SMA delivers medium voltage power station for the development of Greenough River Solar Farm

31 October

The integration of 8 Medium Voltage Power Stations (MVPS) from SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) into the Greenough River Solar Farm will improve renewable energy development in Western Australia. German founded EPC, juwi Renewable Energy has been appointed to complete the construction of Greenough River Solar Farm – Stage 2 project, with more than 300,000 extra solar PV panels and system technology from SMA installed for the owner Bright Energy Investments (BEI).

“SMA is proud to be part of the second stage development of the project, we are delighted to see the solar market is accelerating in Western Australia,”, said Boris Wolff, the EVP for Business Unit, Large Scale and Project Solutions. “Our MVPS 5000 significantly contributes to Western Australia’s energy development. The expansion of solar farms increases the energy supply to the South West Interconnected System, ensuring to benefit more than 16,000 households.”

“The expansion of the Greenough River Solar Farm will be an important contributor to Western Australia’s energy supply and there has been a lot of hard work to gather the project back together and renegotiate a way forward,” said Mr. Tom Frood, the General Manager of BEI. “The new contract will enable the 30MW expansion to recommence immediately that will be expected to be completed in early 2020.”

Greenough River Solar Farm was built in 2012 as a10MW fixed panel solar farm, which was the first operational large-scale solar plant in Australia. The success of stage 1 development leads to the stage 2 solar farm expansion to 40MW.

The SMA MVPS is built around the industry-leading Sunny Central inverters combined with perfectly adapted medium voltage components. The MVPS 5000 offers a 1,500V DC solution all in a 40-foot container. As an ideal solution for the new generation of PV power plants, the integrated system solution is easy to transport, quick to assemble and commission in any environmental condition. Stage 2 will operate on a NEXTracker single axis tracking system which rotates to follow the sun.

Western Australia receives an average of 8.8 hours of sunlight each day and is recognised as Australia’s sunniest state, its abundance of sunlight holds a great solar energy potential. The Greenough River Solar Farm stage 1 displaces approximately 20,000 tons of greenhouse gas emission, which is equivalent to reducing carbon emission from 3,000 cars on the road.

Source: SMA


OWC opens office in Australia

1 November

With offshore wind plans in Australia moving forward, international engineering consultancy Offshore Wind Consultants (OWC) is setting up an office in Australia.

The International Energy Agency’s recently launched “Offshore Wind Outlook 2019” has identified more than 7,000TWh per year of offshore wind technical potential (roughly 2,000GW of capacity) in waters below 60 meters offshore Australia. The potential adds up to 16,000TWh per year when considering deeper waters. Currently, the most advanced Australian offshore wind project is the Star of the South, which is being developed by Australian headquartered Offshore Energy and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

“With experience from supporting offshore wind developers and investors all over the world, our strategy is to leverage our global expertise via a local presence with deep understanding of local risks. Although a lot of work can be done remotely, we need feet on the ground locally to provide the best possible support to local developers, which is why we are establishing ourselves in Australia,” Will Cleverly, managing director of OWC.

OWC’s main office in Australia will be located in Perth, Western Australia, with a satellite office in Melbourne, Victoria.

Highly experienced master mariner Simon Healy will head up OWC’s operation in Australia. Throughout his career, Healy has held senior management roles in Australia, Singapore, Middle East and West Africa. He has broad experience from offshore operations, including cable installation and maintenance, offshore construction, and offshore supply and logistics, and a deep understanding of the commercial, contractual, technical, HR and HSEQ aspects of offshore operations.

Simon Healy: “OWC has 35 GW of offshore wind experience from involvement in more than 60 projects worldwide. But the company recognises that each project and market bring unique challenges. For example, offshore wind in Australia will bring specific project risks such as industrial relations, environmental compliance and weather downtime, amongst others. All of these have the potential to increase project costs significantly if not managed carefully at an early stage of the project. This is where OWC comes in.”

OWC will also be able to draw upon the marine and offshore competence of sister company AqualisBraemar’s network of specialists in Australasia and the Asia Pacific region.

OWC is an internationally recognised independent engineering consultancy focused on the development and realisation of offshore renewables technology and projects.

Source: OWC



Kentbruck Green Power Hub

Neoen’s proposed 900 MW Kentbruck Green Power Hub, between Portland and Nelson in Victoria, was declared a controlled action by the federal Department of the Environment & Energy and will require assessment under the EPBC Act. The proposal is to construct and operate a wind farm consisting of up to 157 wind turbines, a battery storage facility, transmission line and associated infrastructure. The relevant EPBC Act controlling provisions are Ramsar wetlands, Listed migratory species and Listed threatened species and communities. The project will be assessed under the assessment bilateral agreement with Victoria.


Enernet Global selects Alion Energy Storm Tracker as their exclusive single-axis solar tracker solution for the 62MW Vales Point Ash Dam solar farm

4 November

Enernet Global and Delta Electricity announced that this innovative Australian project would deploy Alion Energy’s fully-ballasted system tailored to maximize solar production on land where traditional pile-driven or screw-piles are not possible, enabling efficient delivery of the utility scale system on the rehabilitated ash dam surface.

“We can construct on sites that no one else can, turning unproductive sites into profit making assets!” says Mark Kingsley, CEO of Alion Energy.

Simon Gamble, Enernet Australia’s Managing Director commented “Enernet Global is pleased to partner with Alion Energy as a key technology provider for the Vales Point project. Our experience in deploying this solution will pave the way for Enernet Global to deliver similar plants in other challenging sites across Australia, including other ash dam sites, mining tailings dams and municipal landfills”.

The Alion Energy Storm Tracker provides major advantages over incumbent tracking technologies, with the main differentiators being:

  • The foundation is a concrete ballasted rail (not a steel pile)
  • The structure is a rigid A-frame with a geared pivot arm and drive line (not a torque tube)

These two differentiators provide many advantages, including but not limited to:

  • An above ground concrete ballasted foundation significantly reduces geotech risk, in this case it keeps the structure out of the corrosive sub-soil ash and provides a design life of 50 years.
  • The concrete rails enable an automated robot to carry out cleaning, inspections and maintenance.
  • The SPOT robot reduces O&M costs and maximizes system production, cleaning up to 13MW per night with a two-person crew
  • The white concrete foundations are perfect for capturing the underside energy from higher yielding bi-facial modules.
  • The A-Frame structure reduces the tracker weight by 50%, which reduces transport costs.
  • The A-Frame geared pivot arm has a unique StormLock™ stow lock-out technology that can withstand winds of up to 105MPH with no oscillation.
  • The >6Hz natural frequency of the structure means it will never gallop in any wind event.
  • With no component more than 11kg, manual handling risks are minimised, installation teams need no heavy lifting equipment and construction employment opportunities are available to a diverse workforce.
  • Individual six-module tables are coupled together for up to 120-module trackers driven by a single slew drive.
  • Coupled tables with rotating universal joints allow for 5% grade change between tables, allowing construction and operation tolerances easily managing undulating sites.
  • Concrete is supplied by a local contractor, this saves months on the construction program, as there is no need to carry out detailed geotech and pile engineering and shipping.
  • Concrete can easily be recycled for road base at the end of the project life, and won’t leave hazardous steel piles in the ground that are costly to remove.

For further information in Australasia or SE Asia, please contact our Regional Sales Director, Aidan Bone at

Source: Alion Energy


Have your say on Walla Walla solar farm

5 November

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is asking for community feedback on a development application for the proposed Walla Walla Solar Farm, 35km north of Albury.

Executive Director, Energy and Resource Assessments, Mike Young, said community input is a vital part of the planning process and encouraged everyone to have their say on the draft plans.

“The Walla Walla Solar Farm is proposed to be constructed on private land approximately four kilometres north east of Walla Walla and approximately 35km north of Albury,” he said.

“The proposed solar farm would consist of about 900,000 solar panels installed across the 605-hectare site.

“The solar farm would have a 300-megawatt (MW) capacity of clean, renewable energy – enough to supply around 112,000 NSW homes and save approximately 635,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum.”

The solar farm would be connected to the electricity network via the existing transmission line that runs parallel to Schneiders Road.

The Department will be holding a community information session regarding proposed solar developments in the region at the Jindera Community Hub, 83 Urana Street, Jindera on Thursday 7 November 2019 from 6pm to 8pm.

Mr Young said the information session is designed to assist the local community to better understand the assessment process and how to make a submission on the proposal.

“We want to hear from the community about their views on the proposal to help us make a thorough and rigorous assessment and ensure any potential impacts to the surrounding area and local residents are considered,” he said.

“Once the exhibition closes on 2 December, the Department will consider all community submissions received, along with advice and feedback from government agencies, including Council.”

For more information:

Source: NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment



Clarke Creek Solar Farm

The federal Department of the Environment & Energy declared Pacific Hydro’s proposed Clarke Creek Solar Farm in central Queensland “not a controlled action” under the EPBC Act. The proposal is for a 350 MW solar farm to be constructed on a development area of ~940ha of rural land of flat to slightly undulating terrain with minimal trees and vegetation. Battery storage is proposed, along with a new 275kV transmission line connection of 6km into the Broadsound Substation.

Warhook Solar Farm

Engie Renewables’ proposed Warhook Solar Farm in Hookswood, near Miles in Queensland, will not require approval under the federal government’s EPBC Act. The proposal is for a 200 MW project located ~11km north east of Miles on an overall land area of 555ha of cleared grazing land 2km from Powerlink’s Columboola Substation. Battery storage units are proposed to be installed as part of solar farm development.


Crookwell rejection goes against the grain

5 November

The refusal of the Crookwell 3 wind farm is a blow to the local Crookwell community but won’t stop wind’s progress in New South Wales, the Australian Wind Alliance said today.

“This is a disappointing decision. It shows the NSW regulations place undue weight on visual amenity at a time when wind farms can be contributing so much to farmers, local communities and clean energy generation,” said Andrew Bray, AWA’s National Coordinator.

It’s a bitter blow for those farmers coping with one of the worst droughts in recorded history who were hoping to find the security of drought-proof income from lease payments.

“The spin-off benefits for local workers, contractors and small businesses is huge from a project like this so for its refusal will disappoint many.

“80% of the neighbours within 2 km signed neighbour agreements in support of the project so it appears the decision has prioritised the views of those further away.

“While this is a blow for Crookwell and the local community, we shouldn’t read too much into it in terms of wind development in the state. This is a closely settled rural area with a number of wind farms already which makes it unique in the state.

“The rest of the state moves forward, with at least 20 projects moving through approvals and construction.

“Just last week an IPC hearing on the White Rock 2 Wind Farm didn’t have a single complaint from the community, suggesting the community is happy with the expansion of that project.

“As drought hits our state hard, we need to be prioritising water-free wind and solar plants over ageing coal plants that guzzle billions of litres of precious groundwater.

“It is imperative the closure of Liddell power station does not slip further beyond its current 2022/23 closure. We have the wind and solar plants ready to replace Liddell and the planning system needs to ensure we have further capacity ready for when additional plants close.

“Wind energy is ready to provide clean energy, jobs and regional investment to New South Wales, yet without proper policy and leadership from both state and federal governments, we won’t move fast enough to capitalise on the inevitable transition to renewable energy.

Source: Australian Wind Alliance


Indicative Marginal Loss Factors: FY 2020-21


In recent years, variations in marginal loss factors (MLFs) have been primarily driven by changes in generation.

With large increases in remote semi-scheduled generation, offsetting traditional scheduled generation, load is increasingly being supplied by generators located long distances from load centres, in electrically weak areas.

This increases losses in the transmission network as well as volatility in MLFs in the remote areas of the network.

This document is intended to provide an early indication to stakeholders of both the potential direction and extent of movement in MLFs across the National Electricity Market (NEM) between the 2019-20 financial year (FY) and the 2020-21 FY. The MLFs published in this document are indicative in nature and form part of AEMO’s strategy to improve transparency around MLFs.

To produce the indicative MLFs in this report, AEMO used inputs from the 2019-20 MLF study with generation profiles updated to reflect committed generation for the 2020-21 FY, as at August 2019. In subsequent MLF publications, historical load data will be replaced with 2020-21 forecasts and network augmentations committed in 2020-21 will be included.

Since changes in generation patterns has been the primary driver of MLF variations in recent years, the indicative MLFs are expected to be reflective of the general movements and outcomes for the 2020-21 FY.

Given the timing of this publication, further new generation projects are likely to become committed prior to or within the 2020-21 FY. These will be included in the 2020-21 MLFs.

Additional generation that becomes committed in remote areas of the network will put further downward pressure on MLFs. The magnitude of any reductions will be highly dependent on the location, capacity, and technology of the additional generation projects.

The NEM continues to undergo an unprecedented and rapid transformation, changing the way in which the power system is operated. AEMO’s 2019-20 Integrated System Plan (ISP) will articulate a whole-of-system development pathway, to design and execute the transformation in a way that maximises benefits to consumers. As part of this pathway, the ISP will recommend critical augmentation of the transmission flow paths which, if implemented, will increase transfer capability and reduce network losses.

The full Indicative Marginal Loss Factors: FY 2020-21 report is available here.

Source: AEMO


Historic day for landmark climate change legislation in New Zealand

7 November

The passing of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill will help ensure a safe planet for our kids and grandkids, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said today.

The landmark legislation which provides a framework to support New Zealanders to prepare for, and adapt to, the effects of climate change delivers on the Government’s Coalition and Confidence Supply agreements, and is a key part of the Government’s plan to tackle the long-term challenge of climate change.

“This is a historic piece of legislation and is the centrepiece for meaningful climate change action in New Zealand”, James Shaw said.

“Climate change is the defining long-term issue of our generation that successive Governments have failed to address. Today we take a significant step forward in our plan to reduce New Zealand’s emissions.

“We as the elected representatives of New Zealanders must take the opportunity to act on climate change before the window closes.

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again.

“The Bill had nearly eleven thousand written and oral submissions. The Committee heard from parents, students, scientists, farmers, academics, health professionals, activists, iwi, local government and many more.

“This Bill belongs to New Zealand, and together we have ensured law that ensures we shift towards a low emissions country that keeps us all safe.

“The budgets provide the pathway towards the 2050 target, and confidence for New Zealanders that we are moving towards a more climate-resilient future.”

The Zero Carbon Act is a key part of the Government’s plan to tackle climate change.

Other initiatives include:

- Strengthening Emissions Trading Scheme and inclusion of agriculture in emissions pricing by 2025

- Planting one billion trees by 2028

- Stopped issuing any new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration.

- Investing in green hydrogen, biofuels with the goal of 100% renewable electricity generation by 2035.

- Proposals to make electric and cleaner cars more affordable.

- Record investments in public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure.

- Establishment of a $100m Green Investment Fund

Source: NZ Government



Jindera Solar Farm

The Greater Hume Council has resolved to adopt the draft submission made in response to the exhibition of the EIS for the Jindera Solar Farm and formally object to the proposed development. Council reviewed the project’s Environmental Impact Statement at an extraordinary meeting held on 6 November 2019 and resolved to formally object to the proposed development for the following reasons:

  1. The development will result in adverse environmental, social and economic impacts for the local community
  2. The proposed development will restrict the ability for Jindera to grow in the direction of the subject land
  3. Concerns in relation to the bushfire risk posed by the development
  4. Loss of high quality agricultural land
  5. Impacts on Native Vegetation and Aboriginal Heritage

Source: Greater Hume Council


Report: Government backing for offshore wind can address climate change and provide a just transition for fossil fuel workers

7 November

The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments are being urged to back the emerging offshore wind sector in a move that could drastically reduce carbon emissions while providing quality jobs for workers who are already being impacted by the transition out of fossil fuel industries.

In a joint report launched by the Victorian Trades Hall Council this morning, unions from the maritime, energy and manufacturing sectors have outlined a series of steps to not only encourage the use of offshore wind to reduce carbon emissions, but take advantage of the emerging industry to diversify the job opportunities for workers and communities which are currently reliant on coal, oil and gas.

Putting the ‘Justice’ in ‘Just Transition’: Tackling inequality in the new renewable economy focuses on the Star of the South project, Australia’s first proposed offshore wind farm which would use 250 turbines between 10 and 25kms off the Gippsland coast to generate up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s electricity.

The report, produced by the Maritime Union of Australia, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, Electrical Trades Union, and Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, outlines the steps required to not only support the development of this emerging sector, but to ensure it delivers positive outcomes to communities reliant on fossil fuel industries.

The report recommends:

  • the Commonwealth establish an energy transition authority to work with states and regions, develop a stand-alone Offshore Renewables Act, and create an agency responsible for facilitating the development of offshore renewable energy in Commonwealth waters;
  • the development of offshore and onshore renewable energy master plans that incorporate assessments of supply chains, procurement and infrastructure;
  • ensuring renewable energy financing, targets, contracts, licensing and approvals require the maximising of local jobs, including planning for direct redeployment of workers from fossil fuel industries;
  • the Victorian Government establish a just transition group to ensure a well-planned energy transition with the best possible social outcomes by formally consulting with relevant stakeholders including trade unions, employers and communities;
  • maximising the social benefit of the Star of the South project by requiring local design, manufacturing, and construction;
  • funding of appropriate training and retraining through local TAFEs, along with minimum apprentice ratios; and
  • maximising the number of jobs available by ensuring good rosters and reasonable hours of work.

Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Luke Hilakari said addressing climate change must be a priority and political leadership is required to ensure workers and communities currently reliant on fossil fuels weren’t thrown on the scrap heap.

“This transition must be managed in a way that ensures workers and their communities are put front and centre, with clear plans to support workers into new, quality jobs in the manufacturing, construction, and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure, when companies make decisions to close businesses,” Mr Hilakari said.

MUA deputy national secretary Will Tracey said Australia already had highly skilled seafarers and offshore oil and gas workers, capable of constructing offshore wind projects.

“Political inaction has seen the decline of Australia’s shipping industry, while the growing shift away from fossil fuels threatens the jobs of skilled workers in the offshore oil and gas sectors,” Mr Tracey said.

“The development of an offshore wind industry gives us the opportunity to transition those highly-skilled workers into the important work of delivering Australia’s clean energy future.”

AMWU Victorian secretary Tony Mavromatis said the implementation of appropriate planning and procurement policies could provide a boon for local manufacturing.

“A renewables sector that relies on bringing in equipment from overseas provides limited economic benefits, but if governments put in place requirements for the use of local content we would see a massive boost in local manufacturing jobs,” Mr Mavromatis.

“By not only fostering the development of offshore wind farms, but actively ensuring these towers and turbines are produced locally, the environmental benefits would be matched by economic and social outcomes.”

Gippsland Trades and Labour Council secretary Steve Dodd said the poorly managed power privatisation and the abrupt closure of the Hazelwood power station and coal mine had a devastating impact on the community.

“The closures in the Latrobe Valley are examples of how not to manage a transition, and we need to learn from those mistakes,” Mr Dodd said.

“But the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, with the support of the Latrobe Valley Authority and the Victorian Government, has been able to train 2,000 workers and help most into new jobs.

“We need to continue this work with the Star of the South project, and show working people that it is possible to undertake major industry reform that puts workers and their communities at its heart by ensuring future low emissions jobs are good union jobs.”

Click here to read the report

Source: Maritime Union of Australia


World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency

Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.

Full report available here

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