World-first dispatchable renewable energy technology developer seeks finance for commercial project

Successful commissioning and operation of Vast Solar’s 1 MW pilot project is delivering dispatchable renewable power to the grid and driving the company’s next move. The world-leading concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) company is now looking to raise $75m from strategic partners to build its business and help finance its first utility scale power plant. 

CSP is rapidly becoming the preferred means of generating cost-effective dispatchable renewable power in sunny regions.  The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) projects 633GW of installed CSP by 2050, with China investing heavily and South Africa recently adding CSP to firm its grid following issues with coal plants.

CSP technology uses heliostats – mirrors that track the sun in two directions – to concentrate solar radiation onto a receiving tower. Unlike traditional CSP, Vast Solar uses sodium as the heat transfer fluid to capture the concentrated solar energy, which can then be stored and used on-demand to drive a conventional turbine and generate electricity.  

Vast Solar’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency-backed pilot project at Jemalong, NSW, is the first modular CSP facility using sodium in the world. The unique modular design and world-leading thermal control overcome many of the challenges faced by other CSP technologies. It is the missing link in the renewables transition, according to Vast Solar CEO, Craig Wood.

“The success of our pilot plant has proven our technology can deliver dispatchable renewable energy to the grid and we are confident that, at scale, our technology will produce power at a lower cost than coal, gas or other renewable storage technologies.”

Working with ANU and UNSW – recognised globally for their renewables research – Vast Solar has become a world-leader in the use and management of sodium, which is far more abundant and accessible than lithium.

While grid-scale lithium batteries can assist grid stability over short periods, Vast Solar’s technology has the potential to supply energy to the grid for many hours while the sun isn’t shining.  Plants can be configured with 4-16 hours of storage and generators of up to 500MW.

Vast Solar is working with investment bank Moelis Australia to raise $75m to develop its business and finance its upcoming 50MW hybrid project, comprising a 30MW CSP plant with 10 hours storage and a 20MW photovoltaic plant.

Source: Vast Solar

 

PROJECT NEWS

Snowy 2.0

A Snowy 2.0 Main Works Scoping Report has been released as part of the NSW state government approvals process.

Snowy Hydro Limited, the operator of the Snowy Mountains Hydro‐electric Scheme, is proposing to build and operate Snowy 2.0. Snowy 2.0 is a project that will increase the pumped hydro‐electric capacity within the existing Snowy Scheme by linking the Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs with tunnels feeding a new underground power station. The project will involve tunnelling and excavation works between the two reservoirs to depths of up to 1 kilometre.

Snowy 2.0 is being developed in phases with this Scoping Report addressing the second phase of the project, known as the Snowy 2.0 Main Works. The scope includes the construction and operation of Snowy 2.0 Main Works. 

The following key design elements are needed for the operation of Snowy 2.0, and are referred to as operational infrastructure:

  • an underground pumped hydro‐electric power station complex;
  • water intake structures at Tantangara and Talbingo reservoirs;
  • power waterway tunnels, chambers and shafts;
  • access tunnels;
  • new and upgraded roads to allow ongoing access and maintenance; and
  • power and communication infrastructure, including:

- a cableyard to facilitate connection between the national electricity market (NEM) electricity transmission network and Snowy 2.0; 

- permanent auxiliary power supply connection; and

- communications cable.

To support the construction of operational infrastructure, the following temporary and permanent design elements and activities are needed, and are referred to as construction elements. Construction elements include:

  • construction compounds at Talbingo, Lobs Hole, Marica and Tantangara;
  • construction adits at Talbingo and Tantangara;
  • site‐based accommodation camps at Lobs Hole and Tantangara;
  • road establishment and other access improvements and upgrades to allow access to construction areas;
  • management of excavated rock from tunnelling activities, including:

- permanent subaqueous storage within Talbingo and Tantangara reservoirs; and

- temporary on‐land storage within the KNP and temporary and/or permanent storage outside of

KNP;

  • supporting services infrastructure including construction power, water and wastewater infrastructure, and communication infrastructure; and
  • additional barge access infrastructure and excavated rock handling facilities and infrastructure at both Talbingo and Tantangara for subaqueous placement of excavated material.

Transmission Connection

A separate report has been produced for the transmission connection element of the Snowy 2.0 project. TransGrid is proposing to construct and operate a new transmission connection between the proposed Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro and generation project to the existing high voltage transmission network. The main elements of the project include a new dual double-circuit overhead transmission line connection supported by steel lattice towers to a new substation, a short overhead connection from the substation to TransGrid's existing network, establishment and upgrade of access tracks and roads and ancillary activities to facilitate construction. The total length of the connection is about 9 kilometres. The estimated capital investment value is $250mil.

 

A new framework for transmission network access and charging: have your say

1 March

The Australian Energy Market Commission is calling for submissions on proposed reforms to the way generators access and use the electricity transmission network. We are also seeking feedback on proposed changes to the charging arrangements which enable transmission businesses to recover the costs of building and maintaining transmission infrastructure, both within and between regions.

A huge amount of generation will be built in the national electricity market in the coming years, taking the place of ageing coal-fired power. With more generators seeking to connect, the transmission network is expected to become increasingly congested. 

To help deliver the right amount of new transmission infrastructure to meet future network needs, while keeping costs to consumers as low as possible, today’s consultation paper sets out recommended changes to the framework for transmission network access and charging.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on:

- phased reforms to access arrangements, starting with dynamic regional pricing to reflect where network congestion is happening in real time, and moving to a system where generators are able to buy firm rights to use the transmission network or be compensated if they are constrained off

- reforms to transmission charging arrangements, including those relating to inter-regional transmission. This includes looking at whether the cost of a particular interconnector is adequately attributed to the region which benefits from that interconnector.

Submissions on the consultation paper are due by 29 March 2019. 

There will be further opportunities for stakeholder input on access and charging arrangements throughout the year, including public workshops. We aim to deliver the COAG Energy Council a final package of proposed regulatory changes in December 2019.

Source: AEMC

 

NEW PROJECT

Bergalia Solar Farm

Location: Moruya, in the Far South Coast region of New South Wales

Capacity: 10.365 MW

Developer: Rio Indygen Development

LGA: Eurobodalla Shire Council

Estimated cost: $10.365mil

Description: The proposed solar farm would be located on 42.15 hectares of rural farmland currently used for grazing cattle. The proposal includes a solar array of approximately 30,488 solar panels (340 Wp) mounted in rows on tracker tables and approximately 4000 array posts, 12 inverters (2500 kvA) distributed over the site, and a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) substation and a customer substation.

Status: Placed on public exhibition by Eurobodalla Shire Council from 6 March to 22 March 2019.

Contact: David Ashton

Director

Indygen

Contact form available at https://www.indygenutility.com/contact.html

 

The solar system that leaves competition in the shade

5 March

2018 saw unprecedented growth in large-scale solar PV with nearly two gigawatts (GW) of new capacity registered with AEMO. More than two thirds of this capacity came from solar systems that actually track and follow the movements of the sun.

Millions of Australian consumers are embracing and utilising rooftop solar energy in homes across the country, and increasingly taking control of their energy consumption. But it’s also a flourishing time for large scale commercial solar or utility-scale solar system(s). For example, in 2018, AEMO had nearly 2 GW of new capacity registered via these larger scale systems.

But what actually constitutes a utility-scale solar system? According to Greentech Media, it can be defined as, ‘A utility-scale solar facility is one which generates solar power and feeds it into the grid, supplying a utility with energy. Virtually every utility-scale solar facility has a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a utility, guaranteeing a market for its energy for a fixed term of time.’

This growth in utility-scale systems has been largely attributable to single axis tracking solar. Unlike conventional, fixed axis systems, single axis solar systems have panels that tilt around a north-south axis to follow the sun – they face east in the morning, are horizontal at solar noon and face west in the evening.

Single axis systems, or tracking solar systems, have grown rapidly to become the dominant technology for utility-scale solar in the National Electricity Market (NEM). They offer new benefits to the system in terms of greater output and higher summer capacity. They also capture more direct solar radiation for longer periods of the day which gives them a flatter profile and a higher overall capacity factor (the percentage of actual electrical output out of the total possible output of a generation asset).

Interestingly, single axis systems can make a meaningful contribution to meeting peak demand in mornings and evenings during summertime. The downside of this, however, is that as the sun sets output starts to fall quite rapidly. It’s also noteworthy that both single axis and fixed axis systems are less effective in winter due to the shorter daylight/sunlight hours. And at some sites in the NEM, single-axis tracking systems produce less winter midday output than fixed-axis systems.

Today, there is approximately 1750 megawatts (MW) of tracking and 800 MW of fixed solar capacity registered with AEMO, and the vast majority of upcoming connections are also expected to be single axis systems. With technology advancing, and increasingly hot summers on the horizon, it looks as if the growth period for utility scale solar systems and single axis technology in particular will continue for some time to come.

Source: AEMO

 

Planning for renewable energy transformation

5 March

The Andrews Labor Government is putting the planning mechanisms in place to ensure Victoria’s rapid uptake of large-scale renewable energy is well-planned and receptive to the needs of the local community.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has made changes to state planning rules to ensure planning permits will now be required for the power lines that connect new large-scale electricity generators to the energy network.

Prior to this change there was no requirement for a planning permit to build power lines that operate at less than 220,000 volts.

Concerns were also raised that there was no public involvement in the process for deciding power line routes, and that development of power lines was occurring in an unregulated manner.

The change means where new power lines are required to connect a wind or solar farm into the grid they will go through a thorough and transparent planning assessment process to ensure the views of the community are heard and potential impacts are mitigated.

These changes bring Victorian regulation into line with other states and will only apply to new planning permit applications for electricity generators not retrospectively to existing planning permits.

The Government is getting on with transitioning Victoria to a clean energy future, with record investment creating thousands of jobs and a healthier environment.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“There has been considerable growth in renewable energy across Victoria so we’re making sure the planning processes are in place to ensure new developments are safe, well thought out and respect the needs of nearby communities.”

“This change will ensure that developers take into account visual aspects and traffic safety issues, while also ensuring the public have the chance to make submissions as part of the permit application process.”

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

“This is a necessary move to support the massive renewable energy boom in Victoria, which will see our energy network transformed in the coming years.”

“By putting the planning mechanisms in place now we can make sure our new solar and wind farms have the right infrastructure in place before they start their important job of feeding power back into Victoria’s energy grid.”

Source: Victoria Government

 

TECHNOLOGY

Sunpower launches industry's first 400-plus-watt home solar panels 5 March

SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) has once again raised the bar by introducing the highest-power solar panels available today for the residential market. In the United States, the company has launched its Next Generation Technology home solar panel called A-Series, delivering 400 and 415 watts of power. In Europe and Australia, homeowners can also now order a 400-watt solar panel from SunPower called Maxeon® 3. Each is the first home solar panel to deliver more than 400 watts in its region and is designed to deliver 60 percent more energy in the same amount of roof space over the first 25 years compared to conventional solar.

"SunPower is introducing the world's first 400-watt residential solar panels as most in the industry are just crossing the 300-watt threshold for home solar," said Jeff Waters, CEO of the SunPower Technologies business unit. "Our record-breaking cell technology and innovative research and development efforts have enabled us to fit more power capacity on rooftops than we ever have before. Our growing panel portfolio is delivering unprecedented value across global markets that goes unmatched by any other residential solar technology currently available."

A-Series Solar Panel Engineered from SunPower's Next Generation Technology 

SunPower is well known for its patented Maxeon solar cells built on a solid copper foundation for high reliability and performance. They make SunPower® solar panels virtually impervious to the corrosion and cracking that typically cause conventional panels to break down. In fact, SunPower solar panels are shown to have the lowest degradation rate in the industry.

A-Series panels are built with SunPower's fifth-generation Maxeon solar cells, called Gen 5, which were perfected at the company's Silicon Valley Research Facility. This breakthrough Next Generation Technology required new materials, tools and processes, and resulted in a 65 percent larger cell than previous generations that absorbs more sunlight and ultimately offers more savings to homeowners.

Combined with Maxeon Gen 5 solar cells is one of the industry's highest-powered, factory-integrated microinverter, making A-Series ideal for use with SunPower's Equinox™ platform: the only fully integrated residential solution designed, engineered and warranted by one manufacturer.

Delivering up to 415 watts of electricity, A-Series is the most powerful solar panel that customers in America can buy for their home today.

Maxeon 3 is Most Powerful Home Solar Panel in Europe and Australia

SunPower also broke the 400-watt, residential solar panel barrier for homeowners in Europe and Australia with the company's new Maxeon 3 panel which delivers 400 watts of power from its third-generation Maxeon solar cells. In SunPower's core international distributed generation markets – which include Europe and Australia – the company is a leading solar provider, increasing volume at a compound annual growth rate of more than 60 percent since 2016. SunPower has had particular success in Europe, doubling its market share.

A Robust Solar Panel Portfolio

A-Series and Maxeon 3 join SunPower's robust residential and commercial solar panel portfolio that includes Performance Series panels. These expanded options provide SunPower's extensive dealer network with a range of power and efficiencies to suit specific customer needs. All SunPower panels are backed by its industry-leading 25-year Combined Power and Product Warranty.

"SunPower solar panels are designed to maximize power production and energy savings for our customers, and we're only scratching the surface of what's possible in home solar," Waters continued. "With our innovative solar solutions and services, and our established channels to market, SunPower will continue building on its strong leadership position in distributed generation around the world."

More than 10.3 gigawatts of the company's high-reliability solar technology are installed to date at residential, commercial and utility-scale projects globally. Collectively, these SunPower® systems are expected to produce approximately 470 billion kilowatt hours of solar electricity over their first 25 years, offsetting carbon emissions from approximately 30 million tons of coal burned.

Source: SunPower

 

Clean energy award nominations invited to celebrate another record-breaking year

6 March

Australia’s leading business, finance and policy conference for clean energy has opened applications for industry leaders and innovators to nominate for the 2019 Clean Energy Council Awards.

Nominations are open from today until 17 May 2019, with the winners to be announced in Sydney on 30 July 2019 at the NAB Gala Dinner during the Australian Clean Energy Summit.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said this year's awards will showcase the industry’s extraordinary talent in the middle of an unprecedented construction and investment boom. A new category will also be introduced to highlight those who have made major contributions to the industry’s public profile through the Marketing and Communications award.

“The Marketing and Communications award will highlight a critical element of our industry, the campaigns and content that spread the word about the wonderful work that is happening right across the renewable energy industry,” Mr Thornton said.

“Coming off another year of highs the awards celebrate the very best of the many dozens of projects and world-class innovations, as well as the campaigns that contributed to the biggest year for renewables to date,” he said.

The Clean Energy Council Awards cover the three existing categories: Innovation, Community Engagement and Outstanding Contribution to Industry plus the new Marketing and Communications award.

In 2018 the Innovation Award was won by Energy Queensland for working with the Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to deliver affordable access to renewable energy for public housing tenants in Lockhart River.

The Community Engagement Award was won by TasNetworks for their project turning 40 homes on Tasmania’s Bruny Island into mini power stations.

Nigel Morris was a deserving winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award for being a tireless champion and advocate for quality and integrity in the solar industry for more than 25 years.

“The awards complement a packed and thought-provoking two-day program at the Australian Clean Energy Summit featuring those that are leading the charge towards renewable energy and batteries,” Mr Thornton said.

Speakers which have been secured for the event include:

  • Robyn Denholm, Telstra Head of Strategy and Chief Financial Officer
  • Angus Taylor, Minister for Energy
  • Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy
  • Kerry Schott AO, Chair, Energy Security Board
  • Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist.

“With over 80 key speakers, six conference streams and three networking events, delegates will be able to get access to the latest insights and network with leading renewable energy professionals who are driving the energy transformation for our country,” Mr Thornton said.

Early bird registrations for the Australian Clean Energy Summit are open now until 31 May.

The Australian Clean Energy Summit will take place on 30 -31 July 2019 at the ICC Sydney and last year attracted more than 800 delegates. More information and registration is available at cleanenergysummit.com.au.

Further information on the Clean Energy Council Awards can be found at cleanenergysummit.com.au/awards or by emailing awards@cleanenergycouncil.org.au. Entries close midnight 17 May 2019.

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

PROJECT NEWS

Sebastopol Solar Farm

The NSW state government granted consent to ib vogt’s development application for the Sebastopol Solar Farm in NSW’s north-east Riverina district subject to standard conditions. The proposal is for a 108 MW project including solar arrays, a substation and energy storage connected to an existing 132 kv transmission line which runs west of the site. The project would occupy approximately 248 hectares of rural land currently used for stock grazing and cultivation. It will generate around 150 direct jobs during construction, and employ approximately 2-3 full time staff during the operation and maintenance phase.

 

McGowan Government launches Energy Transformation Strategy

6 March

- McGowan Government launches new strategy to respond to changing energy sector

- Strategy to deliver a cleaner and more resilient energy supply for decades to come

Energy Minister Bill Johnston today launched the Western Australian Energy Transformation Strategy that will deliver cleaner, affordable and more reliable energy to households and businesses for decades to come.

The electricity sector is experiencing a major transformation because of the rapid uptake of rooftop solar panels and battery storage systems, and increasing levels of large-scale renewable generators, such as wind and solar farms.

To maximise the environmental benefits and minimise the costs of this transition, the McGowan Government will develop a Whole of System Plan which will detail how the more co-ordinated power system of the future may look.

The Whole of System Plan will be complemented by a Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap, which will guide the integration of onsite generation (solar panels), battery storage and future technologies such as electric vehicles.

The DER Roadmap will be produced by the end of 2019 and the first Whole of System Plan in mid-2020.

These initiatives will be developed alongside changes to modernise the Wholesale Electricity Market to enhance power system security and improvements to enable new, largely renewable generators to access Western Power's network.

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston:

"Technological change in the energy sector is happening at a rapid pace worldwide.

"In Western Australia, we're blessed with world-class solar and wind resources, abundant gas supply, a wealth of battery metals, and a highly skilled workforce.

"We have a genuine opportunity to lead the way in establishing a cleaner, brighter and more resilient energy supply for decades to come.

"It's clear that the generation mix will continue to change, so it's important we have a whole of system approach to plan for the future."

Source: WA Government

 

Decmil awarded $72m Warradarge Wind Farm balance of plant contract

▪ Decmil expands footprint in the renewables sector with first wind project

▪ Includes design and construction of the civil and electrical balance of plant

Decmil Group Limited (ASX:DCG) (“Decmil” or “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $72 million contract for balance of plant works at the Warradarge Wind Farm in Western Australia.

The contract will be with leading global wind energy company Vestas, with the project located 200kms South of Geraldton. The project will be funded and developed by Bright Energy Investments (BEI) – a partnership between Synergy and the private sector.

Decmil’s scope includes the design and construction of the civil and electrical balance of plant for the 51 turbine wind farm including wind turbine bases, 55km of access tracks, site cabling, switch room and substation. Western Power will construct the transmission line from the wind farm sub-station to the network connection point near Eneabba.

The works will commence immediately and are expected to be completed by September 2020.

Source: Decmil

 

PROJECT NEWS

Hay Solar Farm

Original developer, Overland Sun Farming, is requesting a modification to the development consent for the Hay Solar Farm to allow battery storage on the site. Approval for a 140 MW solar farm 6km north-east of Hay in NSW’s Riverina region was granted by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in December 2017. The developer is now seeking approvals to add a battery storage system which would consist of modular units on pad mounted foundations, located near the proposed on-site substation. The storage system would be containerised and bunded. The storage capacity of the proposed battery system is a maximum of 29 MW & 29MWh, however integration of the BSS into the grid connection and grid network operation means that the final sizing and design of the BSS will be determined in accordance with the requirements of the network service provider and energy market operator. The battery technology type, system size and location would be further refined during the detailed design process. However the most likely battery storage system would be lithium-ion technology, specifically the Tesla Powerpack or similar.

 

Western Plains Wind Farm newsletter

7 March

For the last couple of months Epuron has been working on finalising the development application for the Western Plains Wind Farm. The Community Information Day in September 2018 was an important aspect of this. It has been a great opportunity to get feedback and understand the concerns of the local community.

Finalising Connection Arrangements for the Wind Farm

Finalising arrangements for connection of the wind farm to the Port Latta electricity substation is the main focus of our activities. The Epuron team thanks all of those who have willingly engaged with us in discussion to enable this connection, it is much appreciated.

Completing the connection arrangement will allow the Development Application and Development Proposal and Environmental Management Plan (DPEMP) to be lodged with Circular Head Council and the EPA for assessment.

Community Wind Farm Fund

Epuron recognises that a wind farm is a change to the landscape in which the local community lives. A wind farm also comes with benefits including a boost to the local economy through construction jobs and flow through spending on food, accommodation, fuel and other local services.

We look forward to a discussion with the community about how best to structure this fund – how the committee would be run, how to appoint the members and the kinds of projects it should fund so a charter can be developed.

Source: Epuron

 

Epuron sells 1000MW Liverpool Range Wind Farm to Tilt Renewables

7 March

Epuron is pleased to announce it has today completed the sale of the Liverpool Range Wind Farm project to Tilt Renewables Limited (“Tilt Renewables”).

The Liverpool Range Wind Farm is located approximately 370 km north-west of Sydney between the townships of Coolah and Cassilis in the Upper Hunter Region of New South Wales. The project received Development Consent from the State of NSW for up to 267 turbines in March 2018, and federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act approval in June 2018. When fully constructed, the project could add up to 1,000 MW of new renewable energy generation to NSW and be the largest wind farm project in Australia.

Epuron instigated the development as a green field project, from identification of the site, securing land, developing the site layouts and carrying out detailed site assessment required for development approvals. It is the eighth wind farm successfully developed by Epuron and brings its portfolio of completed wind farm development projects to over 3,000 megawatts.

"We would like to thank everyone we have worked with in the development of the Liverpool Range Wind Farm, including the involved landowners, local community, Community Consultation Committee members, local Councils, government representatives and other stakeholders" said Epuron Executive Director, Martin Poole.

"We look forward to its successful construction in the years ahead, and to seeing a major contribution to clean renewable energy supply into the NSW energy market" said Epuron Executive Director, Andrew Durran.

Together with the Rye Park Wind Farm project, also developed by Epuron, Tilt Renewables now has over 1,300 megawatts of late-stage wind farm development projects in NSW and is well placed to play a major role in helping the State transition to a greater mix of renewable energy generation over the coming years.

“We are delighted to add the Liverpool Range Wind Farm project to our development pipeline and deliver on our vision to be a leading developer and owner of renewable energy generation in Australia and New Zealand” said Deion Campbell, Tilt Renewables Chief Executive.

Tilt Renewables is now responsible for all aspects of the project. Epuron will continue to support Tilt Renewables as it works to progress the project towards construction phase.

Source: Epuron

 

Acquisition of Liverpool Range Wind Farm project

7 March

Tilt Renewables Limited (“Tilt Renewables”) is pleased to announce it has today completed the acquisition of the Liverpool Range Wind Farm (“LRWF”) project from Epuron Pty Ltd.

LRWF is a new wind farm development project located approximately 370 km north-west of Sydney between the townships of Coolah and Cassilis in the Upper Hunter Region of New South Wales. The project received Development Consent from the State of NSW for up to 267 turbines in March 2018, and federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act approval in June 2018. When fully constructed, the project could add up to 1,000 MW of new renewable energy generation to NSW and be the largest wind farm project in Australia.

“We are delighted to add the Liverpool Range Wind Farm project to our development pipeline and deliver on our vision to be a leading developer and owner of renewable energy generation in Australia and New Zealand” said Deion Campbell, Tilt Renewables Chief Executive.

Together with the Rye Park Wind Farm project, Tilt Renewables now has over 1.3 GW of late-stage wind farm development projects in NSW and is well placed to play a major role in helping the State transition to a greater mix of renewable energy generation over the coming years.

Source: Tilt Renewables

 

Array Technologies chosen to equip one of the largest PV plants in Australia

7 March

Array Technologies has been commissioned to supply its award-winning DuraTrack HZ v3 as the tracker of choice for the 333 MW Darlington Point Solar Farm, 50 kilometers south of Griffith, New South Wales. This project, a joint venture between leading Australian renewable energy developer Edify Energy and Octopus Investments, will be one of the largest solar farms in Australia and will provide reliable, clean power to over 115,000 Australian homes annually. The site is expected to begin commercial operations in early 2020.

“We are proud to support Australia’s ambitious effort to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels as well as partner with Edify Energy and Signal Energy on completing one of the largest solar power plants in the country,” says Jeff Krantz, executive vice president of global sales of Array Technologies. “Massive projects, such as this one, require the lowest levelized cost of energy from their tracking technology in order to stack up economically and we are pleased to offer the best solution.”

In addition to the latest landmark project, Array has established itself in Australia as the preferred solar tracker company with 55% market share reported in 2018 by Wood-Mackenize’s Greentech Media. The global tracker firm has supplied over 1.5 GW of technology to Australian solar farms to date.

“We have chosen Array Technologies to supply solar trackers to the Darlington Point Solar Farm because Array delivers an innovative, robust tracking solution that through engineered simplicity, reduces long-term maintenance to deliver the lowest levelized cost of energy for our projects,” said John Cole, chief executive of Edify Energy.

Constructing the project over the next year is Signal Energy Australia. “We are pleased to work with Array Technologies,” said Robbin Russell, general manager of Signal Energy. “Array has been the tracking system partner on more than one gigawatt of solar projects built by Signal Energy over the past ten years.”

A pioneer in the solar industry, Array boasts over 25 GW years of energy production and over 10 GW of solar trackers shipped globally. The Darlington Point Solar Farm is an exciting project for Array’s portfolio and a testament to the maturity of the Australian solar market. Global demand for solar trackers continues to grow rapidly in locations with higher irradiance where solar tracking can deliver 20-25% increased power production. Array’s technology is proven to be a cost-effective solution to maximize solar project returns.

Source: Array Technologies

 

EPA releases revised guidance for proponents on greenhouse gas emissions

7 March

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has revised its guidance on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from significant new or expanding proposals in Western Australia.

The Environmental Factor Guidance – Greenhouse Gas Emissions and EPA Technical Guidance – Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions released today, will help proponents of significant proposals in the State prepare for an environmental assessment by the EPA.

The revised guidelines:

- outline the information required from proponents and how it may be considered by the EPA in its environmental impact assessment;

- set a clear threshold for when greenhouse gas emissions from proposals will be considered by the EPA, and what mitigation measures will likely be required.

EPA Chair Dr Tom Hatton said while the EPA Board recognised the lead role of the Commonwealth Government in relation to Australia’s international obligations on reducing emissions it notes there is a need to clarify and provide greater certainty in the EPA’s consideration of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Over the past two decades the EPA has recommended greenhouse gas abatement measures for around 40 proposals however more needs to be done to limit global warming, consistent with the Paris Agreement,” Dr Hatton said.

“The revised guidance released today clarifies what is required from proponents of significant proposals in the State, to avoid, reduce and offset their impacts and includes a more stringent approach to offsets.

“In the revised guidance the EPA has noted its intention to recommend offsets for proposals with direct emissions above 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum.”

The EPA periodically reviews its guidance documents for environmental impact assessments and has consulted the EPA Stakeholder Reference Group (made up of industry, local government and conservation organisations) in developing its updated guidance.

These guidelines are not statutory, but serve to inform proponents as to the kinds of information they may be required to provide to the EPA during the assessment process. EPA advice and recommendations are considered by Government in authorising major developments in Western Australia.

There will be a transition period to give proponents time to develop and implement their avoidance, reduction and offsetting plans.

To read the guidance documents please click here.

Source: WA EPA

 

Going underground – ACCIONA announces Mortlake South Wind Farm transmission line decision

8 March

ACCIONA has announced its intention to build an underground transmission line for its new Mortlake South Wind Farm, demonstrating its commitment to working closely with communities to deliver tailored local solutions.

The 220 kV transmission line is planned to run approximately 15km from the Mortlake South Wind Farm to the Terang Terminal Station.

The decision was revealed today at a sod-turning event on site, which was attended by the Hon Lily D'Ambrosio MP, Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

Several details including the exact route are yet to be completed, and approvals still need to be granted by relevant stakeholders.

The proposed route will be finalised based on a range of factors including environmental, cultural heritage and engineering considerations aimed at minimising the impact of the wind farm’s construction and ongoing presence.

“It’s more expensive, but it’s the right thing to do for this project,” said Brett Wickham, ACCIONA Energy Australia’s Managing Director.

“We examined various options, and of course are fully aware that existing aboveground transmission lines have caused some angst locally. As our approach is to invest in local areas for the long term and work cooperatively with communities, we felt this decision would be the most appropriate local solution for these specific circumstances.

“I’d like to thank the local community for their ongoing cooperation, and we will provide more updates as the proposal develops.”

Construction works for the site compound at the wind farm have recently begun.

Source: ACCIONA

 

Work starts on the Mortlake South Wind Farm

8 March

Work is underway to build Victoria’s latest wind farm, including a Victorian-first underground transmission line which will set new best-practice for connecting clean energy projects to the national grid.

The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio visited the site south of Mortlake today to announce that construction has commenced on the $275 million, 35-turbine Mortlake South Wind Farm being built by ACCIONA.

The project will create over 90 new jobs during construction, 34 ongoing jobs and will generate enough clean energy to power 115,000 homes each year.

In another win for renewable energy in Victoria, the wind turbine supplier for the project intends to establish a ‘Nordex Regional Hub’ in Victoria which will service Australian, New Zealand and South East Asian markets – creating 20 jobs in metropolitan and regional areas.

ACCIONA will also build an underground transmission line for the wind farm, demonstrating its commitment to working closely with communities to deliver tailored local solutions.

The underground transmission route will be finalised based on environmental, cultural heritage and engineering considerations aimed at minimising the impact of the wind farm’s construction and ongoing presence – a planning permit will be required for the new power line.

ACCIONA is supporting local Portland-based company Keppel Prince Engineering by providing advance orders for the purchase of turbine towers for the project.

The Mortlake South Wind Farm is supported by the Government’s Victorian Renewable Energy Target reverse auction and was one of six successful applicants in last year’s auction.

The Government is increasing Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target to 50 per cent by 2030 – putting more clean energy into the grid, increasing investment and driving down energy prices.

In 2017-18, renewable energy generation accounted for 18.3 per cent of total energy generated in Victoria, up from 11.8 per cent in 2014-15.

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

“This wind farm will create local jobs, reduce greenhouse emissions and generate enough electricity to power more than 115,000 homes — boosting energy supply and bringing down prices.”

“Our energy targets have been the catalyst for unprecedented renewable energy investment and jobs growth in regional Victoria.”

Source: Victoria Government

 

Construction of Kwinana waste to energy plant to create 800 jobs

8 March

- Australia's first thermal waste to energy facility to be built in Kwinana

- More than 800 jobs to be created during construction and 60 positions once operational

- Facility will divert 400,000 tonnes of residual waste from landfill each year and recover as energy

- Up to 36MW of electricity to be exported into the South West Interconnected System, able to power more than 50,000 households

Premier Mark McGowan today joined representatives from Avertas Energy, Macquarie Capital and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund, to turn the sod on Australia's first thermal waste to energy facility.

The project, co-developed by Macquarie Capital and Phoenix Energy Australia, will be the first thermal waste to energy facility in the country and is expected to create more than 800 jobs during construction and 60 positions once fully operational, with the vast majority to be Western Australian jobs.

The new facility will thermally treat the waste and convert the recovered energy into steam to produce electricity.

The Kwinana facility will divert 400,000 tonnes of residual household, commercial and industrial waste from landfill each year and when fully operational, the facility will export up to 36MW of electricity into the South West Interconnected System, sufficient to power more than 50,000 households.

The facility will produce less greenhouse emissions than if the residual waste used went to landfill.

Funding for the project is provided by Macquarie Capital, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and a range of financial institutions.

Construction of the facility has commenced and is expected to be open by the end of 2021.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"Having the country's first thermal waste to energy facility built in Western Australia demonstrates confidence in our economy and shows WA has the capacity to be at the forefront of new technologies for waste management.

"During construction hundreds of local jobs will be created, which will be a huge boost to the local economy and create more opportunities for local workers across a range of trades.

"This is one of those projects that ticks all the right boxes; it creates jobs for local workers, reduces landfill and generates energy that can be used to power our homes."

Source: WA Government

 

Clean energy industry calls for urgent reform to Marginal Loss Factor arrangements

8 March

A comprehensive review of the Marginal Loss Factors (MLFs) arrangements by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is urgently required to avoid unpredictable hits to the financial sustainability of existing and future renewable energy projects, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said many wind and solar developers were coming to grips with reduced economic viability following the release of MLF figures by the Australian Energy Market Operator today.

“The biggest challenge for the industry is that we have experienced significant and unexpected annual decreases in MLFs for the last few years,” Mr Thornton said. 

“MLFs represent the loss of electricity as it travels from power generators along poles and wires to customers. While this is a complex issue, the consequences are simple – an unexpected and unpredictable reduction in the viability of wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy projects across the country.

“The MLF methodology was established over 20 years ago and is no longer fit for purpose. A comprehensive and holistic review of MLFs by the AEMC is imperative, along with considerations of how this volatility could be controlled in the short term. The industry is calling on the AEMC to complete this review as soon as possible.

“The issue also underlines the need for efficient investment in new poles and wires to relieve the strain on the existing network, which is rapidly becoming congested. This remains one of the highest priorities for our industry,” he said.

Mr Thornton said the renewable energy industry attracted tens of billions of dollars in investment last year and had created thousands of jobs, and warned that a strong investment pipeline could be at risk if the issue was not addressed.

“Predicting MLFs into the future is something no-one has been able to do with any accuracy. Consequently the current process introduces risks that are virtually impossible to manage after investment decisions have already been made,” he said.

“This is a major issue for our industry, and we are interested in working with all stakeholders in good faith to address it as soon as possible.”

Source: Clean Energy Council

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