Vicinity to build Australia’s largest-ever property solar program

3 September

Vicinity Centres (Vicinity) today unveiled details about the expansion of its industry-leading solar program with approximately $50 million of additional investment in solar and technologies across a further 17 shopping centres Across Australia.

The second stage of Vicinity’s solar project will create the largest property solar program in the country in scale and investment, and comparably rank among the top 10 biggest corporate solar projects in the United States of America1.

Vicinity’s in-house energy team, working alongside local and international experts, will manage the program at centres across Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA).

Stage two will generate more than 31,000 MWh of clean energy each year – enough to power 5,000 homes and equivalent to removing more than 18,000 cars from our roads.

Executive General Manager Shopping Centre Management, Justin Mills, said, “We know our centres have a considerable footprint in our communities which is why we’ve committed more than $75 million towards stage one and stage two of our solar project.

“This investment will generate clean power for our centres for the long term, make a positive environmental impact and deliver shared value for our customers, retailers and investors,” Mr Mills said.

“As technology advances so does the business case for solar. We anticipate strong investment returns with the project to generate an IRR of approximately 12%, while also reducing our consumption from the national electricity grid by up to 40%.”

Mr Mills said at least 300 highly-skilled jobs would be created during the implementation of this second stage with another 40 permanent, on-going positions nationally once the project is completed.

“We’re committed to energy leadership targeting renewable energy, combined with battery and other storage technology and creating efficiencies across our portfolio, as part of Vicinity’s Integrated Energy Strategy. The program supports our focus to create sustainable, market-leading shopping, dining and entertainment destinations,” Mr Mills said.

Vicinity announced stage one of the solar program earlier this year with work already underway at five centres in SA and WA. Stage two is expected to be completed in late 2019.

1 SEIA’s Solar Means Business 2017 Report

Source: Vicinity Centres

 

Renewing the focus on cheaper electricity

4 September

The 2018-19 State Budget is investing $184 million in expenditure in a multi-pronged attack to lower the price of electricity and improve the reliability of electricity in South Australia.

“Reducing electricity costs was a core promise of the Marshall Liberal team and the 2018-19 State Budget demonstrates the new Government’s commitment to that pledge,” said Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“The 2018-19 State Budget delivers on the Marshall Liberal Government’s promise to invest $100 million to establish its Home Battery Scheme to provide subsidies for homeowners to purchase batteries.

“The Home Battery Scheme is a critical component of the State Government’s plans to deliver cheaper electricity to South Australian households and small businesses.

The Home Battery Scheme will subsidise the cost of buying a home energy storage system for up to 40,000 South Australian households.”

The 2018-19 State Budget provides $50 million for Grid Scale Storage to aid the development of new storage technologies to back up our abundant renewable energy.

Additional grid scale storage will help stabilise South Australia’s electricity network which has been weakened during the last decade by a disorderly transition which has left our system weaker and more expensive.

The 2018-19 State Budget invests $30 million to better manage demand and help consumers benefit from helping to reduce peak demand to lower system costs.

Voluntary demand management delivers the twin virtues of lower electricity costs and lower emissions and greater reliability by taking pressure off the grid. The Government is also investing in new technologies to better integrate additional supply into the network.

The Marshall Liberal Government has committed up to $14 million to accelerate early works on construction of the interconnector to New South Wales that will further reduce the price and improve the reliability of electricity in South Australia. This is made up of $4 million in direct support and $10 million in underwriting.

Source: South Australia Government

 

NEW PROJECT

Wyalong Solar Farm

Location: North-east of the township of West Wyalong in New South Wales

Capacity: 130 MW

Developer: ESCO Pacific

LGA: Bland Shire Council

Estimated cost: $110mil

Description: Development of a solar farm, battery storage facility and associated infrastructure. The area required for the solar farm is up to 259 hectares on land that is currently used for cropping. Connection will be to the 132/66kV Temora-Lake Cowal line. The proposal will also include the potential for battery storage to be installed on site.

Contact: Cedric Berge

Development Manager

ESCO Pacific

Tel: (03) 8595 2406

Email: cedric@escopacific.com.au

 

Building Victoria’s largest virtual power plant

5 September

The Andrews Labor Government will help fund Victoria’s largest virtual power plant, as part of a major investment in microgrid technology across Victoria.

Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio today announced that $4.5 million would be provided to Origin Energy to develop a $20 million cloud-based project that will distribute power from up to 650 customers with solar PV and batteries during peak periods.

The Origin Energy Virtual Power Plant (VPP) will boost grid stability by discharging power from solar PV and batteries located at homes and commercial and industrial sites to reduce their power bills.

The selected customers will receive discounted batteries, demonstrating opportunities for coordinating solar PV, batteries and flexible demand across Victoria.

A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local supply of power that can function independently of the electricity grid, delivering energy security, sustainability and cost savings for those in the network.

The VPP will provide benefits to the electricity network and help Victoria reach its ambitious renewable energy targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

The Microgrid Demonstration Initiative is providing $10 million to support eight microgrid projects as part of the Labor Government’s $146 million Renewable Energy Action Plan.

These investments are in addition to the $1.3 billion Solar Homes program which will deliver half-priced solar panels to 650,000 Victorian households and solar hot water systems to 60,000 homes with no upfront cost.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“We’re investing in new technologies that will help create jobs, attract investment in renewable energy and bring down power prices.”

“We’re ensuring Victoria’s energy system is affordable, resilient and secure, as we transition to the next generation of energy technologies.”

Source: Victoria Government

 

NEW PROJECT

Gregory 2 Solar Farm

Location: Lilyvale, Queensland

Capacity: Up to 220 MW

Developer: Renewable Energy Developments

Description: The application includes the creation of a 670ha Project Area (lease) which will accommodate the Gregory II Solar Farm, consisting on PV arrays and tracking system, inverters, control building, on-site substation, provision for battery storage, laydown areas, car parking and utilities connections. It will be connected to the grid network via either direct connection into the existing 132kV transmission line within the lot via an on-site Substation (included in DA) or via a new electricity transmission line (ETL) to the Lilyvale Substation.

Contact: Colin Liebmann

Director

Renewable Energy Developments

Tel: (02) 9416 1001

Email: colin@reconsultancy.com.au

 

PROJECT NEWS

Western Plains Wind Farm

4 September

Since the last project update Epuron have undertaken a range of studies including:

- Flora and fauna

- Avifauna

- European heritage

- Aboriginal heritage

- Landscape and visual

- Traffic and transport

- Noise

Epuron have also consulted widely with key agencies, individuals and the wider community.

Before lodging the Development Proposal and Environmental Management Plan (DPEMP) Epuron seeks the community's feedback on the proposed layout of the wind farm. We will be holding an information day on the 8th of September and we invite all members of the community to come along and find out more about the proposal and discuss opportunities and concerns with the development team. Epuron also welcomes you to contact us directly and our contact information can be found in the attached newsletter.

When we have had community input into the wind farm proposal we will finalise the design and lodge the application with Circular Head Council and the EPA.

More details available here:

Source: Epuron

 

Unique opportunity to invest in a portfolio of over 1 GW of renewable energy generation development

5 September

Unique opportunity to invest in a portfolio of over 1 GW of renewable energy generation development across three Australian states that will have a project value of over $3bn when constructed, providing investors with significant scale and geographical diversity.

The portfolio, led by global leader in wind power solutions Goldwind in conjunction with a number of development partners, includes large wind and solar colocation projects, as well as several wind projects across Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, all promising excellent natural resources and grid connectivity.

All the projects have executed land rights and are either DA approved or securing DA approval process is underway or commencing. The wind power sites will be supplied with Goldwind turbines and supplemented by Goldwind’s development capability.

The sale process will target existing participants and new entrants to the Australian renewable energy market who intend to accelerate growth of their Australian pipeline.

PwC have been appointed to run the sales process and will conduct a two-round auction of the portfolio. Buyers are encouraged to reach out to PwC’s Sally Torgoman if all or part of the portfolio is of interest.

Ning Chen, Vice President Investment and General Manager of Goldwind Capital Australia said ‘Goldwind has been supplying Australian homes with clean energy since 2012. We have a strong track record in the Australian market and trusted relationships with our customers, partners and local communities.’

Business highlights:

- All wind sites have established wind and solar data measurements with site specific energy estimates.

- Transaction process allows for flexibility to acquire either 100% or a majority interest in the portfolio of projects.

- Geographical diversity reducing site specific generation risks to investors

Source: Goldwind Australia

 

Boosting research into exporting renewable hydrogen

6 September

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced it has awarded $22.1 million in funding to 16 research projects to propel innovation in exporting renewable hydrogen to the world.

The funding has been offered to research teams from nine Australian universities and research organisations including the Australian National University, Macquarie University, Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, RMIT University, The University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, The University of Western Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

In December 2017, ARENA announced the funding round into hydrogen R&D. It is the first time ARENA had sought to fund research into the hydrogen energy supply chain.

The early stage research projects cover a diverse range of renewable solutions, with at least one project from each point in the supply chain – production, hydrogen carrier and end use. The projects include the development of a wide range of hydrogen-related technologies including concentrating solar thermal, electrolysis, biotechnology, carrier synthesis, thermochemical processes, fuel cell development and energy generation.

Hydrogen – or carriers like ammonia – are potentially ways for Australia to export renewable energy. Electrical energy can readily be converted into hydrogen via electrolysis. Renewable or green hydrogen involves producing hydrogen from renewable sources for example via electrolysers powered by solar and wind.

Hydrogen is poised to play a larger role, as the world moves to a low carbon economy. Hydrogen can potentially be used as a way for Australia to export renewable energy to other countries, particularly in Asia with demand expected to increase.

Earlier this month, ARENA also released a report that identified opportunities for Australia to export hydrogen as global demand for hydrogen increases in the next decade.

The report, prepared by ACIL Allen Consulting for ARENA, found there could be a significant increase in demand globally for hydrogen exports as other countries – such as Japan and the Republic of Korea – looked to transition to renewable energy. With the right conditions, hydrogen exports could be worth $1.7 billion annually and could generate 2,800 jobs in Australia by 2030.

ARENA is also part of the Hydrogen Strategy Group, led by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO, which prepared a briefing paper on hydrogen for the COAG Energy Council.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the $22.1 million funding boost would help to maximise Australia’s opportunities in developing a cost-effective hydrogen export supply chain.

“Exporting renewable energy, such as by the use of hydrogen, involves developing and integrating emerging technologies. This funding will help bolster the research efforts of Australian scientists to drive innovation for what could become the next big export industry.

“Hydrogen is poised to play a big role in the world’s low carbon economy. Already, Japan and South Korea have committed to becoming major import markets for renewable hydrogen but as yet there are no exporters,” Mr Miller said.

“With its abundance of sun and wind, and experience as one of the world’s largest LNG exporters, Australia is ideally placed to become a global superpower in exporting renewable energy, and this work will help position us as leaders in this field,” he said.

Funding Recipients:

Australian National University

Hydrogen Generation by Electro-Catalytic Systems – $615,682

Direct Water Electrolysis – $1,235,407

Solar Hydrogen Generation – $1,637,303

CSIRO

Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen – $2,007,676

Hydrogen to Ammonia – $1,175,000

Methane Fuel Carrier – $1,085,553

Liquid Fuel Carrier – $1,010,021

Macquarie University

Biological hydrogen production using genetically engineered microorganisms – $1,148,455

Monash University

Low-cost robust, high-activity water splitting electrodes – $1,054,209

Ammonia production from renewables at ambient temperature and pressure. Developing a process for reduction of nitrogen to ammonia – $915,848

Queensland University of Technology

QUT Hydrogen Process – $3,350,000

RMIT University

A proton flow reactor system for electrical energy storage and bulk export of hydrogenated carbon-based material – $805,026

The University of Melbourne

Enabling efficient, affordable and robust use of renewable hydrogen in transport and power generation – $2,594,747

University of New South Wales

Highly efficient and low cost photovoltaic-electrolysis (PVE) system to generate hydrogen by harvesting the full spectrum of sunlight – $1,319,105

Waste to Biomass to Renewable Hydrogen – $1,045,770

The University of Western Australia

Methanol from Syngas – $1,079,875

Source: ARENA

 

$150 million infrastructure investment to bring growth opportunities to the Top End

6 September

NAIF’s largest investment to date is one step closer with the announcement of the prospective investment of a $150 million loan to Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd (NTA).

The loan will fund infrastructure projects as part of the $300 million infrastructure expansion package across airport sites in Darwin, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs including:

- cold storage and export hub at Darwin International Airport;

- solar energy farms at Darwin, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs along with an off-site multi-user battery; and

- upgrades at the Alice Springs Airport.

“Benefits will be delivered for the Northern Territory through the project. There are expected to be up to 1,000 jobs generated through the construction phase, supporting approximately 500 indirect jobs through the supply chain with over 140 new on-going positions.” Ms Laurie Walker, CEO, NAIF stated.

NAIF’s ability to provide an early indication of support for these projects will accelerate their construction with the projects now scheduled to commence in early 2019.

“Transport related infrastructure is an important enabler of growth and prosperity in the north and today’s announcement is a significant milestone.” Ms Walker said. “NAIF and NTA, led by its CEO Mr Ian Kew, have collaborated very closely since NAIF’s inception on infrastructure opportunities to address our shared interests of growth and prosperity across the north, including in the Top End.”

“These projects will create significant growth opportunities for the Northern Territory through increased capacity to support greater tourist numbers as well as to export more Northern Territorian fresh agriculture and aquaculture produce direct to market. It demonstrates NAIF’s focus on transforming northern Australia through investment in infrastructure.” Ms Laurie Walker, CEO, NAIF stated.

Local Territory businesses, including a number of Indigenous organisations will benefit from this investment with NTA committing to a 10% Indigenous employment target through its Indigenous Engagement Strategy –a mandatory requirement of NAIF finance.

NAIF will also continue to work closely with stakeholders including NTA and the Northern Territory Government as they undertake their review of the project and work towards agreeing to provide funds.

Source: NAIF

NOTE: Airport Development Group applied for generation licences these PV projects, including:

- Ground-mounted PV arrays at Darwin International Airport with 45.5 MW capacity plus additional rooftop installations of 560 kW (with plans to expand rooftop capacity by 7 MW for total of 52.5 MW)

- Ground-mounted solar capacity of 10.235 MW, plus 650 kW on car park covers, at the Alice Springs Airport

- Proposed ground-mounted solar capacity of 5 MW within the Tennant Creek Airport lease, along with the existing rooftop installation of 6 kW on the terminal roof

 

PROJECT NEWS

Mirani Solar Farm

The Planning and Environment Court of Queensland has upheld ESCO Pacific’s appeal against a decision by the Mackay Regional Council to not approve its proposed 60 MW Mirani Solar Farm in Queensland. Mackay Sugar Ltd was a co-respondent. The Mackay Council will now approve the application and issue conditions to the applicant.

 

Compliance priorities for 2018–19

6 September

Today the Clean Energy Regulator has published its Compliance priorities 2018-19.

The Compliance priorities highlight our key compliance focus areas for each of the schemes we administer.

The Clean Energy Regulator is committed to administering the agency’s schemes in a transparent and accountable manner.

Responsibility for complying with obligations across our schemes rests with the people and organisations concerned. We assist scheme participants to comply with their obligations and pursue non-compliance.

The Clean Energy Regulator has a range of monitoring and enforcement powers available to identify and address non-compliance, and ensure participants meet their obligations. We also work in partnership with other agencies and stakeholders for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Further details are available in the Compliance priorities 2018-19.

Source: Clean Energy Regulator

 

Demand response mechanism rule request from PIAC, Total Environment Centre and Australian Institute

6 September

We have publicly released the first stakeholder rule request arising from the AEMC’s Reliability frameworks review.

The Reliability frameworks review was released on 26 July with a major recommendation for adoption of a new mechanism for energy users to sell demand response in the wholesale market – which will be informed by trials run by AEMO and ARENA. A demand response mechanism is part of a package recommended by the AEMC to remove barriers to demand response and provide additional tools to undertake more demand response.

The proponents of this rule request, PIAC, TEC and the Australia Institute were all part of the review consultation. They let us know quite early during review consultation that they were interested in making a rule request in line with the Reliability frameworks review’s recommendations. And we are very pleased to have received their request so promptly after the review’s finalisation.

The Reliability frameworks review considered the role for a demand response mechanism reflecting structural change now underway in the wholesale sector. Specifically the review articulated the need for a demand response mechanism to be:

scheduled - able to be centrally dispatched, and visible to the market operator and other market participants in order to improve the efficiency of demand response dispatch.

Accessible to consumers - so they could participate without relying on retailers for permission (making it mandatory for retailers to participate in mechanism).

Designed in a way that could contribute to the reliability of the power system.

I invite you to participate in consultation when the project initiates.

Source: AEMC

 

Genex acquires 50MW Jemalong solar project in NSW

7 September

Genex Power Limited (ASX: GNX) (Genex or Company) is pleased to announce that it has today entered into a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the acquisition of the 50MW Jemalong Solar Project development (JSP or Project), located near Forbes in the central west region of NSW (the Acquisition).

The Acquisition is complementary to Genex’s existing solar and hydro power projects in North Queensland and reflects the Company’s aim to become one of the market leaders in renewable energy and storage development. Genex’s longer-term strategy is to expand its portfolio of assets and diversify into other regions within the National Electricity Market.

The Project is well-advanced, with all necessary land and development planning approvals secured and significant progress made towards finalising the grid connection works.

The Acquisition remains subject to a number of Conditions Precedent (CPs) including achieving satisfactory Generator Performance Standard (GPS) approvals from the Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO) for the Project. Under the terms of the Acquisition, the vendor will continue to progress the development of the Project including finalising the grid connection negotiations with Essential Energy and AEMO. The Acquisition is contingent upon all CPs being met by the vendor by the end of February 2019.

During the due diligence process, Genex has consulted with several financiers to inform its financing strategy for the Project. As a result, Genex intends to finance construction either on a solely merchant basis given the strong NSW price forecasts, or under a potential offtake arrangement with the final financing decision to be made closer to financial close.

It is the Board’s objective to maximise value for existing shareholders and preserve cash with the main focus on fast tracking the Kidston Stage 2 projects to financial close. As such, whilst the majority of the construction funding for the Project will be provided via project finance debt, similar to the 50MW Kidston Stage 1 project, Genex is also considering a range of funding options to fund the balance (including a sell down in project-level interest).

Given the Project’s advanced status, Genex anticipates reaching financial close in H1 2019 following the completion of the Kidston Stage 2 project financing which remains the top priority.

NAB acted as Adviser to Genex for the Acquisition.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO of Genex Power, James Harding stated:

“As a result of the strong revenues earnt to date from the Company’s 50MW Kidston Solar Project (KS1), we are able to utilise our cash reserves to diversify our project portfolio into NSW and create a stronger revenue pipeline. The Kidston Stage Two Pumped Storage Hydro and Solar Project remains the principal focus of the Company, and we continue to make significant progress towards finalising the remaining components necessary to achieve financial close. The Jemalong Solar Project offers a good opportunity to create a step change up in revenue and both expand and diversify the Company’s portfolio as we complete the development of Stage 2 at Kidston.

“On behalf of Genex, we wish to thank the vendor, Vast Solar Pty Ltd, and their adviser, Energy Estate, for the progress to date on JSP and look forward to working with them to achieve the final conditions precedent necessary for financial close”.

Source: Genex Power

 

VivoPower International PLC Announces Agreement to Develop Utility-Scale Solar Assets in New South Wales

7 September

VivoPower International PLC (Nasdaq: VVPR) (“VivoPower”), an international solar power company, is pleased to announce that its wholly-owned subsidiary in Australia, VivoPower Pty Ltd (“VivoPower Australia”) has entered into a partnership with IT Power (Australia) Pty Ltd (“ITP”) to jointly develop a portfolio of utility-scale ground-mounted solar projects in New South Wales.

VivoPower Australia and ITP will share responsibility for development of the solar projects in the portfolio, with an initial aggregate capacity of at least 50 megawatts and the opportunity to add additional capacity over time. VivoPower and ITP intend to design, contract, finance and construct each project on a rolling basis.

VivoPower has demonstrated a successful track record with utility-scale solar projects, having developed, constructed and financed projects representing more than 90 megawatts of generating capacity over the past two years.

“VivoPower is excited about this major solar development initiative in the New South Wales market, which represents a significant expansion of our Australian footprint, and is also highly complementary to the solar initiatives of our subsidiary Aevitas,” said Carl Weatherley-White, Chief Executive Officer of VivoPower. “We are very pleased to be working with ITP, a highly successful and respected partner with demonstrated experience in the Australian renewables market.”

“ITP are delighted to be working closely with VivoPower on this exciting enterprise. VivoPower have been highly successful with their international solar farm development projects and combined with our extensive local experience in the Australian energy market, we are confident of success,” said Simon Franklin, Managing Director of ITP.

About VivoPower

VivoPower is an international solar power producer and storage company that is developing, building and operating projects on a global basis in a capital efficient manner. VivoPower does this by aggregating photovoltaic (PV) solar projects underpinned by long-term power purchase agreements, arranging corporate and project financing, engineering, design and equipment procurement and managing the construction and development of such solar PV projects.

About IT Power Australia Pty

Established in 2003, ITP is a renewable energy consulting and engineering company, working on projects of all sizes for governments, corporations, aid agencies and energy providers in Australia. As part of the wider ITP Energised Group, one of the first consultancies to bring together specialists in renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon markets, ITP draws on more than three decades of experience delivering thousands of renewable energy projects around the globe. Within the ITP Energised Group, ITP leads work in the Australian and Asia / Pacific region and works globally with ITP Energised Group partners.

Source: VivoPower

 

PROJECT NEWS

Cohuna Solar Farm

The federal government has invited public comment on Grey Box Energy Field’s proposed up to 37 MW Cohuna Solar Farm in Horfield, Victoria, approximately 8km south of Cohuna. The solar farm will cover an area of approximately 81.4 hectares, which included the area for site offices and electrically cabinetry

The proposed project will consist of installing the following components:

  • An array of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules arranged in a series of long rows (typically 85m) typically no higher than 2.1m above the ground and supported by a steel and/or aluminium mounting structure including framing piles which are either screwed or driven into the ground. A total of 86,644 solar modules is proposed.
  • A series of six inverter stations (four on the north and two in the south) will be distributed throughout the solar array. These will connect 22,000 volts to the zone substation with a switchroom located at the southern boundary of the zone substation.
  • Electrical connections between PV arrays, associated monitoring and protection equipment and central inverters via underground or frame secured cabling.
  • A tracker actuation system.
  • Network interconnection facilities to connect the project to the Horfield Substation, including a main power transformer, switchgear, protection, metering and communications equipment.
  • Site laydown area and compound.
  • Site entry road, internal access tracks and car park.
  • Site fencing and associated security equipment.
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