Summerhill solar farm to be built with CEFC finance

28 February

Newcastle City Council has secured a $6.5 million loan from Australia's Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to help build the region's biggest solar farm.

The five-megawatt installation west of the city at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre will significantly reduce Council's annual $4 million electricity bill, after it doubled in the past two years.

The solar facility -- construction on which is expected to begin in June -- will save the city around $9 million over its 30-year life after construction and operational costs are factored in.

The installation's 14,500 panels will be built by international property and infrastructure group Lendlease, with most of the finance lent through the CEFC’s Local Government Finance Program, which offers councils flexible and competitive fixed rate, long-term finance.

"I'd like to thank the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for its incredible support of the City of Newcastle's sustainability charter," Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

"The solar farm will produce enough energy to run the equivalent of 1,300 households, which promises significant environmental returns for ratepayers and millions of dollars in savings on electricity costs.

"We are building sustainability into everything we do after reiterating our commitment last year to generate 30 per cent of our electricity needs from low-carbon sources and cut overall electricity usage by 30 per cent by 2020.

"Increasing our renewable energy capability and finding more energy-efficient solutions is an integral part of our long-term vision to become a smart, liveable and sustainable city."

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “We are delighted to work with Newcastle City Council on this landmark project, and to see its exciting transition to a sustainable city of the future.

“Councils across Australia administer a vast network of streetlights, community centres, libraries, sport and recreation facilities and other public access buildings. Newcastle is leading the way in financing a solar farm through the CEFC to help it manage the energy costs of these facilities.

“We encourage other councils to also invest in clean energy, which can free up council finance for other community-enhancing projects while locking in longstanding environmental and economic benefits for their communities.”

Council received development approval for the $8 million project from the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) last month, and preliminary works are now underway at Summerhill.

Lendlease is teaming up with renewable energy specialists Energy Made Clean (EMC) to design and build the facility.

It will cover an area of around five football fields between Summerhill's entry road and construction-waste area, on a capped landfill site that was once part of the Wallsend Borehole Colliery.

The winning tender to build the farm was selected following an expression of interest process that attracted 18 submissions from around the world.

Electricity generated will flow into the nearby Ausgrid substation to offset electricity used at Council facilities across the local government area.

The solar farm builds on one of Australia's most advanced renewable energy setups at a waste facility -- with a 2.2megawatt landfill gas generator and a small wind turbine already located at Summerhill -- and paves the way for future battery storage and electric garbage trucks.

Newcastle City Council recently joined the Cities Power Partnership, a Climate Council program in which cities and towns pledge key actions to reduce their climate impact.

Summerhill's solar farm and eight other solar installations - on the rooftops of Newcastle City Council buildings including an art gallery, museum, works depot and libraries - are part of actions endorsed.

Others actions include promoting more sustainable ways to travel, by providing cycling infrastructure and electric-vehicle chargers, and installing energy-efficient LED lighting.

The Newcastle project reflects the CEFC’s goal to invest $1 billion over 10 years to accelerate clean energy and energy efficient technology solutions in cities and the built environment, through its Sustainable Cities Investment Program.

Source: Newcastle City Council


Construction of 112 MW solar farm to boost Sunraysia economy

5 March

The Mildura region’s reputation as a solar powerhouse is set to strengthen further, with work to begin on the 112 MW Karadoc solar farm this month.

Global renewable energy developer BayWa r.e. has awarded Beon Energy Solutions (Beon) the contract to design, construct and commission the large-scale solar farm, which will use solar tracking to increase energy production.

Today, Beon held a public forum to provide information to job seekers, with construction expected to create up to 300 jobs for the region during the construction phase.

The regional investment, and subsequent benefits to small and medium businesses, will provide a significant boost to the economy of Victoria’s north-west.

The Karadoc solar farm, to be located 20km south of Mildura, will comprise more than 340,000 solar panels. Completion is due late 2018.

Beon’s General Manager, Glen Thomson, said being awarded the contract to build the solar farm highlighted BayWa r.e’s confidence in Beon’s capability to deliver the project. The two companies having developed a strong relationship working on previous projects together including the 20 MW Hughenden solar farm in north-west Queensland.

“Beon is proud to partner – and expand on our relationship – with BayWa r.e on the construction of the Karadoc solar farm,” Mr Thomson said.

“BayWa r.e.’s commitment to the Karadoc solar farm demonstrates that utility-scale solar farms have a big future in the Mildura region, which will lead to significant short-term and ongoing regional development opportunities while helping to achieve Australia’s renewable energy target.”

The region is known as Victoria’s premier solar location, with Bureau of Meteorology statistics that indicate the area has Victoria’s highest solar exposure and highest average sunshine hours.

“The Mildura City Council, and neighbouring communities, are about to see the full benefit of this investment in a region that has long been touted as a high quality solar electricity generation project area,” Mr Thomson said.

“Their persistence and commitment to attracting large-scale renewable projects to the region is paying off.”

Daniel Gäfke, Managing Director of BayWa r.e. Solar Pte Ltd. said: “Karadoc is one of the largest solar farms developed by BayWa r.e., and highlights our ability to design and deliver major projects anywhere in the world. Our relationship with Beon goes from strength-to-strength and follows the successful partnership on the 20 MW Hughenden solar farm in north-west Queensland.”

Source: Beon


Leeton Solar Farm community information session - Thursday 15th March

5 March


Photon Energy has been building large utility connected green-field solar power plants since 2007. Photon Energy is currently seeking to construct a 30 MWp solar farm in Leeton which will deliver renewable electricity for the region. The solar farm will be located approximately 1.6 km from Leeton’s town centre and will cover area of 37 hectares.

The energy generated would be supplied to the energy grid and is expected to provide enough electricity to supply over 10,000 homes.

Photon Energy is committed to working with the Leeton local community and encourages local business to become involved with the project. In conjunction with Leeton Shire Council, Photon Energy will host an information session for interested suppliers and contractors of the project.

This invitation is an opportunity to hear more about the Leeton Solar Farm Project and ask any questions you may have in regards to the project and EOI process.

Session details are as follows:

Thursday 15 March 2018

4.00pm - 5.30pm

Leeton Shire Council Chambers,

23-25 Chelmsford Place, Leeton

To find out more about the project or for more details on the information session please contact Robert Ibrahim of Photon Energy on 0423 688 337 or email

Source: Leeton Shire Council


Stockland powers up in New South Wales with significant solar retail roll out

5 March

Stockland is continuing to roll out the country’s largest property solar project, with its investment set to total $10 million across its NSW shopping centres in Western Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra.

Once complete, more than 17,000 solar panels will be installed on the rooftops of five Stockland shopping centres statewide, spanning Merrylands and Wetherill Park in Western Sydney to Maitland, Shellharbour and Nowra in the regions.

Combined, these installations will generate enough energy to power more than 1,305 homes each day for a year.1

NSW Minister for Resources & Energy, The Hon. Don Harwin MLC, joined Stockland Group Executive & CEO Commercial Property, John Schroder, at Stockland Wetherill Park today to inspect the largest rooftop solar project in Western Sydney.

John Schroder, Stockland Group Executive and CEO of Commercial Property, said: “Our Wetherill Park solar system has already generated 1.379 million kilowatt hours of energy since it was installed last summer.

“That’s around a quarter of the centre’s annual base building power and enough to power 223 homes every day.”

“Investing in technology like solar is not just good for the environment, it also makes good business sense. Several studies across the globe have demonstrated that green retail town centres are cheaper to operate and can result in increased customer spending.”2

Stockland is the most significant investor in rooftop solar in the country, with a $23.5 million national investment – Australia’s largest ever property solar project, announced last year.3

Once complete, the project is expected to produce 17.2 GWh of energy every year, the equivalent to driving an electric car around the world 2,381 times.

Paul Peters, Verdia CEO, said: “As Stockland’s delivery partner, our value is in accelerating and de-risking the program to generate savings as soon as possible. In just 12 months, we will install more than 10MW of solar PV across Stockland centres in three states.”

John Schroder continues, “We’re extremely proud to be setting a new standard in solar for retail and for NSW, helping create sustainable energy for our retailers, our customers and the communities we operate in.

"We believe in solar as a major part of the mix for Australia’s future energy needs and that our investment is an important step within the large scale commercial property arena.”

Stockland owns and manages the most Green Star (Design & As Built) rated shopping centres in Australia, and already has more solar panels installed across its assets than any diversified property company listed in Australia.

  1. Includes existing and future panel installations, which combined are expected to generate 7.725 million kwh of energy each year.
  3. Stockland’s solar installations at Stockland Green Hills and Stockland Merrylands form part of this national investment roll out

Source: Stockland


A record year for small-scale solar

6 March

Australia has cemented itself as a world leader in the use of rooftop solar with yet another record for installed capacity.

Figures released today by the Clean Energy Regulator show that there was more than 1057 megawatts of capacity installed last year, beating the previous record of 1035 megawatts set in 2012.

This brings the total installed small-scale capacity in Australia to more than 6000 megawatts.

Australia has the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world. One in five Australian homes has rooftop solar and an increasing number of small businesses are making the most of the financial and environmental benefits of solar.

The Clean Energy Regulator predicts 2018 will see at least another 1000 megawatts of capacity added to Australian rooftops.

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme provides financial incentives for households and businesses to install renewable energy systems to reduce their reliance on the electricity grid and reduce their emissions.

Earlier this year, the Clean Energy Regulator announced the Renewable Energy Target will be met thanks to more than $12 billion of investment in large-scale projects.

Whether it be small or large-scale projects, there continues to be record breaking level of investment in renewable energy under the Turnbull Government.

Investment in renewables is part of the Turnbull Government’s technology neutral approach to delivering a more affordable and reliable energy system.

Source: Federal Government


Construction starts on BayWa r.e.’s, and one of Australia’s, largest solar farms to date

7 March

BayWa r.e., a global renewable energy developer, service provider and wholesaler, has started construction on the 112 MW Karadoc solar farm on the outskirts of Mildura, in North Western Victoria.

The 664-acre solar farm is being built by Melbourne based Beon Energy Solutions (Beon) and will comprise more than 340,000 solar panels and incorporate solar tracking to increase energy production. Construction is expected to take 10 months with energy generation due to begin at the end of 2018. Once completed, it will be one of the largest solar farms in Northern Victoria, producing enough electricity to power 110,000 homes.

Daniel Gäfke, Managing Director of BayWa r.e. Solar Pte Ltd. said: “Karadoc is one of the largest solar farms developed by BayWa r.e., and highlights our ability to design and deliver major projects anywhere in the world. Our relationship with Beon goes from strength-to-strength and follows the successful partnership on the 20 MW Hughenden solar farm in north-west Queensland. With a Power Purchase Agreement signed with an off-taker who will utilise over a third of Karadoc’s output, we are excited to be playing a prominent role in Australia’s renewable energy transition.”

Enabling works started at the end of last year and BayWa r.e. has already self-financed and constructed the 4km grid connection. Once the solar farm is complete, BayWa r.e will continue to provide ongoing operations and maintenance to ensure the plant continues to operate at peak efficiency.

Beon’s General Manager, Glen Thomson, added: “Together with BayWa r.e, Beon has been working closely with Mildura Rural City Council on plans for Karadoc, and we are delighted the project is being so well received by the local community. During construction, Karadoc will have a peak workforce of around 300 people.

The regional investment, and associated benefits to small and medium businesses this represents, will provide a significant boost to Vicotoria’s north west economy.”

Since entering the Australian market, BayWa r.e. is now active in solar and wind project development and the solar installer wholesaler market. BayWa r.e. currently has three wind projects underway and a further three solar projects, which includes the 106 MW Yatpool solar farm in Northern Victoria, sister project to Karadoc.

Source: BayWa r.e.


University of Adelaide lighting up Roseworthy campus with renewables

7 March

The University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy campus is closer to generating, supplying and storing nearly half its energy needs thanks to $780,000 from the State Government’s $150 million Renewable Technology Fund.

The funding will support the installation of a $1.56 million 0.5MW/2MWh battery storage system and increase the benefits of a $4.2 million 1.2MW solar project that will supply more than 40 per cent of Roseworthy’s annual energy needs.

The project is part of the University’s Campus Sustainability Plan, towards which it is investing $14.4 million over the next three years.

The University of Adelaide is ranked in the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide and a member of the Group of Eight, making it one of Australia’s leading research universities.

The project will create up to 23 jobs during construction of the solar and battery storage and one ongoing position, while the University will perform three research projects each year connected to the energy storage system for the next three years.

It will also assist the University to include topics such as remote-energy management, energy storage and load flex in various tertiary education courses.

The $150 million Renewable Technology Fund was established in March 2017 to support further integration of renewable technologies, fast-track South Australia’s energy transformation and improve electricity market competition.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to improve energy sustainability at our Roseworthy campus. This is part of a suite of emissions reduction projects under the University’s Campus Sustainability Plan,” says University of Adelaide Chief Operating Officer Bruce Lines.

“The installation of a state-of-the-art battery storage system in addition to our solar energy project at Roseworthy campus will greatly reduce our reliance on grid electricity, and builds on an existing commitment towards the Carbon Neutral Adelaide program.

“The saving on the grid will be like switching off the power at more than 370 Adelaide homes for an entire year – so it’s a major saving. It will also help us to test the performance and reliability of battery storage technology in hot, dry conditions, which will benefit industry and the community,” says Mr Lines.

“The University of Adelaide is one of the world’s leading research institutions, and the State Government is pleased to help it contribute to South Australia’s world-leading reputation in renewable energy and storage technology,” says Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis.

“This is a great example of a project that will lower electricity costs by pairing solar panels with batteries on a large scale.

“Renewable energy projects like this one at the University of Adelaide also reduce demand on the grid during peak times, which puts downward pressure on power prices for all South Australians,” says Minister Koutsantonis.

Source: University of Adelaide


New Project

Hanging Rock-Nundle Renewable Energy Hub

Developer: Wind Energy Partners

Capacity: 98 turbines

Location: Nundle, NSW

Expected cost: $600mil

Description: Proposed development for up to 98 wind turbines along 20km of ridgeline from Handing Rock to Crawney, south east of Nundle.


World's largest solar and wind powered hydrogen plant to be developed in SA

7 March

Neoen has been awarded an initial $1 million grant from the State Government's Renewable Technology Fund to finalise its plans for a SOMW electrolyser facility at its proposed wind and solar farm at Crystal Brook.

A further $4 million grant and $20 million loan has been awarded to support construction of the project, which is subject to development approvals.

The Hydrogen Superhub, set to be the largest co-located wind, solar and hydrogen production facility in the world, represents an investment by Neoen of up to $600 million into South Australia and will create about 260 jobs during planning and construction and about 40 ongoing positions.

The facility is projected to produce up to 20,000kg of hydrogen per day with renewable hydrogen product offtake arrangements to be finalised during the planning phase. The scale of the proposed Hydrogen Superhub opens the opportunity for South Australia to export renewable energy in the form of hydrogen products to emerging markets in Asia.

This project follows the release of the Hydrogen Roadmap for South Australia in September last year, designed to accelerate investment in hydrogen infrastructure and technologies in South Australia.


The Hydrogen Superhub will have the potential to combine up to 1S0MW Solar and up to 1S0MW of wind power generation with large scale SOMW electrolyser installation and up to 400MWh battery storage.

Neoen has financed over 400MW of solar, wind and battery storage projects in South Australia and has built a strong local presence and experience in the development, financing, construction and operation of renewable energy technology projects.

The $1S0 million Renewable Technology Fund was established in March 2017 to support further integration of renewable technologies, fast-track South Australia's energy transformation and improve electricity market competition.

Three other hydrogen projects are receiving funding from the Fund are: a hydrogen production, storage and fuel cell system at UniSA's Mawson Lakes campus, a 1.2SMW hydrogen production facility at the Tonsley Innovation Precinct and a 1SMW hydrogen and ammonia production facility to be constructed near Port Lincoln.

The Renewable Technology Fund also supported the construction of the Tesla big battery at Jamestown, a project delivered by Neoen.

The State Government's Hydrogen Roadmap outlines how the state's world-leading renewable wind and solar assets can attract international investment in hydrogen production and accelerate our transition to a zero carbon economy.

Quotes attributable to Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis

Energy storage is the key to delivering very cheap renewable energy around the clock, which is why the State Government is supporting the development of a broad range of world-leading projects, including in hydrogen production and storage.

Our Hydrogen Roadmap has laid the groundwork for South Australia to become a world leader in the emerging hydrogen production industry, and to benefit from the economic opportunities likely to flow from it.

More renewable energy mean cheaper power and I'm pleased the State Government can partner with Neoen to once again develop a world-leading renewable energy and storage project following the construction of the Tesla battery at Jamestown.

This Superhub will enable NEOEN to produce renewable hydrogen for overseas export markets and create about 300 construction and ongoing jobs for South Australians.

Quotes attributable to Managing Director of Neoen Australia Franck Woitiez

The Hydrogen Superhub project aims to produce hydrogen at internationally cost competitive rates, allowing for international export of renewable hydrogen gas products.

This project aims to take South Australian made renewable electricity in the form of hydrogen based compounds to important national and international markets in Asia and beyond. It has the potential to reach beyond our electricity grids, and supply South Australia's locally produced clean energy to other states and to our nearby trading partners.

This exciting project would not have happened without the South Australian Governments Hydrogen Road Map. As a result, the state is attracting substantial investment around this cutting-edge technology.

Source: SA Labor Party



GE announces innovative energy storage platform called the Reservoir

7 March

  • The Reservoir seamlessly integrates across the Grid to enable customers to increase Renewables integration, improve financial performance, enhance grid operations, reduce energy costs and enable more distributed, local generation
  • GE’s Reservoir condenses 4MWh and 10 years of energy storage experience into a 20’ box - delivers an estimated 15% improved lifecycle on the batteries, 5% higher efficiency and reduced installation time and costs
  • The first launch of the reservoir platform is a 1.2 MW, 4MWh unit; a fundamental building block to a modular, scalable platform with GE’s unique digital tools

With a commitment to deliver cleaner, more reliable power where and when it’s needed most, GE (NYSE: GE) today launched the GE Reservoir - a comprehensive energy storage platform that delivers a suite of customized storage solutions to help customers address new challenges and seek new opportunities in a rapidly transforming power grid that is becoming more highly diversified and distributed.

The Reservoir, which already has a 20 MW, 80 MWh pre-launch commitment, expands GE’s 10-year footprint in the energy storage space and builds upon recent successes and milestones. Last year, GE introduced the world’s first hybrid-electric gas turbine to multiple accolades across the industry. GE was the first-to-market with advanced applications for hybrid electric-gas turbines, wind hybrids and “Black Start” capabilities. And just last month, GE announced a new project with the Arenko Group to build one of the world’s largest energy storage systems in the UK.

“The energy landscape is undergoing an unprecedented paradigm shift, as the growth of renewables, decentralization of power and digitization create both new challenges and opportunities in how power is generated, transmitted and distributed,” said Russell Stokes, President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Power. “GE’s Reservoir delivers the new type of energy system that customers are looking for to help manage electricity’s next chapter.”  

Eric Gebhardt, Vice President and Strategic Technology Officer of GE Power, said, “GE’s Reservoir platform enables cost-effective distribution, storage, and utilization of cleaner, more reliable power where and when it is needed most. It can fit into most any setting, from centralized grid systems to the most remote villages and communities. The Reservoir also allows energy providers new degrees of flexibility for more intelligently managing and getting the most out of all their power assets.”

GE’s Reservoir Platform… Cleaner, more reliable power where and when it’s needed most.

GE’s Reservoir platform, developed with innovative technology from GE’s Global Research Center, is a flexible, compact energy storage solution for AC or DC coupled systems. The Reservoir solution combines GE’s advanced technologies and expertise in plant controls, power electronics, battery management systems and electrical balance of plant – all backed by GE’s performance guarantees.

The ability to tap deep and broad technical expertise from the GRC has integrated unique power and digital technologies that make the Reservoir a truly unique and differentiated solution.

“At the GRC, we were able to originate a new idea and then pull from technologies across the Center to rapidly prototype, test and then productize this breakout storage platform,” said Keith Longtin, Senior Executive and Product Breakout Leader at GE Global Research. “The Reservoir pulls in digital twins, Edge controls and extensive systems expertise through Global Research that you only will find in this platform.”

GE Reservoir Storage Unit

The 1.2 MW, 4 MWh Reservoir Storage Unit, is the fundamental building block of GE’s Reservoir platform. It is a modular solution that integrates GE’s Battery Blade design (module stack design) with key technologies from across the company’s portfolio to achieve an industry-leading energy density, footprint and lifetime performance. GE’s proprietary Blade Protection Unit (BPU) actively balances the safety, life, and production of each battery Blade, extending battery life by up to 15 % and reducing fault currents by up to 5X.

The modular system has multiple installation and cabling options including pad or pier and is designed to minimize operation and maintenance (O&M) expenses over the life of the project with an all-weather design and high-efficiency cooling system. It is factory built and test to reduce project installation time and costs.

A Living, Learning System

GE’s Reservoir platform leverages Predix and Edge controls technologies to provide data-driven insights that help energy operators enhance their systems. These digital technologies leverage GE’s unique and unparalleled technical and industry domain knowledge across the entire energy ecosystem from generation to consumption.

Put together, GE’s Reservoir delivers the most comprehensive energy storage platform to help meet the energy industry’s rapidly changing needs. The ability to offer highly customized solutions through the platform offers customers unprecedented levels of flexibility, resilience and operational efficiency in hybrid generation, grid operation and energy management. GE’s Reservoir also enables other diverse applications that include: Managing higher levels of renewable power, grid stabilization, peak demand management and controlling energy flow. By enabling better asset utilization and overall system management, customers can realize new revenue opportunities and cost savings as well.

Source: GE Renewables


Trialling grid stability services provided by wind farms

8 March

The Coalition Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing almost $500,000 to a north east Tasmanian wind farm to test the feasibility of wind farms providing services that help stabilise the electricity grid.

If successful, the $1 million trial could see more Australian wind farms providing the services which would not only further stabilise the grid, but also lower electricity prices through commercialisation.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) continuously balances energy supply and demand by procuring ‘frequency control ancillary services’ (FCAS) from participating generators and demand response providers.

When frequency is too low, it is increased by FCAS to either increase generation or decrease demand. When frequency is too high, it is reduced by FCAS which lowers generation or increases demand.

In other words, the frequency (and stability) of the grid is maintained by providing a fast injection or reduction of energy.

“As Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel in his review of the National Electricity Market highlighted, tighter frequency control is important for increased security,” Minister Frydenberg said.

Woolnorth Wind Farm Holdings own and operate the 168MW Musselroe wind farm which produces approximately five per cent of Tasmania’s electrical energy needs annually.

“Unlike coal and gas power stations, wind farms do not currently provide FCAS. This Tasmanian trial, however, could see that change,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“If both technically and commercially feasible, wind farms across Australia will have the opportunity to contribute to the stability of the grid and develop a new revenue stream that helps lower electricity prices.”

The Coalition Government's investment in this trial is part of our plan to deliver an affordable and reliable energy system as we transition to a lower emissions future.

Woolnorth will also examine the potential of adding storage for surplus energy to the wind farm.

Source: Federal Government


Paving the way for concentrated solar thermal in Australia

8 March

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today released a report outlining how concentrated solar thermal (CST) technology could be a commercially viable form of dispatchable renewable energy within a decade.

Last year, ARENA called for industry participants worldwide to respond to a Request for Information (RFI) exploring the potential for solar thermal to be rolled out in Australia. A total of 31 responses were received from both Australian and international companies.

These responses will now inform ARENA in preparing a strategy to support CST in Australia, including considering future funding opportunities for CST.

ARENA is also funding a roadmap for CST to examine requirements for accelerating commercial deployment in Australia. The roadmap is underway and will be completed in mid 2018, with the results also used to inform ARENA’s CST strategy.

CST systems use mirrors to concentrate and convert sunlight to heat at high temperatures. The heat is then stored and used to produce steam, which is then run through a turbine to generate electricity. Most CST plants are large scale and incorporate between 3-15 hours of thermal energy storage.

Large scale CST technology is yet to be introduced in Australia, but there are approximately 100 utility scale CST plants operating worldwide, mostly in the United States and Spain totalling around 5GW. The total CST capacity is expected to double to 10 GW over the next five years, driven by new plants in China, South America and Africa.

The report released today, which was prepared by ITP Thermal, found strong confidence in the future of CST, with a number of global industry leaders interested in being involved in the deployment of CST in Australia.

All responses highlighted that CST could help to address Australia’s energy storage and dispatchability needs by providing reliable, responsive and flexible electricity generation at any time of day or night. Respondents noted that CST plants operate in a way similar to that for existing thermal power stations, allowing them to be easily incorporated within the electricity network. Respondents also noted the cost of CST is expected to fall in the coming years.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the RFI was an important stepping stone towards bringing commercial scale CST to Australia.

“While still not cost-competitive with other forms of new-build power generation, the ability to store energy and be able to dispatch renewable energy at any time will be of increasing value, and this information shows there is strong support for CST,” he said.

“We are now considering funding opportunities to assist in creating a pathway for CST to become commercially viable in Australia in the coming years,” Mr Frischknecht said.

In the meantime, Mr Frischknecht said ARENA welcomes applications for a well developed CST project under ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program which provides funding for renewable energy projects year-round.

“While we are busy working out our roadmap for the industry, our door is always open to high quality, innovative renewable energy demonstration projects that can help bridge the gap to commerciality for new technologies.

“If any company has a prospective project with well-developed financing, an offtake agreement and technical details mapped out, they don’t need to wait and we would encourage them to apply,” he said.

ARENA is also currently working with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), in consultation with the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency (IPFA), to provide the Commonwealth Government with advice on Solar Reserve’s 150MW Aurora CST project proposed for Port Augusta, including its suitability for a federal loan of $110 million.

Source: ARENA


Project Update

Majura Solar Farm

The SolarShare team has been busy bringing our flagship Majura Solar Farm closer to reality over summer.

Technical Study Complete

A critical technical study by ActewAGL has been completed. The study has confirmed that our Majura Solar Farm can be connected to the ActewAGL electricity network and operate at capacity under normal conditions.

We were very happy to see that the cost of our grid connection will be within the estimates that ActewAGL originally provided. This is good news for our bottom line!

This outcome is the result of months of work by the ActewAGL connections team, so we’re grateful to them for their diligence. It’s also required a lot of patient work and commitment from SolarShare’s board and volunteers. Thanks for getting us over the line.

The Community Solar Scheme feed-in-tariff

The technical study was the last major box we needed to tick in in the ACT government’s Community Solar Scheme. We now have a few small items to wrap up in the discussion with ACT Government but we expect to have something to announce in April or May this year.

Our main fundraising round will open later in 2018. We will keep you informed at every step of this process.

Source: SolarShare


SolarReserve partners with OZ Minerals to commission new high voltage electricity infrastructure for South Australia

8 March

SolarReserve and OZ Minerals have entered into a long term agreement to commission a new high voltage electricity transmission line in South Australia. The high voltage power line will meet the companies’ current operational requirements and accommodate their growth strategy for the region. Collaborating on a single transmission line to support current assets and future growth also helps protect and respect the environment and Aboriginal heritage by minimising impacts on the landscape.

Unlocking the Far North for Future Mining and Renewable Energy Projects

The new line will support SolarReserve’s Aurora Solar Energy Project as well as OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine and Carrapateena project, all of which will create thousands of jobs for the State.

“We are excited to partner with OZ Minerals in this key initiative that brings together two private companies to develop a major piece of infrastructure for South Australia, resulting in a well-thought out project that will meet today’s needs and enable tomorrow’s opportunities,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith.

SolarReserve hopes to build six solar thermal projects in South Australia over the next ten years, with the goal of building a new industry that boosts the State’s economy and provides South Australia with affordable, and reliable clean power.

The New Transmission Line

In total the line will be 270 km long with OZ Minerals and SolarReserve equally sharing operational costs for the first 35 km of the line. ElectraNet has been engaged to provide preliminary services for the design and tender of the new transmission line solution. This preliminary work is underway with the line expected to be operational by mid-2020.

OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cole said, “As well as supporting SolarReserve’s Aurora Solar Energy Project, this new transmission line will enhance security of power supply, enable the execution of OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine plan, reduce line losses for Carrapateena operations and provide future optionality for province expansion at Carrapateena. It has the capacity for additional projects to draw power or input generation, unlocking the Far North for future mining and renewable energy projects. We look forward to working with SolarReserve to explore additional renewable options for our other projects, such as West Musgrave.”

Source: SolarReserve


OZ Minerals’ Power Strategy – Securing current assets, enabling future growth

9 March

OZ Minerals today released its power strategy to achieve reliable, secure and affordable power for its current and future assets.

The first phase, Power Transmission, sees OZ Minerals’ current South Australian assets remain connected to the electricity grid via a new high voltage power transmission line. Infrastructure in the region does not support OZ Minerals’ current activities and future regional expansion plans. The new transmission line will meet the company’s operational requirements and enable its growth strategy for the region.

Agreements are being progressed with industry participants and the State Government to facilitate the development and operation of the line:

  • ElectraNet to build, own, operate and maintain the new transmission line
  • SolarReserve, a renewable energy developer, to cost share a section of the line’s construction and operation
  • BHP, Olympic Dam, for land access and support for a regional energy supply plan
  • The State Government for access and regulatory requirements
  • Communities and landowners along the route of the line

The second phase will be progressively developed and includes procurement, to take place in the latter half of the year, and generation which includes cost saving initiatives and consideration of renewable energy options.

OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole said, “In developing the strategy, we have addressed reliability, security and affordability for our current mining assets and enabled our ambitious growth aspirations for the region and beyond.

“The new transmission line will enhance security of power supply, reduce line losses and enable the execution of the Prominent Hill mine plan, Carrapateena operations and the exploitation of future optionality for district expansion at Carrapateena.

“The cost impact of the new line will be a 3% to 4% increase in Prominent Hill’s Life of Mine All-In Sustaining Costs (AISC) from mid-2020 (previously guided at 2% to 5%), offset by a circa 1% cost benefit at Carrapateena. These cost estimates are based on SolarReserve’s development of its solar thermal generation and storage facility near Port Augusta.

“The line will have the capacity for other users to draw power or input generation, which will improve the economics for other developments in the region and, as more users connect, OZ Minerals’ operating costs will reduce proportionately.

“Our approach to Power Procurement has vindicated our decision to sign a short term, 18 month pricing agreement in 2017, as independent agencies are forecasting a downward trending power price market. As a result, we have flexibility to commit to short term or long term contract pricing, or a combination of both, and consider generation source options as they become more affordable,” Mr Cole said.

“The power strategy also includes a modest onsite solar generation plant at Prominent Hill.

“Elements of the second phase of our strategy, comprising power procurement, generation and site energy saving initiatives, will be progressively developed and actioned.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Phase 1 section covering Power Transmission omitted for brevity

Phase 2

Power Procurement and Generation

Electricity pricing remains fixed at Prominent Hill to the end of 2018. OZ Minerals’ future sourcing strategy will contemplate a traditional approach to supply as well as alternative generation sources.

Energy prices are currently trending downwards.

The past 12 months have seen a range of additional energy solutions come on line in South Australia including new diesel generation and battery storage under the State Government’s Energy Plan. Additional generation has been constructed with more generation planned including SolarReserve’s solar thermal generation and storage facility near Port Augusta and other renewable sources.

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s December 2017 regional generation outlook indicates that 38 new projects are planned to supplement existing generation in South Australia.

Site Energy Saving Initiatives

As part of the South Australian Energy Productivity Program, an energy audit was conducted at Prominent Hill to identify ways to lower energy consumption. A resulting initiative looks at linking ventilation fans to smart technology, enabling on-demand usage in the Prominent Hill underground and reducing secondary ventilation energy consumption by approximately 15%, saving up to 1.5% of total site power usage.

OZ Minerals has received conditional approval for a grant from the South Australian Government to install a solar plant and storage capabilities at Prominent Hill, which is anticipated to reduce grid energy requirements. The grant is valued at up to $2.5 million, and OZ Minerals is currently looking at optimising project plans.

The solar plant at Prominent Hill will increase OZ Minerals’ understanding and capability with respect to renewable energy and generation sources which may be required for operations in remote locations such as West Musgrave.

OZ Minerals is also working with a number of potential energy developers to explore and innovate new, additional renewable options across OZ Minerals’ assets.

At Carrapateena, solar panels provide a number of opportunities with the potential to reduce diesel consumption and lower costs during construction.

A wind mast will be installed at the West Musgrave project to assess the viability of wind generation. The further scoping study base case identified solar photovoltaic combined with diesel as a project energy generator. The site presents opportunities for alternative renewable generation as the price point continues to reduce.

Source: OZ Minerals


Project Briefs

Palmer Wind Farm

The Environment, Resources and Development Court of South Australia has dismissed an appeal against the development of Tilt Renewables’ Palmer Wind Farm in the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia. In late 2015 the Mid Murray Council granted development plan consent to an amended proposal involving a reduced, 103 turbine wind farm.


Sandigo Solar Farm

ESCO Pacific’s Sandigo Solar Farm in NSW was placed on public exhibition until 8 April. The proposed Sandigo Solar Farms project is a utility-scale renewable energy project that would comprise up to two solar farms located at Sandigo in NSW, one each at Kywong and Glen Moira, generating up to a combined total of 300 MW (AC). It has an estimated capital investment value of $240mil, and will employ around 130 people in construction and 4 when operating.


Moama Solar Farm

A development application for Terrain Solar’s proposed 28 MW Moama Solar Farm in NSW was referred to Western Joint Regional Planning Panel by Murray River Council. The project has an estimated capital investment value of almost $30mil.


Coopers Gap Wind Farm

EPC contractor for PARF’s 123-turbine, up to 453 MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm near Cooranga North in Queensland, GE-CATCON, has engaged Walbridge Gilbert & Aztec and Consolidated Power Projects Australia Pty Ltd to carry out the civil and electrical balance of plant contract which includes design, supply and installation of access roads, turbine foundations, electrical reticulation and transmission lines, operation and maintenance facilities and upgrades of existing infrastructure. Works started in February 2018 with the first wind turbine components expected to be delivered to site in May 2018, the substation expected to be ready for service in Q4 2018, and practical completion of the project is expected in Q4 2019.

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