant investment in a large-scale bi-facial solar project in Australia. The project will no doubt be watched closely as it potentially sets the benchmark for future bi-facial solar projects that follow in Australia and globally.”

“As a leader in renewable energy, Aurecon is proud to be a part of projects like this that are transforming the industry. We will work closely with Spark Infrastructure, as well as the EPC contractor, Beon, to support the project and its stakeholders to achieve their objectives,” Paul said.

The Bomen Solar project commenced in April 2019 and is expected to be completed by Q2 2020 with the asset lifetime of the solar farm expected to be 30 years.

Source: Aurecon


East Rockingham RRF: consortium appoints Acciona to lead construction of the East Rockingham Energy-From-Waste Facility

27 August

The consortium developing the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility has awarded ACCIONA the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract to build its energy-from-waste (EfW) plant. Under the EPC contract, ACCIONA will deliver the project in partnership with Hitachi Zosen INOVA (HZI), the world-leading technology provider and equipment supplier, bringing the next generation of innovation to the Australian waste management and resource recovery sector.

The development consortium of New Energy Corporation, Tribe Infrastructure Group and HZI was established in 2016 and has since won a series of competitive tenders for long-term contracts with local and regional government authorities in the Perth metropolitan area.

The project encompasses the design, construction, financing and operation of a greenfield EfW facility in the Rockingham Industry Zone 40km south of Perth. The new facility will recover resources from approximately 300,000 tonnes per year of residual waste from municipal, commercial and industrial sources and up to 30,000 tonnes per year of biosolids. The EfW facility will generate approximately 29MW of reliable renewable energy, enough to power over 36,000 homes. With the appointment of ACCIONA now confirmed, construction will commence on site in the 4th Quarter of 2019. During the construction phase, more than 300 new jobs will be created. The operation and maintenance phase will create around 50 new permanent positions.

The project builds on ACCIONA’s long-term investment in Australia and will be delivered through a combination of ACCIONA’s domestic and international knowhow. With Western Australia soon to be home to the country’s 1st and 2nd utility-scale thermal waste-to-energy facilities, both to be delivered by ACCIONA, the Company cements its position as the market leader for projects of this scale and complexity.

Bede Noonan, ACCIONA Geotech’s Managing Director, said: “This is another landmark project for WA and our country as a whole. Energy-from-Waste is gaining traction quickly, and it’s great to see New Energy, Tribe and our EPC partners HZI developing the second large-scale plant here. Not only will we be able to build on the capabilities harnessed for our 1st project in Perth, but we also get the opportunity to work with industry leader HZI to bring the best available technology to Australia for the first time.”

Enzo Gullotti, Chairman of New Energy, added: “With ACCIONA leading construction, we’ve secured the final piece of the puzzle and look forward to starting construction on site in the coming months. This project is well aligned with WA’s recently released Waste Strategy, supporting kerbside organics separation and helping make possible the aggressive landfill diversion targets for the Perth region. We also look forward to rewarding the bold leadership of Perth’s Local Government Authorities, namely the EMRC and the City of Cockburn. They’ve taken action for sustainable, reliable and affordable waste management practices, and in so doing are making WA the nation’s Circular Economy leader.”

Earlier this year the project was bolstered when SUEZ, global expert in the water and waste resource management sectors, was awarded the role of waste management partner for the project for a minimum term of 20 years. SUEZ’s role in the consortium touches every aspect of the project, combining SUEZ’s international EfW experience with its market-leading network of assets and infrastructure in Western Australia. SUEZ currently operates over 55 energy-from-waste facilities globally and is the world leader in this field.

Mark Venhoek, SUEZ Australia & New Zealand CEO said, “SUEZ is very pleased to see ACCIONA leading the construction for the East Rockingham energy from waste facility. This appointment and the progress of the facility to date demonstrates Western Australia’s ongoing commitment to innovative waste management solutions by optimising our existing resources to create energy and increasing diversion from landfill.”

Source: East Rockingham RRF Project Co


City sets sights on 100% renewable electricity target

27 August

A plan to source 100 per cent of City of Newcastle’s power from renewable generation could save ratepayers millions in energy costs over the next 25 years, a feasibility study has found.

The study, commissioned by the City following a Council resolution in April indicates cost savings of between $3.8 million and $4.8 million to ratepayers by sourcing power either directly, or via a retailer, from renewable sources.

The Council report also reveals widespread community support for a potential move to 100 per cent renewables following a survey of almost 1,000 Novocastrians.

With the City’s current electricity contracts due to expire on 31 December, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was the right time for the City to implement more sustainable, cost-efficient and eco-friendly forms of electricity generation from 2020 and beyond.

“It’s City of Newcastle’s aim to be a leader in renewable energy as part of our strategy to be a global smart city,” the Lord Mayor said

“Around 70 per cent of the respondents to our Winter Community Survey supported the City moving towards a 100 per cent renewable energy target, which sends us a strong message.

“The survey also identified increasing the use of renewable energy as one of the community’s highest ranked measures to reduce impacts on the environment.

“Our City is well positioned to take the next step towards achieving a 100 per cent renewable electricity target and we are already using half a megawatt of solar to power ten of our sites, including the Newcastle Museum.

“There’s an additional five megawatt of renewable energy generation that will soon be available via the Summerhill Waste Management Centre solar farm.

“Combined, this will provide for between 50-65 per cent of the City’s renewable electricity supply, which puts us on track to meet the 100 per cent goal we’re aiming towards.

“While it will be sometime before the national electricity grid fully transitions to 100 per cent renewable energy, the City will be looking to purchase enough renewable electricity to meet 100 per cent of its operational electricity requirements.”

As part of City of Newcastle’s operational activities, contracts for the supply of electricity for large sites, street lighting and small sites expire on 31 December 2019 and the recommendation proposed is that the City enter into a long-term agreement that provides for 100 per cent renewable electricity supply.

If adopted, City of Newcastle would follow the lead of other Australian organisations that have moved to 100 per cent renewable electricity supply including the University of Newcastle, University of NSW, CBA, Westpac, Monash University, Melbourne University, and also City of Sydney which is currently out to market.

Source: City of Newcastle


Windlab initiates strategic review

28 August

Windlab Limited (“WND” or “the Company”) today announces that it has initiated a review of the Company’s strategic options to better address and improve shareholder value.

The review may encompass several strategic options across all facets of the business to close the value gap between the price of Windlab’s listed securities and the Board’s view on the underlying value of the Company’s intellectual property, development pipeline, generating asset portfolio and asset management operations.

The review will include, but will not be limited to, consideration of the introduction of potential capital partner(s) in Windlab or its underlying development businesses and alternative Company or asset ownership models.

Windlab will seek input from various stakeholders throughout the review process and will keep shareholders informed of any relevant material developments.

Windlab has appointed Moelis Australia Advisory Pty Ltd to act as financial advisor in relation to the review.

Source: Windlab



Cultana Pumped Hydro Energy Scheme

The federal Department of the Environment & Energy decided that EnergyAustralia’s proposed Cultana Pumped Hydro Energy Scheme, near Port Augusta in SA, is a controlled action. The project will require assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed. The relevant controlling provisions are:

  • Listed threatened species and communities (sections 18 & 18A)
  • Listed migratory species (sections 20 & 20A)
  • Commonwealth land (sections 26 & 27 A)

An initial feasibility study released by ARENA found the project could generate 225 MW of electricity with eight hours of storage using seawater.


State Government details emissions policy for major projects

28 August

- Policy to guide decision making on major projects

- Sensible and balanced approach to end uncertainty for industry and community

- Emissions policy will form part of broader WA climate policy, currently being developed

The McGowan Labor Government has outlined its greenhouse gas emissions policy for major projects assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

Energy Minister Bill Johnston made the statement in Parliament today, explaining how the policy will provide guidance to industry on future job-creating project approvals.

The Western Australian Government's long-held position is that it supports the Federal Government's target of reducing emissions by 28 per cent by 2030.

In response to industry and community calls for a State-wide approach to reducing emissions, the State Government will work with all sectors of the Western Australian economy towards achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The State's aspiration is economically and environmentally responsible, and is consistent with the Government's commitment to work co-operatively with industry to create jobs.

The policy supports proponents of major new projects or project expansions that emit significant emissions, developing greenhouse gas management plans that details their contribution towards achieving the State's aspiration of net zero emissions by 2050.

The Government's approach aims to facilitate flexible solutions to greenhouse gas reduction that promote innovation, new technologies and new opportunities for Western Australia.

The EPA makes independent recommendations on major projects involving greenhouse emissions to the Minister for the Environment who will have regard to this policy in considering how any approvals for these major projects are conditioned.

The broader WA climate policy is currently being developed and will be released in 2020.

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston: "As a responsible State Government, it is important to ensure that projects have certainty for the long term. Protecting and creating jobs is, and will always be, our number one priority.

"Industry and the broader community have been calling for more guidance, and this aspiration provides the certainty needed for future major projects.

"It is a sensible and balanced policy, that will allow industry to harness innovation and create jobs here in Western Australia. Government will always respect the independence of the EPA. The EPA has historically called for more clarity from Government about its policy on greenhouse emissions – this policy provides that clarity going forward."

Source: WA Government


West Musgrave – Pre-feasibility Study progress update

28 August


  • Pre-feasibility study assessing a 10 Mtpa scenario aligned to the Further Scoping Study with an extended mine life
  • Original Pre-feasibility Study timeline extended for detailed evaluation of a range of potential value-add opportunities
  • Further update and maiden Ore Reserve planned for release early 2020

OZ Minerals and Cassini Resources today provide a progress update on the West Musgrave Project Pre-feasibility Study (PFS).

The West Musgrave project is a joint venture between OZ Minerals (70%) and Cassini Resources (30%) (ASX:CZI) to develop the Nebo and Babel copper and nickel deposits in Western Australia; some 800 km west of Uluru, near the intersection of the borders between Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. The current study work builds on the Further Scoping Study (FSS) completed by OZ Minerals and Cassini in November 2017.

Power Solutions

A 55 MW hybrid diesel-solar-wind solution with 70–80% renewable penetration is the current Base Case. Baseline data collected over the last year has demonstrated a high quality, consistent solar and wind resource is available, with higher wind velocities at night offsetting the lack of solar power.

Power accounts for around 40% of the processing cost at West Musgrave and is a significant value lever on the project. Large-scale solar photovoltaic and wind solutions are currently economically viable and technically mature solutions to reduce the project’s reliance on high cost fossil fuels for electricity generation.

A large number of proposals have been received from major utilities, independent power providers, infrastructure funders and equipment manufacturers. Evaluation of the proposals has resulted in confidence that there will be a reduction in the power cost assumption used in the Further Scoping Study.

Source: OZ Minerals


Infigen adds South Australia gas turbines

28 August

Infigen (ASX: IFN) is pleased to announce that it has agreed to lease 120MW of open cycle gas turbine equipment (the “SAGTs”) from the South Australian Government for 25 years, commencing May 2020.

Together with the 123MW Smithfield OCGT facility in NSW and the 25MW/52MWh SA Battery at Lake Bonney, the SAGTs mark the delivery of Infigen’s firming platform. These assets enable Infigen to substantially increase firm electricity sales to Commercial and Industrial (“C&I”) customers in the National Electricity Market (“NEM”) and enable Infigen to grow its renewable energy capacity in the future.

Chairman, Len Gill, commented: “Infigen has operated renewable energy assets in South Australia since 2005. We are pleased to be partnering with the South Australian Government as we lead Australia’s transition to a clean energy future. Our strategy is focused on providing commercial and industrial customers with reliable and competitively priced clean energy.”

SAGT transaction highlights:

- Four independent aero-derivative units (4x30MW) with 6-8 minute start time.

- Two year old General Electric equipment with 25+ years of remaining useful life.

- Lease and estimated capex cost of ~$900/kW is significantly less than new build plant (e.g. OCGT at ~$1050/kW or reciprocating engine ~$1400/kW).

- Lease of existing equipment, as required by South Australian Government, lowers capital intensity.

- Option to operate on existing site for up to five years, mitigating risk of development or connection delays at the relocation site.

- Balanced allocation of risk between the State and Infigen over the 25 year life of lease.

- Units are expected to be relocated to a site at Bolivar with a 66kV connection, allowing Infigen to utilise substantial existing balance of plant (thereby reducing overall capital costs).

- Once relocated, the units will be transitioned to gas fuel, lowering the short run marginal cost and lowering emissions intensity.

- The SAGTs provide firming for Infigen’s existing SA renewable portfolio (279MW) and enable an additional 300MW of renewable capacity growth.

- At 120MW, the SAGTs are the right size for Infigen’s existing portfolio and growth ambitions.

The 25 year lease is expected to begin May 2020 with annual lease payments of $5.02m, escalating with inflation (CPI). The capital expenditure associated with the relocation, including, civil works, gas connection, electricity connection and equipment installation is budgeted at $55m.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ross Rolfe, said: “Alongside the Smithfield OCGT and the SA Battery, the South Australian Gas Turbines lease marks another significant milestone in the strategic transformation of Infigen into an active energy market participant. Infigen has been growing its commercial and industrial customer base in SA since 2017 and is pleased to have added important new customers in SA, including a medium term electricity supply agreement with 64 councils, administered by the Local Government Association of South Australia, beginning January 2020.”

Source: Infigen


Sun shines on energy future

28 August

A new era in power generation has begun, with the commissioning of the Albury Renewable Energy Hub - Australia's first solar plant built on a reclaimed landfill site.

The hub, at the Albury Waste Management Centre, consists of 4,000 solar panels that will produce enough energy for about 400 homes, or more than 1,000 local electricity users.

The hub includes an electric vehicle super charger, directly connected to the renewable generation at the site, allowing the community to charge their vehicles with emissions-free electricity.

Developed as a partnership between AlburyCity, LMS Energy and Joule Energy, the hub also includes an on-site, baseload methane gas-to-energy system to provide even more power to consumers.

AlburyCity Councillor Henk van de Ven said council was proud to have helped deliver a renewable energy system for the future.

“As a community, we’re leading the way in Albury towards a more sustainable future so embracing alternative energy is obviously a fantastic way of growing our clean energy generation for the decades ahead,” he said.

“By harnessing the power of the sun and landfill gases that would otherwise leak into the atmosphere we’re beginning to make a real difference at a local level and it’s very exciting to see this new plant come on line.”

The general manager of LMS Energy, Matthew Falzon, said the hub would be Australia’s first large-scale solar farm situated on top of a capped landfill.

Source: AlburyCity



Kentbruck Green Power Hub

The Minister for Planning has decided that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required for Neoen’s proposed Kentbruck Green Power Hub, as described in the referral accepted on 24 July 2019.

Reasons for Decision:

  • The proposal has the potential for a range of significant effects that require assessment.

In particular the project as proposed could have significant effects on:

  1. Threatened fauna listed under both the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), including southern bent-wing bat, red-tailed black cockatoo, orangebellied parrot, as well as migratory shorebirds.
  2. Threatened flora and ecological communities listed under both the FFG and EPBC Act.

iii. Aboriginal cultural heritage values.

  1. Landscape values.
  2. Effects on surface water and groundwater and related beneficial uses, including risks to wetlands such as Long Swamp as well as the Glenelg and Discover Bay Ramsar Site.

The Kentbruck Green Power Hub is a proposed 900-megawatt (MW) wind energy and battery storage facility, located 30 kilometres north west of Portland and approximately 3 kilometres east of Nelson, within the Glenelg Shire Council, Victoria.


Senvion receives advanced offers for substantial core parts of the business

28 August

- M&A process is ongoing and focused on various profitable core business areas

- Advanced offers have been received and are being finalised soon

- Improved financial situation allows for the continuation of business activities over the timeline to conclude on the M&A process

Hamburg: Senvion today announced that it has received several advanced offers for various substantial core parts of its business. The company is entering final stages of the M&A process and will present the investor concepts to the creditors' assembly for a vote on 10 September 2019.

The company has also put in place financial arrangements to secure ongoing business activities over the timeline to conclude on these offers, including wage and salary payments for all business units.

With regards to the turbine business, no offers for the entire unit have been received despite an intensive and global search for a new investor. There are several continuation projects to be completed which means that jobs will be secured for a substantial part of the turbine business workforce for the next few months, with some going into 2020. While jobs in the turbine business could be secured for August first redundancies are expected to occur during September. These would take effect at the end of the year.

Yves Rannou, CEO of Senvion, said: "For the past months, we have been committed to finding the best possible outcome for the company in this difficult situation. We are now close to having a solution for significant core parts of the business. What is more is that we can keep the business running until the M&A process is concluded. This is possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone at Senvion. I want to thank our employees for their continued trust and support."

The company will continue negotiations with employees' representatives regarding potential social plans and balance of interest schemes for the affected workforce as well as potentially a transfer company for safeguarding an orderly process.

Source: Senvion


Next generation pumped for Tasmania's future

28 August

Hydro Tasmania is accelerating detailed investigation of three key opportunities for pumped hydro development in the state as part of the Battery of the Nation initiative.

Work has begun on a full feasibility assessment of pumped hydro development opportunities at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in the North-West and near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast. This will involve grassroots community engagement, geotechnical investigations and environmental, heritage and social assessments.

The Board of Hydro Tasmania has approved funding for this work to begin, as part of the first tranche of investment by Hydro Tasmania of up to $30 million for deeper studies of the three options. The studies will identify a single pumped hydro project that can be ready to operate when 1200MW of additional Bass Strait interconnection comes online.

Hydro Tasmania CEO Steve Davy said it was an exciting time for the business, with the next stage demonstrating that real progress is being made.

“A key focus of the Battery of the Nation initiative is to take the Tasmanian community with us on this journey, particularly those living near the proposed pumped hydro sites that we are investigating,” Mr Davy said.

“We are committed to providing those communities with information at every stage and seeking their input on what matters to them. We want to make sure that the projects we pursue will deliver benefits to Tasmania, and to Tasmanian communities.”

The first community information session will be held in Sheffield today and Deloraine next week, with others to be announced in coming weeks. Full details are available on Hydro Tasmania’s website.

Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton, welcomed the announcement, noting that Tasmania would be an important part of Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.

“Australia will be completely powered by renewable energy at some point in the next few decades. This presents a need, and an enormous opportunity for Tasmania’s hydropower to play a critical role in supporting Australia’s transition,” Mr Thornton said.

“The construction of Tasmania’s hydropower system a century ago was a remarkable nation-building project, and the next generation of projects in Battery of the Nation and Marinus Link is just as exciting.

“Tasmania will attract many of the nation’s best and brightest to work on this next phase of nation building, as well as offering remarkable opportunities for locals to develop their skills and careers. The time to start planning for all this is now.”

The announcement comes on the day after Hydro Tasmania’s inaugural Future Forum in Launceston, which focused on the workforce challenge to deliver Tasmania’s renewable energy opportunities, and the importance of collaboration across sectors to maximise the potential benefits.

Early modelling shows unlocking Tasmania’s exciting renewable energy potential could generate billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs in regional Tasmania. This presents both opportunities and challenges for Tasmania as it seeks to maximise the benefits of what could potentially be a 20-year program of renewable energy projects.

Mr Davy said Tasmania would be competing with the rest of the nation for scarce skills.

“Finding the skills in the timeframes needed to design and build the Battery of the Nation projects will be extremely challenging,” he said.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure being built across Australia and, even now, engineering disciplines and trades are hard to get as there is enormous competition for the best talent.

“A 20-year program will bring with it all sorts of workforce challenges, both for businesses competing to attract skilled employees and those developing pathways to work for young Tasmanians. That’s why we want to bring together perspectives from a range of sectors to consider how we best meet those challenges to bring greatest benefit to Tasmanians.

“We need to ensure industry and the education and training sector in particular are working together because Battery of the Nation offers young Tasmanians a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be part of transforming Australia’s energy landscape.

“It will create jobs in regional Tasmanian communities and we need young people to be working towards being job-ready when the employment opportunities arrive.”

The Future Forum, held in Launceston last night, included a panel discussion with leaders from business, the education sector and government.

Source: Hydro Tasmania


Waitaha river hydro application declined

28 August

An application from Westpower Ltd for concessions to construct and operate a run of river hydro-electric power scheme on the Waitaha River, near Hokitika, has been declined.  

Environment Minister David Parker said the application was declined because establishing the power scheme in this location would have significant impacts on the natural character of the area, the intrinsic value of the area and people’s enjoyment of it. 

“The area is largely unmodified by humans. It is near to pristine and yet is accessible for recreation. 

“The area is valued for its natural beauty and wilderness qualities for recreation. The proposal would have significantly undermined the area’s intrinsic values which people experience when they tramp and kayak there. 

“I considered expert advice and submitters’ views, and concluded that the adverse effects of the activity could not be adequately or reasonably mitigated.  

“Westpower’s application was careful and comprehensive. I recognise it invested substantial time, energy and money in the process,” David Parker said. 

“I thank the applicant and the submitters, for and against, for participating in this important process.” 

Background Information

- The hydro scheme proposal was a run-of-river scheme. No instream storage (dam) was required. A weir and other structures would have been constructed at the upstream end of Morgan Gorge.  

- A 2km access road and associated infrastructure (powerhouse, tunnel) was proposed to be constructed as part of the proposal.  

- The proposal was to divert the river flow into the power scheme tunnel at the head of Morgan Gorge. The water would be returned to the river 2.6km downstream, below the proposed powerhouse. 

- A full copy of the decision is available at:

Source: NZ Government


Investment Decision for Waipipi Wind Farm (formerly Waverley Wind Farm)

28 August

The  Tilt  Renewables  Limited  (TLT)  Board  today  approved  the  investment  in  the  133 MW Waipipi Wind Farm (formerly referred to as the Waverley Wind Farm).  The new name for this exciting  development  was proffered  by  Ngaa  Rauru  Kiitahi.   Waipipi is considered an appropriate name in light of the heritage and history of the area, and TLT’s commitment to the local stakeholders and environment.  

The NZ$276 million project is located between Patea and Waverley in the South Taranaki area of the North Island of New Zealand and will consist of 31 4.3 MW Siemens Gamesa turbines, each with a  130m  rotor diameter,  the largest ever installed in New Zealand.  Once operational, the average annual generation of clean, green electricity will be 455GWh.  This electricity will be sold to Genesis Energy Limited under a 20‐year offtake agreement, as announced in May this year.  

Funding  for  the  project  has  been  underpinned  with  competitive  project  debt  financing,  with remaining  project  costs  funded  by  internally  generated  equity,  including  funds  set  aside  for reinvestment, rather than paid to shareholders as a Final Dividend in FY19. 

TLT  CEO  Deion  Campbell  said  “the  business  is  delighted  to  be  able  to  commit  to  a  material expansion  of  our New  Zealand  wind  portfolio  without  the  need  for  any  new  investment  from shareholders.  This excellent outcome reflects the capability of the “Gen Tilt” team and further demonstrates  the  quality  of  the  investment  opportunities  available  from  our  development pipeline and the benefit of our strong, cash‐generating operational portfolio.”  

It is expected that the project will now proceed to financial close in the coming month.  

TLT  will manage  construction  of  the  project  with  support  from  a  credible  team  of  contracting partners, including:

- Turbine Supply and Install: Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Pty Ltd 

- Electrical Balance of Plant: ElectroNet Services Limited

- Civil Balance of Plant: Higgins Contractors Limited

- Transmission: Transpower New Zealand Limited

Campbell also said “this is a significant milestone for us because it is the first new construction project that TLT has committed to in New Zealand, which is where our journey began nearly 20 years ago.  It is fantastic that, as the only proven credible independent wind developer in New Zealand, with more opportunities in our pipeline, we can contribute to the move toward a 100% green New Zealand electricity market.”

Upon  completion  of  the Waipipi Wind  Farm  TLT  will  have  in  excess  of  1,000 MW  of  installed capacity, nearly double the installed capacity of the business when it was created in October 2016, following the demerger from Trustpower Limited.

Source: Tilt Renewables


USC unveils a new way to power universities

29 August

The University of the Sunshine Coast has today switched on an unconventional new system that will slash 40 percent of grid energy use at its largest campus.

The thermal energy storage tank – designed and built in partnership with global company Veolia and dubbed ‘the water battery’ by staff – is the first of its kind at an Australian university.

In contrast to traditional solar and battery systems, the system consists of a three-storey tank of water that will be cooled by a complex thermal process powered by more than 6,000 solar panels installed across the campus at Sippy Downs in Queensland, Australia.

The cooled water will be stored and used for air conditioning, which is currently the single biggest user of electricity at the campus.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the system’s launch was a significant milestone in the university’s bid to become carbon neutral by 2025.

“Air conditioning accounts for 40 percent of our daily energy usage, so by eliminating this we are taking a major step towards our carbon neutral goal,” Professor Hill said.

“For a regional university to be leading the way on this is proof that we don’t need to be in the big cities to be taking big strides in new ideas in renewables, and for us that’s very exciting.

“This technology has the potential to change the way energy is stored at scale and we are hoping other organisations take inspiration and indeed copy us. The team behind this is already sharing the technology with schools, universities and companies around the world.

“At the same time, USC is using the technology to teach student engineers, designers and leaders of the future, while staff and students are able to track our energy savings through real-time monitoring across the campus.”

The system is expected to save more than 92 thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions over 25 years, equivalent to the carbon emissions of 525 average Australian houses for the same period. It will lead to an estimated $100 million saving over the 25-year life of the project.

The 2.1 megawatt photovoltaic system, with panels spread across campus rooftops and carpark structures, will produce enough energy to cool 4.5 megalitres of water, effectively acting as a 7 MW battery.

Danny Conlon, CEO and Managing Director for Veolia Australia and New Zealand said, "We’ve enjoyed working with USC on such a unique and complex project. By working closely with the University, we’ve delivered a solution that makes them a leader in sustainable energy management in Australia. We're delighted about the environmental and financial benefits this will bring them." 

Source: University of the Sunshine Coast


Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory March 2019 Quarterly Update released

30 August

Today the Morrison Government released the March 2019 Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

During the first quarter 2019, emissions fell 0.4 per cent on a seasonally adjusted and weather normalised basis.

Emissions for the year to March 2019 are up 0.6 per cent or 3.1 Mt CO2-e. This increase is more than accounted for by a 4.7 Mt CO2-e increase in LNG production related emissions, as LNG exports increased 18.8 per cent. Absent the increase in LNG exports, emissions would have declined 0.3 per cent or 1.6 Mt CO2-e.

The report includes a special topic on natural gas, covering the role gas plays in the transition to cleaner, more efficient energy systems. Recent CSIRO research has found that substituting gas for coal in electricity generation produces a substantial greenhouse gas emissions saving of up to 50 per cent. Where flexible gas generation is used to ‘firm’ variable renewable energy sources like solar and wind, the emissions intensity of electricity generation is even lower.

Australia’s LNG exports for the year to March 2019 are estimated to be worth $47.8 billion and have the potential to reduce global emissions by up to 152 Mt CO2-e, or up to 28 per cent of Australia’s annual emissions.

Emissions from electricity generation, Australia’s largest source of emissions, fell 2.1 per cent or 3.8 Mt CO2-e over the year to March 2019, as the share of electricity sourced from renewables continues to grow.

In 2018, Australia led the world in clean energy investment, with more than double the per-capita investment of countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom. This investment will contribute to further reductions in emissions from the electricity sector and the emissions intensity of the economy over coming years as substantial amounts of new renewable generation come online.

The report shows emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the economy continue to fall and are at their lowest levels in nearly three decades. 

In the year to March 2019, emissions per capita have fallen 40.1 per cent since 1990, while the emissions intensity of the economy has fallen 62.4 per cent.

Australia’s emissions are also 14 per cent below the peak recorded in the year to June 2007 and 11.7 per cent below emissions in 2005 (the baseline year for the Paris Agreement).

The Government welcomes these positive developments as it implements the $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package, which maps out how we will meet our 2030 Paris target down to the last tonne. We are taking a sensible and balanced approach to securing a better future for Australians, reducing emissions while ensuring our economy remains strong.

Source: Federal Government

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