SolarReserve and Heliostat to support Aurora solar energy project

Global solar power projects developer SolarReserve has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the South Australian heliostats and heliostat components manufacturer Heliostat.

Under the new partnership, Heliostat and SolarReserve will support the manufacturing and supply of more than 12,000 massive mirror assemblies for the Aurora solar energy project located near Port Augusta, South Australia.

The Aurora project is a 150MW solar thermal power station incorporating eight hours of storage (1,100MWh).

It will have an option to make use of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology to produce electricity from the concentrated solar power (CSP) facility during peak demand periods.

SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said: “We’re excited to have formed a long-term partnership with Heliostat SA and look forward to teaming up with them to bring manufacturing of our world-class heliostats to South Australian workers.

“SolarReserve is committed to supporting South Australia’s goals which will attract investment, create South Australian jobs and build an exciting and growing new industry.”

The partnership is expected to create nearly 200 jobs, of which more than 115 will be skilled labour positions related to manufacturing of steel components and heliostat assemblies.

The construction phase of the project will see an additional 650 full-time jobs being created on site and more than 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the region.

SolarReserve is also planning to build six solar thermal projects in South Australia over the next ten years.

Heliostat is part of Fusion Renewables Group, which includes Precision Components, Fusion Capital, and the University of South Australia.

Heliostats are large tracking mirrors in a solar thermal power station that follow the sun throughout the day and are designed to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver. /


IAEA report says nuclear power could contribute to meet climate change targets

A new report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has highlighted the potential role that nuclear power could play to help meet climate change targets.

Titled ‘Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2018’, the report is an updated version of the one released in 2016 and includes the latest scientific information and analyses on the link between energy production and climate change.

The report said that nuclear power has the potential to deliver large quantities of electricity needed for global economic development while contributing in mitigating climate change. Global electricity demand is expected to almost double by 2050.

Currently, about 70% of the world’s electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. However, the agency noted that it is necessary to generate 80% of electricity from low carbon sources to meet climate goals by 2050.

According to the agency, nuclear power generates almost 11% of the world’s electricity, which is equivalent to one-third of the globe’s low-carbon electricity.

IAEA deputy director general Mikhail Chudakov said: “This scenario requires a significant scaling up of all clean, low-carbon technologies such as nuclear power, with electricity demand expected to rise sharply in the coming years as countries need more power for development.

“If nuclear power deployment doesn’t expand in line with this scenario, the other technologies may not fill the gap – and we may not meet our climate targets.”

The report also focused on whether waste disposal repositories development, reactors with alternative cost models, passive and inherent safety systems, and units that generate less waste and reactors can boost nuclear power deployment. /


AGL could lose licence to sell power

/ AGL, the largest energy supplier in Victoria, Australia, has been warned it could lose its licence to sell power due to its failure to provide accurate performance data.

Energy regulator Essential Services Commission said AGL has until 31 October to provide sufficient data, after which it would begin to review whether the company has the ‘technical capacity’ to operate in the state under its current licence.

State law requires energy suppliers to provide performance and customer data to the commission every quarter, in a measure intended to promote transparency about the energy market in Victoria.

AGL currently supplies energy to around a quarter of Victoria’s residential and business energy consumers. The firm’s size means that any data inaccuracies have a domino effect on aggregated data across the industry. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) had to pull last year’s incorrect performance data from its site.

Commission chair Ron Ben-David said: “It is extraordinary to think that AGL, the biggest retailer in the state, can’t even tell us how many customers it has at the moment.

“This is not just about data. The community has a right to know what’s happening in the energy market and AGL is denying the community that right.”

AGL told Essential Services it could not provide data on the number of customers on hardship programmes, the number of disconnected customers, how long customers were kept on hold when attempting to call the firm, and how many of its customers receive a solar feed-in tariff and how many had their bills estimated.

AGL chief customer officer Melissa Reynolds said the firm had provided retail performance data, but had found some of it to be inaccurate. She said the company had some ‘self-identified’ issues with the data but was committed to resubmitting information by the end of October.

Reynolds added: “While this is industry data and has no impact on customer accounts or bills, we apologise unreservedly.”

The commission’s warning is the latest in a series of problems faced by Australia’s energy sector. Last month, energy providers EnergyAustralia and Alinta were fined by AER for providing data late. The former was fined $20,000 for giving data 10 months late, while the latter paid $40,000 for data given a year late. /


Genex to acquire Jemalong solar project in New South Wales

Australia’s clean energy generation and electricity storage solutions provider Genex Power has entered a sale and purchase agreement to acquire Jemalong Solar Project (JSP) development for an undisclosed price.

Located near Forbes in the central west region of New South Wales (NSW), JSP is a 50MW project expected to complement Genex’s existing solar and hydropower projects in North Queensland.

The acquisition is reported to be in line with the company’s long-term strategy to expand its portfolio of assets, as well as diversify into other regions within the national electricity market.

Genex Power CEO James Harding said: “As a result of the strong revenues earnt to date from the company’s 50MW Kidston solar project (KS1), we are able to utilise our cash reserves to diversify our project portfolio into NSW and create a stronger revenue pipeline.

“The Kidston stage two pumped storage hydro and solar project remain the principal focus of the company, and we continue to make significant progress towards finalising the remaining components necessary to achieve financial close.”

JSP is said to have obtained necessary land and development planning approvals and is progressing towards finalising the grid connection works.

The completion of the acquisition is subject to a number of condition precedents, including achieving satisfactory generator performance standard approvals from the Australian electricity market operator for the project.

Genex intends to finance construction either on a sole merchant basis or under a potential offtake arrangement.

Harding added: “The Jemalong Solar Project offers a good opportunity to create a step change up in revenue and both expand and diversify the company’s portfolio as we complete the development of Stage 2 at Kidston.

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

The company has plans to reach a final financing decision closer to financial close, which is expected in H1 2019. /


Australia’s Origin Energy to build first virtual power plant in Victoria

/ Australia’s Origin Energy is set to build its first 5MW virtual power plant (VPP) in Victoria after receiving financial backing from the Victorian Government.

For the A$20m ($14.3m) VPP project, the government has agreed to offer funding of A$4.5m ($3.2m) through its Microgrid Demonstration Initiative grant programme.

The grant programme has been created to provide A$10m ($7.1m) to support eight state-wide microgrid projects totalling more than A$37m ($26m) in value.

The cloud-based VPP project will distribute power from up to 650 customers with solar PV and batteries during peak periods.

Origin Retail executive general manager Jon Briskin said: “A record number of Australians are embracing solar and we’re delighted to be partnering with the Victorian Government to see how we can deliver benefits across the network and ultimately lower costs for customers.

“By offering trial participants access to cheaper batteries and solar PV systems and connecting these to our demand management platforms, we will be able to help customers manage their stored and generated electricity, have this traded into the electricity market and reduce the demand placed on the existing electricity network.

“The development of a virtual power plant brings together several initiatives Origin has been trialling to help customers embrace the benefits of distributed and decentralised energy.”

The VPP is expected to help Victoria reach its renewable energy goals of 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2025. /


Powerlink completes upgrade of Mudgeeraba Substation in Queensland

/ Australia-based electricity transmission operator Powerlink has completed the upgrade of Mudgeeraba substation located at Varsity Lakes in Gold Coast, Queensland.

Completed before the Commonwealth Games, the upgrade works started in 2016 and were carried out with an investment of A$25m ($18.2m).

The enhancements consisted of the upgrade of primary and secondary systems, such as the installation of a new 275/110kV 250MVa transformer, fire walls and noise wall.

Additional works included 275kV bus extension, isolator installation and gantry extension, demolition and rebuild of 110kV feeder and transformer bays and disassembly and removal of redundant transformer and selected primary plant.

The investment is said to be part of the Queensland Government’s objective to provide additional capacity and to ensure a reliable electricity supply network for the games in Gold Coast.

Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said: “Mudgeeraba substation and Molendinar together are the two main power supply hubs for the Gold Coast. The completion of the upgrade ensured electricity supply was as safe and secure as possible at a time when the eyes of the world were on the Gold Coast.

“The upgrade supported up to 50 local jobs and has extended the life of the infrastructure in a safe and cost-effective way.

“Importantly, after more than 40 years of service already, Mudgeeraba can now continue to provide a reliable electricity supply for many years to come as the Gold Coast grows.”

Powerlink is owned by the Queensland Government and operates the high-voltage electricity transmission infrastructure in the state. /


CWP Renewables plans to build 600MW solar farm in NSW

/ Renewable energy company CWP Renewables is planning to build a 600MW Parkesbourne solar and storage project within Goulburn Mulwaree Council, New South Wales (NSW).

As part of this initiative, CWP Renewables has prepared an outline of the project and a preliminary environmental assessment, which will be submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

CWP development manager Matthew Flower said: “Our application comes off the back of early engagement with potential hosts, neighbouring landowners and the wider community. These discussions have shaped the project, which will continue as we work through the permitting process.”

Parkesbourne solar and storage project is proposed to be built on a 2,000ha of freehold land 15km northwest of Goulburn.

The renewables firm noted that the Parkesbourne solar farm will further strengthen its portfolio, which consists of wind and solar projects.

CWP Renewables COO Ed Mounsey said: “We are a long-term owner. We develop, finance, construct and operate our projects, which is somewhat unique, but moreover ensures genuine and knowledgeable engagement from the start.

“Our aggregated and complementary portfolio is in line with the Federal Government’s direction to improve the affordability and security of the national energy market while also delivering on international climate commitments.”

Additionally, CWP Renewables obtained planning approval for adding nearly 200MW solar and storage power capacity to its 270MW Sapphire wind project in NSW.

Located in the New England region of NSW, the construction of Sapphire wind farm is already underway.

The two projects are expected to deliver low-cost manageable renewable energy generation into the National Energy Market and direct to end-use customers. /


Carnegie signs agreements to merge EMC with Tag Pacific in Australia

/ Australian solar energy, battery storage and wave energy project developer Carnegie Clean Energy has furthered its intent to merge Energy Made Clean (EMC) with Tag Pacific by signing three key binding documents, including the binding sales and purchase agreements.

EMC provides mixed renewable energy microgrid projects to islands and remote communities, while Tag Pacific is a Sydney-based investment house that invests in the power industry.

The merger is expected to create one of the region’s largest specialist engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and build, own, operate (BOO) specialists.

After the merger, the newly combined business will be renamed MPower and is expected to be one of the leading renewables, battery storage and microgrid developer, designer and constructor in the region, with active projects across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of September and is subject to completion of an A$4m ($2.9m) capital raise by Tag and approval of both Carnegie and Tag shareholders.

Upon completion of the deal, Carnegie will continue as a renewable energy company and will remain focused on the commercialisation of its CETO wave energy technology.

Additionally, Carnegie will retain its ownership of the Garden Island microgrid and its current 50% ownership of the Northam Solar Farm. /