Renewable energy jobs up by a third

27 April

The number of jobs in Australia related to renewable energy production grew by one-third in 2016-17 to 14,820 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS Director of Environment and Agriculture Statistics, Lauren Binns, said the 33 per cent increase on the previous year was mainly due to a number of major wind and solar energy projects starting their construction phase.

"The increase in employment in 2016-17 was driven primarily by three states, Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia," said Ms Binns.

Queensland had the largest increase in renewable energy employment, gaining an extra 1,220 FTE jobs, as a result of construction of large scale solar farms.

New South Wales and South Australia, on the other hand, realised most of their increases from new wind farm construction.

“In recent years, Australia has experienced growth in the amount of energy derived from renewable sources. While the proportion of energy from renewable sources remains relatively small there is considerable interest in renewable energy activities and associated employment," said Ms Binns.

While roof top solar employment accounts for nearly half of the renewable energy jobs, the numbers have declined substantially over time, from a peak of 14,300 in 2011-12 to 6,430 in 2016-17.

The ABS publication, Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, provides experimental estimates of the levels of employment in renewable energy by state and territory, and by types of renewable energy activities.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics


Reliability Panel four-yearly review finds current reliability standard and settings are appropriate

30 April

The Reliability Panel today published the final report for its four yearly ‘check in’ of the reliability standard and settings for the national electricity market. The Panel found the current reliability standard and settings should be extended to 2024.

These market-wide settings are an integral part of the national electricity market framework which aims to get power to customers as cost-effectively as possible. The settings and standard support efficient generation and operational decisions and provide an important ‘price envelope’ protecting market participants from exposure to excessive high prices. This is essential to maintaining the integrity of the market.

The reliability standard is a trade off between meeting the required level of reliable electricity supply and cost. In simple terms the current reliability standard requires sufficient generation and transmission interconnection to service 99.998% of the community’s forecast annual demand.

In reviewing the standard and settings, the Panel modelled a range of different futures – including a world with more household battery storage systems and more wind generation. It also factored in the current state of uncertainty in the market and how the market is transforming. Understanding this is key to getting the settings right and supporting efficient investment in generation and demand response.

Reliability Panel Chairman Dr Brian Spalding said the robust analysis undertaken by the Panel found the settings will continue to achieve their purpose of signalling to the market the level of generation and demand response needed, while also supporting market integrity.

“Setting the reliability standard involves a trade-off between the prices consumers pay for electricity and the cost to consumers of not having electricity there when it’s needed,” said Dr Spalding.

“In doing this review, the Panel was extremely cognisant of getting the balance right to avoid what some have called ‘gold plating’ with excess capacity built but not required for years.”

The Panel noted that removing the difference between the current standard of 99.998 per cent of demand met and 100 per cent could require considerable additional investment in generation measured in the billions of dollars.

It is important to separate the longer-term reliability status of the national electricity market from security issues facing specific regions.

Reliability in the generation sector is delivered through investment in new generating capacity, transmission interconnectors and demand response.

Security in the generation sector requires that technical parameters such as voltage and frequency are maintained within defined limits. To maintain frequency the power system has to instantaneously balance electricity supply against demand. The vast majority of supply interruptions are security events, caused by factors including extreme weather, bushfires and equipment failure. For example, South Australia’s system black event was a power system security event.

The Reliability Panel’s final recommendations on the reliability standard and the reliability settings are:

  • Reliability standard: No change. Having reviewed potential changes in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) value of customer reliability and changes in the way consumers use electricity, the Panel considers that the standard remains appropriate.
  • Market price cap and cumulative price threshold: No change. Both parameters are indexed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index.
  • Administrative price cap: No change.
  • Market floor price: No change.

The Reliability Panel is comprised of a range of experts in the national electricity market including AEMO, consumer groups, generators, network businesses and retailers. It is chaired by AEMC Commissioner, Dr Brian Spalding.

Source: AEMC


$6 million Share Purchase Plan

30 April

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE) is pleased to announce a capital raising via a Share Purchase Plan (SPP) to raise up to $6 million to grow its solar, battery and wave energy businesses.

The SPP will allow all eligible Carnegie shareholders to purchase between $2,400 and $15,000 worth of shares in Carnegie at 3.0 cents per share. The offer price equates to approximately a 12% discount based on the share price at the close of trading on 27th April 2018, and a 15% discount on the 20 day volume weighted average price.

Carnegie’s Managing Director, Dr Michael Ottaviano, said:

“Over the past 24 months Carnegie has expanded its business to become a diversified renewable energy company. We continue to develop our proprietary wave technology but are also now a leading designer, constructor and operator of utility solar, battery and hybrid power systems. We have achieved this at a time when this sector is at the start of a period of rapid growth. Our ability to be innovative both technically and commercially creates the opportunity to accelerate the growth our business to achieve and sustain profitable ongoing operations within the next 12-24 months.”

This year so far has seen a number of significant project wins and material project progress for Carnegie and Energy Made Clean (EMC). Some 15 months after the acquisition of EMC and the establishment of the EMC/Lendlease joint venture, the joint venture has secured over $30 million in orders during the quarter with the Northam, Kalbarri and Summerhill solar and battery projects.

The capital raised from the SPP will allow growth and expansion of its wave energy and its solar/battery microgrid businesses, with the aim of achieving profitability as soon as possible.

Specifically, Carnegie will use the funds for:

  • working capital to support delivery of recent EMC project contract awards, to further develop and convert its contract pipeline, and to pursue opportunities to expand EMC’s reach nationally either organically or through further corporate transactions.
  • working capital to support the development and delivery of its build, own and operate solar and battery pipeline on the back of the success of the Northam development to this point and including newly acquired solar and battery sites.
  • working capital for CETO and the Albany Wave Energy Project and to pursue opportunities to expand this business with the aim of bringing forward commercialisation and accelerating the financial sustainability of this division either organically, through further partnering or M&A.

Company presentations will be provided on 14 May in Sydney, 15 May in Melbourne, 16 May in Brisbane and 17 May in Perth. The offer opens on 1 May 2018 and will close on 18 May 2018.

Eligible shareholders are those who were registered holders of shares in Carnegie on 27 April 2018.

The Company reserves the right to close the offer early, extend the offer and to accept oversubscriptions of shares in the SPP. Full details of the SPP including offer and acceptance forms will be sent to all eligible shareholders in the coming days.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy


$175M EPC and O&M contracts finalised for 100MWac Haughton Solar Farm

30 April

Diversified engineering and infrastructure company RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX: RCR), is pleased to announce that it has received a notice to proceed for an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) contract combined with a Operation and Maintenance (“O&M”) contract for the 100MWac (Stage 1) Haughton Solar Farm, being developed by Pacific Hydro.

As announced on 10 November 2017, RCR commenced early works on the project pending final investment decision (“FID”) by Pacific Hydro.

With FID now complete, and a notice to proceed received, RCR will commence all EPC activities on Stage 1 of the Haughton Solar Farm, which are expected to be completed in Q1 2019. Once commissioned, RCR will provide O&M services for a period of 5 years, with an option to extend for a further 5 years.

RCR’s EPC and O&M contracts for this project are valued at approximately $175 million.

The Haughton Solar Farm, located near Townsville in Queensland, has planning approval to extend its capacity up to 500MWac.

RCR Tomlinson Managing Director & CEO, Dr Paul Dalgleish said “We are very pleased to be working with Pacific Hydro, a global renewable energy owner and developer, to deliver this significant large-scale utility solar energy project generating 100MWac of power.

“This significant project reflects RCR’s ability to bring smart engineering solutions to our clients while providing certainty of performance and delivery time in the rapidly-evolving renewable energy industry,” said Dr Dalgleish.

Source: RCR Tomlinson


Receipt of unsolicited highly conditional proposal from Alinta Energy

30 April

AGL Energy Limited confirms that this morning it received a non-binding, highly conditional indicative offer from Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) and Alinta Energy Pty Limited (Alinta) to acquire the Liddell Power Station, associated assets and the related site for cash consideration payable to AGL of $250 million.

AGL is assessing the proposal. No assurance can be given that any transaction will result from the offer.

AGL will provide further updates to the market as appropriate.

AGL has not sought to sell the Liddell Power Station, as it requires Liddell to provide energy to its customers until 2022 and for repurposing as part of its NSW Generation Plan post 2022.

Source: AGL Energy


Tiwai Point expansion supported by renewable energy

1 May

Meridian Energy has signed a contract* with New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (NZAS) to agree the price of electricity for an additional 50 MWh per hour (438 gigawatt hours per year) at Tiwai Point in Southland.

The contract, underwritten by Meridian and supported by contracts with Contact, Genesis and Mercury, runs until December 2022 and facilitates NZAS re-starting its fourth potline and increasing production.

Meridian Energy Chief Executive, Neal Barclay says, “New Zealand Aluminium Smelters continues to recognise the benefits of using renewable energy in the production of aluminium and we’re pleased to be able to support its expansion in New Zealand.

The smelter provides one of the world’s purest sources of aluminium and we believe this increase in production reflects a real confidence and commitment to the smelter operation and to Southland.”

The new contract, underwriting NZAS’s price risk relating to the additional 50 MWh per hour, sits separately to Meridian’s main electricity agreement with NZAS that provides 572 MWh per hour (5,011 gigawatt hours per year) of electricity to 2030.

“This arrangement further demonstrates that New Zealand remains a good place to invest and that our electricity markets provide more certainty than those of many other countries – this is a real source of competitive advantage for New Zealand internationally,” says Neal.

As well as being a good outcome for our business and great for the Southland region, this new contract helps Meridian take action on climate change. The more aluminium that is produced in New Zealand using mainly renewable energy, the more this displaces production of aluminium using fossil fuel alternatives overseas.

Source: Meridian Energy



Bannerton Solar Farm

Foresight Solar Australia Pty Ltd has applied for a licence to generate electricity for supply or sale under section 18 of the Electricity Industry Act 2000 (Vic). The applicant proposes to generate electricity at the Bannerton Solar Park (total capacity of 100MW) at a site located near Bannerton, in north-west Victoria.


The Asian Renewable Energy Hub is set to expand with 3 GW of extra generation capacity and a parallel focus on domestic markets

1 May

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) project is set to expand to include an additional 3 GW of capacity, which is targeted to supply large energy users in the Pilbara.

The consortium is working with the Pilbara Development Commission to ensure the AREH project delivers maximum economic benefit to the Pilbara. This complements and expands the vision for the export of renewable energy from the Pilbara to South East Asia via subsea electrical cables.

Under the new plan, the project’s generation capacity will expand from 6 GW to 9 GW, with the additional 3 GW being reserved for large energy users in the Pilbara. This will allow mine expansions, the addition of upscale value-added processing, and potentially also the production of hydrogen for domestic and export markets. The 9 GW of generation will comprise 6 GW of wind generation and 3 GW of solar PV generation, which will produce approximately 33 TWh of energy each year.

Pilbara Development Commission Chairperson Brendan Hammond welcomed the news that a domestic energy component had been added to the scope of the AREH project plan.

“The Energy Hub project capitalises on the Pilbara’s natural wind and solar assets and is directly aligned with the region’s vision for diversified and sustainable economic development,” Mr Hammond said.

“It is an exciting opportunity to boost the business competitiveness of the Pilbara by significantly lowering the cost of energy.

“Such an outcome will result in the extension of existing mineral and oil/gas reserves, bring new extractive opportunities into play, and allow a diversified downstream economy that is ultimately independent of natural resource exploitation to be built both regionally and state-wide. In addition to these commercial and economic benefits the positive environmental impact is expected to be very considerable and of national significance.”

AREH Project Director Alex Tancock said “with recent increases in wind turbine size and capacity, we have been able to add another 2 GW of wind turbines and 1 GW of solar arrays to the existing project site”.

“The large scale of our project, together with excellent and complementary wind and solar resources, will allow us to generate clean electricity very cost competitively, day and night. This will provide more options for domestic energy use as well as for export, both as electricity and potentially also as hydrogen.”

The AREH project continues to gather momentum, with the completion of onshore site ecology surveys, the completion of the nearshore seabed surveys for the subsea cable, the lodgement of environmental referrals to the WA and Commonwealth Governments and the opening of a consortium office in Jakarta.

The Environmental Impact Assessment for the project is expected to be submitted to the Western Australian Government in mid-2018. Financial Close for the project is anticipated in 2020/21, and the construction is anticipated to commence in 2023.

The project is being developed by a consortium which includes Intercontinental Energy (which is developing several such intercontinental projects worldwide), Vestas (the largest wind turbine company in the world) and CWP Energy Asia (a successful renewable energy project developer).

Source: AREH


CETO Wave Energy update

2 May

  • CETO 6 wave tank testing completed at University of Plymouth
  • Albany Wave Energy Project site specific design and development advances
  • CETO 6 Wave Hub update
  • Re-election of Carnegie’s Kieran O’Brien to the Ocean Energy Europe’s Board of Directors

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX:CCE) is pleased to provide an update on the latest developments on its Albany Wave Energy Project, Wave Hub Project, recent wave tank testing as well as new and ongoing collaboration relationships with several key partners and suppliers.

Carnegie and the University of Western Australia (UWA) have continued to build on their ongoing collaborative relationship, working together on existing and new funded R&D projects including activities undertaken through the new Wave Energy Research Centre (WERC). Carnegie and UWA were successful in applying for funding under the European MARINET program, being awarded funding for 15 days of tank testing at the COAST facility at Plymouth University in March 2018. Design and scaled tank testing of the CETO buoy and power take off system in a controlled environment prior to full scale manufacture and ocean deployment is a critical component of the de-risking and development and testing of the CETO 6 unit.

Carnegie and UWA have now completed the tank testing program which investigated the response of wave energy converters in extreme conditions as well as methods for determining the design wave of the CETO device. The testing was successfully completed and data analysis is ongoing to produce the final load and motion cases for Albany ocean deployment.

Over recent months, Carnegie and its partners and contractors have been progressing a number of key site development activities at Albany including:

  • completion of a connection feasibility study with Western Power indicating no barriers to grid connection of the project anticipated;
  • completion of a site LIDAR survey by Australian Hydrographic Office that gathered detailed bathymetry data to support the site characterisation and metocean modelling;
  • award of geophysical survey contract to inform the site characterisation and design of the foundations and shore crossing;
  • local supplier briefing and engagement and ongoing stakeholder engagement;
  • completion of a metocean modelling study;
  • deployment of an acoustic wave and current meter and ongoing monitoring of the previously deployed wave buoy; and
  • local site investigations, studies and surveys.

Carnegie and UWA continue working together to build a Metocean model which supports the development of the Project as well as provide useful data to future wave energy developers deploying at the Albany site as well as other local industries. Analysis of Carnegie’s wave buoy, UWA’s acoustic wave and current profiler and UWA’s SWAN numerical model shows a good correlation. Through WERC, UWA will also soon deploy two additional wave buoys at strategic locations which will further help calibration of this Metocean modelling work.

Metocean Model Calibration with recent data from the wave buoy and AWAC (left) and Carnegie visiting the Australian Hydrographic Office aircraft following local Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) survey Carnegie and UWA are also now analysing a useful set of bathymetry data captured by the Australian Hydrographic Office who performed an airborne LIDAR survey of the site while working in the region. This data will be used in the metocean modelling and upcoming offshore geophysical survey.

In March, Carnegie exhibited at the Great Southern Sustainable Living Fair & Expo in Albany, presented at an Engineers Australia event with University of Western Australia and worked with the Great Southern Development Commission to host a local supplier briefing to ensure that local suppliers have full, fair and reasonable opportunities to participate in the Project.

Upcoming activities include the award of a number of site development contracts including those in relation to the completion of an updated Environmental Impact Assessment and a site-specific foundation study. Consultation with specific project stakeholders and engagement with the local supply chain will be also continue.

On the back of Albany Wave Energy Project being the first CETO 6 deployment, Carnegie and the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government have signed a Variation Agreement modifying the European ERDF funded CETO 6 Wave Hub Project. The revised Project will still deliver value to Cornwall and will continue to support the development of a future commercial CETO array at Wave Hub through a series of local collaborations with strategic partners such as Wave Hub Limited, University of Plymouth and James Fisher Marine Services in place of building and operating the initial single CETO 6 unit at Wave Hub. Under the revised Project agreement, Carnegie will receive a £312,934 (approximately $500k) grant payment for the development undertaken to date and the ongoing collaborative activities being undertaken with local partners.

Carnegie also continues to play a leading role in guiding international marine renewable industry development with the re-election of Carnegie’s Director Kieran O’Brien to the Ocean Energy Europe’s Board of Directors. Laurent Schneider-Maunoury (Naval Energies, France) and Simon De Pietro (DP Energy, Ireland) were elected co-presidents.

Carnegie also continues to be actively engaged in a diverse portfolio of collaborative research and development projects both within Australian and in the UK and Europe. Wave Hub specifically, and the UK and Europe more generally, remain important markets and locations for future CETO deployments and projects. The European Commission has invested over €300 million ($480m) in ocean energy research and development over the past 10 years with significant additional investment in research, development and testing infrastructure from the UK Government. In the UK alone, there has been more than £500 million ($916m) of government and private investment in the UK wave and tidal sector. This level of strategic industry funding support alongside with the local marine renewable resource and supply chain expertise means that Europe and UK will remain important factors in the commercialisation of CETO.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy



Warwick Solar Farm

The Southern Downs Regional Council is holding a public meeting on May 15 to discuss Terrain Solar’s proposed $100mil Warwick Solar Farm. The 154 hectare project site is located 4km from the town centre and will provide enough power for approximately 15,000 average homes.


Goat Hill granted development approval

2 May

Delta Electricity in association with the Altura Group has welcomed the announcement that development approval has been granted by the South Australian government for the Goat Hill pumped hydro project, located near Port Augusta.

Delta has the development rights for the project, with Altura Group as the project developer.

Delta’s Managing Director, Greg Everett, describes the Goat Hill project as “the right solution for South Australia”.

“With the growth of renewables and a reliance on high cost gas generation, South Australians will benefit from the complementary, reliable and affordable energy storage that pumped hydro will provide” Mr Everett said.

“Goat Hill is a world class energy solution that will be able to pump and store energy when renewable energy is abundant and will generate 230MW of electricity for up to 8 hours when there is a need for reliable, on-demand dispatchable energy”.

Mr Everett ascribes three key reasons why Goat Hill project has moved quickly to this stage of development:

  • firstly, Altura Group has identified a site with strong technical and environmental credentials to generate hydro power in the Spencer Gulf, a leading renewable energy region in Australia;
  • secondly, Altura Group and Delta have worked very closely to develop a robust engineering proposal that focuses on functionality and proven technology; and
  • thirdly, the project has been developed and underpinned by a rigorous approvals process by the South Australian government, supported by the local community.

With work already underway for detailed plant design and construction contracting, Delta is confident that Goat Hill will be “shovel ready” well before competing projects in South Australia.

Project developer Altura Group has already engaged SNC Lavalin, WBHO and SRG, using GE Technology and work is progressing well. The South Australian Government has also committed $4.7m to facilitate final project development, expediting the final investment decision.

Delta operates the 1320MW Vales Point Power Station on the NSW Central Coast. It is deploying a growth strategy that includes:

  • using its recently obtained retail licence to establish direct relationships with large energy customers;
  • securing offtake arrangements with solar producers in readiness for introduction of the National Energy Guarantee;
  • developing a 45 MW solar farm adjacent to the existing Vales Point power station; and
  • pursuing acquisition opportunities when assets become available.

“Goat Hill is an important part of the Delta development story and granting of development approval takes us one step further along that path” Mr Everett said.

Source: Delta Electricity


Scaled-back Bango Wind Farm approved with conditions

2 May

The state’s Independent Planning Commission has approved, subject to conditions, scaled-back plans for a wind farm on the NSW Southern Tablelands.

Bango Wind Farm Pty Ltd had originally sought permission from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to establish up to 122 wind turbines in three clusters between Boorowa and Yass.

The company subsequently amended its plans to include a maximum of 75 turbines to lessen the wind farm’s amenity and biodiversity impacts.

That revised application was referred to the Commission in February this year for consideration.

Chair of the Commission Mary O’Kane appointed a three-member panel, comprising Mr John Hann, Ms Carol Austin and Mr Paul Forward, to determine the matter.

The Commissioners examined in detail the application, the Department’s environmental assessment report, and information provided by Yass Valley and Hilltops Councils, as well as other government agencies.

They also met with the proponent and conducted an inspection of the proposed site before holding a public meeting in Boorowa to listen to the affected community’s views.

Residents raised several key concerns in written submissions to the Commission and at the public meeting, including:

  • impacts on visual amenity of residences close to the wind farm
  • reduction in property values
  • noise from both the construction and operation of the wind farm
  • health impacts of low-frequency noise and infrasound on those living closest to the turbines
  • increased traffic and potential damage to local roads
  • biodiversity impacts, including on Wedge-tailed eagles, Superb Parrot habitat, as well as the removal of Hollow-bearing Trees, and
  • specialist employment opportunities arising from the project would not benefit the local community

The Commission also heard from residents who spoke in favour of the wind farm. They cited various reasons for supporting the proposed development, including:

  • economic and social benefits for the local community from the Community Enhancement Fund
  • benefits to local businesses
  • direct employment opportunities during construction and operation
  • it provides a source of income for host landholders, and
  • contributes to a reduction in carbon emissions

Having carefully considered all the evidence before it and weighed the issues raised by those both for and against the proposal, the Commission has today approved with conditions the development of up to 71 wind turbines in two clusters.

In making its determination, the Commission concluded that, subject to the imposed conditions, the Bango Wind Farm:

  • would not have a significant adverse impact on traffic and transport routes
  • would not have a significant adverse impact on biodiversity
  • would not create adverse noise impacts on the amenity of nearby residences
  • would not create significant local or cumulative visual impacts that could not be appropriately mitigated
  • would contribute renewable energy generation to meet the legislated Australian target, and
  • would contribute social and economic benefits for communities within the Hilltops and Yass Valley Local Government Areas and will be in the public interest

The Independent Planning Commission’s Determination Report and the Development Consent, including the imposed conditions, are available here:


French and Australian leaders witness landmark green power agreements for industry

2 May

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and French President Emmanuel Macron today witnessed the signing of landmark agreements between leading French and Australian businesses – NEOEN and GFG Alliance – designed to dramatically reduce energy costs to industry in Australia.

On the occasion of President Macron’s visit to Australia, leading French renewable energy producer, NEOEN, and British-Australian renewable energy enterprise, SIMEC ZEN Energy – part of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance – signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to develop, operate and supply renewable energy at a far lower cost than has been achieved before.

As a first step, NEOEN CEO, Xavier Barbaro, and GFG Alliance Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for SIMEC ZEN Energy to take most of the output from NEOEN’s Numurkah Solar Farm in northwest Victoria. This 100 MW renewable energy project is owned and developed by NEOEN and already supported by a 38 MW Green Certificate Purchase agreement by the Victorian Government. Through its repeated support and innovative approach to renewable energy, the Victorian Government has enabled this project which will deliver even more benefits to Victoria.

“We believe renewable energy is a game-changer and both agreements reflect a shared commitment to deliver low-cost, sustainable energy solutions into the market,” Mr Barbaro said.

“The switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is the revolution of this century, transforming our economies and our impact on the environment. Such major change demands sustainable, effective solutions.”

Mr Gupta said the purchase agreement would help to lower energy costs at GFG’s Laverton steel works in Victoria, placing the operations on the path to GFG’s well-known GREENSTEEL model. In addition, he said the MOU was an exciting opportunity for the companies to work together to find global renewable energy solutions of even greater scale.

“These agreements reflect GFG and NEOEN’s shared commitment to the goals of economic and environmental sustainability that are strongly advocated by President Macron and Prime Minister Turnbull,” Mr Gupta said.

“Renewable energy is at the heart of our GREENSTEEL and GREENALUMINIUM strategies, designed to make metal production and engineering competitive again in developed countries. We see Australia – with its incomparable energy resources – as the natural home for expansion of energy-intensive industry, with renewables to play an integral role.”

NEOEN and GFG are already major global producers of solar, wind and hydro energy, and large investors in energy storage through batteries and pumped hydro storage. In South Australia alone, NEOEN has taken significant steps to offer residents long-term, sustainable energy alternatives through the innovative Hornsdale Power Reserve, which is home to the biggest lithium-ion battery in the world; while SIMEC ZEN Energy has announced plans for a 120MW battery nearby at Port Augusta as part of a broader 1GW renewable energy and storage plan, adding to GFG’s ambitious renewable energy targets of numerous gigawatts globally.

Source: SIMEC ZEN Energy


Sapphire wind farm now powering the ACT

2 May

Twenty-eight turbines at the Sapphire 1 wind farm in regional NSW are now feeding renewable electricity into the national grid as part of the ACT’s 100% renewable electricity target, Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said today.

“Today is a fantastic milestone in the ACT’s transition to 100% renewable electricity. The ACT-supported part of Sapphire wind farm will power around 48,000 ACT homes – contributing about 12% towards our renewable electricity target,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Once again the ACT is leading the way by reaching key milestones as we progress towards our ambitious clean energy future.”

Construction commenced in January 2017 on the 270 megawatt Sapphire 1 wind farm, of which the ACT is supporting 100 megawatts. The wind farm is located 18 kilometres west of Glenn Innes in the Northern Tablelands of NSW. It was one of two successful projects in the ACT’s 2015 second wind auction. Once complete, the wind farm will be the largest in the state.

Mr Rattenbury said the wind farm will bring many local investment benefits.

“As we have seen with other renewables projects, there will be significant flow-on benefits to the Canberra region through this wind farm,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The wind farm is owned by CWP Renewables, which has so far developed over 1,400 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in Australia.

“As part of winning its ACT feed-in tariff entitlement, CWP Renewables moved its Asset and Operations Centre to Canberra, and has committed to employing at least 24 people by 2022.

“CWP Renewables is also establishing an investment model which gives the local community an opportunity to invest in the wind farm. This model has been successfully used in other ACT-supported wind farm developments in Australia.”

Mr Rattenbury said the ACT is well on track to achieving our goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2020.

“Later this year Hornsdale Stage 2 and Crookwell 2 wind farms will begin generation, while in 2019 Hornsdale Stage 3 wind farm will see us reach this target.”

Source: ACT Government


Australia's energy resources powering ahead

2 May

The latest assessment of energy resources confirms Australia has an abundance of coal, gas and renewable energy resources to meet domestic demand and export overseas.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the 2018 edition of the Australian Energy Resources Assessment (AERA), released today, shows that “Australia really is the lucky country when it comes to energy resources”.

“We’re fortunate to possess a plentiful and diverse range of energy resources that can simultaneously fuel our everyday lives and grow exports, creating investment and job opportunities,” Minister Canavan said.

“Australia has in excess of 3,500,000 petajoules (PJ) of Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDRs) like coal, gas, oil and uranium. EDRs are resources assessed as potentially viable for future development by industry. This is nearly 600 times Australia’s total primary domestic energy consumption.

“Together, coal, gas, oil and uranium make up more than 20 per cent of Australia’s total exports, and are projected to earn around $90 billion a year over the next five years alone.

“AERA confirms that we have substantial conventional gas resources, primarily offshore, and significant unconventional gas resources onshore.”

Minister Canavan said, given how under-explored Australia is for oil and gas, there is great potential for more to be discovered.

“To meet the needs of both industry and everyday Australians, it’s essential that we continue to invest in our gas sector,” Minister Canavan said.

“That’s why the Australian Government has invested $90 million in gas security, reliability and affordability, which includes a $26 million program designed to accelerate new supplies from onshore gas developments to the domestic market.

Minister Frydenberg said the latest update to the national assessment of energy resources provides the data that industry and policy-makers need to compare energy commodities and understand their value on the domestic and world markets.

“Through the National Energy Guarantee the Turnbull Government is powering forward with a plan to deliver a more affordable and reliable energy system as we transition to a lower emissions future.”

“The Guarantee is truly technology-neutral, offering a future for investment in whatever technology the market needs – solar, wind, coal, gas, batteries or pumped hydro storage.

“Backed by an unprecedented cross-section of business, industry and community groups, the Guarantee is an energy policy that will drive the right investment in the right place and at the right time to secure Australia’s energy future.”

AERA is developed by Geoscience Australia in collaboration with the Department of the Environment and Energy and support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

AERA is available online at

Source: Federal Government


Australia’s largest investment in solar for shopping centres - $28m for solar across SA and WA

2 May

Vicinity Centres (Vicinity) today revealed Australia’s largest ever investment in shopping centre solar with $28 million towards solar installations at five centres across South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA).

The announcement was made today by Vicinity Centres CEO and Managing Director Grant Kelley at Elizabeth City Centre in SA and attended by the Premier of SA, The Hon Steven Marshall.

The entire project, at 11.2 megawatts (MW), will see approximately 39,000 individual solar panels installed and will generate upwards of 17.4 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy each year - equivalent to powering Adelaide Oval light towers for 3.5 years. Stage one of Vicinity’s solar installation will include: SA’s Castle Plaza, Elizabeth City Centre and Kurralta Park, and WA’s Ellenbrook Central and Currambine Central.

Vicinity’s $28 million investment includes three Australian shopping centre firsts, including:

  • Australia’s largest single solar installation at Elizabeth City Centre in SA at 5.8MW
  • Australia’s largest car park shade solar installation at 5.6MW, across four sites, and
  • Australia’s largest battery installation at a shopping centre - Castle Plaza in SA.

Solar panels will be installed on the rooftops of the centres and across a series of car park shades, making this the largest car park solar installation in Australia with more than 2,400 covered bays. Providing additional comfort, the solar shades will enhance the customer and retailer experience.

Mr Kelley said the project reflected Vicinity’s focus on embedding innovation across operations including the latest energy storage technology with the installation of a 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) battery at Castle Plaza in SA.

“The energy generated by the solar and battery systems will be used on-site, reducing reliance on the grid and helping give our retailers and our business a buffer from a volatile energy market,” Mr Kelley said.

Works will begin next month and create at least 150 highly skilled, local jobs across the five shopping centres during the construction period, with 110 in SA and 40 in WA.

“We are proud to be creating jobs across South Australia and Western Australia and investing in these important states in our shopping centre portfolio.”

Mr Kelley said the staged roll-out of solar installations would help Vicinity create a more climate resilient portfolio and, because SA and WA were well-positioned to take advantage of solar, would help the states progress towards a low-carbon future.

“The environmental benefits of the installations are equivalent to removing more than 9,500 cars from our roads and will create enough power to supply more than 3,000 average homes for a year.

“We know we have an important role to play in shaping better communities and creating more connected and sustainable destinations. This project will create shared value for our customers, retailers, investors as well as the communities where we live and operate,” Mr Kelley said.

Vicinity Centres Executive General Manager, Shopping Centres, Justin Mills said the large-scale investment would help ensure Vicinity’s centres were energy-smart through highly-efficient technologies, while also improving operational performance.

“Vicinity will be the first shopping centre group with a fully integrated energy system, incorporating solar, which will help us reduce the impact of rising energy costs while helping to deliver on our sustainability objectives,” Mr Mills said.

Mr Mills said Vicinity’s integrated energy strategy also included trial zones of double-sided solar panels, cloud tracking technology and fast charging stations for electric vehicles. The staged roll-out would include more solar panels across Vicinity’s national retail portfolio, with the next phase expected to be completed by 2020.

Project highlights:

  • Castle Plaza (Edwardstown, SA) 2,244 kW and 500 kWh battery
  • Elizabeth City Centre (Elizabeth, SA) 5,849 kW
  • Kurralta Park (Kurralta Park, SA) 100 kW
  • Ellenbrook (Ellenbrook, WA) 2,939 kW
  • Currambine (Currambine, WA) 100 kW
  • 39,000 solar panels, 11.2 MW capacity
  • Generating 17.4 GWh of energy per year
  • Enough solar to power 3,000 average homes for a year
  • Environmental benefit equivalent to removing 9,500 cars from our roads

Source: Vicinity Stores


Equis Energy announces corporate name change to Vena Energy

3 May

Following its acquisition in January 2018 by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), Equis Energy today announced it is changing its name to Vena Energy, launching a new company website and introducing an updated corporate identity.

Headquartered in Singapore, Vena Energy is the largest renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) in the Asia-Pacific region, with over 180 assets comprising over 11 GW in operation, under construction and in development across Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

Between now and 2030, economic growth is expected to drive a 36% increase in energy demand in the Asia-Pacific region. The Latin word vena represents the continuous supply of low-cost, clean energy that is vital not only to continued economic growth but also to the preservation of our environment.

Source: Vena Energy


Independent Planning Commission approval for Bango Wind Farm

3 May

It was announced yesterday that the Bango Wind Farm, which will be located 30 km north of Yass in NSW, has been approved by the NSW Independent Planning Commission. Approval has been granted for the construction of up to 71 wind turbine generators, which is welcome news for project developer CWP Renewables.

“We are thrilled with today’s announcement,” Kristy Old, Development Manager at CWP Renewables, said yesterday. “We have been working with government agencies and the local community over many years to ensure that this project balances social, environmental and economic needs.”

In their appraisal of the project, the Commission acknowledged the wide range of community views but found the project to be in the public interest.

In support of the determination, a recent study by the Australian Wind Alliance has found that communities that host wind farms can expect significant rewards. The Building Stronger Communities report outlines the financial and social benefits currently enjoyed by the communities that host the 82 operational wind farms in Australia today.

Bango Wind Farm will be no different. Project construction is expected to create 150 fulltime equivalent jobs, with a local spending stimulus of over $4 million during the construction period.

Over its 25-year operational life, the wind farm will contribute approximately $12 million to Yass Valley and Hilltops Councils through rate returns and Community Enhancement Funds, which will be used to fund local community projects. It is also expected that ten fulltime jobs will be created to oversee maintenance and ongoing operations of the wind farm.

“In addition, the 525 GWh per year of electricity produced by the Bango Wind Farm will replace an equivalent amount of higher cost, higher emission electricity,” said Ms. Old.


NSW Independent Planning Commission Determination:

The Australian Wind Alliance Building Stronger Communities Report and factsheet can be found at:

Source: CWP Renewables



Emerald Solar Farm

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) has applied to the Regulator for a generation authority under the Electricity Act 1994 (the Act), on behalf of its client Emerald Energy Project Pty Ltd as Trustee for Emerald Energy Project Trust (Emerald Energy).

The application for a generation authority is in respect to a proposed solar farm (the Emerald Solar Park), to be located approximately 3.5km west of the town of Emerald. The generating plant will comprise up to 261,696 solar PV panels and 32 x 2.75 megawatt (MW) inverters with a combined generating capacity of 89.63 MW DC. This will comprise of 130,848 solar PV panels at 340 W and 130,848 solar PV panels at 345 W.

Emerald Energy proposes to connect the solar farm to Ergon Energy’s distribution network at the Emerald Substation via a new 66 kilovolt (kV) transmission feeder from the Emerald Solar Park Switching Station to a tee off point on the existing Lilyvale-Emerald 66kV line. Electricity generated is proposed to be sent into the National Electricity Market (NEM). Emerald Energy has entered into an off-take agreement with Telstra Energy (Generation) Pty Ltd (Telstra Energy) for all of the solar farm’s generation.

Source: Queensland Government

View PDF