Burdekin Falls Dam hydro-electricity to power North Queensland: Premier

30 April

The Palaszczuk Government will invest to develop a business case for a hydro-electric power station on the State's largest dam - Burdekin Falls Dam - to secure energy and support jobs for North Queensland.

Visiting Townsville today, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the plan to increase the Burdekin Falls Dam capacity by 150,000 megalitres to more than two million MLs was already being assessed by the Palaszczuk Government, working with the Federal Government under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

The Premier said the Government wanted to now investigate establishing a hydro-electric power station, which could generate 150 gigawatt hours - the equivalent of the annual energy use of 30,000 homes - based on the current size and more if the Dam was raised.

"This project is critical for the development of northern Australia," the Premier said.

The Dam is currently at 101% of its 1,860,000ML storage capacity.

"The hydro-electric potential in the Burdekin has been talked about since the 1940s. It was last proposed in 2014, but the proponent shelved the project amid disarray in Abbott-Turnbull Government energy policy, at a time when the Nicholls-Newman Government remained firmly anti-renewables" she said.

"Today I'm calling on the Prime Minister to work with my Government as we develop a Burdekin Hydro business case to complement the strategic assessment underway on the raising of the Burdekin Falls Dam by two metres to store more water and generate electricity."

“This will complement the existing Koombooloomba, Kareeya and Barron Gorge hydro power stations currently operating in North Queensland and the 800 MW pipeline of renewable energy projects committed in North Queensland over the last 12 months, a $1.5 billion investment supporting more than 1400 jobs.”

Minister for the State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham has called on the Federal Government to consider investment in gas pipelines to open up the Galilee and Bowen Basins that could solve the shortage of gas in the east coast market and fuel job-creating energy users in Townsville.

"Generating hydro-electricity off the Burdekin Falls Dam, supporting other renewable energy projects and developing pipelines connecting gas reserves to communities and industry in the North, are more realistic and viable than a hypothetical and expensive coal-fired power stations," the Premier said.

"These should be priorities for the Turnbull Government's untapped $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and its infrastructure investment."

"The Palaszczuk Government stands for jobs in local manufacturing, export and tourism industries. To protect and create these jobs we are working on real options to deliver sustainable, affordable and secure energy."

"The Burdekin Falls Dam is already the largest dam in Queensland holding four times the capacity of Sydney Harbour."

"Queenslanders are experiencing higher wholesale generation prices in part as a result of the closure of privately owned power stations in the southern States driving up demand on Queensland as an energy exporter."

"We are developing a solid mix of our energy resources - coal, gas and renewables– bringing on more supply to the National Energy Market when southern states on the east coast refuse to."

"Instead of rewarding Queensland, Malcolm Turnbull is trying to hamper and hinder us with thought bubbles on energy policy, like his export gas ban threat and proposed coal-fired power station."

"Queensland is still yet to receive one cent in funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility more than 680 days after it was announced."

"With the support of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and the investment by the Queensland Government in the development of a business case this nation building project can become a reality.

In terms of water security for Townsville, in December 2016, the Palaszczuk Government, Federal Government and Townsville City Council signed the historic Townsville City Deal - Australia’s first.

As part of the City Deal, the Townsville Water Security Taskforce has been established and is currently investigating short, medium and long-term solutions to water security for Townsville.

The Palaszczuk Government’s business case into the potential for hydro at Burdekin is predominantly about energy supply, but will of course take into account the future findings of the Taskforce.

Led by independent Chair and Townsville local, Brad Webb, the Taskforce is engaging with community, industry and other relevant stakeholders to build on existing studies and research.

After consulting with the community, the taskforce is expected to report on options to the Premier and Prime Minister in the second half of 2017 by 30 June 2017.

Source: Queensland Government


Origin sells Darling Downs Solar Farm Project and commits to another large scale solar PPA

1 May 2017

Origin Energy Limited (Origin) today announced it had sold the Darling Downs Solar Farm project to APA Group (APA) and expects to sign another large scale solar power purchase agreement (PPA) on completion of the sale, as Origin continues to accelerate the uptake of renewable power in Australia. The PPA will underpin the development of Darling Downs Solar Farm in Queensland.

Under the terms of the PPA with APA, Origin will buy all of the renewable power generated by the 110 MW Darling Downs Solar Farm, from commencement of operations in 2018 to 2030. Origin will also acquire the associated Renewable Energy Certificates.

Origin identified and developed Darling Downs Solar Farm project, including securing $20 million funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). This funding will be provided to APA as the new project owner.

Origin CEO, Frank Calabria said, “Origin is delighted to be securing another long-term agreement to purchase renewable power, while simultaneously announcing the sale of Darling Downs Solar Farm to APA.

“This transaction is further evidence of Origin delivering on our commitment to rapidly increase the uptake of renewable energy in Australia, and deliver cleaner energy to homes and businesses.

“At a time when energy markets are in transition, Origin is taking decisive action to ensure a secure, reliable and affordable energy supply. We are both increasing the total energy we supply to meet the needs of customers, and growing the share of renewables in our energy mix as the cost of renewable technologies continues to fall.

“In a little over 12 months, Origin has added more than 650 MW of solar to our power portfolio and we are the largest supporter of large scale solar in Australia. In simple terms, this is the equivalent of installing solar panels on more than 400 Australian homes1 every day for an entire year.

“We’re well on our way towards achieving our objective of building or contracting up to 1,500 MW of new large scale renewable generation by 2020.

“This will see Origin almost entirely replace the capacity of what was one of Australia’s largest carbon emitters, the recently retired Hazelwood power station, with 100 per cent renewable energy.

 “Reflecting on today’s agreements, Origin would like to acknowledge the important role of ARENA in supporting the development of Darling Downs Solar Farm and renewable energy in Australia,” Mr Calabria said.

Under the terms of the sale, Origin will recoup from APA costs associated with the development of Darling Downs Solar Farm to date. The sale of Darling Downs Solar Farm is expected to complete in May 2017.

1 Based on average residential solar installation of 4.4kW.

About Darling Downs Solar Farm project

Darling Downs Solar Farm is a utility-scale photovoltaic solar project located approximately 45 kilometres from Dalby in south-western Queensland.

Darling Downs Solar Farm will have a potential generating capacity of approximately 110 MW, making it one of the largest solar projects in Australia generating enough renewable energy to power up to 32,000 homes.

The project is located next to Origin’s gas-fired Darling Downs Power Station and close to high-voltage transmission infrastructure.

Source: Origin Energy


APA invests in Darling Downs Solar Farm

1 May 2017

APA Group (ASX:APA), Australia’s leading energy infrastructure business, today announced that it has agreed to purchase the Darling Downs Solar Farm with an option to acquire the nearby Beelbee Solar Farm Development site, which has the potential for an additional 150MW of solar energy generation. APA will fund the acquisition and development costs for the Darling Downs Solar Farm project of approximately $200 million with currently available cash and operating cash flows, and a $20 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Advancing Renewables Programme. Construction is expected to be completed by late in 2018.

Under the agreement, APA has undertaken to execute at financial close, a long term offtake agreement with Origin Energy Limited (ASX: ORG) until December 2030, that will underpin the construction of the 110MW Darling Downs Solar Farm – one of Australia’s largest approved solar farms. The agreement is for Origin Energy to purchase all of the energy and the Large-scale Renewable Generation Certifications (LGCs) generated by the solar farm. Financial close is expected to complete by end of business on Monday, 1 May 2017.

The Darling Downs Solar Farm site is located approximately 45km west of the town of Dalby in south-western Queensland and will utilise the existing Darling Downs Braemar substation which connects into the National Electricity Grid. The Darling Downs Solar Farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power around 32,0001 homes.

APA Group Managing Director, Mr Mick McCormack, said, “I am always pleased to announce new growth projects. APA continues to grow its capabilities in owning and operating significant energy infrastructure as part of its growth strategy. This renewables project sits well with APA’s successful and sustainable investment criteria as, with all our investments, it is underwritten by a long term contract with one of our existing customers and meets our return criteria. This will be APA’s second solar project and like the Emu Downs Solar Farm in Western Australia that we recently announced, the Darling Downs Solar Farm will utilise ARENA funding. As Australia’s leading energy infrastructure business, we see investing in renewable energy as key to supporting Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy.”

1 Based on preliminary plant yield estimates and an average daily household electricity usage of 19kWh.

Source: APA Group

Click on project to go to online datasheet: Darling Downs Solar Farm


RCR awarded $50m in contracts for Oakey & Longreach Solar Farm projects

1 May

Diversified engineering and infrastructure company RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX: RCR), is pleased to announce that it has been awarded two contracts, totalling approximately $50 million, with Canadian Solar to design and construct the 15MW Longreach Solar Farm and the first phase of the 25MW Oakey Solar Farm.

RCR’s scope of work includes engineering, procurement, construction (“EPC”) and commissioning, with the advanced mono-crystalline photovoltaic solar panels to be supplied by Canadian Solar. Construction is expected to commence in June 2017.

Once commissioned, RCR will provide operation and maintenance (“O&M”) services for the Longreach and Oakey Solar Farms for an initial period of 2 years, with an option for a 3 year extension.

The Longreach and Oakey Solar Farms were selected to receive ARENA funding and are both located in Queensland.

RCR Managing Director & CEO, Dr Paul Dalgleish said “the contracts for these two large-scale solar power projects clearly position RCR as a leader in the rapidly-evolving renewable energy industry in Australia and follows our successful completion of the 53MW Broken Hill Solar Farm, and the recent contract awards for the Sun Metals 124MW Solar Farm, Manildra 48MW Solar Farm and the Gannawarra 60MW Solar Farm.

The EPC and O&M contracts with Canadian Solar for the Longreach and Oakey Solar Farms will create economic benefits in the local communities and contribute to delivering renewable energy into the grid.

Large-scale solar projects continue to dominate our current pipeline in the energy sector and RCR is preferred on a number of additional projects that will also support our growth in FY18”, said Dr Dalgleish.

Source: RCR Tomlinson

Click on project to go to online datasheets: Longreach Solar Farm and Oakey Solar Farm.


Ross River Solar Farm commences construction

1 May 2017

Palisade Investment Partners and ESCO Pacific are pleased to announce that the $225 million Ross River Solar Farm has reached financial close. Construction will now commence on the 148MW project which is located on a 202-hectare former mango plantation near Townsville.

The project will be funded through equity commitments from Palisade’s recently-launched Palisade Renewable Energy Fund and three of Palisade’s institutional clients, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), VicSuper and HESTA.

The Palisade Renewable Energy Fund is open to commitments and has a diversified portfolio comprising Ross River and two operational wind farms. It will continue to invest in renewables projects across the spectrum – from late-stage development through to operational assets – giving investors access to a broad range of opportunities that meet sustainability objectives and generate stable long-term returns.

ESCO obtained development approval for the solar farm from Townsville City Council in June 2016. It has since received approval for a further 470MW of solar farms in Queensland, forming part of its secured development pipeline in excess of 1,500MW.

Palisade and ESCO signed a long-term PPA for Ross River with EnergyAustralia in December 2016. The partners then completed project development and Palisade arranged the senior debt for the project from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Westpac Banking Corporation. Construction is expected to take 12 months and will be undertaken by Downer Utilities Australia with oversight from CAT Projects as owner’s engineer.

ESCO Pacific Managing Director and founder, Steve Rademaker, said: “Achieving financial close on the Ross River Solar Farm demonstrates ESCO Pacific’s ability to deliver projects to a bankable standard. We have a significant pipeline of projects and a proven platform to deliver projects to market over the coming years.”

Palisade Managing Director and CEO, Roger Lloyd, said: “We are excited about this investment which further diversifies Palisade’s renewables portfolio. Palisade’s hands-on approach to taking greenfield projects through the development phase to financial close allows us to shape our investments in a way that minimises risk and maximises returns.”

The CEFC will invest around $20 million in the Ross River Solar Farm as part of its $100 million allocation to Palisade’s renewable energy strategy. In addition, the CEFC has provided a $75 million cornerstone commitment to the Palisade Renewable Energy Fund, sending a strong signal to institutional investors and accelerating the delivery of clean energy opportunities.

Source: ESCO Pacific


Downer awarded Ross River Solar Farm contract

1 May 2017

Downer EDI Limited (Downer) announced today it had been awarded an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) contract valued at approximately $200 million by Palisade Investment Partners (Palisade) and ESCO Pacific (ESCO) for the Ross River Solar Farm near Townsville in Queensland.

The 148MW Ross River Solar Farm will be built with approximately 420,000 monocrystalline solar photovoltaic modules and has a 13-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with EnergyAustralia.

The Chief Executive Officer of Downer, Grant Fenn, said the award of this contract was another demonstration of Downer’s leadership in the renewable energy sector.

“Downer is a leader in delivering large scale renewable projects and is currently constructing the 100MW Clare Solar Farm, 15MW Sunshine Coast Solar Farm, and 240MW Ararat Wind Farm,” Mr Fenn said.

“When the Ross River Solar Farm is completed, Downer will have facilitated the delivery of more than 2.3GW of renewable energy to the Australian market.

“We look forward to working closely with Palisade and ESCO to deliver the Ross River Solar Farm, one of Australia’s largest solar energy projects.”

Palisade Managing Director and CEO, Roger Lloyd, said: “We are delighted to work with Downer to build this standout project in North Queensland which delivers on Palisade’s renewables strategy and diversifies our portfolio of operational wind assets.”

ESCO Pacific’s Managing Director, Steve Rademaker, said: “We’re pleased to partner with Downer on what is a landmark project. Downer’s experience in delivering high quality renewable energy projects was a critical factor in their selection as preferred construction partner and we look forward to Downer delivering the project over the coming months.”

Notice to proceed has been issued to Downer under the EPC contract and construction is scheduled to take 12 months.

Source: Downer EDI

Click on project to go to online datasheet: Ross River Solar Farm


CEFC finance for large-scale solar projects helps drive investment in regional Queensland

1 May

Two Queensland large-scale solar projects are on track to begin construction, supported by a $31.5 million commitment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). The projects, at Longreach and Oakey, will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 12,000 homes.

The CEFC finance for global manufacturer and developer Canadian Solar is the latest to be confirmed under the CEFC's large-scale solar financing program. The CEFC has now committed almost $150 million in finance towards large-scale projects in Queensland, accelerating the development of over 210MW in large-scale solar capacity in the state.

"So far, the CEFC large-scale solar program has committed more than $300 million to projects in three states, delivering immediate benefits to local communities and making a substantial contribution to the achievement of Australia's Renewable Energy Target," CEFC Large-Scale Solar lead Gloria Chan said.

"Solar is an increasingly cost-effective energy solution in areas like Longreach and Oakey, which have high levels of solar irradiation. These two projects represent a significant injection into the Queensland economy, that will drive further growth, expertise and diversity in the renewable energy sector. Another important benefit is that the land owners will generate a long-term leasing income from hosting the solar panels."

The CEFC has committed $12 million in senior debt finance to the 15MW (17MWp) $28.7 million Longreach Solar Farm and $19.5 million in senior debt finance to the 25MW (30MWp) $47.5 million Oakey Solar Farm.

Canadian Solar has secured long-term offtake agreements with the Queensland government for the power generated by both farms. Canadian Solar has also secured debt finance from Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and $3.5 million in grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Canadian Solar general manager Daniel Ruoss said both projects had received strong support from their local communities, which had welcomed the addition of solar to their local energy supplies.

"We expect the Longreach Solar Farm, with its 54,600 panels across 86 hectares, to generate enough solar to power around 5,000 Queensland homes," Mr Ruoss said.

"The Oakey Solar Farm, with its 93,600 panels across 60 hectares, is expected to generate enough power for around 7,000 homes. We're already planning for a 55MW expansion to the Oakey project, once the first stage is constructed."

Both projects will use single-axis tracking technology which maximises the amount of generation achieved, by enabling the panels to capture sunlight for a longer period each day than fixed panels.

The two projects are expected to employ around 80 people during construction, with RCR O'Donnell Griffin Pty Ltd undertaking the engineering, procurement and construction of both projects. Construction is expected to begin in May 2017 and reach commercial operations in the first quarter of 2018.

Source: CEFC

Click on project to go to online datasheets: Longreach Solar Farm and Oakey Solar Farm.


RCR secures $175m contract for 110MW Darling Downs Solar Farm project

2 May

Diversified Engineering and Infrastructure Company, RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX: RCR) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $175 million with APA Group to design and construct one of Australia’s largest utility solar farms located in Dalby, Queensland (“Darling Downs Solar Farm”).

The Darling Downs Solar Farm will have an initial generating capacity of approximately 110MW. RCR’s scope of work includes engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) and commissioning of the solar farm, including associated substations and grid connection works. Construction is expected to commence in July 2017.

Conversion of this project from preferred tender status to contracted revenue will add to RCR’s record Order Book.

RCR’s Managing Director and CEO, Dr Paul Dalgleish said “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract following our successful collaboration to develop the project, initially with Origin Energy and more recently with APA Group. The award is the culmination of the ECI process, which included preliminary design and engineering works.

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

“I am pleased with the continued growth in our order book as we look forward to FY18,” Dr Dalgleish added.

Source: RCR Tomlinson

Click on project to go to online datasheet: Darling Downs Solar Farm


Renewable Energy Target delivering: momentum building towards 2020 target

03 May

​The Clean Energy Regulator believes the 2020 Renewable Energy Target remains achievable provided the current pace of investment continues throughout 2017.

Tabled in Parliament today, Tracking towards 2020: Encouraging renewable energy in Australia,​ is the 2016 calendar year report on the administration of the scheme and annual statement on progress towards the large-scale 2020 target of 33 000 gigawatt hours.

Executive General Manager, Mark Williamson who launched the report today in Melbourne, said the report shows there is significant momentum building in the large-scale industry after an unprecedented number of new projects were announced in 2016.

"The generation capacity of these new projects announced increased fivefold in 2016 compared to 2015 to more than 2000 megawatts."

"The momentum we saw in the second half of 2016 has continued into 2017. Already we have one-third of the total build required for 2017 achieved in the first three months of the year with a further 1074.5 megawatts firmly announced by end-March."

"This demonstrates that Australia is now in a strong position to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target," Mr Williamson said.

Speaking at the Solar 2017 conference Mr Williamson highlighted that solar had played a large part in this exciting level of investment.

"Solar projects made up a higher than anticipated proportion of new projects."

Solar projects have faster construction times and the lag between final investment decisions and commissioning is shorter. This means generation begins more quickly and certificates, which drive the Renewable Energy Target, can be made available to the market sooner.

It wasn't just large-scale utility solar which excelled in 2016, small-scale solar also had a big year.

There are now more than 2.6 million Australian homes with small-scale systems installed. This is generating or displacing 10 million megawatt hours of electricity.

"The average size of solar panel systems installed in 2016 has increased 12 per cent," Mr Williamson said.

"There is still more capacity in the small-scale market. I think the industry is doing a great job to be innovative and keep pace with technology changes, but more can be done. It's just about thinking outside of traditional business models."

Source: Clean Energy Regulator


New Project

King Island Pilot Marine project

Wave Swell Energy is currently involved in developing its first commercial scale unit. This unit will have a peak capacity of 1 MW and will transmit electricity via a high voltage cable to shore and into a grid on King Island from the waters of southern Australia.

The technology of Wave Swell Energy is based on the well-established concept of the oscillating water column (OWC). An OWC is effectively an artificial blowhole. It is a large hollow concrete chamber, partially submerged and sitting on the seabed, and vented to the ocean through an underwater opening.

As wave crests and troughs pass the OWC, water enters and leaves the chamber through its submerged opening. This water rises and falls inside the chamber, causing the pressure of the air trapped above to oscillate between positive and negative pressure. These pressure fluctuations force the air to pass by a turbine at the top of the chamber, generating electricity as it does so.

The fundamental difference between the Wave Swell Energy OWC technology and that of other companies is that, via an ingenious conceptual difference, proprietary to the company, the WSE turbine is only exposed to air flow from one direction. This results in a much simpler turbine design, which is also more robust, more reliable, and at the same time exhibiting a higher energy conversion efficiency.

The only moving parts in the entire technology are the turbine and some simple off-the-shelf valves, all of which are well above the water line. There are no moving parts in or below the water. This means maintenance is only ever required to be performed on the easy-to-access regions well above the ocean.

Source: Wave Swell Energy


John Brown       

Chief Operating Officer

Email: john.brown@waveswellenergy.com.au

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