RCR contract terminated

30 November

Bright Energy Investments (BEI) has today given notice to administrators, McGrathNicol, of the termination of the contract with RCR O’Donnell Griffin Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of RCR Tomlinson) (RCR) for the construction of the Greenough River Solar Farm – Stage 2 Project.

Following a review of its contractual options and consultation with stakeholder and financial institutions, the BEI Board has opted, with immediate effect, to terminate the principal contract.

BEI will now commence a process to identify and engage a replacement organisation or mix of organisations to complete the project, with the aim of minimising disruption to the project’s timeline.

Works on the expansion project were on schedule at the point of administration, but site activities will remain suspended during the replacement process.

Despite the current disruption, BEI remains extremely confident that the project will be completed in time for Synergy to meet its LRET obligations. Importantly, the long-term operation of the Greenough River Solar Farm will not be impacted as warranties and ongoing plant operations are not linked to RCR.

Any organisations seeking to be considered as a part of the revised contract should in the first instance contact BEI via the email address: info@brightenergyinvestments.com.au

Source: Bright Energy Investments

 

ACT on track to deliver 100% renewable electricity by 2020, as Hornsdale 2 wind farm starts feeding into grid

1 December

As the Hornsdale 2 Wind Farm starts feeding into the ACT electricity system today, the ACT remains on track to deliver 100% renewable electricity by 2020, Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said today.

“The Hornsdale 2 Wind Farm near Port Augusta, South Australia, will generate 100 megawatts, enough to power around 50,000 homes and equivalent to about 13% of our 2020 electricity needs,” Minister Rattenbury said today.

“The wind farm was part of the ACT’s nation-leading reverse auction process that will see the Territory reach its target of 100% renewable electricity by 2020.”

Celebrating Renewable Energy Community Day

The news comes as Minister Rattenbury today will take part in the ‘Renewable Energy Community Day’, where Canberrans can tour an impressive array of renewable technology in the Canberra region.

“This year's Renewable Energy Community Day includes a bus tour around the ACT and southeast NSW region's renewable energy facilities,” Mr Rattenbury said. “This stops at sites along the ‘Renewable Energy Trail’ that aren’t normally open to the public. Operators of each site will provide guided tours so visitors can learn about the facility and get a close look at how renewable technology works.

“The tour begins at Mt Majura Solar Farm, which tracks the sun to generate electricity. Other sites include Woodlawn Wind Farm and Woodlawn Bioreactor in NSW.

“The renewable energy facilities are not just part of the region’s efforts to address climate change, but are driving a thriving local clean tech industry that is contributing to our economy in the form of jobs, training and investment.”

The Renewable Energy Community Day is organised by the South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence (SERREE), an initiative of Regional Development Australia (RDA) ACT.

Source: ACT Government

 

NEW PROJECT

Mannum Solar & Storage Project

Location: Mannum, South Australia

Capacity: 4.99 MW (Stage 1)

Developer: Tetris Energy

LGA: Mid-Murray Council

Description: Stage 1 comprising 20,000 solar panels mounted on single axis tracking system, substation, battery storage containers, security fencing and landscaping. Located adjacent to the Mannum 33/132kV substation. Stage 2 will be 29 MW and will connect into the ElectraNet 132kV substation.

Contact: Frank Boland

Director

Tetris Energy

Tel: (03) 9448 9400

Email: info@tetriscapital.com

 

50MW Kidston Solar Project reaches practical completion

3 December

Genex Power Limited (ASX: GNX) (Genex or Company) is pleased to announce that its 50MW Kidston Solar Project (KS1 or Project) has successfully reached Practical Completion (PC).

PC marks the final milestone of the construction and commissioning stages of the Project. Following energisation in late 2017, the Project has undergone detailed commissioning processes that have allowed for the gradual ramp-up to full capacity. Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor UGL has successfully passed all the commissioning and performance tests required for PC to be granted.

The Project will continue to be operated and maintained by UGL under the terms of an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Agreement for an initial 5-year period, with an option for Genex to extend for an additional 5 years.

Commenting on the final milestone, Chief Executive Officer of Genex, James Harding stated:

“We are very pleased to have successfully reached Practical Completion for KS1. This marks the completion of the Project construction and commissioning phase, and is the culmination of a successful cooperation between Genex, UGL, Ergon Energy and the Australian Energy Market Operator. We wish to thank UGL for their professionalism and efforts to finalise the Project and complete the outstanding EPC components, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration during the O&M phase.”

Source: Genex Power

 

National environmental approval secured for billion dollar 800 MW Clarke Creek Wind Farm in Central Queensland, Australia

3 December

Director of Lacour Energy, Mark Rayner, said State and National planning approvals have been secured for the Clarke Creek Wind Farm and it is now being prepared for construction to commence in 2019.

‘The project has now received Federal Government approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). Earlier this year, the wind farm project received Queensland Government planning approval for up to 195 wind turbines and approval was earlier secured for a 400 MW solar farm and a large utility scale battery.

‘The combination of wind, solar and battery represents a very large-scale integrated renewables power station located at one of the strongest locations of the Queensland power system - no grid extension is required. Importantly, the wind resource is night biased, complementing daytime solar production.

‘The project economies of scale drive a competitive cost of electricity, support investment and economic development in regional Queensland and will make a significant contribution to the Queensland Renewable Energy Target.’ said Mark.

Lacour Energy has partnered with Goldwind to deliver the Clarke Creek Integrated Wind, Solar and Battery Power Station project. With a generation capacity of 800 MW, the wind farm component of the project is set to be the biggest wind farm in Australia. Goldwind will supply up to 195 wind turbines to the project and manage construction works.

Goldwind Australia Managing Director, John Titchen, said Goldwind manages all its projects with a focus on local business participation and local employment.

‘We are now seeking expressions of interest for the Balance of Plant tender process for the full civil and electrical works for the wind farm and we will shortly launch the Clarke Creek Local Business Participation Program.

‘This Program will be a key initiative to identify capability and capacity in the local community and maximise opportunities for local subcontractors and suppliers to participate in the project. This program has proven successful for projects currently under construction in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.

‘The Lacour Energy team have done excellent work identifying and developing this project. Wind conditions have been measured and shown to match very well with Goldwind’s latest advanced wind turbine technology. As is expected in this region, the solar resource has also proven to be very high quality.’ commented John.

The project, located 150km Northwest of Rockhampton, will have a construction cost totalling over $1.5 billion, with up to 350 jobs expected on site during construction of the wind farm and up to 25 permanent staff during operations.

Once operational, the wind farm production will be enough to power around 590,000 Queensland homes, supplying around 4% of Queensland’s electricity, and making a large contribution to the achievement of the Queensland Renewable Energy Target.

Source: Lacour Energy

 

BayWa r.e.’s 112MW solar farm achieves 100 per cent generation in Northern Victoria

3 December

Northern Victoria’s largest solar energy installation is now complete and achieving 100 per cent generation to the grid.

The project, named Karadoc, became Australia’s fastest semi-scheduled solar farm to begin contributing power to the grid when it was first energised in mid-October.

Now at full power, Karadoc’s 330,000 photovoltaic cells, covering an area of 640 acres, are generating enough power to supply 65,000 Australian homes.

The project was delivered in just 10 months by global renewable energy developer, service provider and wholesaler, BayWa r.e. and its construction partner Beon Energy Solutions. The highly efficient installation was thanks to the team’s meticulous planning, global logistics experience and grid connection strategy.

Daniel Gäfke, Managing Director of BayWa r.e. Solar Pte Ltd. said: “To have reached 100 per cent generation on this project within a year is a great achievement. The projects energisation is a milestone event for renewable energy generation in Northern Victoria.

“Following the signing of a 12-year PPA with major Australian brewer, Carlton & United Breweries, the Karadoc solar farm is a great example of how companies can partner with BayWa r.e. to benefit from green energy while also helping Australia’s transition to renewable energy.”

Committed to supporting the local community throughout, Beon’s project team worked together with Sunraysia Institute of Technology and Further Education (SuniTAFE) to develop an industry first-solar traineeship on site and provided new apprentices and also partnered with the Jobs Victoria Employment Network (JVEN) the project created multiple jobs for people who may have previously faced barriers in joining the workforce.

Beon’s General Manager Glen Thomson commented “Our partnering approach with regional employment groups, coupled with the on-going support of BayWa r.e., allowed the project to be delivered in an efficient manner with significant benefits to the Mildura region. It has been an incredible effort by all those involved in delivering the Karadoc project. More than 700 people have worked at the site during the year, including 27 local trainees and apprentices.”

Source: BayWa r.e.

 

UK company chooses Sydney for Australian HQ

3 December

United Kingdom-based renewable energy investment and asset management specialist Bluefield Partners has chosen Sydney for the headquarters of a new Australian subsidiary, Blueshore.

Minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair said Blueshore was an independent renewable energy company specialising in technical and commercial management services for renewable energy projects, with a focus on asset owners and investors.

“It’s fantastic to see Blueshore choose Sydney as the location for its Australian base which is testament to our city’s position as Australia’s financial and professional services centre,” Mr Blair said.

“The NSW Government through the Department of Industry has helped secure this investment by working with Blueshore to provide market information and introductions to potential partners, clients and other industry stakeholders.”

Blueshore Managing Director Mike Rand said the company has established its Australian base in Sydney to access strong opportunities in both solar and wind renewable energy markets, where it has seen a strong emergence of sector developers and investors.

The company sees potential to grow its Sydney presence to around 20 staff over the next two to three years.

“Australia is undergoing a dramatic energy transition as cost reductions have made renewable energy technologies a least cost source of generation. The economics and capabilities of this clean and efficient technology present a great opportunity for Australia, but it is critical to the sector’s future that asset operations are underpinned by strong professional management to secure the future quality and reliability of these assets,” Mr Rand said.

“Blueshore has been founded on the strong reputation and track record of our European parent company, providing comprehensive asset management services for over AUD$1 billion of renewable assets, including a large portfolio traded on the London Stock Exchange. Blueshore aims to bring this professionalism and experience to support the growth and eventual dominance of clean renewable generation sources in the Australian energy mix.”

Mr Rand said Blueshore is positioned to provide asset management services through the full lifecycle for renewable energy projects, from pre-construction review through to lifetime operation.

“This includes technical management, stakeholder management, interface with network service providers, regulatory compliance, national energy market participation, supervision of operations and management, engineering procurement and construction, and health and safety and environmental compliance.

“We also offer full financial and administrative management functions.

“Our aim is to help our renewable energy clients increase production and revenues, reduce operating costs, and ensure operating, regulatory and contract compliance.”

NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said: “The NSW energy market is evolving fast and we are focused on creating an investment environment that caters for the range of technologies that will power the future.

“Our recent launch of a NSW Transmission Infrastructure Strategy is about building a network of the future that allows companies to connect to our energy grid.

“I look forward to seeing more companies like Blueshore arriving in NSW to look after generators.”

Source: NSW Department of Industry

 

TENDER

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex solar array

CSIRO has released an EOI seeking responses from suitably qualified and experienced service providers for the provision of a solar array at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) contracted through an operating lease type Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). NASA-owned, CSIRO-operated Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is looking to go solar, via a power purchase agreement and a purpose built large-scale solar farm. More details are available here.

 

The takeover offer has now closed

3 December

On Friday 30th November, the $2.30 takeover offer for your shares in Tilt Renewables made by the JV comprising Infratil and Mercury formally ended. As you will know, the offer period was extended three times, but (under New Zealand takeover regulations) it could not be extended beyond 30th November.

The JV did not succeed in reaching the 90% threshold that would have allowed it to give notice of compulsory acquisition of remaining shares. Tilt Renewables remains listed and will trade on both the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. The approximate shareholdings of Tilt Renewables now that the offer is complete are as follows:

- Infratil: 65%

- Mercury: 20%

- All other shareholders: 15%

The company continued to make excellent progress through the takeover period. Notable developments have included:

- On 11th September, we announced our successful bid into the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction Scheme to secure a 15 year off-take agreement with the Victorian State Government for around 37% of the output of our proposed Dundonnell Wind Farm (Dundonnell). The total capital cost also reduced from the $A600m assumed by the JV in its offer document to $A560m.

- On 17th October, we announced that we had established a strategic relationship with Genesis with the intention of partnering in the development of Tilt Renewable’s Waverley Wind Farm in South Taranaki.

- On 19th October, we provided updated EBITDAF1 guidance for the year ending 31 March 2019. Underlying EBITDAF guidance was revised up from a range of A$120 – A$127 million to a new range of A$134 – A$138 million (9-12% increase).

- On 31 October, we released our first half result for the FY19 financial year. Wind production was 23% higher than the same period last year and EBITDAF was up 36%.

- Also on 31 October, we announced we had secured another 15-year offtake agreement for a further 50% of the Dundonnell capacity, adding to the 37% already agreed with the Victorian State Government.

- On the 14th November, we announced the financial close of Dundonnell. Construction will commence in early 2019.

As you will know, Tilt Renewables has proposed that it will undertake a capital raising in the near future to help fund the Dundonnell development. The proposed capital raising is fully supported by our two major shareholders and the remaining volume is fully underwritten. When the details of the timing and structure of the capital raise are finalised, you will receive more details from the company about the process and the options available to you.

In the interim, on behalf of the Independent Directors, I wish to thank you all for your support through the takeover process. We look forward to continuing to support the good work of the company over the coming years to grow the value of Tilt Renewables for all shareholders.

Source: Tilt Renewables

 

TECHNOLOGY

UNSW and Leadmicro announce a joint initiative to develop next generation high-efficiency solar cells

4 December

UNSW Sydney has announced a new partnership with a leading Chinese photovoltaic production machinery manufacturer to develop the next generation of solar cells and fast-track their time to market.

The UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering and Leadmicro, a China-based global manufacturer of advanced solar cell machinery, have announced that they will work together to develop the next generation of silicon solar cells, and the technology to mass produce them.

Associate Professor Bram Hoex, who is leading the project at UNSW, said: “The photovoltaic industry is currently amid a transfer to PERC technology, which was developed at UNSW in the late 1980s. The major advantage of the PERC solar cell compared to the incumbent technology is the use of ultrathin films, which reduce electronic losses at the rear of the solar cell.”

The team will construct these ultrathin layers of film by using a technique called Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), where nanoscopic-thin films within the solar cells are built one atomic layer at a time, which gives engineers very precise control over the design process.

Hoex expects that by using ALD technology, he and his team will make further improvements to the efficiency of PERC solar cells, which currently have a potential conversion rate of sunlight into electricity of 25%. Most solar panels installed today use traditional solar cell technology that have a conversion rate of about 20%. He is also seeking to further develop innovative nanoscale layers to increase the potential conversion rate of silicon solar cells to over 27%.

“While it may sound like a modest increase in efficiency, this would be an 8% relative increase, which is likely to be achieved without a significant increase in costs, thus further reducing the overall cost of solar electricity,” Hoex said.

“The intrinsic goal of this project, which is partly funded by an Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) grant, is to take our developments quickly and directly into mass production.”

To make this possible, Leadmicro will donate a $1 million ALD reactor to UNSW that resembles those used by their high-volume manufacturing clients in China. This will mean that processes created to develop the improved silicon solar cells in a small-scale laboratory setting can be quickly tested and adapted for commercial application.

UNSW Dean of Engineering Mark Hoffman said: “UNSW leads the world in photovoltaic research and development and I am very pleased that Leadmicro has chosen to partner with us. Together we will drive further efficiencies in solar cell technology.

“Collaborations such as this one between researchers and industry, where prototypes can be tested before being placed into full-scale production, are crucial to driving the economic benefits of discoveries. I am thankful to Leadmicro for their support and look forward to seeing the outcomes of this partnership,” Professor Hoffman said.

Leadmicro expects to install the ALD reactor at UNSW’s Solar Industrial Research Facility in Kensington by March 2019, with the view to having the next generation PERC solar cells in production in late 2019.

Source: UNSW

 

Bioenergy - State of the Nation Report has launched

4 December

Bioenergy Australia has today released the Bioenergy State of the Nation Report (produced in collaboration with KPMG). The first state-of-the-nation assessment of the sector identifies Australia’s significant bioenergy opportunity and provides a criteria for kick-starting Australia’s bioenergy economy. The opportunity for Australia is significant and multi-faceted, offering a $3.5-$5 billion investment opportunity, mostly in regional economies, which the Australian government is being urged to address.

Bioenergy Australia CEO Shahana McKenzie, said, “The report reviews the policies of states and territories in order to share learning and facilitate policy transfer across Australia, with much to be gained through adoption of ‘best practice’ approaches throughout Australia. For example, Queensland has adopted a number of successful policies which can be adapted and deployed to drive bioenergy uptake across the country.” 

Bioenergy is generated from the conversion of solid and liquid biomass products for use as electricity, heat, gas, liquid fuels and bio-based products and delivers a range of benefits such as employment and economic development of rural/agricultural communities, energy security, utilisation of waste streams and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Shadow Minister for Climate and Energy, the Hon Mark Butler MP gave a speech at the report launch noting that lack of vision, policy and commitment has stifled the sector. Mr Butler said, “There are huge opportunities for Australia to embrace bioenergy. I welcome this important report from KPMG and look forward to working with Bioenergy Australia in this exciting transition.”

Ms McKenzie explained that what differentiates Queensland as the clear leader is they have identified bioenergy as a huge opportunity for their state and have developed a vision to capitalise on it. In addition, their policy objectives are better defined and more aligned to the bioenergy sector compared to other states and territories, with strong evidence of advocacy of the benefits and opportunities from bioenergy.

While the Federal Government has implemented mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions, such as the Renewable Energy Target and Emissions Reduction Fund, a national vision, policy objectives and/or policy levers would unlock Australia’s bio economy. This report indicates from a local and global level these factors are critical to the development of a bio-economy, with the potential to positively impact big issues for Australia such as emissions, utilisation of waste streams and regional growth.
Dr John Hewson, former Liberal party leader and bioenergy advocate also speaking at the event, said,” An overlooked and very important consequence of the "climate wars" in the last couple of decades has been the failure of governments to develop a comprehensive national waste and bioenergy strategy. This is particularly hard to understand and accept given our national addiction to the barbaric environmental practice of land filling, the lack of a fuel security strategy, the failure of both State and Federal governments to design and implement effective regional policies, and the availability of a host of proven and commercial technology solutions. Short-term politics has again served to only squander significant growth and employment opportunities."

State and Territory Overview Report assessments were based on bioenergy performance measured against five evaluation criteria: Policy development and effectiveness, bioenergy project development, technology and feedstock, sustainability guidance, advocacy and education. 

The majority of the 179 commissioned bioenergy projects are in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria (77%) and the main technologies comprise combustion1 (56%) and anaerobic digestion (29%). All states are lacking diversification across feedstock and technology, and most projects produce electricity as an output, which a national vision could transform.

“Queensland is driving the bioenergy agenda on a number of fronts, and should be commended for the incredible work happening across the state. They have a government who recognises bioenergy as a priority industry, actively rolling out new projects through the delivery of the Biofutures Roadmap and Biofutures Program” said Ms McKenzie.

Around The World: The report found Australia in the bottom quartile for bioenergy contribution globally, lagging behind other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries placing 19 out of 24 reviewed.

Ms McKenzie explained there were a host of global initiatives identified to inspire Australia in the report; from committed targets for renewables, to investment support and renewable heat incentives. The report noted Sweden has a landfill ban for organic waste and the US a loan guarantees for the establishment of biorefineries. 

“The global disparity in contribution we see is concerning, particularly with the ambitious targets set for emissions reduction by the marine and aviation industries. There are massive changes ahead to the fuel mix globally and we sit well behind at four per cent of total energy consumption for biomass energy or fuel purposes versus the EU’s 10 per cent.”

“There is a new industry waiting to be developed for bio-chemicals which can replace the need for fossil-fuel based derivatives entirely. If we don’t seize this opportunity we will be left behind and end up importing what could be made locally, with significant economic and environmental impacts,” said Ms McKenzie.

A recently released market analysis and forecast report by the International Energy Agency predicted modern bioenergy will, over the next five years, have the biggest increase in renewable energy consumption, driving 30 per cent of global renewable energy consumption growth. 

Ms McKenzie explained as with any emerging sector, government support plays an important role in removing barriers and accelerating the development of new projects.

“There is no shortage of viable options we can implement to drive us forward, and we hope the Bioenergy Australia State of the Nation report can be this force for change in the sector so Australia can leverage the wide-ranging potential benefits of a bio-economy before it’s too late,” said Ms McKenzie.

See here for a full copy of the report

Source: Bioenergy Australia

 

COMPANY UPDATE

RCR Tomlinson

RCR Tomlinson administrators McGrathNicol held the First Meetings of Creditors on 3 December. An update was provided on the strategy to sell RCR Tomlinson:

- Administrators are continuing to trade the businesses as usual (other than solar), and are offering it for sale as a going concern in order to attract the widest range of interest

- Advertisement featured in the newspapers on 26 November 2018

- Non-binding expressions of interest close 10 December 2018

- To date, over 200 parties have contacted the Administrators expressing interest

- Administrators will provide an update on the sale process by 24 December 2018, following a period of due diligence and receipt of offers

The strategy going forward is to:

- Continue to trade the viable components of the business while pursuing a sale of all or part of the business or its assets

- Likely to seek a 3 month extension to the convening period

- Administrators will investigate the reasons for the failure of the business and prepare a report to creditors (to be tabled at the second creditors’ meetings) providing creditors with the Administrators’ recommendation on the options available to vote at the second meetings of creditors

Contact Link Market Services on 1300 911 275 or by email at rcrtom@linkmarketservices.com.au.

 

NEW PROJECTS

SA Water

AS part of its Energy Management Framework SA Water is planning to install energy generation via the use of solar panels and associated energy storage at key SA Water sites around South Australia. Selected sites are the Morgan Water Treatment Plant and Morgan to Whyalla Pumping Station (PS) No.1 site and the Bolivar Waste Water Treatment Plant. The proposed development of a ground-mounted solar generation plant involves the below components;

  • Approximately 40,320 individual solar PV cells at Morgan and 34,860 panels at Bolivar;
  • Associated Single Access Tracking (SAT) framework for the solar panels
  • Approximately seven and six respectively Power Conversion Stations (PCSs), installed within shipping containers (or similar) for weather proofing
  • Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) equipment (model specifications to be confirmed by construction partner)
  • Associated groundworks and levelling, including the provision of a lay-down area for construction
  • Electrical cabling, installed via underground trenching
  • Surface upgrades to existing access tracks to ensure all-weather access
  • Upgrades to existing security fencing (where required)

Contact: Lauren Nicholson

Town Planner

Aurecon (on behalf of SA Water)

Tel: (08) 8237 9762

Email: Lauren.Nicholson@aurecongroup.com

 

Renewable gas a step closer with Australian first hydrogen test facility

4 December

Energy Networks Australia has welcomed the nation’s first test facility to trial 100 per cent hydrogen in preparation for its use by appliances and in existing gas distribution networks.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon, speaking at today’s launch of Evoenergy’s Hydrogen Test Facility in Canberra, said hydrogen offered the prospect of zero-emission energy supplies and energy storage capacity to back up renewable power, utilising existing gas networks.

“Hydrogen is carbon-free and can be produced from excess renewable energy, for example during sunny and windy days when generation is high and demand is low,” he said.

“This offers a stable, carbon-free energy resource that can be stored for use on demand.

“We know from our work with the CSIRO on the 2018 National Hydrogen Roadmap that hydrogen represents significant and exciting opportunities for Australia, well beyond its potential as an export fuel.”

Evoenergy and the Canberra Institute of Technology partnered to build the Hydrogen Test Facility to understand how hydrogen gas could be used in the future to power homes using the existing natural gas network.

While many gas networks are embarking on hydrogen-related projects, the Evoenergy Hydrogen Test Facility will be the first in the country to test up to 100 per cent hydrogen in household appliances.

The use of hydrogen as a household energy resource aligns with the ‘green energy’ target set by the ACT Government to reduce emissions to zero by 2045.

The need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has seen hydrogen plans developed throughout the world.

In Europe particularly, hydrogen use is growing as an energy source and as a transport fuel, with the world’s first hydrogen passenger train now operating in Germany.

Hydrogen in Australia could eventually be used for domestic cooking, heating and hot water, for powering passenger vehicles and even public transport.

“As the Gas Vision 2050 report has demonstrated, hydrogen’s scope is impressive, with potential to widen a customer’s power options, improve and increase renewable generation and even create new energy export market,” Mr Dillon said.

“Perhaps best of all, the sophisticated, intricate infrastructure needed for hydrogen technology already exists for us in Australia – our natural gas networks.

“Most of Australia’s gas distribution networks are compatible with hydrogen and could deliver better outcomes for Australian households and businesses, the environment and the economy,” he said.

“I congratulate Evoenergy and its partners who are instrumental to the innovation this facility supports.”

Source: Energy Networks Australia

 

Big blades turn at Coopers Gap Wind Farm

4 December

Hundreds of workers at the Coopers Gap Wind Farm site were excited to see the fruits of their labour take shape, with the completion of the first wind turbine tower in mid-November.

AGL General Manager of Development and Construction, Mr Dave Johnson, said this turbine is a great milestone for the project and is one of 123 turbines to be erected.

“Projects like this involve enormous efforts by many stakeholders; the logistics of getting the massive components to site alone is one of the areas which can prove challenging,” Mr Johnson said.

“We have worked with many government agencies and others to have the components transported from the Brisbane Port to our site for what will be a 453 MW power station.

“I thank everyone for their patience and know they are part of something quite amazing, especially when they see the 67 metre blades on the roads.

Mr Johnson said on site construction of the wind farm is progressing, with 95 foundations poured, both main transformers energised, construction of the 275kV substation by Powerlink complete, and energisation of the 33kV switchyard expected next week.

AGL Manager on site, Mr Ray King said managing roadworks along major routes was an example of things which need to be constantly managed throughout construction.

“If anyone has travelled along the Logan Motorway or up the Toowoomba range recently, they will know there are heavy roadworks and this has made extra challenges to our transportation efforts.

“For example, we are dealing with things like the safe relocation of the traffic lights, to ensure our blades are arriving to site.

“Our aim is to have safe deliveries of the wind turbine components with minimum disruptions to everyone and this is not always a straightforward task.

Mr King said a lot of the components were being stored at the site of the Brisbane Port, until roadworks and alternative routes were confirmed.

“Nobody said it was going to be easy to get hundreds of turbines out of Brisbane and up the range and we are still working towards a late 2019 completion date,” he said.

About Coopers Gap

Coopers Gap Wind Farm – which will be Australia's largest wind farm upon completion in 2019 – is a great example of AGL's commitment to building a sustainable energy future for all Australians.

The second greenfield project owned and constructed by the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF), the Coopers Gap Wind Farm will have a capacity of 453 MW and produce around 1,510,000 MWh of renewable energy – powering approximately 264,000 average Australian homes.

Location

Coopers Gap Wind Farm is 250 km north-west of Brisbane near Cooranga North, between Dalby and Kingaroy. The site is located on land that's mainly used for cattle grazing and other farming activities.

Source: AGL Energy

 

$100 million investment fund launched to invest in reducing emissions

5 December

Business and the Government will jointly tackle climate change with the launch of New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd; a $100 million fund to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and Climate Change Minister, James Shaw, announced today.

The fund is a central plank in the Government’s plan to transition to a clean, green, carbon-neutral New Zealand and it delivers on a Green Party Confidence and Supply Agreement commitment.

“Tackling climate change is a priority for this Government and business involvement is crucial to our success. No one can opt out of the impacts of climate change. This fund helps business to opt in to the solution,” Jacinda Arden said. 

“Lowering emissions will require innovation and action from all sectors.

“This fund means the Government is bringing cash and know-how to the table to partner with business to deliver a clean, green future for everyone.

“This new investment fund is an important component of New Zealand’s plan to build a clean, sustainable, low-carbon economy that has both lower emissions and profitable enterprises,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand Green Investment Finance will be a commercially focused investment company which will work to invest with business to reduce emissions while making a profit,” said James Shaw.

“The Government’s $100 million start-up capital injection is intended to stimulate new private sector investment in low-emissions industries; with returns over subsequent years expected to pay back the Government’s investment and see  NZ Green Investment Finance stand on its own commercial footing.

“More and more investment dollars are looking for clean, sustainable ventures to invest in. Establishing this fund positions New Zealand to attract its share of that investment capital.

“I want to thank Cecilia Tarrant for accepting the role of Chair of NZ Green Investment Finance Limited. We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Cecilia’s calibre in this important leadership role.

“Board Director, David Woods, brings a wealth of international banking experience to the company, as well as his more recent experience leading work with the social impact investor, Oikocredit International.

“We are also incredibly grateful to have Sir Rob Fenwick on board as Ambassador for this project. Sir Rob’s background and expertise in business sustainability makes him a fantastic fit for what NZ Green Investment Finance Limited is about.

“New Zealand faces a big job in upgrading our economy and infrastructure. New Zealand Green Investment Finance will help deliver financial backing to help ensure that the upgrade is fit for purpose,” Mr Shaw says.

More details about NZ Green Investment Finance Ltd are available here.

Source: NZ Government

 

McGowan Government to develop new climate change policy

5 December

- Western Australia vulnerable to impacts of climate change

- The McGowan Government is creating a better environment for future generations

- The McGowan Government will develop a new, co-ordinated climate change policy for the State.

Western Australia's previous climate change strategy, Adapting to Our Changing Climate, was released in 2012 and developed in the context of a national carbon price.

Since then, there have been advances in climate science and changes in national policy.

While it is acknowledged that the Federal Government must lead the way at a national level to address the impacts of climate change, the State Government has a role to play.

Western Australia is particularly exposed to impacts from national greenhouse gas policies because of its energy-intensive, resource-based economy.

The State is also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The south-west is a global biodiversity hotspot under pressure from habitat destruction. It is also one of the most fire-prone regions in the world and one of the places on the planet most impacted from reduced rainfall.

Climate impacts in WA include decreasing rainfall, an increase in extreme weather events, bushfires and coastal erosion, as well as changing patterns of disease - all of which have the capacity to adversely affect primary industries, infrastructure, terrestrial and marine ecosystems and communities.

There are a number of climate-related initiatives already underway in WA, including measures to enhance renewable energy (including renewable hydrogen), strategies to secure our water supplies to offset a significant decline in rainfall (including recycled water and desalination), accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles, and unlock our State's significant carbon sequestration potential.

A State climate policy will draw together and build on these measures.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation's Climate Change Unit will co-ordinate the new policy over the next 12 months.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

"Many climate change issues are already being addressed by State agencies, industry and the community - but we can all do better.

"There's more we can do to reduce the risks, the impacts and the costs. And there's more we can do to improve the resilience of our communities and our environment.

"The ongoing uncertainty at the national level has made it challenging for States and Territories to develop a considered response to climate change.

"But there are measures we can take to ensure Western Australia is well-positioned in the face of rapid technological change and a changing climate - whatever the position of the Commonwealth Government."

Source: WA Government

 

Dexus paves the way to net zero emissions with new renewable Energy Supply Agreement

6 December

Dexus has agreed terms for one of Australia’s first supply-linked renewable Energy Supply Agreements (“ESA”), which will purchase renewable energy off-site to power the base building services of more than 40 buildings in its New South Wales property portfolio. This will be achieved through the procurement of renewable energy generation and presents a new lever for Dexus and the property industry to achieve net zero emissions.

Dexus, Australia’s largest office landlord, and Red Energy, which is 100% owned by Snowy Hydro, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a seven-year renewable ESA, to commence from January 2020.

The ESA is a key pillar in Dexus’s New Energy, New Opportunities strategy which aims to eliminate emissions from its portfolio and create value for Dexus’s customers and investors.

“This is a first for an Australian real estate investment trust and supports our ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2030,” said David Yates, Executive General Manager for Sustainability at Dexus.

“We have worked collaboratively with Red Energy to establish a new energy supply model which will deliver renewable energy sourced off-site. Importantly it provides long-term price certainty to insulate our customers from electricity market volatility, while driving down energy costs and supporting our collective carbon reduction goals,” Mr Yates said.

He added: “The ESA satisfies the demand from customers and investors for more reliable, environmentally responsible energy.

“Over seven years, we expect to source more than 300 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy via this ESA, which is equivalent to the energy consumed by 38,000 households for a year.”

Paul Wall, Head of Group Sustainability and Energy at Dexus, said: “This agreement allows us to hedge a portion of our power price, providing a buffer against energy market uncertainty. The deal has been struck at below current market rates and leverages the large-scale generation certificates subsidies, resulting in a fixed price for 50% of our energy load over the next seven years.

“This means we can pass the savings directly to our customers, while operating our buildings using a responsible, emission-free source of energy.

“This new deal is expected to reduce the retail energy rate which we pass onto our customers through outgoings by more than 10% compared to existing contracted rates.”

Mr Wall added, “We are looking to create more value for our customers through new energy opportunities. This ESA will help Dexus achieve net zero by 2030 – 20 years ahead of the targets established under the Paris Agreement, built into our electricity procurement in preference to purchasing carbon offsets.”

The ESA will cover 50% of the energy load with the option to extend that to 100%, enabling Dexus to accelerate its pathway to zero emissions and respond to price volatility in the electricity market with a larger hedge should the price of black energy continue to rise, creating further cost savings.

The deal will also support new renewable energy projects in Australia.

Paul Broad, Chief Executive Officer of Snowy Hydro, said: “Red Energy’s ‘firmed’ renewable energy is backed by Snowy Hydro’s integrated renewables portfolio, which includes the recent addition of 888MW from offtake agreements with eight new wind and solar projects.

“This landmark ESA with Dexus represents one of the first direct off-takes for ‘firmed’ renewable electricity of this type. On-demand hydro from the mighty Snowy Scheme will underpin our contracted wind and solar generation, meaning Red Energy can supply Dexus with reliable renewable energy.” Mr Broad said.

Mr Yates concluded: “We see that the next decade will present many commercial opportunities to achieve net zero emissions and this ESA presents a new pathway to get there – one which we think is replicable and can move Australia’s entire property market.”

Source: Dexus

 

Western Power green lights 900MW of new green energy

6 December

Western Power has opened the South West Interconnected Network to around 900MW of new renewable energy projects through our final Generator Interim Access (GIA) offers being made this week.

The GIA solution was created in consultation with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Public Utilities Office, to help progress connections to the grid that would have been unviable under the current unconstrained network access arrangement.

Western Power Chief Executive Officer Guy Chalkley said that the GIA will address a significant hurdle to new generation projects wanting to connect to the grid and potentially add around 20% extra generation to the existing mix of generators already connected to the grid.

“Within the last five years, we haven’t connected many large‐scale generators to the grid, mainly due to the high cost of augmentation required for new generators to achieve an unconstrained network connection,” Mr Chalkley said.

“Now with the GIA, we have businesses being offered connection solutions that enable them to invest in the state energy market, with a number of those projects being 100MW-plus generators.

“Ultimately the move to a constrained access market by the State Government in 2022 will not only assist with the deployment of more low-cost renewable energy but will minimise unnecessary additional costs to market participants.”

A total of eight connection offers have been made to generators who will operate under constrained conditions, meaning their ‘normal’ access to the network may be reduced by AEMO when another generator is competing for the network.

At the core of the GIA are computer systems that will monitor outputs of the GIA cohort and limit their outputs to ensure the safe operating limits of the network are not exceeded.

Source: Western Power

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