Flinders Island to Complete Switch to Renewables Before 2017 Ends

Wind Turbines

Hydro Tasmania, a facility owned by the state, is reported to formally “switch on” the Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub next month. The project will finally be completed after nearly two-and-a-half- years following it s initial announcement to the public. Its goal is to meet a minimum of 60 percent of the island’s 6.7 gigawatts yearly demand with renewables and to control the output of the 3 megawatts diesel power station.

A report from the website of RenewEconomy states that the hub is already leading the Bass Strait island to almost 80 percent renewables and the team who who works behind it is convinced it will be able to supply 100 percent of demand before 2017 ends.

The Flinders Island project, which costs around $13.3 million, follows up on Hydro Tasmania’s success with King Island. It also utilized a similar integration of solar, wind, and energy storage to attain 60 percent renewable from 22010 to 2014.

The Implementation Manager of Hybrid Energy Solution at Hydro Tasmania, David Brown, stated, “The technology mix is very much the same at Flinders Island, but with a bit more solar and the whole project has been easier, cheaper, and quicker.”

Brown stated on the possibility of establishing additional energy hubs in Australia, “We are actively talking to people across the Pacific and making in-roads into the mining sector. We are also looking at (rolling the technology out) in embedded networks, in grid-connected projects, fringe of the grid. A lot of this is fairly transferable.”

He also believes that the residents of Flinders Island are now much satisfied because they have a more sustainable, much cheaper, and more reliable power supply. “Power prices on Flinders Island, King Island, and most remote places are regulated,” Brown added.

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DP Energy Announces Additional Large-Scale Expansion of its Energy Park in South Australia

Solar and Wind Farm

DP Energy levels up its game following Sanjeev Gupta’s initial announcement of a 1-gigawatt project which will utilise solar, pumped hydro, and battery storage. The company had come to a deal with Downer Group and Vestas as contractors for the previously confirmed 375MW first stage of the project. The initial phase will include 225MW of wind and 150MW of solar near Port Augusta.

A report from the website of RenewEconomy mentioned that the projects will be included in a series of other projects at the top end of the Spencer Gulf, which includes the 220MW Bungala solar project, the 212 Lincoln Gap wind project, and the 150MW Aurora solar tower and storage project.

Already nearing 50 percent of its local generation, South Australia is expected to double the amount of renewables in the region with its numerous large-scale clean energy programs and initiatives.

However, the Irish company mentioned that the project has not reached financial close, but it reassures that it will push through especially with the appointment of Downer Group as one of its contractors.

DP Energy Catherine Way told RenewEconomy in an interview, “This project will happen. When the facility is fully complete the end result has the potential to be a game changer for energy production and provision in Australia.”

The company further stated, “The wind farm will be producing at maximum strength at the peak of local electricity demand. This will be further complemented by high levels of solar power generation. Matching supply with demand ensures maximum efficiency and reliability.”

“By combining the wind energy which ramps up during the day to the evening peak with solar energy which peaks in the middle of the day, the combined generation profile closely matches South Australia’s demand profile,” the company’s statement continues.

To read the full report and to know more about the other renewable projects of DP Energy, click here.

350MW Lower Wonga Solar Farm Project Gets Approval from the Council

Solar Farm

SolarQ mentioned in a statement that the Gympie Regional Council had already approved the 350MW Lower Wonga Solar Farm on the basis that it reflects a positive progress for the local and state communities.

A report published on Renew Economy also claims that the Gympie Regional Energy Hub, which also has three stages of development, hopes to include over 1 gigawatt of PV capacity. The third stage of the project suggests one more solar farm of 800MW and a 4,000MWh/800MW of battery storage.

According to Scott Armstrong, SolarQ’s Managing Director, “We are actually designing for the future. We are looking to create the equivalent of a peaking power station. The final design of the Gympie Regional Energy Hub will meet customer demand and growth, will be scalable, dispatchable, will align with solar variability and will provide security of energy supply.”

The location of the project in Gympie has been revealed to be a former gold centre which is now utilised for fruit farming and industry. It suits the project due to certain metrics which include having a high percentage of unemployment in the area.

The project is also anticipated to create nearly 450 jobs in the span of four years, 12 jobs for 30 years during the energy hub’s operations, and other related jobs for the region.

Armstrong also revealed that the project is expected to be funded through a combination of power purchase agreements and the merchant market, after drawing in interest from investors in the private sector.

He further commented, “Our plan is to bring in (investors) who have an understanding of ultra high-speed dispatch. PPA’s tend to steralise (a project’s) capabilities. We need to start looking beyond them.”

Read the full report here.

Queensland Still Leads in Small-Scale Solar Installations in Australia

Solar panels in roof

An article published on the website of Energy Matters mentioned that there were a total of 6,927 small-scale systems installed nationally in September with an overall generation capacity of 36,265kW. Queensland still has the highest level of small-scale installations in the country with a total of 2,153 systems installed in September.

The CER presents a monthly update of the small-scale renewable energy system installations under the Renewable energy Target’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

The following are the national trends and analysis included in CER’s latest report:

  • Installation rates for September are currently tracking lower than August, with 6,927 installed compared to 8,017 last month
  • Queensland had the highest number of commercial-sized solar PV systems (10-100kW) installed in September, with 149 systems installed
  • There were 409 commercial sized solar PV systems (10-100kW) installed Australia-wide in September
  • There were 132 PV systems that had a concurrent battery storage installation in September

In the initial half of the present year, a 23 percent increase in small-scale solar systems installations in the country was posted, which, according to an analysis, could have reduced the trading price of Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STC) from $40 to $30.50 in September. The decrease in the price affected the amount that solar energy rebate installers could pass on to their customers.

Meanwhile, New South Wales posted the second highest level of small-scale installations in Australia in September with 23 percent of the overall number of installations in the country. It also had 104 commercial-sized solar PV systems (10-100kW) and 48 PV systems that had a concurrent battery storage installation.

The following are the highest performing solar postcodes in Australia for September:

  • Yanchep (6035) in Western Australia
  • Tarneit (3029) and Pakenham (3810) in Victoria
  • Northgate (5085) in South Australia
  • Upper Coomer (4209) in Queensland
  • Gunn (0832) in the Northern Territory
  • Casino (2470) in New South Wales
  • Ngunnawal (2913) and Moncrieff (2914) in the ACT
  • Launceston (7250) in Tasmania

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Stockland Solar Projects Back Queensland’s Clean Energy Initiatives

Solar Panels

Queensland Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt made the announcement on the roof of the Stockland Cairns Shopping Centre. It was also revealed that Stockland will begin working on the $3.4 million solar project at Stockland Cairns in the next few months. The first of the 10 projects will be installed nationally, and the 1.6mW Cairns solar roof installation will constitute of 5,200 panels. Each panel is at least 23kg in weight.

According to the press release published on the website of Stockland, Pitt was joined by the Managing Director and CEO of Stockland, Mark Steinert in inspecting the Cairns installation and discussed the solar rollout. The solar rollout is believed to set a new Australian standard and aid the energy requirements of the state in the future.

Pitt praised the project and considered it as a breakthrough in Australia’s renewable energy efforts. He stated, “Five centres in regional Queensland will see solar panels rolled out across their rooftops adding to the mix of residential and large-scale commercial and industrial solar projects supplying clean and renewable energy.”

He added, “Queensland currently has the highest capacity of rooftop solar panels in Australia and one of the highest penetration rates anywhere in the world so it makes sense to have a big part of this project here in the Sunshine state particularly in Cairns.”

Mark Bailey, the Minister for Energy, expressed confidence that the Sunshine State will soon turn into Solar State. “We’re well on our way to meeting our target for one million Queensland rooftops with solar or 3,000 megawatts of total solar by 2020,” Bailey said.

According to Stockland’s Managing Director and CEO, Mark Steinert, “This solar project is an important step for renewable energy in Queensland, playing a significant role in the transition to a lower carbon energy future. We are extremely proud to be setting a new standard in solar for Australian property which will help create clean, green energy for our retailers, our customers, and the communities we operate in.”

For more information about this report, click here.