Cape York Battery Power Plant

The $150m Cape York Battery Power Plant is being developed by solar battery developer Lyon Group and will include Australia’s first large dispatchable solar generator.

Cape York Battery Power Plant 

Cape York Battery Power Plant
Cape York Battery Power Plant Team – David Green, Chairman, Lyon Group. Hendrik Gordenker, Chairman, JERA. Jan Teichmann, Vice President, Global Markets, Fluence. (source: lyoninfrastructure.com.au)

The Cape York Battery Power Plant will be the first large scale dispatchable solar energy generator in Australia’s national energy market. 

It will be built by Lyon Group in conjunction with Japanese energy company JERA. JERA have an astounding 74GW of solar on their portfolio, so there will be a very experienced team working on the project. 

“The Cape York Battery Power Plant will be the first fully integrated grid-connected large dispatchable solar peaker in Australia if not the world,” said Lyon Group chair David Green. 

“It is a $150 million commitment to new peaking generation and a stronger grid in north Queensland.

“The 20MW/80MWh Fluence battery-based energy storage system plus 55MWac solar generation will dispatch firm clean energy through a single connection point, using a single power plant controller.” he continued.

The Cape York Battery Power Plant will also include Australia’s first four-hour duration battery system, which makes it the first large scale dispatchable solar energy generator in Australia’s national energy market. 

Satoshi Yajima, Senior Vice President of Power Generation Business, JERA had some interesting things to say with regards to the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy: 

“JERA’s global generation fleet is mostly fossil fuel powered at present, but the company believes that Australia and most other countries will rapidly move beyond 50 percent renewable energy.

A very large volume of utility-scale battery storage will be required to achieve and move beyond 50 per cent renewable energy.

The Cape York Battery Power Plant is a small power plant within JERA’s portfolio, but we see this project as lighting the way to expand our renewables portfolio.”

Construction on the generator will start early this year after it secured its generator performance standard this week. This is one of the first projects to pass the new, more stringent grid connection requirements implemented in 2018. Can’t wait to see what this looks like when it’s complete and investigate some of the savings it brings. 

 

 

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Sunshine Energy Project groundbreaking ceremony.

The Sunshine Energy project in south east Queensland had its groundbreaking ceremony last week. Not everybody’s happy about it, though. Let’s take a look at the plans for the farm and its opposition.

Sunshine Energy Project groundbreaking ceremony.

Sunshine Energy Project groundbreaking ceremony.
Sunshine Energy Project groundbreaking ceremony. (source: Twitter @GlennButcherMP)

The Sunshine Energy project is a 1500MW solar energy facility with 500MW storage planned. There is a provision to extend the farm to 200MW so we will see what happens after the farm is launched and its output measured. It’ll be built by Sunshine Energy Australia Pty Ltd who will invest ~$2.5m USD in the project. 

Glenn Butcher, member for Gladstone and Assistant Minister for Treasury, posted up a picture of the groundbreaking ceremony on his Twitter account, saying “Queensland is continuing to lead the country with solar projects. Early ground breaking ceremony today for Sunshine Energy Australia’s $2 billion 1500 megawatt (MW) solar farm, with a 500 MW battery storage.”

However there has been some solar farm oppositionaccording to Solar Quotes, local resident Anthony Crombie has launched legal action to try and retract the Sunshine Energy Project’s approval. Mr. Crombie will see Somerset Council and Sunshine Energy Australia in the Planning and Environment Court this year. If you’d like to see his Change.org petition (currently supported by 241 people) please click here. It looks like the usual issues with residents and nearby solar farms are being cited. The usage of ‘prime beef cattle grazing land’ for a solar farm is also disputed. 

As per his petition, Mr Crombie is worried that the solar farm will ruin the scenic D’Aguilar Highway and be an eyesore: “(the) size and scale of the development will render the rural landscape unrecognizable.” He’s also concerned about 80 heavy vehicles driving on the highway, as there are few passing lanes and it has already been acknowledged as being ‘dangerous and problematic’ according to an RACQ survey.

Supporter comment on the petition: “These disgraceful things are heavily subsidised and cannot compete with Coal or Gas..If we export Coal and other countries use it efficiently why can’t we.?”

Any thoughts on that one? Sound off in the comments. You can also follow the case as it goes through the courts by clicking on this link.

 

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Redback Technologies’ Smart Hybrid System Launch

Brisbane-based Redback Technologies will launch their new Smart Hybrid System this week, which is a brand new all-in-one system to simplify solar energy for installers and homeowners while still generating maximum ROI on your solar investment!

Redback Technologies and the next generation Smart Hybrid System

Redback Smart Hybrid System Inverter SH5000
Redback Smart Hybrid System Inverter SH5000 (source: redbacktech.com)

Redback launched the Smart Hybrid System Sh5000 today at the 2018 All-Energy Conference – it has an abundance of features which are perfect for the house looking to maximise their ROI from installing solar:

  • 5kW inverter
  • New modular (expandable) battery cabinet. It can holdup to 14kWh of energy storage
  • All-in-one design outdoor rated for Australian weather conditions.
  • Inbuilt UPS, pre-wired with integrated DC isolators for an easy install. 

The Redback Technologies Smart Hybrid System uses the newly designed Redback Smart Energy Manager app, which makes installation a breeze. When you conneect the inverter to the web portal, you can monitor the performance of your inverter in real time, making sure it’s working as expected! 

Redback MD Patrick Matweew said in a press release delivered by email: “We’re all looking for ways to save money and reduce stress when it comes to our household energy bills. That’s why now is the right time for homeowners to consider a solar and storage system as it not only reduces household costs, but it also gives consumers the power to control their energy future.

“With the cost of small-scale renewable installations continuing to fall, there’s never been a better time to consider solar and battery storage.”

The Redback Smart Energy Manager app is now available to download from Google Play (Android) or the App Store (Apple).

If you’re interested in buying one of these Smart Hybrid Systems or would like to learn more about them then please give the friendly team at Redback a call on 1300 240 182 or click here to visit their page for homeowners/small business proprietors. 

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Solar Backpackers – Solar jobs not going to locals?

The dozens of solar farms in various stages of construction or approval in Queensland are being flooded with ‘solar backpackers’ – with local staff being eschewed due to the perception of being too difficult to manage. This has led to a situation where ‘solar backpackers’ are being employed instead of local staff as it’s easier for the companies. 

Solar Backpackers and Solar Jobs

According to the ABC, in the last fortnight Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Electrical Safety Office conducted inspections across many of Queensland’s regional solar farms. 30 Notices were issued to various companies – this includes 23 breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act and seven breaches of the Electrical Safety Act.

Industrial Minister Grace Grace discussed the issues and advised that a new Code of Practice will be released by the end of the year:

“With the construction of solar and wind farms expanding throughout Queensland, we must ensure electrical safety is paramount,” she said.

“While there is a robust system in place to ensure the highest levels of safety, we are far from complacent and we want to ensure world’s best practice in this area.

“Following the completion of the solar code, a similar process will be undertaken to develop a separate code of practice for wind farms,” she said.

The Australian Border Force have also become involved, but haven’t confirmed any instances of ‘illegal workers’ or ‘worker exploitation’:

“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that Australian workers have priority and that foreign workers are a supplement to, and not a substitute for, Australians,” an ABF spokesperson said.

“The Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa allows ‘backpackers’ to stay and holiday in Australia for up to 12 months, work in Australia for up to six months with each employer, study for up to four months and leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.

“WHM visa holders can undertake any kind of work with any employer during their stay in Australia as long as they do not work more than six months with that employer.”

List of Solar Farms in Queensland (Information from abc.net.au)

Company Solar Farm Area Size Owner Solar Jobs Created
Biosar Energy Childers Bundaberg 120MW Elliott 200
Biosar Energy Susan River Fraser Coast 100MW Elliott 300
Biosar Energy Oakey Solar Farm Stage 2 Toowoomba 70MW Canadian Solar 200
Downer Group Ross River Solar Farm Townville 148MW Palisade Unknown
Downer Group Clare Solar Farm Burdekin 100 MW FRV Unknown
Downer Group Sunshine coast Solar Farm Sunshine Coast 15MW Sunshine Coast City Council Unknown
Acciona Lilyvale Solar Farm Central Highlands 100MW Fotowatio Renewable Ventures Unknown
CIMIC Group & UGL Limited Collinsville Solar Project Whitsunday 42.5MW Ratch Australia 120 at peak
RCR Tomlinson Darling Downs Solar Farm Western Downs 110MW APA Group 3,000 across eight projects
RCR Tomlinson Daydream Solar Farm Whitsunday 180MW Edify Energy 3,000 across eight projects
RCR Tomlinson Hayman Solar Farm Whitsunday 60MW Edify Energy 3,000 across eight projects
RCR Tomlinson Longreach Solar Farm Longreach 15MW Canadian Solar 3,000 across eight projects
RCR Tomlinson Oakey Solar Farm Stage 1 Toowoomba 25MW Canadian Solar 3,000 across eight projects
RCR Tomlinson Sun Metals Solar Farm Stage 1 Townsville 124MW Sun metals Corp 3,000 across eight projects
RCR Tomlinson Emerald Solar Park Central Highlands 72MW Renewable Energy Systems 3,000 across eight projects
RCR Tomlinson Haughton Burdekin 500MW Pacific Hydro 3,000 across eight projects
Bouygues Construction Australia Hamilton Solar Farm Whitsunday 69MW Edify Energy 325
Tranex Whitsunday Solar Farm Whitsunday 69MW Edify Energy Approx. 60
Beon Energy Hughenden Solar Farm Flinders 20MW BayWa r.e 100
Windlab and Erus Energy Kennedy Energy Park Flinders 60MW Windlab Approx. 130 to 140
Yarranlea Yarranlea Solar Farm Toowoomba 121MW Risen Energy 200 proposed positions
Adani Rugby Run Solar Farm Stage 1 Isaac Region 65MW Adani Renewables 150 proposed jobs
 

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RCR Tomlinson Solar Farm Writedowns

Australian solar contracting company RCR Tomlinson has taken a $57m write down on the Daydream solar farm and the Hayman solar farm, which are owned by Edify Energy and to be installed in North Queensland.

RCR Tomlinson Solar Farm Writedown

We reported earlieir this year on the Hayman and Daydream solar farms and how First Solar will be handling the installation for Edify – at that time everything looked rosy but it appears that a couple of major factors have led to cost and time delays. Edify have cited “external” delays, bad weather, and local issues like poor ground quality.  Also being blamed are the increasingly stricter requirements being imposed by the Australian Energy Market Operator which are affecting solar farms Australia-wide. 

RCR Tomlinison Daydream solar farm in Collinsville, Queensland.
RCR Tomlinson -Daydream solar farm in Collinsville, Queensland. (source: thewest.com.au)

As of last year, RCR have over half a Gigawatt of large-scale solar projects in their order book and over a Gigawatt currently being developed or progressed under early contractor involvement processes, according RCR Managing Director & CEO, Dr Paul Dalgleish (who has since left RCR). As a result of the writedown RCR are now attempting to raise $100m from investors and have had to offer a significant discount on RCR shares on a one-for-1.65 basis at $1 each. This represents a ~65% discount on the stock’s last trade price ($2.80).

According to RenewEconomy, Tomlinson has written down $57 million on the $315 million contract values for both the 150MW Daydream and the 50MW Hayman solar farms owned by Edify Energy. They’re both located in North Queensland and both nearing completion.

A statement to shareholders noted that: 

“These project-specific issues required the Company to continuously revise its execution methodologies to mitigate delays, leading to increases in subcontractor costs (both people and plant) and logistics cost overruns.

“As a result of these cost overruns that arose over the life of the Project, RCR has realised cumulative write- downs of $57 million from the tendered margin on the Project.”

Some bad news for solar farms in Australia but we have no doubt that these projects will end up completed and can start making their investments back. We’ll be watching closely how the AEMO’s ongoing changes to legislation affects the many other solar farms currently in various stages of completion/operation. 

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