Cultana Solar Farm to go ahead

The Cultana solar farm will go ahead, having received planning approval from the South Australian government. Let’s take a closer look at the project. 

Cultana Solar Farm to go ahead

The Cultana solart farm will be a 280MW solar farm being developed by Simec Zen Energy Australia. The project is set to commence construction within the next 12 months. It’ll be constructed on land next to the Whyalla Steelworks, who are currently expanding via Sanjeev Gupta and GFG Alliance (and who will undoubtedly need more power in the coming months and years). 

Sanjeev Gupta and GFG Alliance’s $1b fund to help support solar power in the Whyalla will be tapped for the Cultana project – despite some blowback from Adani Renewables who have bizarrely asked that the project be assessed by the Federal Department of the Environment under the EBPC Act. Adani have raised concerns about the potential impact on animals such as the threatened western grass wren and the slender-billed thornbill. They also discussed the problems with impact to Aboriginal heritage, dust, and traffic impacts. Seems strange given their own project will undoubtedly be scrutinized for the same reasons, but they must have a plan…

The project was signed off by SA Minister for Planning Stephan Knoll who put some restrictions on the approval. Simec have been asked to submit Environmental Management Plans for the construction and the operation phases of the Cultana Solar Farm. 

According to RenewEconomy, the $350M project will generate 600GWh of electricity per annum. This project is tipped to create 350 jobs during construction and 10 ongoing operations solar jobs after it’s completed. It’s expected to contribute savings of 492,000 tonnes of co2 emissions per year. 

Cultana (source: rowanramsey.com.au)

“There is a great future for energy‐intensive industries in Australia,” Sanjeev Gupta was quoted as saying. 

“This the first step in GFG leading the country’s industrial transition to more competitive energy.”

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Solar Energy Jobs double in 17-18 FY

Solar energy jobs in Australia received a huge boost in the 17-18 financial year according to statistics from the ABS. The amount of jobs in this sector double from the previous year. 

Solar Energy Jobs in Australia

With the explosion of solar power in Australia, solar jobs have also seen a drastic uptick – according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the number of full time jobs in the renewable energy sector rose by 28% in 17/18. A whopping 46% of this represents rooftop solar – the total of 17,740 full time jobs is up a whopping 60% from 15-16 numbers.

Solar Energy Jobs in Australia (source: @ahsan19 via Unsplash.com)
Solar Energy Jobs in Australia (source: @ahsan19 via Unsplash.com)

“Factors contributing to the growth in renewable energy uptake in Australia include a reduction in costs, greater interest in clean energy sources and the development of electricity storage technologies,” Jonathon Khoo from the ABS said in comments published on the SBS website.

“Although this has led to a boost in employment in the renewable energy sector, employment in renewable energy remains comparatively small compared with other forms of energy which employs around 59,000 people.”

“We saw large scale solar projects – systems with an installed capacity of 100 kilowatts or greater – overtake hydroelectric power to become the second-largest creator of renewable jobs” Mr Khoo continued. 

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Simon Currie from Renew Estate – he discussed the ramifications for solar employees and those looking to get involved in this rapidly growing industry:

“Projects like Bomen – in Wagga Wagga – are showing the way for the future, by using localised labour, and it paves the way for how the renewable workforce is used in the future,” Mr Currie said.

Solar farm jobs rose steadily from 930 in 2016-17 to 2880 last year, beating hydro’s 2020 jobs and the 1890 employees working at wind farms.  Around 1 in 4 homes which are suitable for solar power have it installed, so there’s still plenty of room to move. We also have energy storage to keep an eye on! 

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Daintree microgrid project | Hydrogen

The Daintree microgrid project has been funded almost $1m by the federal government. It’s set to become Australia’s first solar to hydrogen microgrid and will replace reliance on an expensive and polluting diesel system. Let’s learn more about it! 

Daintree microgrid project

Daintree Microgrid Project (source: Killerscene via Wikipedia)
Daintree Microgrid Project (source: Killerscene via Wikipedia)

The grant amount is $990,150 which will go to the Daintree Renewable Energy Pty Ltd company, as per an article in Energy Magazine, which also noted that the fund will complement the AEMO’s review of microgrids and the regulatory bodies which will govern them, created by the government in August of last year.

Russell O’Doherty, president of Daintree Renewable Energy, was quoted in an interview with Newsport:

“This power will be used to help power the hydrogen cell; the hydrogen gas produced will be collected and stored and used to fuel large scale generators. The only by product of this system is hot water,” he said.

“This is absolutely fantastic news for the environmentally-conscious Daintree community,” Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch also weighed in:

“Far North Queenslanders, especially those living in the Daintree, are extremely passionate about their natural environment and this announcement is a big win for the entire region.”

“The proposed microgrid will store energy generated by new and existing solar panels by converting it to hydrogen, generating reliable power and reducing the World Heritage Area’s reliance on diesel fuel to generate power, with consumption currently estimated at around 4 million litres of diesel per annum,” Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said.

However it’s not all peachy in the Daintree – the Douglas Shire Sustainability Group is clashing with Daintree Renewable Energy with regards to reticulated power north of Daintree. According to PV Magazine Australia, the DSSG is concerned the renewable project could result in long term damage to the world heritage environment and to tourism. You can learn more about that by clicking here. Watch this space to see what happens there, but surely moving from diesel to solar is a no brainer! 

 

 

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Dunsborough Centrepoint Solar Project

Dunsborough Centrepoint solar – the shopping complex is set for a renewables upgrade, with the owners set to invest in a $1m solar panel upgrade on the roof of the shopping centre.

Dunsborough Centrepoint Solar Project

We’ve written quite a lot about shopping centre solar in the past – and today another centre has announced a significant investment in trying to offset their energy usage and 

According to quotes in TheWest, manager of Dunsborough Centrepoint, John Reid, discussed their rationale for the installation:

“We want to peg our growing electricity bills, and after the seven year buyback period ,we hope to pass those savings on to our tenants,” he said. “It’s the single biggest solar installation in Dunsborough and it’s not cheap, but we’re hoping it will have long-term benefits.”

“The long-term investment is an example to businesses that you can invest in the environment by handling the capital by monitoring what you are capable of producing,” Mr Reid continued.

“We will be transparent with how things are tracking and are happy to provide advice to other existing businesses contemplating an investment in solar.”

TheWest also quoted Busselton Mayor Grant Henley who commended the project for its reduction of energy consumption and positive impact on the environment.

Dunsborough is a coastal town in the South West of Western Australia, approximately 250 kilometres south of Perth, located on the shores of Geographe Bay. They’ve been in the news (and Saving With Solar) previously for the Dunsborough Community Energy Project, a virtual power plant with no upfront cost solar for local residents. 

Solar Quotes wrote last year about the Dunsborough Primary School and its goal to run on 100% renewable energy, so the area has already got a high commercial solar and residential solar installation . 

Dunsborough Centrepoint Shopping Centre
Dunsborough Centrepoint Shopping Centre (source: stockerpreston.com.au)

Articles about some of the other schools in Australia who have installed renewable energy and are looking to minimise their exposure to cost fluctuations and help the environment are as follows:

Visit the official Dunsborough Centrepoint website by clicking here

If you’d like to read more articles about solar on shopping centres please click below.

 

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Cohuna Solar Farm Commences Construction

The 34.2 MW Cohuna Solar Farm has commenced construction in Victoria after being chosen as one of the three winning tenders from the Victorian renewable energy auction.

Cohuna Solar Farm | Timeline, Investment, Jobs.

The 34.2MW Cohuna solar farm will be located in the shire of Gannawarra and will be built by Enel Green Power.

The solar project will consist of 87,000 bifacial modules mounted on single-axis trackers and will be connected to the grid via the Cohuna Zone Substation. Enel Green Power are investing ~US$42 million (AU$59 million) into the project, expected to commence operations by the end of this year.

Once completed, the project is expected to generate 77 GWh per year. The solar farm will be built in conjunction with local developer Leeson Group.

“Since EGP made its entry into the Australian renewable sector, we have already made great strides to expand our footprint in this competitive market,” said Antonio Cammisecra, Head of Enel Green Power (who also own the Bungala Solar Farm, Australia’s largest online solar farm), in comments repeated in PV Magazine.

Whilst the Cohuna Solar Farm’s output is a little more modest, it’s still an important step forwards for solar power in Australia and the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET). Under the VRET, six projects will be developed (three wind and three solar). With these projects the Victorian government hopes to source 25% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020, 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

If you’d like to read the press release from Enel please click here

If you’d like to know more about the developer, here’s a blurb about their company taken from their website:

Enel Green Power, the global renewable energy business line of the Enel Group, is dedicated to the development and operation of renewables across the world, with a presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Enel Green Power is a global leader in the green energy sector with a managed capacity of over 43 GW across a generation mix that includes wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower, and is at the forefront of integrating innovative technologies into renewable power plants.

The other two winning projects which won the Victorian renewable energy auction are:

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