A Kiwi first: direct grid-connected battery is large and in-charge

22 August

New Zealand’s first grid-scale battery storage facility was launched in Auckland by the Minister of Energy, Dr Megan Woods today.

Tesla’s Powerpack battery commissioned by Mercury at their Research and Development centre in South Auckland is part of an ambitious project to test the direct integration of battery energy storage with New Zealand’s electricity grid. The energy company will also gather learnings around trading energy storage, and the relationship of stored electricity to the renewable hydro and geothermal electricity sources in its generation portfolio.

“Battery storage is a fast-developing technology with potential to support our country’s existing globally-envied renewable electricity supply,” says Fraser Whineray, Mercury’s Chief Executive.

“Mercury’s mission is energy freedom for New Zealand and everyone who lives here, and this means offering new ways that sustainable energy is provided. Advances in battery technology are also fundamental to electrification of cars and trucks; they’re all part of the same energy ecosystem.”

Mercury has invested nearly $3 million in this project, to learn more about how battery storage can more efficiently and flexibly use current generation capability to meet consumer’s demand peaks, in tandem with

New Zealand’s large renewable energy storage in hydro lakes.

The battery’s location next door to the national grid’s ‘main highway’ in to Auckland means learnings from the trial will ultimately contribute to the security of supply for Auckland’s homes and businesses.

“We are really pleased to have worked with Mercury to enable this innovative project to operate on the grid,” says John Clarke, General Manager Operations at Transpower.

“We see battery storage as playing an increasingly important role in providing a reliable supply of electricity in New Zealand, as we increase our reliance on wind and solar to generate our electricity. We look forward to continuing to work with Mercury throughout the trial and gather key learnings to enable the transition to New Zealand’s sustainable energy future.”

As battery solutions evolve, making larger scale storage economic, this technology could effectively smooth demand for the electricity that powers New Zealand, leading to reduced reliance on non-renewable generation to support times of high demand.

Source: Mercury Energy

 

Networks welcome new energy minister

27 August

Energy Networks Australia welcomes the appointment of Angus Taylor as the federal Minster for Energy and thanks Minister Frydenberg for his contribution to the energy sector.

Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said the energy portfolio is a challenging one and he looked forward to working with Minister Taylor on helping move energy policy forward.

“Never has there been a time when there’s been such a focus on the sector, with Australia’s complex energy system transforming rapidly,” Mr Dillon said.

“Networks will continue to play our part in tackling energy affordability. Over the last three years, network charges for an average Australian household have fallen by $83.

“Enduring policies that can deliver affordable and reliable energy as we transition to a low emissions future continue to be the priority for energy networks.

“I look forward to briefing Minister Taylor on how a more connected future can increase competition and how we are working with the Australian Energy Market Operator to create Open Energy Networks that can harness the growing level of distributed generation to put downward pressure on prices.

“Energy networks are also actively working to develop a cost competitive hydrogen industry in Australia, as the world is moving towards a hydrogen-fuelled future.”

Source: Energy Networks Australia

 

New microgrid funding for multi-tenanted buildings

27 August

The Andrews Labor Government is helping households and businesses in multi-tenanted buildings cut their energy costs through a new investment in microgrid projects.

Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio was at Brunswick Town Hall today to announce a $980,000 grant towards the Ovida Community Energy Hub project, as part of the Labor Government’s statewide Microgrid Demonstration Initiative.

The $2 million Ovida project will install shared solar PV and battery systems in three buildings in Melbourne to help cut energy costs for tenants.

The initiative will benefit approximately 650 customers, generate 5000 kWh of solar energy and support 11,000 kWh of energy storage.

A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local supply of power that can function independently of the electricity grid, delivering energy security, sustainability and cost savings for those in the network.

A microgrid generally operates while connected to the grid, but importantly, it can break off and operate on its own using local energy generation in times of crisis like storms or power outages. Microgrids can also share excess energy produced back into the network for other users.

Ovida will work with Moreland Energy Foundation, RMIT University, Allume Energy and Jemena to deliver the project which will deliver affordable, dispatchable and reliable energy for occupants of apartment and commercial buildings.

The Microgrid Demonstration Initiative grant program is providing $10 million to support eight state-wide microgrid projects totaling over $37 million in value.

The Microgrid Demonstration Initiative was announced in 2017 as part of the Labor Government’s

$146 million Renewable Energy Action Plan.

Victoria is taking action on climate change, and delivering Victorian Renewable Energy Targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“Microgrid projects are part of our plan to drive down energy prices, reduce emissions and create a pipeline of investment in renewable energy.”

“This initiative will allow more households and businesses in multi-tenanted buildings to take control of their energy bills.”

Source: Victoria Government

 

NEW PROJECT

Bowmans Creek Wind Farm

Location: Bowmans Creek, east of Muswellbrook in central NSW

Capacity: TBD

Developer: Epuron Australia

LGA: Singleton Shire Council

Description: Community consultation started for project where monitoring underway to confirm a good wind resource in close proximity to the existing high voltage transmission network. If successfully developed the wind farm could contribute to new generation required to replace electricity produced by the retiring Liddell Power Station.

Contact: Julian Kasby

Project Manager

Epuron

Tel: (02) 8456 7400

Email: info@epuron.com.au

 

Planning for a distributed energy future

27 August

Building an electricity network that keeps pace with technological developments and meets changing consumer behaviour is a key priority for Top Energy’s $170m 10-year investment programme.

Over the coming decade, Chief Executive Russell Shaw says the company will focus its investment programme on initiatives that enable greater flexibility in how it manages its network.

“We have natural advantages, such as the geothermal resource at Ngawha which we are developing, but our network is remote, largely rural, and dependent on a single high voltage, double circuit line supplied from Manugatapere. In fact, approximately one third of the network is uneconomic to run and remains unreliable in some areas.”

Mr Shaw says the company has embarked on an investment programme that will help address these issues to provide a reliable and resilient network.

While the expansion of Ngawha and building a second line to Kaitaia are key to the long-term reliability of the network, Mr Shaw says the company is also focused on new initiatives in the short term.

The first is the installation of more diesel generators which can boost local supply.

“Over the next two years the company will install an additional 9MW of diesel generation to improve network security to customers fed from the single line to Kaitaia.”

The second explores a number of alternative network options such as combining small generators, batteries and solar panels to create micro-grids to boost the local power supply without needing to invest in the replacement of costly and uneconomic lines infrastructure.

“This will increase the total diesel generation capacity distributed through the network to 15MW. Once completed the generation at Ngawha will produce 53MW of geothermal generation in the Far North with the opportunity to grow this to 81MW in 2025. This will mean that power will be exported from the region 100% of the time.

The diesel generator deployment comes at a cost of $10 million which Mr Shaw says is significantly quicker to implement than the second line to Kaitaia, which is currently delayed due to property acquisition rights with landowners.

“The advantage of back up localised generation has already been demonstrated at Taipa where the supply has been maintained during outages affecting the wider network.”

“Generators also introduce a degree of flexibility and options into how we manage the network as they can be relocated to areas as required.”

Two 1MW diesel generators will be installed at Omanaia over the summer so that power can be maintained to 1,600 customers on the south west side of the Hokianga while the substation and 33kV line are upgraded.

This approach offers clear customer benefits as the generators provide backup power while essential maintenance on the network is undertaken. This work can no longer be completed using live line practices.

Once this project is finished these generators, along with additional generators yet to be procured, will be relocated to Kaitaia where they will be used to secure supply to the northern network which supplies 10,000 customers.

“This is a temporary solution until we are able to build our second 110kV line into Kaitaia.”

Mr Shaw says the diesel generators only represent one example of the investigations the company is undertaking to provide more diverse energy solutions for its customers.

“We are continuing to explore the viability of micro-distribution networks such as solar panels, batteries and other localised generation to provide service to areas that are presently connected to the network but are either uneconomic or challenging to access due to their remote location and restricted customers numbers.

“We envision these areas operating as stand-alone networks or micro-grids,” he says.

Mr Shaw also refers to the high penetration of solar power in the Far North, which is the second highest across all New Zealand electricity lines companies.

“We have 600 customer connections who have installed solar panels, creating a total of 2MW of embedded solar generation, which means they can export power back to the network.”

“It is essential that Top Energy remains responsive to new technologies for managing two way flows of energy – particularly as more customer invest in their own generation and want to sell power back onto the network.”

“Energy projections from Transpower, who manage the national grid, indicate that electricity demand is likely to double by 2050,” he says.

This is driven by changes required to meet our carbon neutral goal by 2050. This will require industrial processes to use more electricity rather than fossil fuels and far greater uptake in electric vehicles, which is growing steadily in the Far North with charging stations operating in Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Kaitaia and Kaikohe.

Source: Top Energy

 

Pearl Clean Energy acquires Protean Wave technology

27 August

  • PEARL Clean Energy Acquires 100% of the Protean Wave Energy technology
  • PEARL to spend $700k over 5 years and pay royalties based on future revenue

Protean Energy Limited (Protean or the Company) is pleased to advise that Protean and PEARL Clean Energy Pty Ltd (PEARL) have signed a binding Term Sheet Agreement (Agreement) for PEARL to acquire the Protean Wave Energy Converter technology assets (WEC Assets). The key terms of the Agreement include PEARL spending a minimum of $700,000 on the WEC Assets within the first 5 years from signing the Agreement and paying a 1.5% royalty on all future revenue generated from the WEC Assets during the first ten years from signing the Agreement. Under the terms of the Agreement, Protean will incur no further costs associated with the WEC Assets.

Protean’s decision to divest its interest in the WEC Assets is a result of the previously advised strategic review of assets undertaken by the Company. The decision is consistent with the Company’s focus on developing its Daejon vanadium project in Korea whilst concurrently working to commercialise the V-KOR vanadium redox flow battery technology.

ABOUT PEARL CLEAN ENERGY

PEARL Clean Energy is an Australian based independent “new” energy company. Driven by a clear set of values we are committed to enable, develop and produce clean energy for industry, commerce and edge of grid communities. PEARL finds opportunities to develop, fund and operate medium to large scale renewable energy systems in Australia and across the Asia Pacific region.

For further information, see www.pearlce.com

Source: Protean Energy

 

Arctech Solar signs a contract for 256.5MWp tracking system in Australia

27 August

Arctech Solar has inked a deal with Biosar Australia Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of Greek construction group AKTOR, for a 256.5MWp project located in Ouyen, north-western Victoria, Australia. This large-scale project signifies a new breakthrough for Arctech Solar to enter the Australia PV market.

This project is expected to be completed by the end of H12019. Considering the irregular terrain, the project will deploy SkySmart which can handle up to 20% N-S slope, use only 219 foundations per MW and provide double pitch drive-through space for module cleaning vehicles. Together with its advantage of efficient factory pre-assembly, SkySmart brings significant economic value to the contractors by minimizing the field installation labor cost on site.

“We are now working with Arctech Solar to make this solar power plant economically more competitive,” said Mr. Polychronopoulos, Director of Biosar, “By combining Arctech’s high-efficiency solar tracking technology and Biosar’s experience in engineering and construction, we are confident that this project will maximize the solar energy generation over system’s life span."

“In the past year, we are committed to delivering innovative and competitive products to meet the specific requirements of Australian market," said Mr. Guy Rong, the president of Arctech Solar's international business, “This 256.5MWp project can be seen as a vote of confidence from contractors and investors on our products and our rich project experience. We are thrilled to the progress we have made in Australia so far, we will further actively expand our presence in local market. We are setting up a subsidiary in Australia this year with the aim of providing better service to Australian clients.”

Furthermore, Arctech Solar also signed a contract to supply 121MWp Arctracker Pro to Yarranlea PV plant located in Toowoomba, Queensland. As of now, Arctech Solar’s cumulative order of trackers reached about 400MWp in Australia.

Source: Arctech Solar

 

Investor survey: Strong demand for green investment, yet policy uncertainty remains key barrier

27 August

Investor appetite for low carbon and green investment opportunities is strong but regulatory uncertainty threatens future growth, according to a new survey of institutional investors released today by the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC).

Set out in a new report – Scaling Up – institutional investors have provided new insights into how they are approaching low carbon and green investment opportunities and where they are active by market and asset class.

“Despite recent political upheavals, investors in Australia and New Zealand are focused on finding low carbon opportunities and getting deals done”, said Emma Herd, Chief Executive Officer of the Investor Group on Climate Change.

“Investors clearly have appetite for low carbon and green investment opportunities in all markets, and across a growing range of asset classes”.

“We are seeing increasing activity and investor interest in low carbon opportunities across a broader range of asset classes. Listed equities, fixed income and real estate remain key areas of activity”.

“However, policy uncertainty remains a significant barrier. This survey was conducted before the events of last week in Australia and the renewed challenges to clean energy investment we now face in Australia”.

“Failure to get the policy settings right could undermine investment appetite in Australia and investors will simply go offshore to find the low carbon opportunities they are clearly looking for”, said Herd.

The report provides the collective views of Australian and New Zealand investors with funds representing over AU$1.3 trillion in assets under management surveyed in May-June 2018. These investors include superannuation funds, asset managers and sovereign wealth funds. It is the second time IGCC has undertaken this survey.

Scaling Up provides a detailed breakdown of where investors are currently active across major markets and asset classes, and further insight into how investors are defining ‘green’ investment through a range of existing methodologies and frameworks.

The full report is available at www.igcc.org.au/publications

Source: Investor Group on Climate Change

 

PROJECT NEWS

Yarrabee Solar Farm

Reach Solar’s EIS for the Yarrabee Solar Farm is currently on public exhibition and opportunity for public submissions is available until 24 September. The proposal is for a 900 MW (AC) project to be located approximately 23km southwest of Narrandera in Western NSW. The Project would connect to the 330 kilovolt (kV) Wagga to Darlington Point Transmission Line, and is located in an area that has been identified as a priority renewable energy zone. The scale and location of the Project means it can generate electricity at a price that is competitive with black coal, provide certain ancillary services which assist the grid, and provide a material contribution to meeting Australia’s commitments to the Paris Accord.

 

RCR announces FY18 results and a capital raising to strengthen balance sheet

28 August

(Edited)

FY18 RESULTS AND IMPACT OF COST OVERRUNS – OVERVIEW

RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX: RCR) (“RCR” or “Company”) today announced its FY18 results, with revenue from continuing operations of $1,998.5 million, up 58.2% on the prior comparative period, Underlying EBIT loss of $4.2 million, including $57 million in cumulative write-downs on the Project, and a statutory net loss after tax of $16.1 million.

RCR has undertaken a comprehensive review of the Project, which experienced significant cost overruns due to several compounding project-specific issues. This has resulted in cumulative write-downs of $57 million from tendered margin for the Project. A large proportion of the write-downs were only recently identified. The Project is now substantially complete and currently undergoing commissioning.

Aside from the cost overruns experienced at the Project, RCR continues to operate across a large number of projects which, typical of a contracting business, experience some variance to tendered margins.

The Board is working with RCR’s Management, now being led by Mr James, to take immediate action to enhance the Company’s systems and to re-position the Company towards a more acceptable risk profile. An important element of RCR’s near term strategy is to focus on projects that use ‘alliance style’ contracting models, which are more working capital intensive, but offer a more favourable risk allocation to RCR as the contractor and should provide a higher degree of margin predictability relative to fixed price Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) contracts.

With the support of our existing financiers and the underwritten Entitlement Offer, RCR is in a strong financial position, trading on a business as usual basis, and is well placed to deliver for its customers and shareholders.

RCR’s Interim CEO, Bruce James said, “the financial impact from the Project was clearly disappointing, however, the outlook for the business remains positive.”

“Operationally, we will be implementing several actions to strengthen the business, which include the establishment of a Project Controls Group reporting to the CEO, regular audit of cost control structures on all projects and standardisation of key processes in the engineering and construction of our renewable energy projects. There will also be additional oversight at the pre-contract stage to reduce potential project risks.”

“RCR appreciates the support that its customers and shareholders have provided through this challenging period and with the Entitlement Offer and support from our financiers announced today, we can move forward in a position of strength.”

“Our primary focus in the near term will be on consolidation and re-positioning the Company towards a more acceptable risk profile. We see significant opportunity to achieve this across many of our key sectors, particularly by shifting the project portfolio towards 'alliance style' contracting models, which typically provide a higher degree of margin predictability relative to fixed price EPC contracts.”

“In recent months, RCR has secured new contracts in water, rail, property services and resources, bringing the current Order Book to $1.1 billion and we are also the preferred contractor for over $2.7 billion in new projects, either currently under negotiation or under an ECI process.”

CAPITAL RAISING – ENTITLEMENT OFFER TO STRENGTHEN BALANCE SHEET

RCR has today announced an Entitlement Offer to raise approximately $100 million to strengthen the balance sheet and address the financial impacts of cost overruns at the Project. Details on the Entitlement Offer are set out in a prospectus which was lodged by RCR with ASX on 28 August 2018.

PROJECT UPDATE

The Company provides the following update on the Project, the outcomes of the internal investigation conducted in relation to the Project, and actions taken by the Board.

In August 2017, RCR was appointed as contractor for the EPC and Operation and Maintenance of the contiguous 150MWac Daydream and the 50MWac Hayman Solar Farms located in Northern Queensland, with a contract value on award of $315 million.

Construction of the Project is substantially complete, and energisation and commissioning has commenced.

The Project has experienced significant cost overruns due to several compounding project-specific issues, including external delays and materially worse sub-surface ground conditions than were allowed for in the tender estimate, as well as adverse weather conditions. These project-specific issues required the Company to continuously revise its execution methodologies to mitigate delays, leading to increases in subcontractor costs (both people and plant) and logistics cost overruns.

As a result of these cost overruns that arose over the life of the Project, RCR has realised cumulative write-downs of $57 million from the tendered margin on the Project.

A large proportion of the write-downs experienced were only recently identified. This was due to the on-site procedures adopted by a limited number of site personnel which had the effect of circumventing RCR’s standard processes and project level systems relating to procurement commitments.

A comprehensive internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the cost overruns at the Project has been completed, and several actions and additional measures are being implemented to mitigate the risk of project level systems being circumvented and cost overruns going undetected in the future.

As part of the FY18 group audit, and in response to the issues identified at the Project, additional procedures were conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (“Independent Auditor”) in relation to the Project and RCR’s cost management systems and procedures. The Independent Auditor has issued an unqualified audit opinion in relation to RCR’s FY18 result. The audit opinion includes an emphasis of matter due to the loss for the year and other matters as set out in RCR’s FY18 Audited Financial Report around the Project and ongoing financing. The audit opinion is modified, but not qualified, in respect of this matter, which would be resolved by completion of the Entitlement Offer and financiers support announced today.

NOTE: Full announcement edited.

Source: RCR Tomlinson

 

NEW PROJECT

West Wyalong Solar Farm

Location: West Wyalong, NSW

Capacity: 135 MW

Developer: Lightsource Development Services Australia Pty Ltd

Expected cost: $185mil

Employment: 350 construction jobs & 3 operational jobs

Description: Construction and operation of a 135 MW solar farm, comprising the installation of 364,182 solar panels and supporting infrastructure including substation and battery energy storage system.

Contact: Conor McGuigan

Business Development Director

Lightsource

Tel: (03) 9071 0325

Email: info@lightsource-re.com

 

Statement on appointment as minister for energy

28 August

As Minister for Energy I will be working hard to deliver lower power prices for Australians. It is a simple truth that Australians should not pay high prices for their power, when we have cheap energy sources in Australia, compared to elsewhere in the world.

For 25 years I have been involved in the nation’s discussion about the need for affordable, reliable energy.

Previous to my career in politics, I worked as a consultant to Australia’s energy, infrastructure and resources sectors and advised global companies on energy policy.

In this new role, I will continue to advocate for the cheapest forms of power generation.

Business owners in my electorate of Hume tell me that high energy bills are stopping investment and growth. Householders and families say their standard of living is being reduced.

The energy policies this Government delivers must positively impact the wellbeing and prosperity of generations of Australians.

I am humbled to be able to serve the Australian people in this portfolio.

Source: Angus Taylor, Federal Minister for Energy

 

Substation powers up for Mt Emerald Wind Farm project

28 August

Queensland’s largest wind farm — located in Far North Queensland — is now exporting its first electricity into the grid, with its new substation and switchyard now energised and ready to roll.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the 275kV Walkamin Substation, owned and built by Powerlink, had been commissioned and was already transporting power from Ratch Australia’s Mt Emerald Wind Farm into Powerlink’s transmission network.

“This new substation is the critical link to transport power generated at Mount Emerald,” Dr Lynham said.

“When testing and commissioning works are fully completed, the facility is expected to provide enough power annually to supply up to 75,000 homes – equivalent to supplying about one third of Far North Queensland’s energy needs.

“With the substation energised, Ratch is now working through a phased commissioning and testing. All works are on schedule to have Mount Emerald fully operational and powering Queensland by the end of the year.”

The wind farm has created around 150 jobs during construction, with Powerlink’s grid connection works supporting another 59 jobs.

Shipments of all the major components saw more than 185,000 tonnes of cargo – blades, towers and generators – brought through the Port of Cairns for the wind farm’s construction. Road transport of these components from Cairns through to the site is now nearly complete.

The $380 million Mount Emerald Wind Farm is one of 13 renewable energy projects either underway or financially committed in North Queensland.

With a combined capital investment of more than $2 billion in the North Queensland economy, the projects will create more than 1,800 jobs during construction and generate a total of more than 1000 megawatts of electricity.

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York congratulated the Powerlink team who delivered the connection project works ahead of schedule.

“We worked closely with Ratch to accelerate the commissioning date for the Walkamin Substation by 10 weeks,” Ms York said.

“This was no easy feat, given the hilly and rocky terrain in the area which presented a number of design and technical challenges.”

Source: Powerlink

 

PROJECT NEWS

Oakey 2 Solar Farm

Application lodged for a generation licence for the 70MW DC Oakey 2 Solar Farm, located approximately 6.5km west of Oakey, near Toowoomba in Queensland. The proposed generating plant will consist of approximately 31,590 x 335 watt panels, 125,550 x 340W panels and 48,780 x 345W panels with 26 x 2.5 megawatt inverters.

The applicant proposes to connect the solar project to Ergon Energy’s distribution network via a switching station owned by Oakey Networks and operated by Oakey 1 Asset Co Pty Ltd. The connection from the Oakey Networks switching station to Ergon will be through an existing 110/33 kilovolt substation in Oakey via a new 7.3km overhead electrical generation tie-line.

The applicant will be the operator of the solar project and has contracted Engineering, Procurement and Construction services to Canadian Solar Construction (Australia) Pty Ltd. Operations and Maintenance have been contracted to Canadian Solar O&M (Australia) Pty Ltd while Foresight Group Australia Pty Ltd is the asset manager.

The ultimate owner of the generating plant is Foresight Solar Fund Limited (FSFL). FSFL is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of approximately £465 million and a net solar capacity of 470 MW as at 30 June 2016. In Australia, FSFL is a co-investor in the 110 MW solar park in Bannerton, Victoria.

 

PROJECT NEWS

Wollar Solar Farm

Public comment invited by the federal Department of the Environment for Solar Megawatt Holding’s Wollar Solar Farm, approximately 7km from Wollar in NSW. The proposed project will generate up to 400 MW of renewable energy that would supply electricity to the national grid. The Wollar Solar Farm study area (total area) is approximately 800ha. The estimated development footprint (solar panels including access roads) is approximately 315ha of the total area.

It is anticipated that the proposed solar farm would include development of the following infrastructure:

  • Construction laydown and parking areas.
  • Around 1,000,000 PV modules.
  • Inverter stations.
  • An energy storage facility consisting of lithium ion batteries of a capacity up to around 30MWH. These would be housed in a purpose built structure or within dedicated containers located in a secure compound close to the substation.
  • Site office and maintenance building with associated car park.
  • Internal access tracks to allow for site maintenance.
  • Overhead lines and underground electrical conduits and cabling to connect the PV arrays onsite.
  • Approximately 200 m of overhead high voltage transmission lines to connect to the grid onsite.
  • Maree 330kV substation will be constructed within the site boundary (likely north-east corner), connecting to the grid via an existing 330 kV transmission line.

 

Climate Bonds Initiative launches report identifying Australian green infrastructure opportunities

28 August

Climate Bonds Initiative has launched the Green Infrastructure Investment Opportunities Australia & New Zealand (GIIO) report outlining a pipeline of infrastructure investments that can be funded via green finance.  

It is accompanied by the release of the Australia and New Zealand Green Finance Briefing: a full analysis of green investment in both nations to date.

The reports note that cumulative green bond issuance in Australia is AUD8.3bn (USD6.3bn) and New Zealand NZD2.1bn (USD1.5bn) for a combined total of AUD10.2bn in green bond issuance to date.

H1 2018 issuance in Australia was AUD2.6bn (USD1.95bn) up from AUD2.5bn for the corresponding period in 2017, a 5.3% increase. Australia was the second largest cumulative source of issuance within the Asia Pacific region in H1 2018, second to China and twelfth in overall world rankings. In CY 2016 Australia recorded AUD1.1bn in green bonds, in CY 2017 AUD3.3bn, a 209% increase IN 2016.

H1 2018 for New Zealand saw NZD200m (USD136m) issued.

Overall there are a total of eleven individual issuers from Australia, some of whom are multiple issuers, and two from New Zealand.

Despite a challenging policy backdrop, Australia has emerged over the last four years as an example of world’s best practice in market development, with commitment from the major banks and a diversity of green bond issuances including from two state governments, property and tertiary sectors, and also high levels of certification. New Zealand’s first green issuance was in 2017.

Notwithstanding the positive directions, both nations are yet to effectively harness sufficient capital allocation to generate the volume of green infrastructure investment required to meet international mitigation and emissions commitments, whilst improving domestic climate adaptation and resilience.  

Both the reports released today support the two countries’ respective transitions to a low-carbon economy, meeting the growing demand for green investment opportunities - including green bonds - and facilitating greater engagement between project owners and developers, and institutional investors including asset managers and superannuation funds.

The Green Infrastructure Investment Opportunities Australia & New Zealand report also explores low carbon infrastructure opportunities on a sector-by-sector basis and is a first of its kind for Australia & New Zealand, identifying over 400 projects and assets (360 and 62 respectively) that could be considered green and qualify for refinancing, additional financing, or new financing, in the near and medium term future.

Almost half the projects included in Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List 2018 meet international investor definitions of ‘green’ although they are not always labelled as such. Similarly, just over 40% of New Zealand projects in the Australia and New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline (ANZIP) could be considered ‘green’.

Projects aligned with international definitions of green include low carbon transport, renewable energy, sustainable water and waste management, and low carbon buildings. The infrastructure investment opportunities are explored in the GIIO report are based on these four sectors.

The Climate Bonds Taxonomy was used to identify eligible green projects under these four sectors.  To help define the scope and volume of projects the following filters were also applied:   

 - For low carbon transport - mostly major projects valued above AUD100m (in Australia) and NZD100m (in New Zealand) 

- For renewable energy - only renewable energy generation facilities above 50MW

- For sustainable water and waste management - mostly major projects valued above AUD50m (in Australia) and NZD50m (in New Zealand)

- For low-carbon or green buildings - only Green Star (mostly 6-star rated) certified projects

The production of the Green Infrastructure Investment Opportunities Australia and New Zealand report has been jointly sponsored by ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, CEFC, Macquarie Group, NAB and Westpac.

Source: CEFC

 

GeelongPort attracts global renewable energy company

29 August

The first shipment of wind turbine components has arrived at GeelongPort after a partnership was secured with global renewable energy company, Vestas. With a presence in 79 countries, Vestas designs, manufactures, installs and services wind turbines across the globe, bringing the world sustainable energy solutions to power a brighter future.

The partnership sees GeelongPort provide berthing, facilities and a large parcel of land for the storage of wind turbines destined for regional wind farm projects.

“GeelongPort has provided Vestas with over 40,000m2 of laydown area located at Corio Quay South. Our facilities, coupled with simplified and flexible freight connections, offer Vestas the ability to handle large-scale wind farm projects through the port”, Brett Winter, CEO of GeelongPort said.

“With Governments now focused on setting clear, long-term renewable energy targets, wind energy is becoming increasingly vital and a market in which GeelongPort can support. We are a critical link in the renewable energy supply chain.”, Mr Winter said.

The shipment is bound for Yawong Wind Farm in western Victoria and Timboon West Wind Farm in southwest Victoria, each featuring Vestas V126-3.6 MW turbines and capable of powering 4,500 households. The wind farms will be the seventh and eighth Vestas projects in Victoria.

“Vestas is committed to creating local jobs and supporting the Victorian government’s ambitious renewable target for Australia’s clean energy future”, said Peter Cowling, Head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand.

“With world class facilities to support our regional projects, we are honored to partner with GeelongPort” said Cowling.

In addition to components for Yawong and Timboon West, GeelongPort will also provide Vestas with facilities to support their operations to unload and store turbine components for the Lal Lal Wind Farm located on land at Elaine and Yendon within Moorabool Shire.

“GeelongPort is committed to environmental sustainability and our partnership with Vestas will deliver environmental and economic benefits to the region by generating clean energy”, Mr Winter said.

Source: GeelongPort

 

Energy relief in sight for Australian manufacturers with practical new efficiency guide

30 August

Australian manufacturers are being encouraged to take immediate steps to manage their energy consumption in the face of escalating energy costs and record gas prices.

In a joint initiative, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Energy Efficiency Council and the Australian Industry Group today launched Australian Manufacturing: Gas Efficiency Guide – a comprehensive resource identifying practical and proven strategies to deliver energy and cost savings across manufacturing operations.

The guide examines the energy needs of a wide range of manufacturers, from food and beverage production to metals fabrication, printing and furniture manufacturing. It finds significant opportunities to cut energy use, such as a meat processing plant which saved $45,000 per month by cutting gas use by 21 per cent, after upgrades to its boiler and steam facilities. A building products manufacturer saved $42,000 per year by installing a new control system on its boiler.

The guide identifies a range of proven technologies with the potential to cut gas consumption by 25 per cent. In the majority of cases, up front investment costs were $50,000 or less, with the costs recovered within just five years. If the initiatives were all implemented at once, they would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 million tonnes a year, equivalent to taking more than two million passenger vehicles off the road, or meeting the electricity needs of 1.5 million homes.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “It is no secret that manufacturers are relatively large energy users. The good news is that clean energy solutions can make a very real and positive difference. An initial investment of $50,000 or less can be recovered within just five years, producing lasting benefits for the business. By switching to more efficient equipment and cheaper renewable energy, manufactures can improve their competitiveness as well as cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

EEC CEO Luke Menzel said: “Gas prices have risen substantially, and leading Aussie manufacturers are investing in energy efficiency to take control of their energy costs. The good news is that these projects are delivering benefits well beyond energy savings: operational life of equipment is increasing and maintenance costs and emissions are going down. This guide catalogues the learnings from leaders on gas efficiency so they can be leveraged across the entire manufacturing sector.”

Ai Group CEO Innes Willox said: “Australia’s manufacturing sector has confounded doubters in recent years by expanding strongly. The sector has the potential for even greater growth amidst a new industrial revolution that is transforming industry yet again. However, energy costs loom as one of the most significant headwinds to seizing this opportunity. We’re pleased to support this practical approach to helping manufacturers address these challenges.”

Source: CEFC

 

State RETs essential to tackling climate change

30 August

The Federal Government’s new energy strategy must focus on clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology and transition Australia away from ageing, polluting and inefficient fossil fuels, including coal and gas, according to the Climate Council.

Climate Council CEO Dr Martin Rice said the Federal Government’s new energy strategy announcement this morning raised a collection of concerns, including plans to include coal and gas in Australia’s future energy mix and the complete absence of a strong and credible plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

“The Federal Government cannot ignore our nation’s rising greenhouse gas pollution levels and failure to address climate change,” he said.

“The Federal Government must look to the future, not the past to ensure clean, affordable and reliable electricity. The electricity sector is Australia’s largest polluter and therefore has the biggest opportunity to make a real impact on Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change.

“The solutions, renewables and storage is here and available now, providing Australians with power on demand, 24/7.”

“By 2030, 55% of Australia’s ageing coal fleet will reach more than 40 years old, becoming increasingly unreliable and expensive to operate, risking blackouts and increasing the risk of even higher consumer power costs,” he said.

“Intensifying climate change, as a result of the burning of coal, oil and gas, is driving extreme weather events including severe drought and bushfires we are seeing across Queensland and New South Wales now.

“Australia’s old coal clunkers are dinosaurs. In fact, coal and gas power stations across the country have experienced almost 100 breakdowns between December and June alone.

“While the burning of coal is also costing Australian taxpayers around $2.6 billion each year in health costs.”

Dr Rice said in the absence of national strong and credible climate and energy policy, state and territory renewable energy targets and state leadership on climate change was essential for Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change.

“The solutions to clean, affordable and reliable power, renewable energy and storage technology was the cheapest new form of energy and are available now.”

“With Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution levels rising year after year since 2015, the ongoing use of coal and gas in Australia will do nothing to effectively tackle climate change or protect Australians from worsening extreme weather events.”

Source: Climate Council

 

NEW PROJECT

Kondinin Wind and Solar Farm

Location: Approximately 5km north east of Kondinin, Western Australia.

Capacity: Wind TBD, solar approximately 50 MW

Developer: Kondinin Energy Pty Ltd

Expected cost: Approximately $250mil

LGA: Shire of Kondinin

Description: Construction and operation of up to 46 wind turbines, an accompanying 125 ha of solar farm, energy storage and associated infrastructure. The final number, make and model of the wind turbines that will comprise the wind farm is not yet finalised. The final wind farm design will be completed once the turbine model is known. The project will be established encompassing parts all or part of 19 freehold rural lots comprising approximately 3105 hectares, with a construction footprint of approximately 288 hectares.

Contact: James Townsend

Director

Lacour Energy

Email: james@lacour.com.au

 

AEMC starts review of regulatory frameworks for stand-alone power systems

30 August

The AEMC today launched a review into the regulatory frameworks for stand-alone power systems.

A stand-alone power system is an electricity supply arrangement that is not physically connected to the national grid. The term encompasses both microgrids, which supply electricity to multiple customers, and individual power systems, which relate only to single customers.

In general, stand-alone power systems are currently not captured under the national electricity frameworks. They are instead subject to jurisdictional legislative frameworks that vary in their comprehensiveness.

Changes in technology mean that stand-alone systems are becoming an increasingly viable option for providing electricity services to customers, particularly where the costs of providing of a grid-connected service might be high, for example in remote areas.

The review will consider the changes to the national electricity framework that are needed to enable stand-alone systems to be used where it is economically efficient to do so, while maintaining appropriate consumer protections and service standards.

Under the terms of reference for the review provided by the COAG Energy Council, the Commission will consider two priority areas:

Priority 1 will mainly focus on the development of a national framework for customers that move from grid-connected supply to stand alone power systems provided by existing distribution network service providers

Priority 2 will consider a national framework for the provision of stand alone power systems by parties other than distribution network service providers.

The Commission will publish an issues paper for priority one of the review in September 2018.

Source: AEMC

 

Liddell Innovation Project

The Liddell Innovation Project has been designed to identify creative and productive uses of the land, resources and infrastructure that may be available following the retirement of Liddell Power Station.

The Project connects individuals and organisations from the new technology, manufacturing, agriculture, industrial and finance sectors to help diversify the Hunter Region economy and create new employment opportunities.

In line with advised timelines and processes, we have now released the Liddell Innovation Project Request for Ideas (RFI). The RFI is for those interested in submitting a development proposal for parts of the Liddell site in the lead up to and post the retirement of the Liddell Power Station.

Important Information

- Access the RFI document - here (also attached to this email)

- More information is available on the Liddell Innovation Project - here

- Questions regarding the RFI can be sent to transition@agl.com.au and marked RFI

- Notice of intent to submit is required by the 28th of September 2018

- Submissions close on the 2nd of November 2018

Liddell Innovation Day

A reminder for those planning to attend the Liddell Innovation Day. Please ensure you register your attendance as soon as possible here.

Source: AGL

 

CleanCo to make power bills cheaper

30 August

The Palaszczuk Government has kicked off the establishment of CleanCo, Queensland’s new renewable energy, publicly owned electricity generator.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new Government owned corporation would help place further downward pressure on electricity prices, saving households approximately $70 per annum.

"We have already made great progress on keeping power prices low, due in large part to our commitment to keep our assets in public hands," the Premier said.

"CleanCo will go even further to help deliver cheaper and more reliable energy for all Queenslanders - from mum and dad consumers right up to large industrial users.

"Preliminary analysis indicates that CleanCo should reduce wholesale electricity prices on average by around $7/MWh, which is expected to translate to an estimated $70 per annum saving for the average Queensland household.

"Renewable energy is a critical part of Queensland’s future which is why we are making an initial injection of $250 million to progress the development of new, public renewable energy generation assets.

"This is part of our plan to maintain majority ownership of generation assets as we transition to 50 per cent renewable energy to deliver secure and affordable energy.

"I'm proud the Palaszczuk Government will leave a great legacy for future generations through its ground-breaking commitment to renewable energy generation projects, more jobs and investment."

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said CleanCo will be a game changer for energy generation not just in Queensland but for the National Electricity Market (NEM).

"While other states have struggled with the impact of privatisation and the LNP in Canberra have knifed a Prime Minister to stop any moves to address climate change, Queensland is getting on with the job of serious electricity market reform," Ms Trad said.

"CleanCo will have a strategic portfolio of low and no emission power generation assets, and will build, construct, own and maintain renewable energy generation.

“This will continue supporting jobs in our renewable energy industry, starting with 1000MW of new renewables like solar, wind and hydro.”

"It is expected that CleanCo will be trading in the NEM by mid-2019, subject to receiving regulatory approvals."

Minister for Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said CleanCo is being delivered because of the firm commitment to the continued public ownership of energy assets in Queensland.

"CleanCo will become Queensland's third publicly owned energy generation company and is expected to have a positive impact on the NEM and drive more competition in the energy sector," Dr Lynham said.

"CleanCo will also help us respond to the challenges of climate change and help achieve our target of 50 per cent renewable energy generation capacity by 2030.

“We will work with Stanwell and CS Energy to look at opportunities for them to be part of the renewable future, complementing CleanCo."

Minister for Employment Shannon Fentiman said that the Government was also establishing a Just Transition Group to ensure that the energy transition in Queensland was just and equitable for affected workers and communities.

“At a national level we have seen nothing but incompetence and chaos, with a government that is asleep at the wheel with no plans for workers or communities. We won’t let that happen in Queensland,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The Just Transition Group will help ensure that affected workers and communities are looked after and that new jobs in the renewable sector are good, decent jobs.

To support the work of the Just Transition Group an Advisory Committee will be established to help develop a Just Transition Policy Framework. The Committee will comprise of the Energy GOCs, relevant unions, stakeholder groups, Jobs Queensland, the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Queensland Treasury and the Office of Industrial Relations.

Source: Queensland Government

 

NEW PROJECT

Bookaar Solar Farm

Location: Bookaar, 10km north-west of Camperdown in Victoria

Capacity: 200 MW

Developer: Bookaar Renewables (JV between Infinergy and the landowner)

Expected cost: $150mil

LGA: Corangamite Shire Council

Description: The development site is within a 2100ha rural property called Meningoort, predominantly used to graze sheep and cattle. The proposal includes approximately 700,000 panels, 60 inverters, single-axis tracking and a battery. The final siting and layout of the elements of the proposal will be finalised once following confirmation of planning approval. A substation will connect the panels to the grid via the onsite overhead 220kV transmission line. It will create about 150 construction jobs and 8-12 operational jobs.

Contact: Richard Seymour

Development Director

Infinergy Pacific

Email: r.seymour@infinergypacific.com

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