Construction now underway at pioneering SA hydrogen facility

2 December

South Australia's transition to a cleaner energy future has today taken another major step forward with the official start of construction at Australian Gas Networks' (AGN) pioneering hydrogen production facility at the Tonsley Innovation District, south of Adelaide.

AGN's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ben Wilson, joined South Australian Premier, the Hon Steven Marshall, and the Minister for Energy and Mining, the Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan, today for a ground-breaking ceremony at the Hydrogen Park SA (HyP SA) site to formally mark the construction start-up.

Adelaide-based AGN - part of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) – expects the $11.4 million HyP SA facility to start renewable hydrogen production around mid-2020.

Today's production go-ahead follows the SA Government's approval last month of the Development Application for AGN to construct and operate the Company's innovative HyP SA facility.

"This is a significant milestone in South Australia and for hydrogen in Australia," Mr Wilson said today.

"At HyP SA we will be building a 1.25MW electrolyser as the first Australian demonstration project of its scale and size, with small quantities of renewable hydrogen produced and blended into the local gas distribution network next year," Mr Wilson said.

“This will enable residents in parts of the Adelaide suburb of Mitchell Park, to become SA’s first natural gas customers to receive a blended 5% renewable gas – a combination of natural gas and renewable hydrogen," he said.

AGN received a A$4.9 million grant from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund to build and operate the project. Using a 1.25 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, renewable electricity will be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.[1]

The renewable hydrogen will then be blended with natural gas and supplied to 710 customers in southern areas of Mitchell Park via the existing natural gas network.

Mr Wilson said AGN's HyP SA project represents the first step towards decarbonising South Australia’s gas networks.

"The decarbonisation challenge is huge and many solutions are needed for Australia to meet its emission reduction targets, and that includes gas stepping up to play its part," he said.

"Developing the hydrogen economy will also play a key role and the momentum around hydrogen is building with burgeoning research and development underway.

"Commercial hydrogen production is achievable and can decarbonise Australia's energy mix while at the same time accessing export markets."

"When burnt, hydrogen does not release any carbon emissions, only water and heat so it is essentially just another gas we can use in place of, or blended with, natural gas to provide energy and heat. Customers receiving the blended 5% renewable gas will not notice any difference in their gas supply," he said.

"There is no additional cost to customers receiving the blended 5% renewable gas and the change will not impact any arrangements these customers have with their existing natural gas retailer."

Whilst natural gas is already a low-carbon option for homes and businesses, the blending of renewable hydrogen provides an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions even further.

The new blended 5% renewable gas is not the first time hydrogen has been used in Adelaide homes. Before natural gas pipelines were laid in the 1960s, Adelaide properties ran on ‘town gas’ which was manufactured from coal and typically comprised 50-60% hydrogen.

Hydrogen is already in use in parts of Europe as a blended residential gas for cooking, hot water and heating, varying between 10% and 20% of total gas content.

This project is a first step in AGN's vision to deliver 100% renewable gas. AGN is actively pursuing additional hydrogen projects with a view to blending more hydrogen into its South Australian and other Australian networks. We will also explore other opportunities for the green hydrogen including use for industrial customers and transport.

Source: Australian Gas Networks

 

Cutting emissions and energy bills at Museums Victoria

2 December

An ambitious $11 million project to boost energy efficiency and drive down energy costs across Museums Victoria's six buildings has been completed, through an innovative energy management partnership with Siemens and the Victorian Government.

Lynley Crosswell, CEO and Director, Museums Victoria said, 'our 2,700 solar panels – supported by the Greener Government Buildings program – are a huge contribution towards reaching our goals around greater sustainability.'

'As Australia’s leading museum organisation, we’re deeply committed to reducing the environmental impact of all our sites while helping visitors understand our changing climate. This is just one of the many initiatives we are currently working on.'

Assistant Treasurer Robin Scott said the project will decrease more than 5,600 tonnes of greenhouse gas annually, saving Museums Victoria $1.5 million a year and reduce their energy consumption by about 30 per cent.

'This project is a fantastic opportunity to invest in the sustainability of some of our state’s most important cultural institutions,' said Assistant Treasurer Scott.

As part of the upgrade, more than 1 megawatt of solar power (2,700 solar panels) has been installed at four Museum Victoria sites, commencing late last year, including:

- 1350 solar panels at Melbourne Museum, saving 635,308 kilowatt-hours per year

- 938 solar panels for Scienceworks, saving 465,749 kilowatt-hours per year

- 435 solar panels at the Moreland Annexe, saving 205,559 kilowatt-hours per year

- 20 solar panels at Simcock Avenue, saving 9,672 kilowatt-hours per year

The project is one of many being delivered under the Victorian Government’s $188 million Greener Government Buildings program (GGB). The program is improving energy efficiency in government buildings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the state.

The GGB saves energy through a combination of new efficient lighting (e.g. LED), heating and cooling upgrades, solar panels and building automation and controls.

The GGB uses Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) or equivalent processes which engage contractors to design, implement, verify and guarantee savings from an energy efficiency project.

When applied to large and/or complex buildings such as hospitals, office buildings and sporting facilities, EPC is an effective and low-risk approach that is widely accepted around the world.

Under the GGB program, projects pay for themselves over five to eight years.

Source: Museums Victoria

 

Construction jobs boost as West Wyalong Solar Farm approved

2 December

The NSW Government is continuing to build a modern, affordable and secure energy network with the approval today of a new $135 million solar facility in West Wyalong.

Executive Director of Energy and Resource Assessments Mike Young said the project will generate up to 300 jobs during the construction phase, and provide around 90 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

“The West Wyalong solar farm will add to the growing hub of solar energy projects in the Riverina, bringing a fresh boost to the economy and diversifying industry in the region.

“Since 2017 the Government has approved a total 30 solar projects across the State, these have the potential to provide nearly 5,000 construction jobs in the regions and support around $5.8 billion of investment in regional NSW.

“These solar projects have already contributed to the economies of communities throughout the Riverina and are also supporting the creation of a thriving renewable energy industry in NSW.”

The project includes a battery storage facility which will store solar energy for dispatch into the grid outside of daylight hours and during periods of peak demand, improving stability and reliability across the network.

“The West Wyalong Solar Farm has the potential to save up to 190,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing NSW’s overall emissions and powering more homes with renewable energy,” Mr Young said.

The State significant project has been assessed in line with the Government’s Large-Scale Solar Guideline, introduced last year to ensure clear and consistent guidance to the community and industry.

The project has been approved with strict conditions to ensure the local community and environment are protected, including conditions relating to traffic on local roads, managing construction activities on the site and landscaping to minimise any visual impacts.

Source: NSW Government

 

PROJECT NEWS

Ferguson & Diapur Wind Farms

Consolidated Power Projects reported it had recently signed contracts to deliver a further 2 windfarm projects with BayWa r.e Wind Pty Ltd. These projects will take place in Victoria at Ferguson (10.8 MW) and Diapur (10.2 MW), and be CPP’s fourth windfarm project with BayWa r.e Wind Pty Ltd.

 

Yates Electrical Services goes remote

3 December

Yates Electrical Services, through its newly-formed retail arm YES Energy, is using automatic dispatching technology on its 40 MW solar fleet to avoid export during periods of negative prices. German monitoring provider Meteocontrol has introduced its new Remote Power Control feature to Australia, with YES Energy reporting that it has allowed it to “seamlessly” curtail production when required.

With negative price events becoming increasingly common on the NEM, the ability to rapidly curtail PV power plant output is becoming a necessity for asset owners. To meet this need, Meteocontrol is introducing its new Remote Power Control (RPC) feature to all large-scale PV asset owners and operators on the NEM.

The RPC feature has been added to Meteocontrol’s VCOM platform. The company reports that it can work parallel with the Network Service Provider protocol to allow for remote control of the PV power plant output.

Meteocontrol reports that RPC can automatically adjust solar power dispatch in response to wholesale electricity prices on the NEM, “within seconds”.

“By automatically adjusting dispatch according to market conditions, Meteocontrol’s technology allows owners and operators to maximise the financial performance of solar PV assets, while minimising disruption of day to day operations,” Meteocontrol Australia Managing Director David Barshevski said in a statement.

YES Energy, which was granted a retail license last month, is deploying the RPC feature on the 40 MW fleet of solar power plants developed by Yates Electrical Services, to avoid exporting during negative price periods – which could be a particularly costly proposition given its 40 MW solar portfolio is located in South Australia.

“Meteocontrol’s RPC technology has allowed YES Energy to effectively manage our solar portfolio during these intervals,” said YES Energy MD Mark Yates. “The technology is simple to implement and easy to use, allowing us to seamlessly control the output of our network of solar farms and quickly adapt to price signals from the market.”

Source: Yates Electrical

 

NEW PROJECT

Mornington Peninsula votes to grant planning permit for Dromana Solar Farm

5 December

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council recently voted in favour of granting planning permission to the proposed Dromana solar farm (4.85MW) being developed by Voltfarmer (Voltfarmer).

The council voted unanimously to support the planning application and it received a round of applause when the decision was made.

This development is encouraging and it is excellent to see the Mornington Peninsula Shire council facilitate development or renewable electricity generation within its jurisdiction, consistent with its recognition of a climate emergency and the need to take action.

We are still accepting interest from potential off-takers for renewable energy in the Mornington and greater Melbourne area.  Please contact us at warwick.forster@apogeeenergy.com.au if you have further interest.

Source: Apogee Energy

 

Contact fast-tracks transmission build with Transpower

3 December

Contact Energy (Contact) has agreed to co-fund an accelerated work programme by Transpower to help move renewable electricity generation in the lower South Island north through the national transmission network. This will be important if the strategic review currently underway by the owner of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter results in its curtailment or closure.

The work on the Clutha-Upper Waitaki Lines Project (CUWLP) by Transpower involves five projects. Two have been completed and the remaining three would be completed over a maximum of three summers if curtailment or closure of the aluminium smelter is announced.

Contact Energy CEO Dennis Barnes said Contact’s arrangement with Transpower would provide Transpower with $5 million in pre-funding to accelerate this work, with the first tranche taking place this summer. Transpower is looking to optimise the CUWLP work programme and accelerate its completion.

“We applaud Transpower’s flexibility and pragmatism on accelerating this project. It’s important for New Zealand and this sort of innovative thinking is what we need, especially with the uncertainty around the tenure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.”

He was confident the remainder of the work could be accelerated too. “Given the innovation demonstrated by the team at Transpower for this first stage of the work, I’m confident we can also work together to reduce the timeframe for the remaining work on the Clutha-Upper Waitaki Lines Project.”

Mr Barnes said the work would be part funded by Contact initially, but any material reduction in consumption or closure of the Tiwai Point smelter would further accelerate the need for Transpower’s investment in transmission upgrades.

“Our view remains that a disorderly exit of the smelter would be a poor outcome for New Zealand. Sudden closure will affect multiple stakeholders, including all generator retailers. It would also be detrimental to the Southland economy and the pursuit of our decarbonisation goals.”

Source: Contact Energy

 

Strandline selects Woodside and EDL to jointly deliver integrated energy solution for the Coburn project

3 December

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Non-binding proposal executed with Woodside and EDL for the development of a 27MW hybrid gas and renewable power solution for the Coburn mineral sands project in WA’s Mid-West
  • The proposed power solution will enable Strandline to capture energy supply cost savings relative to the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) published in April 2019
  • Innovative low-cost, low-emission solution integrating trucked LNG and gas-fired power generation with renewable energy and storage technology
  • With the DFS completed and key project approvals already in place (environmental, native title and mining), Coburn is construction-ready pending finalisation of project financing

Strandline Resources (ASX: STA) is pleased to announce that it has taken a key step towards development of its Coburn mineral sands project (Coburn or the Project) in Western Australia by selecting Woodside and EDL to provide a fully integrated energy solution for the Project.

The parties have signed a non-binding proposal for the development of a 27MW integrated trucked LNG, storage and power station facility, comprising gas and diesel back-up generators combined with state-of-the-art solar and battery technology.

The Woodside and EDL Joint Venture (WEJV) was formed to provide clean, reliable and affordable LNG to market. This world-first trucked LNG to hybrid renewable microgrid project will see EDL bring its turnkey expertise to the Project’s power station and LNG storage and re-gasification facilities, with LNG supplied from Woodside’s Pluto LNG truck loading facility near Karratha, WA.

It is expected that contract documentation, in the form of a 15-year power purchase agreement, will be finalised over the coming months in readiness for the commencement of construction. The WEJV solution provides Strandline with a long-term safe, reliable and highly efficient energy solution for Coburn.

Coburn is a world-class long-life mineral sands deposit hosting exceptional zircon and titanium mineral sands products. The Project benefits from being situated in the well-established mining jurisdiction of Western Australia, close to key road, port and services infrastructure.

The Company recently completed a DFS on Coburn, showing the Project will generate strong financial returns with a pre-tax NPV of A$551m (USD:AUD 0.72, 8% discount rate), an IRR of 32%, Life of Mine (LOM) EBITDA of A$1.9b (average annual EBITDA of A$86 million) and an attractive revenue-to-operating cost ratio of 2.2, based on TZMI’s commodity price forecast.

In parallel with securing major construction and operations contracts for Coburn, the Company is advancing product offtake and project financing activities, including the potential debt financing from Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) as announced 09 October 2019.

Strandline Managing Director Luke Graham said: “We are pleased to establish this relationship with Woodside and EDL to provide a turn-key, low-cost fuel supply and generation solution for the Coburn Project. The Company looks forward to finalising this agreement as well as other major construction and operations contracts over the coming months”.

For more information on the Coburn Mineral Sand Project and the DFS, refer to the ASX Announcement dated 16 April 2019 for details of the material assumptions underpinning the production target and financial results. The Company confirms that all the material assumptions continue to apply and have not materially changed.

Source: Strandline

 

Energy industry preparations for summer peak

4 December

The Australian Energy Council and Energy Networks Australia have issued a fact sheet on the potential impacts of extended hot weather on the energy system following the release of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Summer Readiness Plan.

The National Electricity Market will be under pressure to deliver reliable power during summer in situations where supply is tight and demand is high. Electricity generators and network businesses developed the fact sheet to explain how the industry works to deliver reliability during these extreme weather periods.

Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon and Australian Energy Council Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said the industry had been doing everything it could to ensure power supply could be maintained during the hot summer months.

Power station operators and transmission and distribution businesses have been undertaking plant and system maintenance in the lead-up to summer.

The AEC’s Chief Executive Sarah McNamara said: “Individual power station generation units can and do have unplanned outages from time to time as we have seen this year. But this is normal, not just for large plants here in Australia, but also overseas. Power systems have back-up capacity, which is designed to manage a limited number of individual outages.”

Historically, electricity demand has been highest on hot weekdays when business and industry are fully operating

“The biggest risk occurs with very high demand. Usually that is at the end of a run of two or more extremely hot days. Buildings are already hot, there may be low output from wind generation and solar PV output declines late in the afternoon,” Ms McNamara said.

"Losing power even for short periods during a heatwave can cause real inconvenience. But electricity providers will continue to do everything possible to avoid that occurring. We are working with AEMO to have sufficient supply available for the hotter periods.”

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said networks take all possible steps to keep the lights on during summer.

“Outages can occur for a number of reasons when temperatures hit extremes and networks respond as quickly as possible to restore power,” Mr Dillon said.

Extreme weather, such as fire, strong winds or storms, can damage network infrastructure.

When there is not enough electricity being supplied, AEMO may also direct networks to cut power to customers, this is known as load shedding.

When directed to load shed by AEMO, networks take all possible steps to minimise this disruption, keep critical infrastructure such as hospitals and public transport online and restore power as quickly as possible.

Source: Energy Networks Australia

 

AEMO releases energy summer readiness report

4 December

We have today released our 2019/20 summer readiness report, setting out plans and actions AEMO, the industry and government jurisdictions have taken to prepare Australia’s power system for the summer ahead.

The 2019/20 summer readiness report follows months of collaboration with governments and industry stakeholders to proactively manage heightened risks to power system operations identified in AEMO’s 2019 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (released in August). It is focused on four pillars:

- Sufficient available resources

- Continuing operational improvement

- Contingency planning

- Collaboration and communication

“The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is forecasting both warmer than average and extreme temperatures this summer, and an ongoing and significant risk of bushfires with drier than usual conditions. These risks add to the deteriorating reliability of some of the older coal generation plants,” said AEMO Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Audrey Zibelman.

“Whilst unexpected events can and do happen, particularly when the power system is under significant pressure and most prone to failure, AEMO has worked diligently to prepare the power system appropriately, including the procurement of emergency resources.”

Since last summer, AEMO is pleased to see 3,700 megawatts (MW) of increased generation in the National Electricity Market, with rooftop and grid-scale solar generation representing approximately 90 per cent of this increase.

“The introduction of these resources delivers a welcomed improvement to reliability and reduces the need to procure further out of market reserves,” said Ms Zibelman.

For the 2019/20 summer, AEMO has secured 125 MW of reserves through off-market generation, along with demand management programs where customers are paid to shift or reduce their energy usage. The reserves include 61 MW of long notice Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) contracts and 64 MW through the joint AEMO/Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) demand side participation trial.

Additionally, AEMO has entered into a total of more than 1,500 MW of short and medium notice RERT agreements across the NEM, which allow AEMO to more rapidly enter into reserve contracts if required. Of this, more than 1,000 MW is available for Victoria and South Australia, and the remainder in NSW and Queensland, to cover risks associated with extreme heat and system scenarios.

“AEMO remains focused on the real risk to power system operations this summer. It is pleasing to see the level of interest from RERT providers, as this initiative enables AEMO to have sufficient resources to manage possible high-risk scenarios that can occur in summer, such as extreme or extended heatwaves, bushfires and unplanned generation or transmission outages.

“With the majority of these resources purchased under arrangements where payment is only required when AEMO needs them to avoid load shedding, they are a necessary and cost-effective insurance policy for the reliable operations of the system,” said Ms Zibelman.

AEMO has also been working closely with generators across the NEM to identify whether there are existing or anticipated fuel supply risks to operations. Current drought conditions are projected to have minimal impact on supply adequacy this summer.

Looking beyond this summer, AEMO will continue to work closely with the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Regulator, industry and governments to progress developments that will enable an affordable, reliable, and secure energy system for Australian energy consumers now and into the future.

AEMO will continue to use the Energy Live online media portal to provide the community with live updates on events, as and when they occur, throughout summer.

Source: AEMO

 

City powers into sustainable new era

4 December

City of Newcastle confirmed itself as one of Australia’s most environmentally progressive councils today when it opened a new $6 million resource recovery facility and switched on an $8 million five-megawatt solar farm.

With a 5,000sqm undercover sorting area, the Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre is now offering Newcastle residents the chance to drop off pre-sorted recyclable materials free of charge.

The RRC will increase waste diverted from landfill each year by around 5,700 tonnes, the equivalent of more than 30 Boeing 747s in weight, thanks to a 30,000-tonne processing capacity, with around 20 per cent of materials recycled.

Summerhill’s previous receival centre, by contrast, could process just 10,000-12,000 tonnes a year and saw just three per cent of dropped-off material recycled.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes hailed the environmental win and the incentives offered by the RRC at today’s official opening.

“Residents who separate their waste before arriving at Summerhill will benefit from the new ‘Sort & Save’ drop-off service,” Councillor Nelmes said.

“This allows them to place scrap metals, sorted yellow bin recyclables, paper and cardboard, clean untreated wood and soft plastics directly into the identified stockpiles at no charge.

“Businesses who pre-sort their loads for drop-off at the RRC will also benefit from reduced tip fees. Unsorted waste is also welcome but will continue to be subject to the normal fees that cover staff and equipment needed to extract recyclables from mixed loads.”

While at Summerhill, the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen also inspected a newly completed solar farm built to save ratepayers around $9 million over its 25-year lifespan.

Covering an area the size of five football fields on a capped landfill that was once a coal mine, the solar farm's 14,500 photovoltaic cells are now producing 7.5 million-kilowatt hours of renewable electricity each year.

"The solar farm is generating enough energy to power the equivalent of 1,300 households, which is a significant environmental gain as well as reducing Council’s electricity costs by millions of dollars,” Councillor Clausen said.

"We will also become the first local government in NSW to move to 100 per cent renewables on January 1 thanks to our recent purchase-power agreement to source electricity from the state’s largest windfarm.

“The solar and wind farm combination will mean enough clean energy will be put into the grid to power every sportsground floodlight, local library, park BBQ and every other facility the City operates.”

The solar farm was partly funded with a $6.5 million loan from Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation and $1 million was granted from the NSW Government's Environmental Trust, through its Waste Less, Recycle More Initiative, to the RRC.

Source: City of Newcastle

 

First Goldwind wind turbine components arrive at Agnew Mine

4 December

The first Australian mine to use wind generation as part of a large hybrid renewable microgrid.

Goldwind today announced the first Goldwind wind turbine components have arrived on site for the construction of the wind farm for the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project at Gold Fields’ Agnew Mine, located in Western Australia’s northern goldfields region.

Goldwind announced in July that it had entered an agreement with global energy producer EDL to deliver the wind farm component of the project. EDL is engaged in designing, constructing, owning and operating the microgrid to power the Agnew Mine in two stages, under a 10-year agreement with Gold Fields.

Goldwind, together with Balance of Plant Joint Venture Partner NACAP, is currently providing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services to the project. Goldwind will additionally provide Warranty Operations and Maintenance during the operations period.

“We are incredibly pleased to partner with EDL on the Agnew Mine project. Deliveries of the Goldwind turbine components are now underway. A total of 55 turbine components will be transported to site over the next few weeks. Installation of Goldwind turbines will start shortly.” said John Titchen, Managing Director Goldwind Australia.

EDL CEO James Harman said, “We look forward to working with Goldwind on the wind component of the project, which also includes an operating 23MW solar, gas and diesel power station, and a 13MW battery and an advanced microgrid control system under construction.

“Once completed in mid-2020, the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project will have a total installed generation capacity of 54MW, with renewables providing over 50% of the Agnew Mine’s power requirements.” The Agnew project, which received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program, is the first to use wind generation as part of a large hybrid microgrid in the Australian mining sector. The wind farm will consist of five GW140/3.57MW Goldwind wind turbines at 110-metre hub height and 17.85 megawatts generated capacity.

Source: Goldwind

 

APA officially opens Badgingarra Solar Farm

4 December

The latest addition to APA Group’s Western Australia Renewables Precinct, the Badgingarra Solar Farm, has been officially opened by Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy and Industrial Relations, the Honourable Bill Johnston MLA.  The solar farm consists of almost 62,000 PV modules installed across 40 hectares of land.

The Badgingarra Solar Farm commenced construction in August 2018 and utilises a NEXTracker single axis tracker system so the panels can follow the path of the sun from east to west as the earth rotates each day. The solar farm’s capacity of 19.25 megawatts generates renewable energy into the Western Power electricity network to power more than 6,000 homes and save almost 33,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions per year.

Co-located with the Badgingarra Wind Farm and sharing its electricity network connection — and with the nearby Emu Downs Wind Farm and Emu Downs Solar Farm — the Badgingarra Solar Farm is the fourth facility in APA’s Renewables Precinct. The solar farm is underpinned by a long-term offtake agreement with Alinta Energy. The total combined capacity of the precinct is almost 250 megawatts.

“Our new Badgingarra Solar Farm is a world class renewable energy generator that demonstrates our ongoing commitment to responsible energy,” said APA Group CEO and Managing Director Rob Wheals. “Thank you to the Shire of Dandaragan, the local community and landowners for supporting APA throughout the construction and commissioning of this new solar farm.

“We’re continuing to grow our capabilities in renewable energy infrastructure as part of our growth strategy. Badgingarra Solar Farm expands our Western Australia Renewables Precinct, which will, together with our gas infrastructure, contribute to Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy.”

Over the next 25 years, APA’s clean energy initiatives will save over 8.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases from being released into our atmosphere, and provide renewable energy for over 220,000 Western Australian households each year.

Source: APA Group

 

North Queensland Minerals growth and decarbonisation draws global investor to back CopperString 2.0

4 December

CuString Pty Ltd (“CuString”) is pleased to announce it has entered into a development partnership agreement with independent infrastructure fund manager, DIF Capital Partners (“DIF”). The development partnership agreement provides significant development funding and long-term capital investment for the $1.5 billion CopperString 2.0 project. Copperstring 2.0 is a high-voltage transmission line that will connect the 25,000 people and communities in the Mount Isa and Cloncurry region and the North West Minerals Province to the National Electricity Grid south of Townsville.

CopperString 2.0 Executive Chairman, John O'Brien, says the DIF partnership builds on an earlier agreement struck between CuString and Queensland Government owned transmission business, Powerlink. The non-binding agreement gives Powerlink an opportunity to play an important role in ownership and operation of the CopperString 2.0 transmission line once constructed.

Both the DIF and Powerlink agreements lay the foundation for an ownership and operating alliance that combines world-leading power system engineering capability, infrastructure investment and local North Queensland industry and development expertise.

"We're very excited to have entered into this agreement with DIF. DIF’s involvement in CopperString 2.0 reflects the importance of the project not only to Townsville and the North West Minerals Province, but to the entire Queensland economy.

"DIF's enthusiasm to play a leading role in the CopperString project is a real testament to the opportunities major infrastructure investors see in North Queensland and a vote of confidence in Queensland's minerals processing and export sector, and the renewable resources that can reduce emissions intensity of these operations.

"The CopperString project was born in Townsville from the local knowledge of the huge potential we see in the Mount Isa to Townsville corridor. We have world class mineral and clean energy resources and the industrial infrastructure to support growth in new investment and deliver thousands of jobs to our region over the coming decade. The missing link is access to the national grid to provide lower cost energy for our minerals processing and export supply chain; CopperString will deliver these lower prices." Mr O'Brien said.

DIF's investment significantly strengthens the development capability of the CopperString 2.0 project by providing financing for development costs and world-leading infrastructure investment expertise. DIF's involvement in the critical development activities currently underway will complement CuString's expertise in the Queensland energy sector.

CopperString 2.0 Executive Chairman, John O'Brien, says the agreement between CuString and DIF is an important milestone for the project and will give all stakeholders more confidence in the ability of this nationally significant infrastructure project to be delivered.

“We are currently going through important regulatory, commercial and financing negotiations with a range of stakeholders including mining companies in the North West Minerals Province who will be the foundation customers, NAIF who is conducting Due Diligence on the provision of around $1 Billion in debt funding and the Queensland Government who is responsible for relevant regulatory approvals.

“DIF’s investment in CopperString 2.0 is a very strong signal that the project stacks up and Northern Queensland is a very attractive region for attracting global capital”. Mr O’Brien said.

DIF has identified Queensland as an important region with a recent investment as part of the Pulse consortium in the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane.

Marko Kremer, Partner and DIF’s Head of Australasia added, "DIF is excited to be working with CuString on the development of this nationally significant energy project. DIF assessed the fundamental drivers of CopperString 2.0 and it is clear there is huge potential in Northern Queensland's world class minerals mining and processing sector as well as the opportunity to connect new and existing energy resources in the region to the national grid.

Source: CopperString 2.0

 

First Bright Thinkers Power Station commences construction

4 December

Epho is constructing the first urban solar power station to harness the power of clean energy using Epho’s Bright Thinkers Power StationTM technology.

The 1.7 MW Bright Thinkers Power Station (BTPS) to be situated at Goodman’s Oakdale Industrial Estate in Horsley Park will be an urban solar power plant that operates in a dual-functional capacity. BTPS can direct the solar energy either partially or fully to the consumer on site, or directly trade solar energy on the National Electricity Market (NEM). Work has commenced, on what promises to be one of the most exciting new developments in commercial solar energy supply.

The solar plant will be placed on the roof of a 31,457 sqm new warehouse, which is dedicated specifically to healthcare products storage and distribution and will commence operations at the end of this year.

The flexibility provided by BTPS also allows the tenant of the warehouse to access even more solar energy if the consumption of the site increases. Epho has developed its proprietary BTPS technology in collaboration with Siemens as an exclusive technology partner, in order to meet the requirements of property companies and their large corporate tenants. “Epho developed the BTPS concept to allow large roof-top solar systems to be connected both behind-the-meter as well as an independent, market registered power station. Epho’s innovation potentially allows the entire roof area to be utilised and that the roof can be turned into market participating urban power station”, explains Dr Oliver Hartley, Epho’s Managing Director.

BTPS is the key to un-lock Australia’s massive tens of gigawatt potential for solar power systems on industrial roofs. Epho’s technology facilitates a low-risk win/win/win situation between the customer, the landlord and the solar asset developer.

Brendon Quinn, General Manager NSW Industrial Development at Goodman, said, “This cutting-edge Bright Thinkers Power Station concept is creating benefits for one of our largest global customers and aligns with our sustainability objectives here at Goodman.”

Oliver Hartley emphasises, “We are very grateful for the grant we were awarded from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency under the Advancing Renewable Program to develop this very exciting technology that will unlock Australia’s industrial roof-top for urban solar power stations.”

Source: Epho

 

Pernod Ricard Winemakers: first large Australian wine company to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity

5 December

Pernod Ricard Winemakers has become the first large wine company in Australia to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity. The commitment was achieved ahead of schedule and will ensure that all wines from the iconic Australian wine brands Jacob's Creek, St Hugo and Wyndham Estate will be produced using electricity from renewable sources.

All of Pernod Ricard Winemakers' Australian sites are now using renewable electricity thanks to the completion of Australia's largest combined winery solar installation and a 10-year agreement to source renewable electricity.

Energy company AGL (https://www.agl.com.au/) has installed more than 10,300 solar panels across the company's two Barossa Valley wineries, with a predicted annual generation of 4,000 megawatt-hours, enough to power the equivalent of nearly 800 South Australian homes.

Pernod Ricard Winemakers has also become the first wine company in South Australia to be connected to both offsite wind and solar farms as a result of a landmark 10-year Virtual Generation Agreement (VGA) with wholesale electricity retailer Flow Power. The agreement means that the remainder of the business' annual electricity requirements will be met by solar and wind.

Sustainability and responsibility is an important part of Pernod Ricard's global strategy, with the group recently launching its 2030 sustainability and responsibility roadmap which sets out eight ambitious goals aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Brett McKinnon, Pernod Ricard Winemakers' Chief Operations Officer, said that the completion of the project demonstrates Pernod Ricard Winemakers' commitment to be a leader in sustainability and responsibility.

"Pernod Ricard Winemakers is excited to be the first large wine company in Australia to produce wine using electricity sourced entirely from renewable sources, well ahead of our initial goal and other large wine companies."

"Being sustainable and responsible is an important part of our business, particularly as producers of wine - a product that takes its character from the land where it was grown. We want to minimise our impact on the communities where we operate, responding to the local climate and preserving the environment for future generations to come."

"Our journey began in 2016 with a pilot solar installation after we recognised that we had a huge opportunity across our wineries to harness the power of the sun through solar panels. Three years later, we are exceptionally proud to say that we are now sourcing all electricity from renewable sources, in alignment with our global ambition," he said.

Pernod Ricard is the only wine and spirits company globally to be recognised by the United Nations as a Global Compact Lead (https://www.unglobalcompact.org/take-action/leadership/gc-lead), demonstrating an ongoing commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and its Ten Principles for responsible business.

Source: Pernod Ricard

 

Marinus Link project assessments released

5 December

Energy Networks Australia has welcomed the release today of the Business Case Assessment and Project Assessment Draft Report for Marinus Link.

The analysis by TasNetworks shows the project will provide an economic advantage to Australia, outweighing the expected costs of the project.

Marinus Link is the proposed 1,500 MW capacity second undersea electricity transmission interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria.

Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said Marinus Link would help deliver a more stable and sustainable national electricity grid.

“A more interconnected grid is a more efficient and reliable grid,” Mr Dillon said.

“Interconnection between markets provides greater flexibility, better reliability and can deliver more affordable electricity for customers.

“This project will allow up to 1,500 MW of renewable generation to be supplied to the National Electricity Market.

“With the rise of variable solar and wind generation, unlocking the hydro capacity of Tasmania to store and generate electricity will help keep the lights on and businesses running.”

The business case estimates that Marinus Link will deliver 1,400 jobs in Tasmania and 1,400 jobs in Victoria at peak construction. The economic contribution from the construction of Marinus Link and supporting transmission is estimated to be $1.4 billion to the Tasmania economy and $1.5 billion to the Victorian economy.

It is also estimated that Marinus Link and supporting transmission will unlock a pipeline of investment in renewable energy and long-duration energy storage development with an estimated value of up to $5.7 billion and 2,350 jobs.

Source: Energy Networks Australia

 

Sale of Snowtown 2 wind farm

5 December

As a result of the strategic review announced in June 2019, Tilt Renewables has entered into an agreement to sell the 270 MW Snowtown 2 wind farm to an entity wholly‐owned by funds managed by Palisade Investment Partners Limited (‘Palisade’) and First State Super, for an enterprise value of A$1,073 million.  

Snowtown 2 was developed by Tilt Renewables and has operated successfully for 5 years since construction completion and full commissioning was achieved in 2014.  

Deion Campbell, Chief Executive of Tilt Renewables said “the sale of Snowtown 2 is consistent with Tilt Renewables’ focus on delivering shareholder value from market opportunities and ensuring capital is available to execute near‐term, high‐value opportunities from its development pipeline.  It is pleasing to see the market acknowledge the quality of this asset, which is representative of the quality of the rest our operational and development portfolio and the value our highly experienced team can create for shareholders over time. 

We are confident that Palisade has the experience and credentials to continue to successfully operate Snowtown 2 and maintain the strong relationships established with key project stakeholders. In particular the local Snowtown community and project landowners, with whom we will continue to maintain a connection via our Snowtown 1 asset.” 

The transaction will occur through the sale of shares in Snowtown 2 Wind Farm Holdings Pty Ltd (‘S2WFH’) for A$472 million.  S2WFH is being sold with Snowtown 2’s existing project finance facility, which has an expected balance of approximately A$611 million at transaction closing.  The purchase price is subject to customary closing adjustments.  The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2019.

Net proceeds from the transaction will be approximately A$455 million after transaction related costs. These proceeds will add to the A$86 million of unrestricted cash released as a result of the Snowtown 2 refinancing that was completed in October 2019.  Full year (to 31 March 2020) EBITDAF guidance has been updated as a result of the sale of Snowtown 2, to a range of A$118 to A$122 million. In a ‘P50’ or average wind year, Snowtown 2 wind farm contributed approximately A$68 million of EBITDAF per annum to the Tilt Renewables Group.    The commissioning of the Dundonnell (over 1H FY2021) and Waipipi (by late FY2021) wind farms will increase earnings to a new long‐term average level.

Tilt Renewables is an industry‐leading developer and long‐term owner and operator of renewable generation assets, with a strong track record of successfully delivering attractive investment opportunities from its development pipeline. Over the last two years, Tilt Renewables has successfully developed the following investments from its pipeline:

- the 133 MW Waipipi wind farm in New Zealand (construction commenced October 2019), with completion scheduled for Q1 2021;

-the 336 MW Dundonnell wind farm in Victoria (construction commenced January 2019), which remains on‐track for completion in Q3 2020; and

- the 54 MW Salt Creek wind farm in Victoria (construction completed August 2018).

Following completion of the sale of Snowtown 2 and completion of construction of the Dundonnell and Waipipi wind farms, Tilt Renewables will operate 9 wind farms with total installed renewable generation capacity of 835MW.  Over 80% of the revenue from these assets is secured via long‐term contracts with high quality counterparties. 

Lazard is acting as financial advisor and Gilbert + Tobin is acting as legal advisor to Tilt Renewables in relation to the Snowtown 2 transaction. 

About the Buyers

Palisade is a specialist, independent infrastructure manager that provides institutional investors with access to Australian infrastructure projects through tailored portfolios and co‐mingled funds.    Palisade is an experienced developer, owner and manager of renewable energy assetsin Australia including the Waterloo Wind Farm, Hallett Wind Farm, Granville Harbour Wind Farm and Ross River Solar Farm.

First State Super is one of Australia’s largest profit‐for‐member superannuation funds, investing more than A$100 billion on behalf of more than 800,000 members, many of whom work in the health, education, law enforcement, and other organisations that care for the community. First State Super is an experienced infrastructure investor including direct ownership stakes in Victorian Land Registry Services, New South Wales Land Registry Services, Sydney Light Rail, New Bendigo Hospital, Sunshine Coast University Hospital, and Sydney Convention Centre, amongst others. 

Source: Tilt Renewables

 

Lightsource BP to accelerate global solar growth with further investment from BP

5 December

The management of Lightsource BP and BP have agreed to equalise their shareholdings in Lightsource BP to create a simplified 50:50 joint venture structure.

As part of the transaction, BP will purchase newly-issued equity in the business to help accelerate Lightsource BP’s growth, supporting its ambitious drive towards 10GW of developed assets by the end of 2023.

In December 2017, BP acquired 43% of Lightsource which was subsequently rebranded to Lightsource BP. Today, BP has agreed to purchase additional equity in Lightsource BP to become an equal partner in the business with the balance of shares continuing to be held by management and staff.

Since new shares will be issued in this transaction, the funds paid by BP to increase its stake will be immediately available to Lightsource BP for investment. Financial details of the transaction are not being released.

Strategic decisions will continue to be taken jointly by the two shareholder groups, with each group now having an equal number of nominees on the Lightsource BP Board.

In the two years since BP’s first investment, Lightsource BP’s activities have expanded from five to 13 countries. It has signed major projects across Europe, the Americas and Australia and has built a development pipeline in excess of 12GW.

Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource BP, said: “When we first announced this partnership two years ago, we made our mission very clear – that together we want to accelerate the growth of solar power worldwide and help drive the solar revolution. Although we have already made huge strides forward in both the size and number of our projects and have rapidly expanded our global footprint, there is still so much more we can do together.”

Dev Sanyal, CEO of Alternative Energy, BP said: “BP is committed to helping meet the world’s rapidly growing demand for low carbon energy. Solar, which is predicted to increase by a factor of 10 by 2040, plays a key role in this energy transition. That is why we want to invest more in Lightsource BP and to deepen our partnership. We want to advance the solar energy business worldwide and we can bring scale, capability and resources to make that happen. We are proud to be advancing solar alongside such a dynamic partner.”

Source: Lightsource BP

 

First wind turbine completed at Dundonnell Wind Farm

5 December

Installation of the first wind turbine has been completed at Dundonnell Wind Farm. The 4.2 MW rated tower stands at a height of 114 m to the hub. With each blade extending 75 m in length, the Vestas V150 turbines are the largest rotors ever installed in Australia. This marks a significant milestone for the wind farm project, with months of earthworks completed in order to provide access for the erection of the tower to be achieved. icubed congratulates Tilt Renewables, the project developer, and Vestas, the EPC contractor and technology supplier, for their success in this achievement.

Led by Zenviron, the Balance of Plant contractor, earthworks construction has been progressing well across the site, with over 25 km of paved access tracks now complete. The tracks and hardstands have been constructed through the use of an on-site quarry, producing pavement material from the high-quality basalt rock in the area.

Another significant milestone was achieved for the site team last week, with the halfway mark of WTG foundation concrete pours being surpassed. Concrete supply by Holcim from two on-site batch plants has helped ensure that all concrete pours have been highly successful to date.

The construction of a new substation facility, containing two transformers, within the wind farm site is also near completion. Once the Dundonnell Wind Farm project is operational, the substation will facilitate the distribution of the 336MW capacity from the 80 turbines being built. This will provide enough renewable energy to power approximately 245,000 homes whilst eliminating roughly 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. The viability of the project has been enhanced by the Victorian Government’s commitment to a long-term offtake agreement for a proportion of power generated, through their visionary VRet program.

icubed looks forward to continuing their involvement in Dundonnell Wind Farm’s construction as works move into 2020, providing a full time on-site engineering presence and office-based design support.

Source: icubed