UK company RES, which has built 5000 turbines worldwide, is building its latest wind farm on 17 Murra Warra farmers’ land, including Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke’s property.
Mr Jochinke, who will have six turbines built on his property, said it was a great to have all landholders working together on the project.
RES Murra Warra project manager Kevin Garthwaite said the company had chosen Murra Warra on the flat Wimmera plain because it was on a major transmission line, had “good” wind and was capable of generating more than 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply about 220,000 homes.
He said the project would employ 250-300 people during construction, with ongoing employment for 10-15 workers once completed.
“We’ve been really pleased with the level of community support,” Mr Garthwaite said. “If it goes through (the planning process) without a hitch we’d hope to start construction towards the end of 2017.”……..http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/wind-farm-developments-crank-up-across-victoria/news-story/d6f4464f23be9c83c0d83a98e9223498
South Australia’s electricity blackout was caused by extreme weather, not by renewables – energy experts
SA weather: No link between blackout and renewable energy, experts say, ABC News, 29 Sep 16 By political reporter Matthew Doran Linking the statewide blackout in South Australia with the state’s heavy reliance on renewable energy is unfounded, energy industry experts say.
- South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in Australia
- The ‘one in a 50 year’ weather event ‘couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen’
- SA to be an example for other states and territories when planning for significant weather events
A severe storm caused the entire state to go dark yesterday afternoon, following serious damage to more than 20 transmission lines.
That infrastructure failure put extra strain on the interconnector system that links the South Australian electricity grid with the east coast — and tripped safeguards which shut down the power supply to the state………
Mr Frydenberg highlighted the underlying cause of the blackout was the weather.
South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in the country, with a fraction over 40 per cent of the state’s power supply generated from sources such as wind and solar farms.
Earlier this week, the Grattan Institute released a report detailing the pressure high uptake in renewables had put on the state’s wholesale power prices, and how it was being viewed as a test case for the rest of the nation. But the report’s author, Tony Wood, said the blackout was as a result of a particularly violent storm and it was usual for a system to shut down to protect itself from further damage. “My understanding, at least at the moment, is there’s no evidence to suggest these two issues are related,” Mr Wood said.
“There’s no evidence to suggest this was caused by too much wind power, or the dependence on wind power, or anything else, or would’ve been any different if any of the power stations that had been shut down earlier this year had still been operating.
“If you’ve got a wind farm or a coal-fired power station at the end of a transmission line, and that system either is taken out by a storm or is forced to shut down to protect itself from a storm, it doesn’t matter what the energy source is.”
There are two interconnector power lines between South Australia and the eastern states, but Mr Wood said there was no indication having more links would have prevented the issue.
“When this event has occurred, it’s created a fault in the system which has caused the generation to trip offline,” the Clean Energy Council’s Tom Butler said.
“It’s separate to the interconnector entirely.
“This is a one-in-a-50 year, almost-unprecedented event for the state that couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen.”
Mr Butler said the Snowtown wind farm, north of Adelaide, was actually helping to prop up the state’s power supply ahead of gas power stations as the network was gradually brought back online.
Labor’s assistant spokesman for climate change, Pat Conroy, told AM it was premature to link the blackout to renewables.
“The South Australian Government has made the point that even if the coal-fired power station that was recently closed down was still operating, it would not have been able to supply power to the state,” he said.“This was a failure of the transmission network, and it didn’t matter what sort of fuel was feeding into the grid, power was not able to flow……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-29/sa-weather:-no-link-between-blackout-and-renewables-expert-says/7887052
Unburdened by evidence, anti-wind campaigners used the South Australian blackout to kick off a debate about renewables while others waited for facts Normally natural disasters are off limits to politicking, at least in the period straight after the event. So it was pretty awful watching politicians and commentators pushing their anti-renewables message on the back of aonce in 50 year storm that hit South Australia and knocked out the electricity grid.
The outage is more likely to have something to do with the 80,000 lightning strikes and the winds that knocked over 22 transmission poles. Who knew violent storms could knock the power out?
It’s hard to imagine how coal fired power would have remained on without a grid for the electricity to flow through.
Just before the grid shut down, renewables were not offline. Wind energy was busy producing almost 1,000 Megawatts of electricity. The problem was not a lack of renewable power but a storm-ravaged grid that couldn’t get it to the consumers…….
The real irony is that an electricity system that has decentralised renewable energy with battery storage would be more resilient to these kinds of storms. Houses and businesses with their own batteries could have kept the lights on even when the grid went down.
In the past, renewables were more expensive – but those days are over.Renewable energy has fallen in price and battery storage is close behind. Change in how we produce electricity is coming and an anti-renewables campaign will only slow it and make the transition more difficult.
Rather than attack renewables, the government should be putting in place policies that help with the transition. The economics of renewable energy and the reality of climate change mean that it is inevitable that we will leave fossil fuel electricity generation behind. The question is how can we move to the new energy future in the smoothest way possible?
Renewable energy targets, system changes that make it easier to install battery storage, and a moratorium on new coal mines will all help.
Attacking renewables in the wake of a massive storm might help some people’s political agenda but it will do nothing to help South Australians build a reliable and resilient energy system.
Matt Grudnoff is the Senior Economist for The Australia Institute. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/29/is-this-a-new-low-politicians-using-a-natural-disaster-to-push-a-fact-free-agenda?CMP=soc_568
How wind farms provide a safety net for farmers, communities http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4136408/wind-turbines-can-power-a-bright-new-era-for-rural-areas/?cs=97 Charlie Prell 5 Sep 2016, In the 1950s, Australia “rode on the sheep’s back”. Wool was commanding obscene amounts of money, and farmers experienced a period of prosperity that hasn’t been seen since. It helped make Australia one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Renewable energy promises to create a new “wool boom”. But, unlike the 1950s, the boost from the clean energy revolution will last decades, possibly generations.
Farmers, large and small, can grasp this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will breathe new life into struggling rural communities. That’s why I’ve signed up to host wind turbines on my sheep farm.
Wind farms offer both environmental and financial benefits. Turbines quietly produce clean, renewable electricity, replacing power from ageing, inefficient coal-fired generators that are driving climate change.
Each turbine generates a steady income of tens of thousands of dollars a year for the farmers who host them, as well as their neighbours. The community doesn’t miss out, with wind proponents promising thousands of dollars a year to projects like supporting local sporting teams, rejuvenating halls and providing community transport. This is on top of locals being employed to manage and maintain the turbines.
Despite record commodity prices, farmers are still doing it tough. As droughts and floods become more common, the stable income generated by turbines can make the difference between floating into sustainability or drowning in debt.
Instead of needing financial support from governments, farmers can become self sufficient for decades and generations. Wind turbines do more than change the landscape – they reinvigorate the economic and social fabric of rural communities for the better. Charlie Prell is a fourth-generation farmer from Crookwell, NSW and organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance.
Environment Minister Simon Corbell on Tuesday announced what he described as the “final piece” in the government’s plan for 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020. A 91MW $200 million Crookwell wind farm, to be built by Spanish-owned company Union Fenosa Wind Australia, has won the right to be paid feed-in tariff grants under the government’s reverse auction process.
The project, due to be completed in September 2018, will build 28 turbines able to power 41,600 Canberra homes.
Mr Corbell said the Crookwell farm would be paid $86.60/MWh for the energy it feeds into the grid, which he said was a record low for a NSW wind farm. The other successful bidder was the Hornsdale Wind Farm, being built by Neoen International SAS and Megawatt Capital north of Adelaide.
The Hornsdale project has already been successful in the first and second rounds of ACT wind auctions, and is building the capacity for 309MW in total. That means the South Australian project will provide a large chunk of the ACT’s renewable energy by 2020. Continue reading
Construction Mt Emerald wind farm expected to start in December The Cairns Post July 28, 2016 CONSTRUCTION on the Tablelands’ Mt Emerald wind farm is expected to start in December, following the selection of preferred contractors for the $360 million project.
Developer Ratch Australia has awarded its wind farm contract to Dutch manufacturers Vestas and the Sydney-based Downer Group.
Vestas and Downer will share responsibility for the entire 180MW project, including supply and construction of more than 50 turbines, a substation, cabling to the grid, civil and electrical works, and wind monitoring equipment.
The announcement follows Ergon Energy’s decision to purchase all of the electricity generated by the wind farm through to the end of 2030……..http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/construction-mt-emerald-wind-farm-expected-to-start-in-december/news-story/09b600f1c8d9b6e2a4eb929d34b27768
Tilting against windmills? Industry doubts NSW support for wind farms, SMH, Peter Hannam, 28 July 16 New wind farm guidelines are expected to impose tough requirements on developers to limit their visual impact in a move that proponents say will put NSW at a disadvantage to other states.
The proposed guidelines, requiring developers to prepare visual impact assessments according to the height of turbines, were disclosed by the planning department to a select group of prospective wind energy developers on the sidelines of a two-day clean energy summit in Sydney on Thursday. Continue reading
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
Record-breaking, brolga-friendly, $650m wind farm gets government green light, The Age, July 19 2016 Benjamin Preiss Victoria’s most productive wind farm generating enough power for 140,000 households will be built in the south-west after the state government approved the plans.
The $650 million wind farm, to be built near Dundonnell, will have 96 turbines. Once completed, it will produce enough power to supply the combined populations of Ballarat and Warrnambool.
The project will create an estimated 300 jobs during construction, with 16 positions once it is built…….The wind farm’s layout was designed to accommodate brolga breeding and flocking habits, according to the government………http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/recordbreaking-brolgafriendly-wind-farm-gets-government-green-light-20160719-gq8o3t.html
Thanks to a particularly windy weekend, South Australia recently saw nearly 83-percent of its total electricity coming solely from eco-friendly wind energy. Although the harsh weather conditions led to power outages in some of the places, its advantages far outweigh the temporary inconvenience. According to officials, wind turbines installed in the area captured much of the ambient energy, which was used to meet more than two-thirds of the region’s total electricity demands last Monday.
When it comes to renewable power, South Australia is one of the front runners, boasting both solar and wind energy. Investments of up $6 billion have resulted in the installation of as many as 638 wind turbines in the area. According to Alicia Webb of Australia-based Clean Energy Council, an organization dedicated to improving renewables and conversion efficiency, the industry has also generated “hundreds” of jobs. Given the current trend, the region will soon see wind and solar power overtaking conventional fossil fuels. Webb said:
Southern Australia…is in the midst of a remarkable transformation, with more than 40 percent of its power needs coming from renewable energy last year. It is clear that modern economies can run on increasingly higher levels of renewable energy, and it is clear from South Australia’s example that other mainland states can go much further with no loss of reliability.
With oil and volatile gas prices skyrocketing in recent years, wind turbines in South Australia actually help produce electricity at lower costs, especially during windy weather. As pointed out by Webb, the area’s total “installed solar capacity” will likely reach five gigawatts in the coming months. These steps are part of the government’s efforts to meet the targets declared in the Paris agreement. In addition to renewables, researchers in South Australia are coming up with new, innovative technologies that could in turn help reduce environmental pollution. Via: CleanTechnica
Libs pushing for wind farm changes
ALL new wind farm projects would have to undergo an assessment to see how they would affect the electricity market before being approved, if changes proposed by the Opposition were adopted…. (subscribers only )
Queensland’s $500m Coopers Gap wind farm could be operational by 2020 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-04/hope-qld-500m-coopers-gap-wind-farm-project-operational-2020/7562124?section=environment By Ellie Sibson An energy company planning to build Queensland’s largest wind farm is hoping to have the project operational by 2020.
AGL Energy’s proposed $500 million Coopers Gap wind farm would be constructed at Cooranga North, about 200 kilometres north-west of Brisbane in the state’s South Burnett region. It has a proposed capacity of 350 megawatts and could power 190,000 homes each year.
Under the plans, up to 115 turbines would be built across 11 properties.
Last month, the wind farm was declared a coordinated project and community consultation on the draft terms of reference for an environmental impact statement is currently underway. Dozens of residents attended a recent public meeting at the nearby township of Bell to raise concerns and ask questions about the project.
Project manager Neil Cooke said most of the feedback had been positive. “Some of the community are concerned about the noise being too high and concerned about sleep,” he said. “We’re in the process of organising a second trip down to our wind farms in Victoria so people can actually get to see wind farms close up.”
Wind farm would ‘drought-proof property’ If the wind farm is approved, Cyril Stewart would have three turbines built on his cattle property. During times of drought, Mr Stewart has had to leave his land in search of a job. “It would be the greatest thing since sliced bread because it is drought-proofing the property,” he said. “This is something that rain, hail or shine, there’s an income.”
About 350 workers are needed for construction with ongoing employment for 20 people. South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said it would be a big jobs boost for the region. “Economic development is something our region really needs,” he said. “These sorts of things don’t come about often … employment driven by the economic outcomes is something that as a region we can’t ignore.” The environmental impact process is expected to take at least six months.
Two new wind farms gain Victorian government support http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/two-new-wind-farms-gain-victorian-government-support-20160705-gpz37f.html Benjamin Preiss STATE POLITICAL REPORTER FOR THE AGE TWO NEW VICTORIAN WIND FARMS WILL BE BUILT WITHIN TWO YEARS AND WILL RECEIVE AN EXTRA SOURCE OF INCOME FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT.
The new wind farms will produce enough energy to power 80,000 homes. They will be located at Kiata near Horsham and Mount Gellibrand near Colac. The Kiata wind farm will have up to 13 turbines, while Mount Gellibrand will host up to 44. Both projects are expected to be operating by 2018.
The government says it is using its purchasing power to support these wind farms through so-called renewable energy certificates. The state government has committed to purchasing some renewable energy certificates from these two wind farms, giving them an additional revenue stream. Certificates are allocated to wind farms as part of the national renewable energy target. Producers of renewable energy can also sell the certificates to energy retailers.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the government was rebuilding much-needed confidence in the renewable energy industry. “We can build a strong, sustainable, renewable energy industry that powers our broader economy, creates well-paid jobs and reduces our environmental impact,” she said.
Last month the government committed to a renewable energy generation target of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. Planning Minister Richard Wynne is also considering six applications to amend existing wind farm permits so they can increase their turbine size.
Wind farm boom looms as Premier Daniel Andrews looks to boost clean power, The Age, Adam Morton, 16 June 16, Senior Writer Victoria would have 40 per cent clean electricity in less than a decade – nearly tripling the current level – under an ambitious plan announced by the Andrews government.
The government has set targets to ramp up wind power and large-scale solar power, paid for through an increase in household and business electricity bills and spending from the budget.
With private spending on clean electricity largely stalled due to a lack of confidence in federal government support for a national renewable energy target, the Andrews government believes its policy will make Victoria the centre of a revitalised industry. It estimates that, at the peak of construction in the middle of the next decade, there will be about 4000 workers helping to build the target’s 5400 megawatts capacity of clean energy.
To put that in perspective, there are 18 wind farms with planning approval in the state, but not built.
The government says its target will improve the viability of the industry enough to build all of them – and nearly as many again – within nine years.
On top of this, one-fifth of the new generation capacity built would be solar plants in the state’s north.
In a statement, Premier Daniel Andrews said meeting the targets – 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025, up from 14 per cent today – would bring about $2.5 billion of clean energy investment into the state.
“The world is shifting to renewable energy. It creates jobs, drives growth and protects our environment, and Victorians want to be at the forefront,” he said……http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/wind-farm-boom-looms-as-premier-daniel-andrews-looks-to-boost-clean-power-20160614-gpj3f9.html
Wind energy’s biggest month, and how it keeps prices down REneweconomy, EBy Giles Parkinson on 8 June 2016 Wind energy in Australia has enjoyed its biggest every month in May, producing nearly a quarter more electricity than its previous record month, and overtaking hydro to provide 8.5 per cent of electricity demand in the country’s main grid.
The record output came, coincidentally, in the same month that the last coal fired power station in South Australia was closed (May 9). And a new analysis from energy consultants Pitt & Sherry points to how wind generation is keeping a lid on wholesale electricity prices.
The Pitt & Sherry analysis notes that four states recorded record monthly totals in May – South Australia (where wind met 49 per cent of demand), Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. (There is only one very small wind farm in Queensland and Western Australia operates on a separate grid).
The 3.9GW of wind generation in the month of May operated at a capacity factor of 49 per cent, according to Pitt & Sherry, meaning that it produced 22 per cent more than it did in its previous record month (July, 2015). (See this story for more details, and how most wind farms in NSW operated at a higher capacity factor than some of the biggest coal plants).
South Australia has the biggest share of wind farms, with 1.5GW, and this accounted for 49 per cent of its electricity demend in the month. On some occasions, wind energy provided more than 100 per cent of electricity demand in the state.…….http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/wind-energys-biggest-month-and-how-it-keeps-prices-down-69687