SIMEC Energy Australia’s Playford Utility Battery gains Development Approval

1 August

SIMEC Energy Australia, a member of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance, today welcomed Development Approval for the 100MW Playford Utility Battery which will be built just outside of Port Augusta (~ 320km north of Adelaide in South Australia).

Following the submission of a comprehensive Development Application, and subsequent review by the South Australian Government, the South Australian Minister for Planning, the Hon Stephan Knoll MP, has now signed off on the SIMEC Energy Australia Application to build one of the largest batteries in the world.

SIMEC Energy Australia CEO, Mr Marc Barrington, welcomed news of this important next step for the project: “Securing Development Approval is another important milestone in SIMEC Energy Australia’s work to invest US$1Billion to deliver 1GW of vital dispatchable renewable energy to the National Electricity Market.

Delivering this important firming asset into the National Electricity Market, will provide greater stability and enable SIMEC Energy Australia to provide globally competitive energy to our customers. The battery will provide significant benefits for the region and energy users who partner with SIMEC Energy Australia for their energy needs.

This asset is also being considered under the ARENA Advancing Renewables Program. This funding, if realised, will bring this project to life – enabling its delivery – as well as continuing to enhance retail electricity competition within South Australia.”

The Playford Battery has a nominal capacity of 100MW/100MWh, placing it at an equal power output to the Neoen/Tesla Hornsdale Power Reserve battery outside of Jamestown in the north of South Australia. The battery also has the capacity to provide a peak response of 135MW when demand is at its highest. Once energised, the Playford Battery will complement the output of our Cultana Solar Farm and provide several innovative services to the grid which include:

- Market arbitrage: Charging the battery at times of high energy output from renewable sources in the region, including the nearby Cultana Solar Farm, and discharging that energy into the grid at peak times.

- Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS): Providing frequency support to the grid to support system security.

- Fast Frequency Response (FFR): Providing frequency support to the grid, with response times typically quicker than traditional FCAS to further protect users of the national electricity grid and enable new renewable energy generation such as the nearby Cultana Solar Farm.

National Significance, Local Benefits

The Playford Battery will provide greater stability to the grid as Australia transitions to a low carbon economy and will further support the Port Augusta community in their goal to be a leader in renewable energy.

SIMEC Energy Australia expects the project to provide up to 50 jobs during construction and is committed to looking to the local workforce first, in order to fill these positions.

SIMEC Energy Australia will also establish a community benefit fund, which will deliver funding grants throughout the life of the project, through an independent committee.

Environmental Focus

Following on from SIMEC Energy Australia’s environmental focus for the delivery of the Cultana Solar Farm, the Playford Battery has been designed to minimise its environmental impact. The facility has been designed to minimise its footprint and utilises only approximately 3ha of the 8ha of land available.

The SIMEC Energy Australia team will also continue to work proactively with local bodies in completing the project Construction Environmental Management Plan.

Source: SIMEC Energy



Plans unveiled for new solar in Mannum, SA

1 August

Lightsource BP and Golder, the consultancy appointed to undertake environmental planning and community engagement, are hosting a community information event in Mannum, to outline the Lightsource BP proposal to fund, build and operate a solar project on 540 acres of land approximately 3km west of Mannum town centre, SA.Lightsource BP wishes to give residents and interested parties an opportunity to find out more about this proposal and about the company. As well as developing sites, Lightsource BP manages those sites, and as part of that long-term approach, hope to establish a good relationship with its neighbours.

The event will be held at The Barn, Mannum Motel, 76 Cliff Street Mannum on Wednesday 7th August 2019. People can drop in any time between 3pm and 7pm to speak to staff from both companies.

The solar installation would have a capacity of approximately 100MW, generating enough clean and renewable energy to power 34,700 households and save 167,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, the equivalent of removing 60,300 cars from the roads. The construction of the proposed installation would also create around 300 skilled construction jobs in the region, as well as 2 to 3 on-going roles during operation.

Since South Australia has pledged to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2025, the installation Lightsource BP is proposing, and others like it, will make an important contribution to this target.

The proposal design ensures 15ha of native vegetation will be retained and impacts on waterways will be avoided. The solar farm is also designed to allow for sheep grazing beneath and between the rows of panels, preserving an agricultural co-use alongside solar energy generation. Lightsource BP solar installations can also support bee keeping, which may be an additional co-use for the land in the future.

Adam Pegg, Country Manager, Australia at Lightsource BP said:

“We are hosting this information evening to have an open and transparent discussion with residents. It’s an opportunity for us to present our plans, research and further information about our business and have a two- way discussion with residents. During the event, we aim to discuss why the land area has been chosen and the benefits of our proposals.”

Residents can obtain further information on the project, at any time, by calling Hannah Keynes on (08) 8213 2130, or emailing

Source: Lightsource BP


Committed project: Wyalong Solar Farm

2 August

Australian utility scale solar project developer ESCO Pacific is pleased to announce the achievement of the final development milestone for its Wyalong Solar Farm, following acceptance of an Offer to Connect from the local grid operator Essential Energy a few weeks ago. The project is now Committed with AEMO. The 70MWp solar farm will be located at West Wyalong in New South Wales.

The project received planning approval in early 2019 and will create over 200 jobs in NSW. Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said at the time “the West Wyalong solar farm will add to the hub of solar energy projects in the Riverina region, bringing a fresh boost to the economy and diversifying industry for the region”. ESCO Pacific’s Wyalong Solar Farm is expected to power up to 37,500 homes and has the potential to save up to 212,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions once fully operational. Commissioning is due to commence in mid-2020.

The project will build on ESCO Pacific’s strong track record in delivering utility scale solar developments, and will shortly bring the company’s total Australian developments generating or under construction to 566MWp. Most recently, ESCO Pacific developed and managed the financing and construction of the 175MWp Finley solar farm, which has contracted 66% of its output to BlueScope Steel under a long-term power purchase agreement.

ESCO Pacific is currently the asset manager for 353MWp of Australian utility scale solar projects, and has a further pipeline of projects under development totalling in excess of 1GW.

Source: Esco Pacific


Windlab’s Kennedy Energy Park connected and energised

5 August

Windlab Limited (“WND” or “the Company”) today announced that the Kennedy Energy Park project in North Queensland has been connected to the electricity grid and energised. First export of electricity from the energy park is expected in mid-August after a compulsory “hold point zero” period to allow the network operator to conduct background power quality testing.

The project will then commence commissioning and testing, and progressively exporting electricity to the network, initially under a 5MW export limit until AEMO registers the project as a generator in September. Formal commercial operation is expected in Q419.

“We are excited to reach this important milestone in the project” said Roger Price, Executive Chairman and CEO of WND. “Nearly all renewable generators in Australia have found grid connection challenging in the past 18 months. Being the first project to implement both a statcom and synchronous condenser in Ergon’s network has meant Kennedy is no exception.

However, the persistence and technical capability of the WND team has paid off. We look forward to completing the registration and commissioning work over coming months as the project is placed into full service.”

Kennedy Energy Park is the world’s first hybrid wind-solar-battery power plant, jointly developed and owned by Windlab and Eurus Energy Holdings. It is located near Hughenden in North Queensland and comprises 43MW of wind turbines, 18MW of solar panels and a 4MWh battery.

Source: Windlab


Muja Power Station in Collie to be scaled back from 2022

5 August

- ​Staged retirement of Muja Power Station's two C units from October 1, 2022

- The Muja C units are WA's oldest power generators and demand for the two C units has declined dramatically

- Keeping Muja C open is estimated to cost WA taxpayers at least an additional $350 million

- Keeping the two Muja C units open will lead to higher power bills and put stable energy supply at risk

- The two Muja D units, Collie Power Station and Bluewaters will continue to operate

- Synergy providing support for impacted workers, including options for redeployment and reskilling

- McGowan Government establishes Collie-based Industry Attraction Team, in addition to the $60 million Industry Attraction and Development Fund and $20 million Collie Futures Fund to drive economic opportunities and jobs in Collie

The McGowan Government has announced two of four operating units at Synergy's Muja Power Station will be retired from October 2022, to protect against higher power bills for households and ensure the State's electricity supply remains stable.

To keep the two units operating at Muja C beyond these dates would cost Western Australian taxpayers in excess of an additional $350 million. That is at least $350 million added to the State's power bill, and a cost borne by every taxpayer in WA. It is no longer viable to keep the units operating.

The two Muja D units, Collie Power Station and Bluewaters will continue to operate. The retirement of Muja C will ensure Muja D units operate more frequently, increasing their stability and long term viability.

Increasing levels of residential rooftop solar power has reduced the demand for traditional coal-fired baseload power generation in the South West Interconnected System.

Synergy's Muja Power Station is the oldest power station in WA, and the generation output for units 5 & 6 within Muja C continues to decline - they are only being used around 35 per cent of the time.

The reduced demand means the 40 year-old units are not being deployed as designed.  Closing the two C units will allow the two D units to work more often, more efficiently and more cost-effectively.

The high operating costs of Muja C, plus increased maintenance requirements due to the additional cycling of the plant, will force power prices up if it remains open.

It is expected around 30 workers will be affected by the closure of the first Muja C Unit 5 on October 1, 2022. The closure of this unit is expected to have minimal impact on coal production.

A further 40-50 workers will be potentially impacted by the Muja C Unit 6 closing on October 1, 2024.

Synergy has engaged a dedicated Workforce Transition Manager to talk to workers one-on-one about their individual needs.

Workforce transition engagements include assessment of skills, redeployment, upskilling, financial planning support, assistance with job search, training programs and preparation for retirement.

The McGowan Government has appointed a specialist coal advisory team to work with all stakeholders to ensure the stability of the Collie basin.

To attract new industries to Collie, the McGowan Government will establish a Collie-based Industry Attraction Team to attract investment, and work with existing industries to encourage expansion and create local jobs.

The McGowan Government has also created a $60 million Industry Attraction and Development Fund, for large-scale initiatives that will promote economic diversity and jobs in Collie, as well as the $20 million Collie Futures Fund, which is already providing new investment and new jobs in the Collie region.

The McGowan Government is absolutely committed to the future of Collie. More announcements to support Collie's economy and create new jobs will be made soon.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"It no longer makes sense to keep the Muja C units operational. They are expensive to run, and demand for electricity from the units is declining dramatically.

"Keeping them open will lead to higher power bills for Western Australians and put our stable electricity supply at risk.

"However, we also understand that this is a significant issue for workers and the Collie community, and they deserve our support and certainty going forward. We will be working closely with Synergy to ensure all workers impacted by the closure will be supported and options are available, depending on their individual needs and future plans.

"My Government is working hard to create a prosperous future for Collie to diversify the economy and provide new industries for the town, going forward.

"We are absolutely committed to Collie's future having already announced a series of projects to diversify the local economy and create new long-term jobs for local workers. More announcements will be made soon."

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston:

"It is well-recognised a major transformation is underway in the Western Australian energy sector, as the take up of renewable energy and storage technologies increases.

"As a Government, we need to carefully manage this change to keep energy prices down and deliver reliable electricity to Western Australians.

"Synergy will continue to require coal from Collie, and electricity will continue to be generated from Collie coal for many years to come."

Source: WA Government



Finley Solar Farm

First generation to the NEM from the John Laing-owned, 175 MW Finley Solar Farm in New South Wales has been recorded in AEMO dispatch data. The development comprises up to 500,000 modules located ~6km west of Finley within Berrigan Shire. The total project area covers 500 ha, with a development foot-print of up to 385 ha, on three existing farming properties. A 132 kV transmission line connects with TransGrid’s nearby Finley 132kV substation. The project was acquired by John Laing from original developer ESCO Pacific, and construction took around 9 months to complete from financial close.


Construction of WA’s biggest wind farm kicks off

5 August

  • Sod turned and virtual turbines displayed at Yandin Wind Farm
  • $50,000 p.a. community fund launched

A sod turning ceremony today marked the official commencement of construction at the Yandin Wind Farm, Western Australia’s biggest wind farm in the Shire of Dandaragan around 175km north of Perth.

Landowners, community members and project partners gathered at the site for a sod-turning ceremony and high-tech virtual reality experience.

Attendees were invited to visualise the placement and scale of the finished turbines through virtual reality headsets.

Ken Woolley, Alinta Energy’s Executive Director of Merchant Energy, said the event was about celebrating the contributions of project partners, the community and landowners. 

“Today we’re saying thanks to the landowners, local community and others that helped us get to this point. We’re on track to have the wind farm up and running by the second half of 2020.

“Western Australia has some tremendous renewable energy resources, and we believe the Yandin Wind Farm will harness one of the best, if not the best wind resource in the country.

“I’m also happy to announce that we’re about to open up applications for a community fund that will contribute at least $50,000 to projects and groups within the Shire of Dandaragan each year.

“The fund will be split into two rounds a year of $25,000 each, with further details available on the project website,” said Mr Woolley. 

Brent Bailey, CEO of the Shire of Dandaragan, said the sod turning was an important step in the Shire’s plan to make the area WA’s renewable hub.

“The Yandin Wind Farm is a great example of the Shire of Dandaragan’s desire to be recognised as the centre of renewable energy in WA, and it’s terrific to hear the project partners talk about the region’s potential.

“Our aspiration to be the centre of renewable energy in WA is driven by input from our community, so I hopefully speak on their behalf when I say we are looking forward to the project becoming operational. We also welcome contact from other developers who would like to investigate how the Shire can support them to make our vision a reality,” he said.

The 214 MW Yandin Wind Farm will comprise 51 (4.2 MW) turbines. The project is expected to cost approximately $400 million and will generate around 150 jobs during construction. 

Between January and June 2020, over 50,000 tonnes of turbines and machinery will be transported to site. The project will require close to 1 million hours of labour, which will be dedicated to constructing the wind farm to highest standards.

The turbines will only occupy around 0.03% of the project site, which means farming and existing land uses can co-exist.

The high-quality wind resource in the region means the wind farm’s long-term capacity factor is projected to be around 50 per cent, which may be the country’s highest.    

The wind farm will connect to Western Power’s 330 kV electricity network via a new 10 km transmission line and terminal station that will be built, owned and operated by Western Power.

Source: Alinta



Woolooga Solar Farm

Location: Lower Wonga, 25km north-west of Gympie in Queensland

Capacity: 20 MW

Developer: Lightsource BP

LGA: Gympie Regional Council

Status: Development application submitted to Gympie Regional Council

Description: The project will involve the placement of a series of PV panels across the property, a site office, temporary construction area, inverters and potential battery storage area. The temporary construction area will be located close to and with access from the Wide Bay Highway. The project has a total area of 105ha within the Rural Zone.

Contact: Jacqueline Miller

RPS Group

Tel: (07) 3539 9636




Crystal Brook Energy Park

Quote attributable to Garth Heron, Head of Development, Neoen Australia:

Neoen welcomes the news that the Crystal Brook Energy Park has received Development Approval from the South Australian Government. As a hybrid project comprising another large battery, as well as wind and solar generation on a single site, Crystal Brook Energy Park represents the next generation of clean energy in South Australia.

With this project, we look forward to building on the success of the Hornsdale Wind Farm and Power Reserve, which since commencing operations in 2017, has helped to stabilise the grid and saved South Australian consumers over $50 million.

The Crystal Brook Energy Park will further strengthen the grid and generate low-cost and reliable power, ensuring we can keep the lights on and cut electricity bills for South Australian homes and businesses. Changing the role of renewables, from just providing power when available to providing firm power 24-hours a day is essential for long-term sustainability, and this project will the first of its kind to offer that type of power service in Australia.

Neoen builds, owns and operates its projects, and has invested over $1 billion in South Australia to date. As a long-term community stakeholder, we are fully committed to ensuring the economic benefits from the project flow to local residents, workers and businesses. With an investment of around $500 million, Crystal Brook Energy Park will deliver 400 indirect jobs during construction with another 250 throughout the project’s service life, providing lasting investment to the Mid North region.

We are grateful to the many persons who have contributed their support to the achievement of Development Approval, including the Port Pirie Council, involved landholders, neighbours and the community of Crystal Brook. As the project moves forwards, we are committed to ongoing engagement and consultation with all stakeholders and local residents.

Source: Neoen Australia


South Australian wind farms in court over compliance issues during 2016 black out

7 August

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against four wind farm operators for alleged breaches of the National Electricity Rules (NER).

Proceedings have been brought against subsidiaries of AGL Energy Limited (ASX: AGL), Neoen SA, Pacific Hydro Pty Ltd and Tilt Renewables Limited (ASX: TLT) in connection with wind farms they operated in South Australia.

The proceedings concern events on 28 September 2016 when severe weather conditions led to significant damage to South Australian transmission lines causing voltage disturbances. A subsequent loss of wind generation contributed to a State-wide black-out or black system event.

Approximately 850,000 customer connections in SA lost power on the day.

The AER alleges that each of these wind farm operators failed to ensure that their plant and associated facilities at the relevant wind farms complied with their generator performance standard requirement to ride-through certain disturbances.

In addition, the AER alleges that the wind farm operators failed to provide automatic protection systems to enable them to ride-through voltage disturbances to ensure continuity of supply, in contravention of the National Electricity Rules.

“The AER has brought these proceedings to send a strong signal to all energy businesses about the importance of compliance with performance standards to promote system security and reliability” AER Chair Paula Conboy said.

“These alleged failures contributed to the black system event, and meant that AEMO was not fully informed when responding to system wide failure in South Australia in September 2016.”

“Providing timely and accurate information to AEMO is critical in ensuring power system security and the effective operation of the wholesale energy markets,” Ms Conboy said.

The AER is seeking declarations, penalties, compliance program orders and costs.

The AER released an investigation report into the blackout in 2018 and these proceedings are the culmination of a series of detailed actions undertaken since the event.

Source: Australian Energy Regulator



Golden Plains Wind Farm

The federal Department of the Environment & Energy has approved WestWind Energy ‘s proposed Golden Plains Wind Farm with conditions relating to listed threatened species and communities (sections 18 and 18A). WestWind is planning to construct and operate a wind farm of up to 228 wind turbines and associated infrastructure near Rokewood, approximately 40km south of Ballarat, Victoria. At last report WestWind was working on the detailed project design, including commencing the grid connection application process, and was in the final stages of selecting a preferred turbine supplier.


Legal action against wind farms disappointing and distracting

7 August

The decision by the Australian Energy Regulator to pursue court action against wind farm operators in South Australia is disappointing and will reignite misleading claims that wind farms were responsible for the events in 2016 following a once-in-50-year storm, the industry’s peak body said today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the state-wide blackout in South Australia was the result of freak weather which caused a vast range of problems, including more than 20 huge electricity pylons which bent in half like paperclips.

“There were tens of thousands of lightning strikes and a series of mini tornadoes during the storm which ultimately plunged the SA grid into an unprecedented situation,” Mr Thornton said.

“Previous investigations by the regulator found a high level of compliance by market participants under these extreme circumstances. New rules for the operation of wind farms were developed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) following the event, but they were operating as directed during the event, with a lot of extraordinary factors at play. This AER court action relates to highly technical and complex wind turbine settings.

“The wind industry has been working closely and constructively with the market operator and regulators to refine the operational settings of these plants. It is therefore unfortunate and disappointing that the AER has now chosen to pursue court action,” he said.

Mr Thornton said it remained unclear what – if anything – would be achieved by the court action.

“In its own investigation into the incident, the AER noted the commitment from all the wind farms involved to work together to restore power, then investigate the incident and take all appropriate steps to learn from it and stop it happening again. Given the remarkable nature of the storm and the incident, we supported this course of action.

“However today’s court proceedings now create unnecessary tension between those who are there to oversee the system and those who are acting in good faith to ensure its integrity,” he said.

Source: Clean Energy Council


Risen Energy (Australia) has achieved an unprecedented 120MW of rooftop panels sales in the last 12 months            

8 August

Risen Energy (Australia) announced that the company has achieved 120MW of rooftop panels sales in the last 12 months, attaining the highest jump in sales in a one-year period for the company. There is an expectation that this number will grow at a rapid rate in the following years. This is a phenomenal outcome, considering that they only achieved 1MW of module sales in 2014, and 20MW of sales for the same period in the previous year (August 2017 to August 2018).

Due to Risen (AU)’s growth in solar module sales, they are currently top 3 in the distribution market for rooftops, accounting for approximately 10% of Australia’s rooftop market share.

Eric Lee, General manager of Risen (AU) said that these numbers demonstrate the company’s intention to became a key player in the industry and their increasing popularity in the Australian market. “Given our huge sales growth the past year, we are confident that we will continue to grow not just in the upcoming years, but in the long run as well”, said Mr Lee.

Mr Lee adds that there are also plans to invest in renewable energy projects totalling over 2GW in Australia and the company will continue to expand in the energy storage sector.

Source: Risen Energy (Australia)


Photon Energy reports 17.6% revenue growth and positive results in 2019Q2

8 August

- Revenues increased by 17.6% to EUR 7.941 million and EBITDA growth by 3.8% to EUR 3.515 million

- New Projects of 16.3 MWp Acquired; 50 MWp Target in Hungary Increased to 75 MWp by 2021

- 15.8 MWp of PV power plants under construction in Hungary and Australia

Photon Energy N.V. (WSE: PEN, the 'Company') today announced financial results for its second quarter ending on 30 June 2019. Consolidated revenues increased by 17.6% to EUR 7.941 million, delivering an EBITDA of EUR 3.515 million, up 3.8% year-on-year. Both net profit and total comprehensive income returned to the black in 2019Q2 compared to losses in the corresponding period in 2018.

The Company attributed the 17.6% (YOY) increase in revenues primarily to the increase of electricity production sales and the expansion of its proprietary portfolio of PV power plants in Hungary by 11.6 MWp, the engineering business in Australia, and PV technology trading. Production reached 14.5 GWh (up 36.8% YOY) in the second quarter compared to 10.6 GWh in the corresponding quarter last year.   

Despite increased project development costs and increases in administrative and personnel expenses, EBITDA was still able to be improved by 3.8% YOY to EUR 3.515 million, while EBIT improved by 3.6% YOY to EUR 1.523 million. Net profit reached EUR 0.208 million compared to a loss of EUR 0.155 million and the total comprehensive income reached EUR 0.664 million after a loss of EUR 1.274 million in the prior-year period.

In the reporting period, the Company continued to expand its project pipeline in Hungary by acquiring 13 new projects with a total capacity of 16.3 MWp. An additional four new projects with a combined capacity of 2.8 MWp were added after the reporting period, reaching the target of 50 MWp for the Company's proprietary portfolio. Due to the potential of the Hungarian market, management decided to increase its target to 75 MWp to be built by the end of 2021.

In Hungary, the Company commenced the construction of 16 projects with a total capacity of 11.2 MWp in the locations of Fertőd, Monor and Taszár. All projects are expected to be built and grid-connected by the end of 2019. In Australia, the Company successfully completed the construction of 20 out of 30 rooftop installations for the supermarket chain ALDI Stores Australia with a capacity of 99 kWp each. The 10 remaining store rooftop projects and the rooftop PV installation for the chain's distribution center, a capacity of 1.6 MWp, are still under construction.

“We are pleased to see the continued growth of our business in the second quarter of 2019, whether it is in project development works and new acquisitions   or in advanced engineering works for the company's proprietary portfolio of PV power plants and third-parties. Looking forward, we believe that 2019 will be another successful year as some of our Australian utility-scale projects reach the ready-to-build stage and our Hungarian projects drive the growth of our proprietary portfolio and, consequently, of our recurring high-margin revenues in the future,” said Georg Hotar, CEO of Photon Energy N.V.

Source: Photon Energy



Wahroonga Solar Farm

Location: Approximately 5.5km east-north-east of Narromine, NSW

Capacity: 6.05 MW DC/5 MW AC

Developer: ITP Development

Estimated cost: $6.6mil

LGA: Narromine Shire Council

Status: On public exhibition from 31 July 2019 to 14 August 2019

Description: The proposed development involves the construction and indefinite operation of a 5 MW solar farm and two inverter stations, security fencing, and a temporary car parking area for 40 vehicles. The total site area is ~32.3ha currently used for agriculture, with ~15.6ha used for development. There are proposed to be 15,708 solar modules installed in 88 rows, using single-axis tracking. Two 2.5 MW AC inverter stations will be installed at the solar farm. Grid connection via a 22kV feeder into the Narromine Substation. Project referred to Western Region Planning Panel.

Contact: Mishka Talent

Portfolio Manager

ITP Development

Tel: (02) 6257 3511



Winds of change for renewable energy future

8 August

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has officially opened one of Queensland’s largest wind farms – another major step towards a cleaner, renewable energy future for the state.

Annastacia Palaszczuk was joined by Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham, Member for Cook Cynthia Lui and owner-operators RATCH-Australia and other dignatories at the Mt Emerald Wind Farm around 50 kilometres south west of Cairns.

The Premier said the $400 million project involving 53 massive turbines was part of the renewable energy boom happening in Queensland.

“Queensland has more than 2400 megawatts of large‑scale renewable energy capacity operating already. Almost 900 megawatts more of large-scale renewable capacity is currently financially committed or under construction,” the Premier said.

“Together, these projects represent more than $5 billion in capital investment and more than 4500 constructions jobs in regional Queensland.

“The Mt Emerald Wind Farm will supply 500 million kilowatt hours of renewable electricity every year, which is enough to power 80,000 homes a year, the equivalent to supplying about one third of the Far North’s energy needs.

“Construction has also boosted the local economy with around $66 million of direct investment into the Far North, about 200 positions filled by local workers and 20 businesses in the region winning contracts.”

Dr Lynham said Mount Emerald Queensland was leading the way in transitioning towards a cleaner energy future.

“The Mt Emerald Wind Farm helps to support our energy demands, our renewable future, our economy, the local communities here and the people of Far North Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.

“This is just another step towards meeting the Government’s commitment of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050.”

The wind farm has a long-term contract to supply electricity to Ergon Retail and is connected to the electricity grid via a new substation owned and built by Queensland’s publicly-owned transmission operator, Powerlink.

Anthony Yeates, EGM for Business Development, RATCH-Australia said they were very proud of the spectacular wind farm which completed commissioning over the last year.

“It’s now generating a significant quantity of safe, clean, renewable electricity for North Queensland,” he said.

“It’s a chance for us to say thanks to all the people and companies who have helped us deliver this project, including our development partners, construction contractors, suppliers, and the many others who played a part in delivering the state’s largest renewable energy project.

“We’re thrilled with the way local people have embraced the wind farm and look forward to the project contributing to Queensland’s energy transition for many years to come.”

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said as well as boosting the local economy during construction and now contributing to the region’s renewable energy needs, it was great to see Ratch-Australia continuing to support the local community.

“RATCH-Australia is donating $200,000 to support local causes every year of the working life of the turbines,” Ms Lui said.

“The Community Benefit Fund, overseen by an independent panel of local residents, is sponsoring local projects improving the quality of life in the communities.”

The list of recipients from the first round of applicants:

- Atherton Cricket Association

- Biboohra State School

- Helpful Hearts community project

- Kairi State School P&C

- Malanda Bowls Club

- Mareeba and District Pony Club

- Mount Molloy State School

- Tolga State School P&C, and

- Walkamin State School.

Source: Queensland Government


Port Pirie officially opens

8 August

Today, 8 August 2019, was the official opening of the Pirie Solar Farm in Pirie, South Australia.

MPower is proud to celebrate the completion of this new 6.1MW solar farm together with Renew Power Group.

Over 17,000 solar panels with single axis tracking technology will produce enough electricity to power over 1,700 homes. This project demonstrates the continued rise of decentralised power generation and the growing emergence of renewable energy in Australia’s energy mix.

Source: MPower


ib vogt commences EPC works for Sebastopol solar farm

8 August

ib vogt GmbH ‘ib vogt’, a leading global developer and EPC contractor of utility scale solar projects today announced that it has executed a grid connection agreement with Essential Energy for its 109 MWp Sebastopol Solar Farm in the Riverina, New South Wales (NSW). ib vogt is pleased to announce commencement of early EPC design works at the Sebastopol site, marking its first project in NSW.

Located approximately 17km south of the town of Temora and 350km South West of Sydney in NSW, the project will connect into an existing 132 kV powerline and will create significant employment opportunities during the construction and operation phase of the solar farm.

The Sebastopol project was granted planning consent by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in February 2019, with no objections received.

Simon Kerrison, Director Project Development at ib vogt commented “ib vogt would like to thank Temora Shire Council, Junee Shire Council and the local community for their ongoing support for the project. Further updates will be provided soon.”

Source: ib vogt



Templers Battery Energy Storage System

RES Australia Pty Ltd (RES) proposes to develop a battery energy storage system (BESS) project, north of Adelaide at Templers. The BESS Project (Project) is located approximately 3.5 km west of Freeling and 54 km north of Adelaide within the Light Regional Council. The proposed Project will utilise lithium-ion battery technology in a containerised solution. The Project will deliver 30 MW/30 MWh of energy storage capacity which equates to a maximum output of 30 MW for one hour and will connect directly to the Templers substation, located on the adjoining land to the west. The proposed facility will comprise of a series of containers which will store the batteries, converters, transformers, switch room, carparks, and temporary construction laydown area.

The Project will be able to strengthen the State’s electrical system and increase power supply during peak periods. These benefits to system reliability and affordability will endure over the long-term given an asset life of at least 15+ years.

The total development footprint is approximately 1.5 ha within a single parcel of freehold land. The property is currently used for cropping and livestock grazing and is relatively degraded with small areas of native vegetation to the west of the Project site and some trees along the roadside verges.


Liddell Taskforce to address reliability and power prices

9 August

The Morrison Government, with the Berejiklian Government, has today announced the establishment of a Commonwealth-led taskforce to consider options to deal with AGL’s announced closure of the Liddell Power Station in NSW in 2023.

The Liddell Taskforce will look at all potential impacts of Liddell’s closure, options for extensions or like-for-like replacement, and ensure affordable and reliable energy for NSW families and businesses.

AGL’s decision to extend operations at the Liddell Power Station until April 2023 is a good short-term announcement.

The extension will ease tightness in supply over the next three summers, however the Morrison Government remains focused on the real challenge of ensuring enough reliable affordable generation to meet demand post 2023.

The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments are acting to ensure there is no repeat of the impact on the National Electricity Market following the premature closure of the Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria.

The closure of Hazelwood saw a significant increase in power prices and has greatly impacted the Victorian energy grid and the National Electricity Market more broadly.

Following the formal establishment of the taskforce within the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy one of the first steps was to invite the Berejiklian Government to participate.

Liddell has played an important role in maintaining the reliability of electricity supply in NSW for over 40 years, and it is important for governments to work together constructively on future energy supply and security.

The Liddell Taskforce will engage with a range of industry stakeholders and work with all levels of government, with a report and recommendations expected to be delivered by late 2019.

The Liddell Taskforce is part of the Morrison Government’s continued commitment to improve the affordability, reliability and security of Australia’s energy systems.

Source: Federal Government



Turitea Wind Farm

Pre-construction work started for Mercury NZ’s 119 MW Turitea Wind Farm in the Tararua Ranges near Palmerston North. The anchor cages steel work for the wind turbine foundations are being manufactured for contractor Vestas, meteorological masts have been ordered, and orders are being placed for long lead items such as the main transformer, turbine towers, wind turbine nacelles and hubs, wind turbine blades. Large equipment is expected to start arriving on site from late January 2020. Lead contractors Vestas and Electrix, as well as various sub-contractors, are preparing to mobilise to the project site.


AEMO Q2 market wrap: demand down, emissions down, generator outages up, gas supply up, prices remain high

9 August

AEMO’s latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics tracks the continuation of key trends and new records in Q2 2019, highlighting generator outages, weather conditions, distributed energy resources and the arrival of new projects as key drivers of market outcomes for the quarter.

Wholesale electricity and gas prices remained high compared to Q2 2018, up 8% in the National Electricity Market (NEM) despite a large increase in solar photovoltaic (PV) generation, and 16% across east coast gas markets. Wholesale electricity prices were influenced by a reduction in brown coal – 573 megawatts (MW) less than Q2 2018 due to increased planned and unplanned outages – as well as hydro generation, and higher gas prices.

NEM average operational demand was 362 MW lower than in Q2 2018, with demand reductions across all regions. Factors included increased rooftop PV conditions and mild weather in Sydney and Melbourne.

South Australia set a new Q2 minimum demand record at 1330 hrs on 27 April 2019, when operational demand dropped to 749 MW. At this time, rooftop PV contributed approximately 600 MW of output. South Australia also surpassed its Q2 maximum demand record at 1830 hrs on 24 June 2019, when operational demand reached 2,564 MW.

NEM emissions for the quarter fell to the lowest on record, driven by low brown coal-fired generation, increased variable renewable energy (VRE) output, and lower NEM demand.

Between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019, average large-scale wind and solar generation increased 47%, making up 10% of the supply mix compared to 7% in Q2 2018. Over the quarter, new projects representing almost 1,500 MW of capacity (including 1,020 MW wind and 427 MW solar) came on line, with almost 50% of new capacity located in Queensland.

Q2 2019 east coast gas production increased compared to Q2 2018 (+5%) and Q1 2019 (+5%), resulting in record high east coast gas production over financial year 2018–19. Meanwhile the quarterly-average gas price of $10.48/gigajoules (GJ) in Adelaide’s Short-term Trading Market (STTM) for 2019 represents the highest on record for that market.

Over in the west, compared to Q2 2018, the Wholesale Electricity Market electricity supply mix showed a 56% increase in wind output, while coal and GPG both decreased by 7%. Compared to Q1 2019, prices in the Balancing Market increased by 3%, while prices in the day-ahead Short-Term Electricity Market reduced by 10%. Additionally, the number of high Balancing Prices increased by 34% with a maximum price of $292.68/MWh.

For more in-depth information and analysis about energy market dynamics, trends and outcomes over the last quarter, download the AEMO Quarterly Energy Dynamics Q2 2019 report.

Source: AEMO

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