Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction

27 May

Energy Networks Australia congratulates Angus Taylor on his re-appointment to the Morrison Cabinet in an expanded energy and emissions reduction portfolio.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said the industry looked forward to continuing to work with Minister Taylor in progressing a sustainable energy future at what was a critical time in the evolution of the sector.

“Our key priorities are the grid integration challenges of connecting renewables, both large and small scale, the National Hydrogen Strategy and maintaining the sector’s financeability,” Mr Dillon said.

“Energy and climate policies are closely linked and combing the two is a positive step towards the policy certainty and stability the industry needs.

“Renewable energy presents many opportunities but also challenges for the grid, which is why Energy Networks Australia has been working with the Australian Energy Market Operator on the Open Energy Networks project.”

Source: Energy Networks Australia

 

Somerset Dam fires up for renewable energy

27 May 

One of south-east Queensland's major drinking water dams is back producing renewable energy as Queensland heads towards a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

And the possibility of more hydropower being produced by state dams is set to be examined.

A major refurbishment of the Somerset Dam Hydro-Electric Plant has been completed and this month the plant started producing renewable energy.

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said a study also had been commissioned to assess the technical and economic feasibility of hydropower generation across all of its dams in south east Queensland.

“This about looking for renewable energy opportunities aimed at reducing operational costs and reducing the overall environmental footprint,’’ Dr Lynham said.

“The study will examine sites for traditional hydro-electric plants at existing dams as well as the feasibility of larger pumped hydro storage.

“Electricity is the largest single cost to the production of drinking water. Seqwater believes there are significant opportunities available to offset electricity costs by increasing its renewable energy generation and by optimising energy consumption.

“Seqwater estimates up to 30-40 pr cent of its annual energy consumption could be provided by renewable energy it generates over the next decade or so. 

“In turn this can help reduce the costs of water treatment and the supply of drinking water to businesses and households.’’

"It also, conceivably, could put downward pressure on electricity prices as more and more renewable energy - solar and hydro - comes on line.’’

Dr Lynham said the $11 million restoration of the Somerset plant had increased its capacity from 3.2 to 4.1 megawatts, adding to Queensland’s renewable energy generation.

“Somerset Dam will remain one of the region’s major drinking water storages with the added benefit of being able to produce green energy for south east Queensland,’’ he said.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s has committed $863 million commitment to water infrastructure since December 2017, creating 1643 jobs for Queenslanders.’’ Dr Lynham said.

“We will continue to invest in water infrastructure that is economically and financially viable and provides value for money for Queenslanders.

“Seqwater now produces hydro at Wivenhoe, Somerset and Hinze dams and the Landers Shute Water Treatment Plant (Montville).’’

Hydropower plants capture the energy of falling water to generate electricity. A turbine converts the kinetic energy of falling water into mechanical energy. A generator then converts the mechanical energy from the turbine into electrical energy.

“Hydro was a key facet of our election commitment to set up new-publicly owned generator – CleanCo – which will help drive down energy prices,’’ Dr Lynham said.

“CleanCo’s foundation generation assets will include Wivenhoe – which produces 570MW of pumped storage hydro-electric power.’’

The hydrogeneration feasibility study is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

Seqwater Chief Executive Officer Neil Brennan said the Somerset hydro plant was inundated by the January 2011 floods and was further impacted by the 2013 flood event.

“A comprehensive study was undertaken post-flood which identified a rebuild of the plant as the best option for its future. The plant has been restored to virtually as-new condition, including automatic control with remote interface," he said.

“The plant will be able to operate up to 24 hours a day as required as water is released from Somerset Dam into Wivenhoe Dam as part of regular operation."

The refurbishment includes redesigning the original turbine to increase output and efficiency, and installing a new generator and control system to provide reliability and remote operation.

Source: Queensland Government

 

Progress on energy technologies fails to keep pace with long-term goals for clean energy transitions

27 May

The International Energy Agency’s latest and most comprehensive assessment of clean energy transitions finds that the vast majority of technologies and sectors are failing to keep pace with long-term goals.

Of the 45 energy technologies and sectors assessed in the IEA’s latest Tracking Clean Energy Progress (TCEP), only 7 are on track with the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS). The SDS represents a pathway to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, deliver universal energy access and significantly reduce air pollution.

These latest findings follow an IEA assessment published in March showing that energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide rose by 1.7% in 2018 to a historic high of 33 billion tonnes.

Some clean energy technologies showed major progress last year, according to the new TCEP analysis. Energy storage is now “on track” as new installations doubled, led by Korea, China, the United States and Germany. Electric vehicles had another record year, with global sales hitting 2 million in 2018. China accounted for more than half of total sales.

Solar PV remains on track with a 31% increase in generation – representing the largest absolute growth in generation among renewable sources. But annual capacity additions of solar PV and renewable power as a whole levelled off in 2018, raising concerns about meeting long-term climate goals.

This year’s analysis expands coverage to include flaring and methane emissions from oil and gas operations, which are responsible for around 7% of the energy sector’s greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Despite some positive developments over the past year, current technology deployment rates, policy ambition and industry efforts are still falling well short.

The buildings sector also remains off track, with emissions rising again in 2018 to an all-time high. This was the result of several factors, including extreme weather that raised energy demand for heating and cooling. Another concerning development was the slowdown in fuel economy improvements around the world as car buyers continued to purchase bigger vehicles.

Given the urgency and scale of actions needed for clean energy transitions around the world, this year’s TCEP features much greater emphasis on recommended actions for governments, industry and other key actors in the global energy system. The analysis also includes in-depth analysis on how to address more than 100 key innovation gaps across all sectors and technologies.

TCEP provides a comprehensive, rigorous and up-to-date expert analysis of clean energy transitions across a full range of technologies and sectors. It draws on the IEA’s unique understanding of markets, modelling and energy statistics to track and assess progress on technology deployment and performance, investment, policy, and innovation. It also draws on the IEA’s extensive global technology network, totalling 6,000 researchers across nearly 40 Technology Collaboration Programmes.

TCEP is part of the IEA’s broader efforts on tracking energy transitions and key indicators to help inform decision makers on where to focus innovation, investment and policy attention to achieve climate and sustainable development goals.

Source: International Energy Agency

 

Murra Warra Wind Farm update

28 May 

In December 2017, Downer EDI Limited (Downer) and its partner Senvion GmbH (Senvion), a leading global manufacturer of wind turbines based in Germany, entered into a contract for Stage One of the Murra Warra Wind Farm near Horsham in Western Victoria.

Stage One of the Murra Warra Wind Farm involves electrical, procurement and construction work, including the installation of 61 wind turbines. Under the contract, Senvion is responsible for the manufacture, transport, erection and commissioning of the turbines while Downer is responsible for balance of plant works. Stage One is valued at approximately $380 million, with Downer’s share approximately $100 million.

While the delivery scope of Stage One of the Murra Warra Wind Farm is split between Downer and Senvion they share any liability under the project contract jointly and severally. Downer holds a substantial bank guarantee from Senvion.

On 9 April 2019 Senvion filed self-administration proceedings in Germany. On 17 April 2019 Senvion announced that its lenders and main bond holders had signed a binding loan agreement for a EUR100 million debtor-in-possession ("DIP") facility. Senvion stated: “The facility enables Senvion to continue its business operations following last week's self-administration filing. The DIP facility has received Board approvals and allows substantial drawings already this week, thus enabling the company to stabilise its business operations and provide funds to its non-insolvent subsidiaries.”

Senvion has also stated publicly: “Senvion Australia is working closely with wind farm owners and contractors to ensure that we can continue to safely deliver and operate wind farms in Australia.”

Construction and delivery of Stage One of the Murra Warra Wind Farm is at an advanced stage:

  • approximately 95% of Downer’s balance of plant work has been completed on schedule and on budget;
  • 26 of the 61 wind turbine generators have been erected;
  • all remaining towers and blades are either at the manufacturer’s premises, port or at the Murra Warra

site; and

  • three of 61 nacelles are in the process of being manufactured, a further three have been completed and are at the manufacturer’s facility and the remainder are either in Australia or in transit to Australia.

Work is continuing to progress on site and Downer has initiated discussions with Senvion’s court appointed Custodian and other key stakeholders, including Partners Group (the owner of the wind farm), to establish a process for securing delivery of outstanding equipment and completing Stage One.

As these discussions continue, along with the self-administration process, Downer will be assessing whether there is any potential financial impact on Downer and consequently any impact on its guidance for the 2019 financial year. Downer will keep the market updated.

Source: Downer

 

NEW PROJECT

Newstead Solar Farm

Location: Newstead, Victoria

Developer: Renewable Newstead

Capacity: Up to 10 MW

LGA: Shire of Mount Alexander

Status: 2019, May – expressions of interest from landholders sought

Description: Community group Renewable Newstead planning a small-scale solar park of between 2-10 MW and released EOI from landholders around Newstead for parcels of 20 hectares or less of flattish land near powerlines with few trees and good road access. The proposed solar park will include a battery system. Renewable Newstead plans to supply the town of an estimated 754 people with 100 per cent grid-connected renewable energy for its electricity requirements, and has the support of the Victorian Government with $1mil funding promised in 2019 budget.

Contact: Don Culvenor

Renewable Newstead

Tel: 0427 573 536

Email: info@renewablenewstead.com.au

 

Gladstone solar farm charges ahead with major milestone

29 May

Gladstone is closer to hosting one million solar panels with the independent Coordinator-General approving a development application for a 762-hectare solar farm in the city’s State Development Area (SDA), subject to conditions.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said Acciona Energy’s proposed Aldoga solar farm will create up to 240 construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs once operational.

“At maximum capacity the $400 million solar farm will generate around 250 megawatts of energy, which is enough to supply approximately 122,000 homes annually,” Mr Dick said.

“The power generated will be fed into the national electricity grid via a connection into the Powerlink Larcom Creek Station.

“A community benefit fund will also be established by Acciona Energy to invest $50,000 to $120,000 from the project back into the community each year.

“Over the lifetime of the project, this will see a total of $1.5 million to $3.6 million put back into Gladstone and surrounding areas.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said locals will notice progress on site with the installation of two meteorological monitoring (MET) stations.

“These are being installed to gather data on the location’s climatic conditions,” Mr Butcher said.

“The information gathered will help fine tune the design of the solar farm, ensuring it is as productive as possible.”

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham said the project will contribute to the Palaszczuk Government’s renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030.

“This solar farm will help us to reduce emissions and tackle a changing climate,” Dr Lynham said.

“The proponent will also adopt Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement policies, giving preference to local sub-contractors and manufacturers.”

Acciona Energy signed a 30-year agreement in April last year with the Queensland Government to lease land for their Aldoga renewable energy project.

The Coordinator-General has placed strict conditions on the project to ensure any adverse impacts, such as construction traffic, visual impacts and stormwater flow, are managed appropriately.

The community benefit fund will be in the form of a scholarship and education program, a research and development program (partnering with CQU), and a sponsorship and small grants program (for community groups and not-for-profits).

Public consultation of the application was undertaken between 13 March and 4 April 2019.

Source: Queensland Government

 

Contact takes next step in developing world class geothermal project at Tauhara

29 May 

Contact Energy is drilling a series of appraisal wells on the Tauhara geothermal field as it builds towards a final investment decision for a new power station in 2020.

“We will be working with Tuaropaki Trust-owned MB Century to drill four appraisal wells on the Tauhara geothermal field, which is a high quality and globally significant resource,” Chief Executive Dennis Barnes said.

“A potential new geothermal power station at the foot of Tauhara Maunga is New Zealand’s cheapest and most attractive option for renewable baseload electricity generation,” he said.

Mr Barnes said geothermal energy was important in the transition to a low-carbon future as it provides baseload generation unlike weather dependant wind, solar or hydro generation.

“Geothermal energy can also provide a low carbon supply of direct heat for industrial processes and we are working with a number of interested parties on prospective developments.”

Mr Barnes said Contact was proud of its historic links to the local Taupō community which goes back more than 60 years to the commissioning of the Wairakei geothermal power station in 1958.

“Geothermal development and production is economically significant to regional New Zealand economies. This drilling investment is expected to cost approximately $30 million, the vast majority of which will be spent in New Zealand.”

The drilling programme will commence in August and complete in early 2020.

Source: Contact Energy

 

Sapphire Wind Farm Community Co-Investment: Now open to all NSW and ACT residents until 30 June 2019

29 May 

The Sapphire Wind Farm Community Co-Investment initiative has been expanded to allow all residents in NSW and the ACT to invest, following its successful implementation in the New England region. The offer has also been extended until 30 June 2019.

Community co-investment in large renewable energy projects is relatively common in Europe, but it is new to Australia. CWP Renewables and Partners Group, through their joint venture Grassroots Renewable Energy, are pioneering community investment in their Australian project portfolio, starting at Sapphire.

Community investors will receive a return of 6% for 9 ½ years, with a minimum investment of $1,250 and a maximum investment of $200,000.

“We believe in sharing the benefits of our projects” said Andrew Dickson from CWP Renewables. “Community co-investment allows everyday people to invest in our projects, alongside institutional investors.”

The community investment will be managed through an innovative online ‘fractional investment’ platform called DomaCom (www.domacom.com.au). Investors can use DomaCom’s website to sign up, transfer their funds and manage how their returns will be paid to them each quarter.

“We believe that a return of 6% represents a good investment, and it is much higher than the bank rate” said Mr Dickson. “Participation in this community co-investment initiative also provides the satisfaction of contributing to the creation of good jobs and clean energy in regional areas.”

The Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement for the investment offer is online at https://domacom.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Sapphire_Prospectus_Web.pdf

Community investors can sign up for the investment offer at: https://domacom.com.au/public-crowdfunding-campaigns/commercial-properties/sapphire-wind-farm/

Source: CWP Renewables

 

Vena Energy powers up Tailem Bend Solar Project

30 May

Vena Energy Australia announced today the completion of its 95 megawatt (MW) Tailem Bend Solar Project at an official opening ceremony attended by the Member for Hammond, Adrian Pederick.

The opening follows the $200 million project achieving “first generation” in February this year, when the first batch of more than 390,000 photovoltaic solar panels were switched on as part of a staged testing and commissioning process.

Vena Energy Australia’s managing director, Mr Anil Nangia, said achieving full commercial operation at the site and its connection to the national grid followed years of hard work.

“It is very satisfying that this has come together like we planned and it’s a great demonstration of what can be achieved after lots of hard work by our staff, landowners, consultants, contractors and regulators, including many local suppliers who have been with us from the start,” Mr Nangia said.

A significant partnership for the project, that was formed quite early on, was with Snowy Hydro Limited who signed a 22-year offtake agreement for 100 percent of the project's energy output.

Snowy Hydro's CEO Mr Paul Broad said it was great to be working with Vena Energy Australia and that Tailem Bend was the first solar project that the company contracted with. "Through our retail energy brand in South Australia Lumo Energy, we can supply solar energy to our customers right across the State." Mr Broad said.

A peak construction workforce of more than 250 and a fleet of excavators, bulldozers, graders, cranes, trucks and trenchers have taken 12 months to transform close to 280 hectares at Tailem Bend, 100km south-east of Adelaide in South Australia.

Mr Nangia said nearly half the workforce was from the local region while most of the work shirts and heavy machines on site sported the names of local businesses including Rivercity Excavations, Mosel Surveyors and Moore Cranes.

“We’ve found the best project outcomes are delivered when you involve local contractors and suppliers wherever possible,” he said.

Wayne Gerlach, owner of Murray Bridge-based Rivercity Excavations, said he was pleased to have been involved in the project.

“Any big project is always good for any company and what’s more it was close to home,” Mr Gerlach said.

“The project has done wonders for Tailem Bend because they used local people, that was the best part about it.”

Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick said the project would help deliver affordable, reliable and cleaner energy to South Australian households and businesses.

“Tailem Bend is a great spot for this project and highlights the region’s natural advantages,” Mr Pederick said. “I’ve certainly appreciated the extra jobs and money going into businesses near Tailem Bend,” he said.

Tailem Bend joins Bungala Solar Farm near Port Augusta as the first large-scale solar projects to begin production in South Australia. The project will deliver in the order of 200,000 MW hours of renewable energy per year, which is predicted to meet the annual needs of approximately 40,000 homes.

In Australia, Vena Energy is progressing over 2,400MW of renewable energy projects across the country including Tailem Bend Solar Project Stage 2, which is similar in size to Tailem Bend Solar Project, and a Tailem Bend Battery Energy Storage Project.

Source: Vena Energy

 

Vestas solution secures 227 MW merchant project in Australia

29 May

Vestas has successfully secured an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 227 MW Collector Wind farm, to be developed by RATCH-Australia Corporation. The contract includes the supply of Vestas’ 4 MW platform turbines and a long-term, full scope service agreement with an energy-based availability guarantee. This site-specific solution has been designed to maximise annual energy production and provide RATCH-Australia with long-term business case certainty for the project.

The Australian government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is injecting AUD 180 million into Collector Wind Farm as sole debt financier. CEFC will finance the project on a merchant basis, meaning it is assuming market risk on the project’s revenue rather than providing funding conditional on securing long-term Power-Purchase Agreements. This development shows the increasing competitiveness of wind energy and underlines the effectiveness of the Vestas 4 MW platform and the availability guarantee in reducing risk and improving business case certainty.

The project, located in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands, features challenging site restrictions on tip- and hub-height. To maximise energy production under these constraints, the project will feature 54 Vestas V117-4.2 MW turbines at a hub height of 91.5m. The turbine solution delivers power output that is competitive with other market offerings, offers higher power output per dollar invested and renders the project financially attractive.

Vestas will provide an up to 25-year Active Output Management 5000 (AOM 5000) service agreement, a full-scope service package with an energy-based availability guarantee designed to maximise energy production over the lifetime of the project.

“The Collector Wind Farm demonstrates the increasing attractiveness of wind energy as a cost-effective provider of electricity and as an attractive and bankable investment”, says Vestas Asia-Pacific President Clive Turton. “Vestas is pleased to bring our leading technology, experience and knowledge to provide a customised energy solution for Collector, and to make it the latest in a series of CEFC-funded renewable energy projects that are supporting Australia’s transition to a low-carbon energy system”.

Anthony Yeates, RATCH-Australia’s Executive General Manager for Business Development, said: “Vestas has developed a competitive solution that meets site specific requirements. Following the successful completion of our 180 MW Mount Emerald Wind farm in North Queensland, we are extremely pleased to be continuing our relationship with Vestas. They continue to be one of our most trusted partners”.

Commercial operations at the Collector Wind Farm are scheduled to commence in the second half of 2020.

Source: Vestas

 

Supreme Court rules rushed new Queensland solar regulations invalid

29 May

The Clean Energy Council welcomes today’s decision by the Supreme Court of Queensland that a state government regulation requiring the use of licensed electrical workers to mount and fix unplugged solar panels was invalid.

The Electrical Safety (Solar Farms) Amendment Regulation 2019 (Qld) , which came into force on 13 May, was successfully challenged by Maryborough Solar – owners of the Brigalow Solar Farm near Pittsworth in southern Queensland – on the basis that it was inconsistent with the Electrical Safety Act (2002). In delivering his determination, Justice Bradley declared the amendment regulation Section 73A to be beyond the regulation-making powers of Queensland’s Electrical Safety Act.

Anna Freeman, the Clean Energy Council’s Director – Energy Generation, described the ruling as “a victory for common sense”.

“The industry is obviously disappointed that this issue came down to a court challenge. Our preference was for a proper consultation process and full consideration of its regulatory impact. Mounting and fixing unconnected solar panels to a rail is mechanical work – not electrical work – and we are very pleased the Supreme Court of Queensland has ruled in the industry’s favour,” Ms Freeman said.

Under the now invalid regulation, only licensed electricians were permitted to locate, mount, fix or remove solar panels on projects larger than 100 kW. This was work that has been done successfully on dozens of projects by skilled labourers and trades assistants.

Ms Freeman said that the industry remained committed to working with the government and all interested stakeholders to deliver continuous safety improvements in the solar industry.

“The solar industry recognises that safety is paramount, but this new regulation did nothing to improve the safety of workers and was not justified by the government’s own safety data,” she said.

“Any future changes should be formulated in consultation with the industry and all relevant stakeholders, and should be based on evidence. We look forward to working with the Queensland Government to help achieve our shared aims of safely delivering on its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030,” she said.

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

PROJECT NEWS

Western Treatment Plant

Sustainable Energy Infrastructure is seeking a license for Power Generation, Network and Retail Licenses for its Werribee biogas generation facility in Victoria as soon as possible. The Werribee facility captures methane from the anaerobic digestion of sewage waste water at the Melbourne Water Sewage Treatment Plant. This methane is captured by Melbourne Water and supplied to SEI to fuel 7 x 1.06 MW and 2 x 1.25 MW reciprocating engines for a total installed capacity of 9.96 MW. The power station operates 24 / 7, 365 days per year and generates ~64 GWh annually. All electricity generated by the facility is sold directly to Melbourne Water as part of the overarching Power Purchase Agreement. Any electricity that is surplus to Melbourne Water’s requirements is exported to the network by Melbourne Water under a separate arrangement between Melbourne Water and their Electricity Retailer.

 

CEFC reaches 2GW wind milestone with finance for major NSW wind farm

30 May

The CEFC has confirmed investment commitments of almost $1 billion in Australia’s wind sector, delivering 2GW of wind energy across regional Australia. The latest investment is a $180 million commitment to the Collector Wind Farm in south-eastern NSW, with the CEFC’s role as sole debt financier supporting the accelerated delivery of the innovative $360 million project.

CEFC Wind Sector lead Andrew Gardner said: “CEFC investments in large-scale wind developments have tracked a remarkable level of innovation and change in the sector.

“While our earliest finance supported projects which had secured only partial off-take agreements, we are now working on hybrid projects that bring together wind, solar and storage, as well as projects that are seeking new style off-take agreements with large corporates.

“These developments have driven considerable infrastructure investment in regional areas, while creating long-term assets that capitalise on Australia’s natural wind resources. Wind developers are also contributing significant additional investment to local communities through long-term community development funds. In the case of Collector, this will see $240,000 injected into the local community each year.”

The Collector Wind Farm is located along the Cullerin Range south-west of Goulburn, which boasts some of the windiest conditions in NSW. With 54 wind turbines, the project is expected to generate in the order of 528GWh of energy annually, enough to meet the needs of around 80,000 average homes.

Mr Gardner said that as sole debt financier to the project, the CEFC had enabled it to reach financial close on a fully merchant basis, ahead of securing energy offtake contracts.

“Finance for fully merchant projects unlocks further wind sector opportunities and builds confidence in their longer-term commercial potential,” Mr Gardner added.

“This development has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 9.3 million tonnes over its lifetime, making a significant contribution to efforts to lower carbon emissions across our economy. We are pleased to see CEFC finance continuing to fill a significant finance gap for developers, with our capital supporting accelerated project development before off-take contracts are locked in.”

The Collector Wind Farm is being developed by RATCH-Australia and is located near, and will connect into, major NSW network transmission facilities. As part of the investment agreement with the CEFC, RATCH-Australia will install storage capability at its 42.5MW Collinsville solar project in Queensland to improve grid stability in the region. The CEFC has previously provided finance to the Collinsville project.

RATCH-Australia’s EGM of Business Development Anthony Yeates said: “RATCH-Australia is very glad to have the CEFC investing alongside us in this project. The CEFC is one of Australia’s most active investors in renewable energy and this experience really shows in their approach to new projects. Their accumulated experience really helps progress and de-risk the whole industry, and ultimately this benefits everyone”.

A RATCH-Australia Community Enhancement Fund will invest $240,000 into local projects each year over the 30-year life of the project. The funds will be invested into the region via a pair of community trusts that have been structured with significant involvement of the local community.

The Collector development will be one of the first in Australia to use the 4.2MW V117 Vestas turbines. In addition, Vestas will use innovative drone and 3D imaging technology to deliver routine blade maintenance and data collection.

Vestas Asia-Pacific President Clive Turton said: “The Collector Wind Farm demonstrates the increasing attractiveness of wind energy as a cost-effective provider of electricity and as an attractive and bankable investment.

“Vestas is pleased to bring our leading technology, experience and knowledge to provide a customised energy solution for Collector, and to make it the latest in a series of CEFC-funded renewable energy projects that are supporting Australia’s transition to a low-carbon energy system.”

Source: CEFC

 

Adani Rugby Run solar farm switched on

30 May

Adani Renewables Australia’s Rugby Run solar farm has now been switched on and its 247,000 solar panels have started supplying renewable power to regional Queensland homes and businesses.

The Rugby Run solar farm, located near Moranbah, will ramp up to full operation to deliver 65MW and 185,000MWh of electricity each year, equivalent to approximately the amount of energy it takes to power 23,000 homes each year.

Reaching this important milestone for the Rugby Run solar farm builds on Adani’s track record for delivering projects and new businesses where ever we operate in the world.

When there is stability in the regulatory regime and approval processes, Adani Group’s businesses are able to deliver projects efficiently and to the highest standards by drawing on our nimble entrepreneurial culture.

The Rugby Run project was self-financed by Adani and we managed construction contractors directly to ensure cost-efficient and timely delivery, rather than via the more common EPC contract model.

Adani Renewables Australia Business Manager Derek Chapman said Rugby Run is Adani Renewables Australia’s flagship project in Australia, delivering benefits to regional Queenslanders.

“The construction of the farm enabled us to employ more than 175 people during peak construction periods,” Mr Chapman said.

“There are several construction stages within the solar farm delivery process that use skills which are transferrable from other industries, like the mining sector.

“For this reason we were able to use local Queensland contractors from Clermont, Chinchilla, Bowen and Townsville, ensuring the benefits of this investment are focused in regional Queensland.”

The solar farm has been built for Queensland’s conditions. The panels are programmed to rotate to track the sun most efficiently and also to move to the most effective angles to withstand inclement wind and weather.

“We are able to leverage Adani’s expertise as India’s leading generator of solar power and manufacturer of solar panels when delivering our renewables projects in Australia,” Mr Chapman said.

Source: Adani Group

 

Improving transparency of the frequency control framework: consultation begins

30 May

The AEMC today released a consultation paper on a rule change request which would:

  • seek to improve transparency regarding the frequency control framework
  • require AEMO and the AER to report on the performance of frequency and the frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) market.

The rule change request was submitted by AEMO and the AER to action the recommendations made by the AEMC in its Frequency control frameworks review final report, which, among other things, was aimed at improving the transparency of the framework. 

The frequency control framework is central to maintaining the stability of the power system, which operates within defined technical limits.

The consultation paper seeks stakeholder input on the proposal, including on the:

  • specific metrics AEMO and the AER should report on, and
  • preferred frequency of reporting.

This request was submitted as two separate rule change proposals. These have now been consolidated, as they both raise issues related to the frequency control framework.

This rule change request seeks to improve transparency by formalising reporting already undertaken by AEMO and the AER. As a result, the AEMC considers this to be a non-controversial rule change proposal and is proceeding under an expedited process.

Subject to any objections to the expedited process, there will only be one round of consultation. Objections to the use of the expedited process must be lodged by 13 June 2019.

Submissions on the rule change request are due by 27 June 2019. A final rule is due on 25 July 2019.

The AEMC’s Frequency control frameworks review final report detailed the Frequency control work plan which in turn sets out actions the Commission, AEMO and the AER will take to support the stable and secure operation of the power system in relation to frequency control. More transparent and regular reporting of frequency performance is part of this collaborative work plan.

Source: AEMC

 

New, cheaper options to power remote communities

30 May

New technology would be used to provide better, cheaper power services to remote consumers under reforms set out by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

The Commission is recommending a range of regulatory changes to enable distribution network businesses to supply their customers with stand-alone power systems where it is cheaper than maintaining a connection to the grid.

The reforms would provide consumers with the same protections, reliability standards and access to competitive retail offers via their retailer of choice as those connected to the grid.

A stand-alone power system – usually a combination of solar PV, batteries and a back-up generator – would be installed by their distribution network but would not be physically connected to the national grid.

AEMC Chief Executive Mrs Anne Pearson said the changes would enable those living in locations where power supply is unreliable, or subject to frequent or extended blackouts, to have better quality services and would reduce costs for all energy consumers by avoiding expensive investment in poles and wires where customer numbers are limited.

“New technology using distributed energy resources is making it possible to supply customers at the end of the line in a cheaper and better way,” Mrs Pearson said.

“The old-fashioned way of centralised generation being distributed by stringing poles and wires to the remote corners of Australia is giving way to solar and battery systems where energy is generated closer to where it is used.

“These reforms mean that people living at the end of the line will get a better quality service with the same protections without paying any more.

“Ultimately, reducing the need for poles and wires to service remote consumers reduces the network costs which make up around 50 per cent of the average electricity bill. It also reduces bushfire risk and the visual impacts of power lines.”

While consumers can currently go “off-grid” they do so at their own expense and in most cases have very limited consumer protections. The AEMC reforms recommend that the COAG Energy Council require distribution networks to identify the opportunities for stand-alone systems and work with their customers where a transition to a stand-alone power system makes sense.

Trials of stand-alone power systems are currently underway in several states including NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.

Note: The recommendations apply to the national electricity market which covers South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland. Some of the recommendations also apply in the Northern Territory, which has adopted parts of the national rules.

Source: AEMC

 

Queensland positioned to power the hydrogen highway

30 May 

The Palaszczuk Government has reinforced its commitment to developing a world-class sustainable hydrogen industry, releasing the new $19 million Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019–2024.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said hydrogen has the potential to be Queensland’s next LNG, and a new source of highly-skilled jobs, especially in regional Queensland.

“In the Sixties it was the Space Race,” the Premier said.

“This century is all about energy.

“Queensland is at the forefront of hydrogen development.

“We aim to keep it that way.”

On her Trade Mission to Tokyo earlier this week, the Premier signed a Memorandum of Understanding with resources investment group Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corp (JOGMEC) to include continued co-operation developing hydrogen.

Queensland’s new hydrogen strategy focuses on five areas:

- supporting innovation

- facilitating private investment

- effective policy frameworks

- building community awareness and

- facilitating skills development.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the state’s investment – $15 million of which will support an industry development fund – will ensure the growth of a hydrogen industry in Queensland.

“Our five-year plan will help drive the development of an economically sustainable and competitive hydrogen industry in Queensland, creating more highly skilled jobs and export opportunities,” Mr Dick said.

“The energy production from renewable hydrogen is something that has long been possible, however, conditions are now more favourable for this industry to develop locally.

“Global demand for hydrogen is increasing, with the market expected to reach $US155 billion by 2022, and much of that will be driven by Asia-Pacific markets.

“I’m confident that in partnership with industry, universities and research institutes, we can develop a world-class renewable hydrogen industry here in Queensland.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Queensland’s vision was to be at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production by 2030, and the strategy will assist in achieving this goal.

“This global transition to a low-carbon future presents tremendous opportunities for Queensland,” Mr Butcher said.

“Our state has all the pre-requisites needed to support a renewable hydrogen industry, including solar, wind and biomass, a pro-business government, existing gas pipeline infrastructure, and first-class export facilities, and we’re eager to take advantage of our position.”

SynBio General Manager (Renewable Technologies) Ben Tabulo said the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy was a significant step in the right direction.

“We are supporting this strategy as we believe it will have great benefits for Queensland,” Mr Tabulo said.

“The production of hydrogen is a key priority for Gladstone. Apart from enormous export opportunities, the investment announced today will accelerate access to cheaper domestically produced hydrogen.

“Lower energy costs mean increased productivity and more jobs. This is why SynBio and Northern Oil are currently working with the CSIRO to develop a technology that will capture hydrogen from our refining processes.

“Excess hydrogen will be made available for consumption within a hydrogen fuel cell to produce electricity to run our pilot plant.

“It’s green and clean, but importantly it makes strong economic sense,” he said.

“We applaud the efforts of the Queensland Government and look forward to seeing a sustainable and competitive hydrogen industry in Queensland.”

Mr Dick said Queensland is already active in the development of Australia’s national hydrogen strategy.

The development of a sustainable hydrogen industry has the potential to be as successful as the state’s liquified natural gas (LNG) industry.

“Japan is emerging as one of the major future users of hydrogen energy and its car industry has developed several hydrogen-powered cars,” he said.

“In March 2019, Queensland celebrated its first-ever delivery of green hydrogen to Japan, exported by JXTG with hydrogen produced at QUT’s solar cell facility at the Queensland Government’s Redlands Research Facility.

“Next week, I’ll be meeting with business leaders and energy companies in Tokyo.”

“Our challenge is to leverage our advantages and innovation to make the production, storage and transportation of hydrogen possible and ensure Queensland continues to be a first-class supplier of energy.”

To view the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024, please visit dsdmip.qld.gov.au/hydrogen

Source: Queensland Government

 

Government to appeal solar farms ruling, workers safety paramount

30 May 

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has announced that the State Government will lodge an appeal against a Supreme Court of Queensland judgement to invalidate recently introduced regulations relating to solar farms.

Ms Grace said the government would, at the same time, apply for a stay of the decision pending the outcome of the appeal so that while the technical legal matters are resolved, the safety measures that form the regulations are maintained.

“My department and their legal advisors have reviewed the written judgement overnight and advised me that there are solid grounds for appealing the decision,” Ms Grace said.

Ms Grace said the appeal is based on legal technicalities and has nothing to do with the safety argument.

She said the regulations were developed following advice from Crown Law and drafted by the Office of Queensland Parliamentary Counsel, which was the general process for the introduction of all regulations.

“We introduced these regulations following advice from an expert panel, including the Electrical Safety Commissioner, to ensure Queensland has the highest-possible electrical safety standards for its rapidly-growing solar electricity generation industry,” she said.

“When it comes to electrical safety there are no second chances. The safety of workers in this industry was the government’s motivation for developing these regulations and remains our motivation for appealing yesterday’s decision.”

Electrical Safety Commissioner Greg Skyring welcomed the government’s decision to appeal the decision.

“The Supreme Court decision deals with technical legal issues in relation to the new regulations,” Commissioner Skyring said.

“However, I remain concerned about the safety risks workers installing solar panels at these large-scale solar electricity generating farms face, such as electrical shock and fire. Contrary to some of the commentary I’ve seen in the media, these risks are very real and very serious and they need to be addressed.”

Source: Queensland Government

 

Generator Report Card released

31 May

This morning (Friday 31st May 2019) our Generator Report Card was finally released!

This was a collaborative effort between the team here at Global-Roam Pty Ltd and the team at Greenview Strategic Consulting.  The exercise certainly challenged both organisations (and we thank our broader client base for being so patient with us during the 7 months we devoted to the exercise).  We’re very pleased to reach the finish line – and, in particular, with the breadth and depth of what we’ve been able to deliver.

Particularly growing through 2017 and 2018, we have observed (and sometimes been involved in) a number of parallel discussions about various aspects of Power Station Performance – with some discussions being private, and others being public.

Hence, late in September 2018 we resolved to compile an extensive Generator Report Card that will cover all power stations across the NEM, no matter what their fuel type or technology.

The more than 600-page Generator Report Card is a deep dive into the 20 years of the NEM and every generator supplying the market.

For more information visit http://www.wattclarity.com.au/articles/2019/05/generatorreportcard-released/

Source: Global Roam

 

Councils call for a state 50% renewables target by 2030

31 May

Western Australian councils have called on the state government to commit to renewable energy target of 50% by 2030 and an 100% emissions reduction target by 2050 at a forum held in Perth on Thursday (30 May).

21 councils from across the state at the forum, hosted by the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership, identified the lack of a state-level renewable energy and emissions target as a major barrier to local work to tackle climate change, and have urged the state to step up its ambition.

Dr Brad Pettitt, Mayor of Fremantle, said that now is the time for Western Australia to seize the opportunity to move forward on renewable energy.

“I’m really excited to see that the lead has been taken by local governments to advocate for a target that matches the climate science if we are going to have a sustainable future for this planet,” he said.

“These targets are ambitious but entirely doable with the right political leadership and investment decisions over the next decade.”

“Western Australia has lagged in this space for the last decade but now is the time for the state government to step up to work with local government to realise our state’s potential as a renewable energy powerhouse and realise the opportunities for jobs and investment that go with it.”

CLIMATE TARGETS THAT COUNCILS ARE CALLING FOR

21 councils from across Western Australia have called for:

- 50% state-wide renewable energy target by 2050

- 65% state-wide emissions reduction target by 2030

- 100% emissions reduction target by 2050

Councillor Naomi Godden from Augusta Margaret River said that community needs the State Government to set a courageous target that matches current climate science to slam the brakes on the climate crisis.

“The Western Australian government is currently developing its climate policy and we are calling on the McGowan government to be bold, courageous and true to the science by committing to ambitious emissions reduction target and renewable energy targets.”

“Local governments and our communities are on the frontline of the climate crisis. The community in Augusta-Margaret River is already experiencing reduced rainfall and increased risk of fire causing great concern amongst residents. Our most vulnerable community members are most at risk such as low-income earners and independent farmers.

“We need leadership for urgent action by our state government and we feel these are the minimum targets that will get us there.”

Cities Power Partnership Acting Director Tracie Armstrong said that local governments were ready to go with renewables but a state target is crucial to support their work on climate change.

“The councils we spoke to today are primed and ready to tackle climate change, but without a state renewable energy and emissions reduction target it’s difficult for them to attract the investment and support they need to get these projects underway,” she said.

“With a courageous state clean energy target that matches the climate science, Western Australia could swiftly become a renewables leader.”

Source: Cities Power Partnership

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