Gullen Range Wind Farm adds solar project in Australian first, Canberra Times John Thistleton 27 July 16
Australia’s first large-scale solar farm to be co-located with wind turbines will be built near Canberra, saving money and creating a more reliable, cheaper renewable energy model.
The 10 MW solar photovoltaic plant near the existing Gullen Range Wind Farm, 28 kilometres north west of Goulburn, will likely be followed by more co-located generators, says the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which is providing $9.9 million for the $26 million project.
ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said under the co-location model developers could save money on grid connection, approvals and site development costs including access tracks by co-locating wind and solar plants, while also reducing environmental impacts. Proponents expect savings of about $6 million.
Mr Frischknecht said solar and wind were complementary sources of renewable energy that produced power at different times of the day and year.
“Co-location provides more continuous energy generation, as wind farms tend to generate more energy overnight while solar only generates during the day. Gullen Wind Farm generates more power in winter and the new solar farm will generate more in summer,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“It could also unlock new markets for medium-scale solar PV projects, because scale isn’t as important for competitiveness when plants are co-located.”……http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/energy/gullen-range-wind-farm-adds-solar-project-in-australian-first-20160726-gqdqqh.html
Mr Han says the ACT’s solar projects are small, but internationally the industry is indebted to Australia.
“In China scales are much bigger, ultimately the solar voltaic cell is actually Australian technology that was originally developed out of the University of NSW,” Mr Han said. “That technology was commercialised in China as well as Europe. A lot of the technology and breakthroughs we still owe to Australia research and development.”
The proponents say the ACT is Australia’s front -runner in solar projects.
“The long term off-take agreements, or power purchase agreements, mean it has a reliable and predictable revenue stream for owners and investors, ” Mr Crockett said.
“The ACT has proved how efficient, effective and cheap it is to transition your electricity sector, you are seeing now the Victorian Government is going to do something very similar,” Mr Crockett said.
Mugga Lane and Williamsdale solar farms to begin tracking sun by year’s end http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/energy/mugga-lane-and-williamsdale-solar-farms-to-begin-tracking-sun-by-years-end-20160718-gq8lrg.html July 21 2016 John Thistleton
A GPS-guided pile-driver sinking steel posts into the ground is swiftly changing the landscape in South Canberra for a new solar farm. Continue reading
‘Largest community-owned’ solar farm in Australia taking root in Canberra vineyard June 28, 2016 Katie Burgess Canberra Times reporter There are two reasons Canberra’s David Osmond puts his money into solar panels rather than stockpiling it in the bank.
“The returns are better plus it’s going towards a cause I’m very passionate about,” he said.
The latest solar project Mr Osmond will invest in will be the largest community-owned solar farm in Australia – and it will be right here in Canberra.
Mr Osmond is one of the first investors in the SolarShare Community Energy Majura Solar Farm, a $3 million solar plant that, when built, will generate enough electricity to power 250 Canberra homes.
SolarShare project leader Lawrence McIntosh said more than 5000 solar panels will be mounted on three hectares leased from the Mount Majura Vineyard, producing 1.9GWh of electricity each year.
“Wine grapes are best grown on slopes, which leaves the flatter land at the bottom of the valley with not much interest for grape growing but great for a solar project,” he said.
While only 5 per cent of the size of the Royalla Solar Farm south of Canberra, this one will be owned by the community, investors pledging $50 to $10,000 each towards its construction and maintenance.
About 400 people have registered as investors so far and more are being welcomed, Mr McIntosh said.
The flagship farm is predicted to earn more than $360,000 a year in revenue from selling electricity to the energy networks, its profits shared among the project’s investors…….http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/largest-communityowned-solar-farm-in-australia-taking-root-in-canberra-vineyard-20160620-gpnu4k.html
Canberra ranked as a global climate change leader, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-ranked-as-a-global-climate-change-leader-20160408-go1utu.html, James Hall Canberra’s ranking as a global climate change leader by the Carbon Disclosure Project is an “important acknowledgement”, Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie says.
The CDP placed the capital among the top 10 cities in the world for its “quality and completeness” of environmental risk reporting.
“It’s not just that one area of the policy is doing well [to be ranked so highly],” Ms McKenzie said. “Reducing emissions, adequately reporting and disclosing internationally, a renewable energy policy, a risk assessment of what the climate change impact will be and have a plan to adapt to those consequences.”
Despite the ACT being significantly smaller than other states and territories and not having coastal environmental concerns, she said the city had substantial environmental elements affecting its climate.
She said Canberra’s recognition by the CDP is significant because its size is more common globally and it provides a more realistic comparison on how to implement sustainable technologies and processes. “Our view is that it is a very good example of how you transition a community that has previously been reliant on fossil fuels and moving towards more renewable energy,” Ms McKenzie said.
ACT Environment and Climate Change Minister Simon Corbell said the government had shown Canberrans and the world it was committed to tackling climate change. “In doing so we are also showing the world that moving to a low-carbon economy is not only achievable and affordable, but also can be a benefit to both the community and our economy,” he said. “By attracting renewable energy companies to Canberra and fostering a positive environment for renewable energy operation, research and development through our progressive policies we have positioned the territory to take advantage of growth in the renewable energy industry”.
Much of the sustainable energy being harnessed by the nation’s capital is being supplied by interstate facilities, but Ms McKenzie said it was the implementation of the energy being produced which is both environmentally responsible and economically innovative.
“It depends on why those projects have been built and if Canberra has played a significant role in making those projects get off the ground,” she said. “And then if the electricity is then being used by Canberra, the ACT has then brought in the investment for plants.”
“That is also reflected in some of the local businesses that now exist in Canberra, like Reposit Power for instance, businesses are being attracted to Canberra because it is a better investment environment for renewable energy than other parts of the country.”
battery storage in homes http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-01/canberra-energy-auction-funds-battery-storage-in-homes/7290834 A new ACT Government renewable energy auction will help pay for battery storage in thousands of Canberra homes.
The auction for 109 megawatts of renewable energy feed-in tariff capacity begins today.
Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Simon Corbell said it would complete the Territory’s investment to meet its commitment of using renewable sources to supply 90 per cent of Canberra’s electricity needs by 2020.
He said successful bidders would provide the money needed to establish a photovoltaic battery storage program in the ACT.
“We expect up to $25 million to be available to support about 26MW of battery storage to be rolled out in more than 5,000 Canberra homes and businesses over the next four years,” Mr Corbell said.
“This will represent the largest deployment outside of Germany.”
Mr Corbell said photovoltaic battery storage would put renewable energy on demand when it was needed and reduce the need for network investment.
“It is exciting to see the 90 per cent renewable energy target on track to be completed on time and with minimal flow-on cost for the Canberra community,” he said.
Mr Corbell said the request for proposals would close in May.
ACT government leads the way on renewable energy March 6 2016 The Canberra Times
The ACT government’s commendable commitment to renewable energy has the potential to deliver for this community on a number of levels.
The first, and most obvious, is that Canberrans have shifted further away from dependence on fossil fuel generated electricity than almost any other mainland state or territory.
The second is that while the ACT government’s 2015 commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025 was initially mocked in some circles, the aspirational nature of that goal is now paying dividends.
The territory is expected to reach 60 per cent of power generation from renewables by the end of next year and 90 per cent by 2020. Both of these figures are impressive given the federal government’s much more modest target of 23.5 per cent from renewables by the end of the decade.
That Canberra’s commitment to this path occurred at the same time the federal government was openly hostile to investment in renewables and after former treasurer Joe Hockey said wind farms were a blight on the landscape makes it even more remarkable.
The announcement that, as a result of the “reverse auction” process initiated by the territory, Sapphire has been awarded a contract to build a local 100 megawatt hour windfarm for completion by April 2018, is the latest in a number of positive steps…….
With the Royalla 20 megawatt solar power plant in operation since September 2014 and the 13 megawatt Mugga Lane solar park expected to come on line this year, considerable expertise is already available on the solar power front as well……
It is remarkable that these achievements have been delivered while, at the same time, local power consumers continue to enjoyed the lowest electricity prices in the nation. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-editorial/act-government-leads-the-way-on-renewable-energy-20160304-gnawvc.html
Latest wind auction winner promises millions in benefits to Canberra economy, SMH March 4, 2016 – Tom McIlroy Legislative Assembly reporter at The Canberra Times The fifth and final winner of the ACT government’s large-scale wind reverse-auction will provide enough power for more than 48,000 Canberra homes.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Simon Corbell has announced Sapphire Wind Farm, 18 kilometres west of Glenn Innes in north-eastern New South Wales, as the latest successful proponent from the government’s second wind auction, promising an estimated $100 million dollars in economic benefits to the ACT
Sapphire has been awarded a feed-in-tariff of $89.10 per mW/h for 100mW capacity. The company will spend $34 million on development of an ACT-based asset and operations management centre, relocating operations from Newcastle.
A spokesman for Mr Corbell said the consortium behind the bid included companies Continental Wind Partners and Wind Energy Holdings.
“By the time Sapphire starts producing energy in 2018, the ACT will be sourcing 80 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources and well on the way to achieving 90 per cent by 2020,” Mr Corbell said.
In August last year, the government called for bids in its second wind auction to power up to 106,000 Canberra homes, seeking 200 megawatts in new capacity to come online within three years.
It follows two previous auctions: in 2013, three solar farms won 20-year feed-in deals, delivering 40 megawatts capacity, and in a wind auction earlier this year three wind farms won similar deals, delivering 200 megawatts among them.
CWP Renewables managing director Alex Hewitt said the auction result had allowed commencement of construction of what will be the largest wind farm in the NSW. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/latest-wind-auction-winner-promises-millions-in-benefits-to-canberra-economy-20160303-gn9n0a.html
Green Light For Canberra’s Williamsdale Solar Farm http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/williamsdale-solar-farm-em5315/ February 1, 2016 Energy Matters
The proposal was “called in”, meaning the Minister assumed the role of assessment manager for the development application. The Minister is able to call in a project if a development is considered a major policy issue, has a major effect on government objectives and provides a substantial benefit.
“Once completed, the solar farm will power more than 2500 homes, contributing to the Territory’s renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Minister Mick Gentleman.
“Under the Territory’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy, renewable energy will account for roughly 73 per cent of the emission reductions needed if the ACT is to reach its legislated 2020 target.”
The solar farm will be situated on farmland near the Monaro Highway and Angle Crossing Road in Tuggeranong, at a site just a couple of hundred metres from the ACT’s border with New South Wales. The new solar power station will be around 10 kilometres from the 24MW Royalla Solar Farm.
Minister Gentleman stated he has imposed strict conditions on the development as part of his decision, in order to address concerns raised in four submissions by members of the community. One of those conditions is that non-glare materials be used. Appropriate landscaping works will also be carried out and sufficient bushfire management measures put in place.
Even with the conditions imposed on the Williamsdale project, some still aren’t happy the project is going ahead and feel the consultation process was lacking.
The Williamsdale site wasn’t the first choice for the solar farm. It was originally proposed to be built adjacent to Uriarra Village. However, many Uriarra Village residents were strongly opposed to the project; primarily on the basis of aesthetics and what they stated was a lack of procedural fairness.
The ACT has a legislated target of 90% renewable energy by 2020; a goal it appears it will reach. In August, ACT Labor proposed an even more ambitious renewables target – 100% by 2025.
Record price for renewable energy achieved in new wind farm deal, ACT Government says http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-21/record-price-for-renewale-energy-achieved-in-new-wind-farm-deal/7045414
A record low in pricing for renewable energy has been set as part of a deal to buy power from a South Australian wind farm, the ACT Environment Minister says.
The French-developed Hornsdale wind farm has been selected to supply power to the ACT, at a cost of $77 per megawatt hour.
Located just north of Jamestown in South Australia, the wind farm will eventually power 56,000 Canberra houses, providing 13 per cent of the ACT’s projected electricity demand by 2020. Continue reading
French company plans 240ha solar farm for Parkes http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-18/240ha-solar-farm-planned-for-parkes/7035218 Landholders adjoining a proposed solar farm near Parkes in central west New South Wales are being assured they will not be adversely affected by the development. The proponent Neoen is planning a 240-hectare plant west of the town that will include about 245,000 solar panels.
Cattle producer John Smeaton plans to lease his land to the company and says planting trees around the site will address any concerns about glare.
He said he was confident the area would remain productive and become ideal for grazing sheep.”These panels, cattle would wreck them, the only thing they could run there could be sheep,” Mr Smeaton said.
“Some of the other neighbours might be interested in running sheep there.
“From a fire prevention point of view I think it’s necessary for something to take the grass down, because it’s fertile farm land and the grass can grow a metre or more high and it grows hot when it burns.”
The company plans to create 120 jobs during construction if it is successful in getting grant funding and planning approvals next year. Mr Smeaton said it would also have tourism potential.
First panasonic home battery trial launched in the ACT December 11, 2015 David Ellery Reporter for The Canberra Times ActewAGL has partnered with Panasonic to promote the installation of solar panel and storage battery packages across the territory. Continue reading
End of Tony Abbott’s war on wind farms gives green light to Capital Region projects, Canberra Times, December 13, 2015 Clare Sibthorpe Canberra Times reporter Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to lift Tony Abbott’s controversial ban on government investment in wind power has been embraced by the Australian Capital Region farming community.
On Sunday, Fairfax Media revealed Environment Minister Greg Hunt has issued the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with new orders that negate the Abbott government’s June decree, which prohibited the $10 billion green bank from investing in new wind power projects.
The move gives the Clean Energy Finance Corporation the green light to fund many wind farms in the Southern Tablelands – one of Australia’s fastest growing wind investment regions – enabling them to progress from planning to construction.
Crookwell farmer and NSW regional organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance, Charlie Prell, said wind farms now able to access funding include Collector, Rye Park, Yass Valley, Bango, Rugby, Crookwell two and three, Capital two, and Boco two.
“All of these wind farms will contribute massively to the local economy, not only during construction, but over the life of the wind farms,” Mr Prell said.
“It’s giving farmers in these regions a passive income stream with making our operations more sustainable, financially and environmentally, and giving local businesses the opportunity to participate in construction activities.”
Under the new mandate, the corporation will be allowed to invest in any wind projects provided they involve “emerging and innovative” technology, although it does encourage it to “focus on offshore wind technologies”.
Mr Prell said the wind farms already operating in this area have contributed significantly to small business, particularly in Goulburn, Bungendore, Taralga and Crookwel……..http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/end-of-tony-abbotts-war-on-wind-farms-gives-green-light-to-capital-region-projects-20151213-glmer9.html
Thousands gather in ACT for climate march http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/thousands-gather-in-act-for-climate-march/news-story/600de104ef2c1c83651cc582a56d75fe November 29, 2015 Thousands of Canberrans have joined a worldwide protest by marching to support action on climate change.
They gathered on the front lawn of parliament house, a broad cross-section of people from Labor and the Greens to the fireman’s union, bee keepers, the Grim Reaper and Tibetan cows – pantomime-style cows that is.
Federal Labor ACT MP Gai Brotmann said people were sending a strong message to the Turnbull government. “Action is required on climate, credible action and direction action is not that,” Ms Brotmann told AAP.
Solar panels installed on homes across ACT needed by researchers for local power study 666 ABC Canberra By Hannah Walmsley with Philip Clark, 19 Nov 15 Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) are calling for volunteers across the ACT who have solar panels on their house to take part in a new study. This project will allow us to predict what will be fed into the grid at a particular time. Dr Christfried Webers
ANU researchers are collaborating with Data61’s Machine Learning Research Group — formerly National ICT Australia (NICTA) — to develop methods of forecasting power output from rooftop solar energy systems.
Dr Christfried Webers from the ANU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science said that while total energy output could be measured over long periods, little was known about changing energy output across the day. “What we need is to be able to predict how much energy will be produced over five minutes to 60 minutes,” he said.
“That’s necessary information for the energy market operator — they need information on what’s coming from hour to hour. “It’s also important for the local utility providers because they have a spinning reserve running and if they can anticipate an energy drop, they can ramp that up when they need to.”
Close to 13 per cent of households in the ACT have solar panels generating power. “If that reaches 30 per cent, it will become vital to predict what energy will be produced to ensure the stability of the grid,” Dr Webers said. How the weather can impact
Dr Webers said he hoped the project would allow his team to develop software to forecast the solar output from each suburb using low-cost data-logging devices installed on individual homes…….Canberra residents interested in participating in the project can register their interest with NICTA. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/volunteers-wanted-for-canberra-solar-panel-study/6946904
Tom Swann says ACT government will have last laugh at climate sceptics, Canberra Times, November 13, 2015 John Thistleton Reporter for The Canberra Times. “…..researcher and campaigner Tom Swann says whether the former treasurer or prime minister or anyone else in Federal Parliament likes it or not, the Australian Parliament House will soon be 100 per cent renewably powered.
This is one of the implications of the ACT government’s clean energy policies, the most ambitious in Australia, which Mr Swann will explain at the Progressive Canberra Summit on Saturday morning, at a gathering of people discussing energy, housing, social justice and sustainability in this city and globally.
Mr Swann will point out the ACT government plans to completely decarbonise the territory’s electricity system and its moves to decarbonise its investments, by starting to divest from fossil fuels.
He will ask a group of people how can Canberra make the most of this leadership? “How do we ensure this transition engages all of Canberra, using local energy and expertise and providing options to those on lower incomes?” Mr Swann said.
He will present research from public policy think tank Australian Institute which shows three in four Canberrans surveyed (78 per cent) support the 100 per cent renewables target, a majority strongly supporting it. The polling also found an interesting national perspective.
“Canberra’s leading position on renewables is the envy of the rest of the country,” Mr Swann said.
The research is based on two polls in September, one by ReachTEL of 731 residents in Fraser electorate and 717 residents in Canberra electorate, while a separate poll by Research Now surveyed 1407 people across Australia.
Three in four Canberrans (75 per cent) said they were willing to pay more on their bills to achieve the 100 per cent renewables target and almost two in three (62 per cent) said they would be willing to pay at least $5 per week more on household electricity.
Almost three in four Australians from outside of Canberra (72 per cent) said they wanted a similar policy in their own state……..http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/tom-swann-says-act-government-will-have-last-laugh-at-climate-sceptics-20151113-gky8vd.html