Summerhill solar farm commences construction.

The 5MW Summerhill solar farm will officially commence construction tomorrow – the farm will be located at the former Wallsend Borehole Colliery. 

Summerhill solar farm

Summerhill Solar Farm
Summerhill Solar Farm – Artist’s Rendition (source: smh.com.au)

All the renewable energy created by the Summerhill solar farm will be owned by the Newcastle City Council who will then be approximately 50% powered by renewable energy. 

Carnegie’s wholly owned subsidiary Energy Made Clean and JV partner Lendlease have been awarded the design and construction of the project, according to PV Magazine. It’ll be built on top of the former Wallsend Borehole Colliery. Read more about the tender here

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the solar plant’s cost is around $8m, with $6.5m of this provided in the form of a loan by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Initial modelling shows that this plant will save around $350,000 per annum, also noting that the city council’s cost of electricity has double over the past few years – making this a very attractive option to help offset the highly volatile wholesale price of electricity. It’s listed as ‘battery ready’ according to the Altenergy website. 

Nuatali Nelmes, the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, discussed the project in a media statement:

“The solar farm will produce enough energy to run the equivalent of all of our council facilities during the day, which represents significant environmental returns for ratepayers and millions of dollars in savings on electricity costs,” Mayor Nelmes said.

Further discussion shows that, although financial ramifications are very important, the eco-friendly nature of the project was ‘more than just money’:

“While cost savings are certainly a critical factor in our decision to build the solar farm, sustainability initiatives are about more than just money and our community expects us to be good environmental stewards,” Ms Nelmes continued.

This is a fantastic attitude and we look forward to seeing how well the SUmmerhill solar farm performs for the Newcastle City Council. More top news for council solar, which has been growing in leaps and bounds over the last 18 months. 

Read some more articles about council solar below!

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Melbourne Water Solar Tenders

Melbourne Water has announced a tender for two solar systems so they’re able to power to water treatment plans. Expressions of interest are now welcome.

Melbourne Water Solar Tenders

Melbourne Water Solar Tender
Melbourne Water Solar Tender

State-owned Melbourne Water have announced that they want to be carbon neutral by 2030,so this is a step in the right direction. The expressions of interest are for design, construction, and operation of two solar facilities at the Eastern Treatment Plant (ETP) in Carrum Downs, and also the Winneke Water Treatment Plant in the Yarra Valley. 

This is a “practical way for Melbourne Water to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, and tackle climate change”, according to the utility. 

According to the tender, the systems will need >30 gigawatt-hours per year for the ETP, and 12GWh from Winneke. The ETP treats approximately 330 million litres of sewage a day – which is 40% of Melbourne’s total sewage. This is an extremely energy intensive task so it’s fantastic to see the utility come up with a plan to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2030. Australia’s solar power future is looking bright!

The official website has a link to the Expression of Interest with some interesting quotes:

“Melbourne Water is committed to reducing its net carbon emissions to zero by 2030.

The proposed solar farms are one initiative designed to help meet this ambitious goal and will play a role alongside other projects including hydro-power stations and the transition of Melbourne Water’s car fleet to zero emissions vehicles” the tender reads.

We’ve seen plenty of council solar over the last year and it’s fantastic to see state governments also working hard on minimising Australia’s carbon footprint.

Expressions of interest to provide solar power to Melbourne Water will close on November 27. The company are hoping to make their choice by May of 2019.

For further information please call 1800 931 978 or email via [email protected]

 

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Goonumbla solar farm – deal with Snowy Hydro

The Goonumbla Solar Farm will supply energy to Snowy Hydro under a deal announced today. 

Goonumbla Solar Farm

FRV (Fotowatio Renewable Ventures), a large-scale solar developer based in Spain, already has five solar projects in Australia and will now start work on the Goonumbla Solar Farm. 

The 68MW solar farm will commence construction next April, and it’s expected that the project will be fully up and running by June 2020. It’ll produce around 195,000MWh, according to RenewEconomy

The wind and solar energy will be used to support Snowy’s pumped hydro storage generators who were previously pulling electricity from the grid to pump the water (to the tune of 2800 MWh, according to the Sydney Morning Herald).

“This agreement will put significant pressure on wholesale electricity prices which will lead to downward pressure on retail – household – energy prices,” Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad said.

CEO of FRV, Daniel Sangi-Vela, discussed the project with the media:

“With this agreement we want to continue leading the production of renewable energy in Australia, a country that is showing a great commitment to boost renewable energy projects,” Mr. Sangi-Vela said.

“The Goonumbla Solar Farm will enable us to develop our expansion plans in the country, while contributing to a more sustainable future in Australia” he continued.

This is an exciting development for FRV, who have a proven track record in the space and are also responsible for the Lilyvale Solar Farm, Clare Solar Farm, Moree Solar Farm, Royalla Solar Farm, and the Winton Solar Farm

Snowy Hydro’s Electricity Tender

Goonumbla Solar Farm and Snowy Hydro
Goonumbla Solar Farm and Snowy Hydro (source: snowyhydro.com.au)

According to Snowy Hydro, their tender involved over 17,000MW of projects, with four solar farms and four wind farms winning contracts to supply Snowy Hydro Limited – an electricity generation and retailing company who own, manage and maintain the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric scheme located in the Kosciuszko National Park.

Solar Farms:

  1. Goonumbla Solar Farm (FRV)
  2. Metz Solar Farm (Clenergy)
  3. Unnamed Total Eren Farm
  4. Unnamed Lightsource BP Farm.

Wind Farms:

  1. Dundonnel wind farm (Tilt)
  2. Murra Warra wind farm (Macquarie and RES Group)
  3. Unnamed CWP Renewables Wind Farm
  4. Unknown!

According to Snowy Hydro, these eight projects total 888MW and will generate around 2.8 terawatt hours of energy annually. If you’re interested, you can read more on the official website by clicking here

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Solar powered abattoir to be constructed in Gladstone

Asia Pacific Agri-Corp have advised that they will spend $308m on a 78MW solar farm to create a solar powered abattoir in Gladstone, Queensland.

Solar powered abattoir

According to the manufacturer, Asia Pacific Agri-Corp, the project will cost $308m and will offset a significant proportion of the abattoir’s energy needs:

APAC managing director Daniel Daly was quoted by ABC News as explaining why Asia Pacific Agri-Corp decided this was the best option for their energy needs moving forwards:

“We have our own 78MW solar farm on the site, so we’re able to do behind the metre or through-the-fence power deals which keeps our costs controlled for the processing.

“There was also other costs associated with waste water and removal of waste water would be considerable … (so) we (will ) combine the surplus of power from the solar with the waste water into an onsite hydrogen plant.”

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, spoke about the project and how much of the abattoir’s electricity it’ll offset:

“Once fully operational this cutting-edge facility will be capable of processing 2,400 head of cattle per day ready to cater for growing demand for Australian beef,” Dick said in a statement.

“The development approval also provides for 95 hectares of solar panels, capable of generating 78 MW of electricity or almost one third of the sites total electricity needs. A further energy efficiency measure includes the development of an on-site 33MW hydrogen plant to service the abattoir’s boiler.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher was also optimistic about hte project, which will deliver 308 construction and 335 operation jobs:

“This development will open up massive job increases for labourers in the Gladstone region by providing employment to dozens of non-trade occupations such as cattle workers, forklift drivers, and other processing workers,” he said.

Construction of the farm is expected to begin next May and finish up in 2021. 

Solar Powered Abattoir
Solar Powered Abattoir Mockup (source: QLD Govt)

Commercial Solar Uptake

There’s been an abundance of commercial solar installations and uptake over the past 12 months – here are some of the most interesting ones:

-Nectar Farms’ new glasshouse will be powered by the Bulgana wind farm (190MW, with a 20MW/34MWh Tesla Powerpack battery)

-Sanjeev Gupta and GFG Alliance’s Whyalla steelworks will be powered by solar – utilising depleted mine pits to “unlock a legacy of past activity for the benefit of future generations”

-Vicinity Centres revealed that they will spend $75m to install solar at seventeen Vicinity-owned shopping centres.

 

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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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