Telstra, Macquarie Consider Building New Solar and Wind Farms

Solar and Wind Farm

Telstra, which reportedly consumes approximately 1 percent of Australia’s electricity, presently has generators and battery storage of approximately 1,000-megawatt hours utilised to guarantee its towers and other various facilities can keep their power on.

As Renew Economy reports, the Head of Strategy at Telstra Energy James Gerraty stated that Telstra’s solar farms provide long term protection for the company on energy prices. He also revealed during the Disruption and Energy Industry conference in Sydney that Telstra is adopting the same approach to handling long term risk on energy as it had on interest rates and other policies.

Earlier this year, Gerraty said that the Emerald solar farm was just the beginning of the company’s dive into large scale renewable energy, but would “let the dust settle” on that investment. Now, Telstra is ready to add other projects including the wind and solar farm projects in New South Wales and Victoria. However, there were no further details given about the potential projects.

On the other hand, the Macquarie Group is considering projects both in the very early phases of location acquisition and the final stage of developments.

Macquarie is known as one of the biggest investors in renewable initiatives and projects through its numerous investment partners around the globe. The company is believed to have established a new team – most were from Australian utilities – which will specialise on solar and wind projects investments.

It is also notable that Australian utilities are now considering large scale renewables. Sun Metals and Nectar Farms are committing to large scale wind and solar projects while Aldi, Woolworths, and IKEA invest on rooftop solar.

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CEFC, Macquarie to Offer Finance Discounts For Electric Vehicles and Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Electric Car Charging

According to the CEFC website, the program provides a 0.7 percent discount on finance for e-vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and various energy efficiency and renewable energy equipment. Those who would choose to avail of any eligible lower emissions passenger vehicles can also be given a 0.5 percent finance discount.

Ian Learmonth, the CEFC CEO, said that the program with Macquarie Leasing was an essential extension of the organisation’s current initiatives to integrate clean energy solutions across the economy. “Through similar programs with other financiers, we have already helped businesses, consumers, and farmers invest in more than 2,0000 energy efficient, low emissions and renewable energy projects, valued at more than $250 million.”

Learmonth further added, “By making this discounted CEFC finance available through major financiers such as Macquarie Leasing, we are making it easier for Australians to prioritise clean energy options when they make major investment decisions. Clean energy technologies are developing quickly, and become more cost effective as they reach scale. By supporting the more widespread adoption of exciting clean energy solutions such as electric vehicles, we can accelerate the decarbonisation of our economy.”

The continuous rise of electric vehicles usage can post a notable improvement in reducing emissions. According to ClimateWorks, Australia can potentially lessen carbon emissions by approximately 9 million tonnes by 2030 by using electric vehicles and the present decarbonisation of the grid. The possible savings could reach up to 27 million tonnes by 2050.

The leasing program of Macquarie covers new energy efficient vehicles and equipment. It also offers to finance rooftop solar and battery storage. The discounted finance can also be beneficial to those who have plans of upgrading the energy efficiency of their establishments.

The Head of Macquarie Leasing, Jon Moodie, stated, “We are delighted to be working with the CEFC on this program and to be providing an extra level of support to individuals and businesses seeking to make their own contribution to reducing carbon emissions through their choice of vehicle and other equipment.”

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Wind Farms Construction in Victoria to Create Thousands of Jobs

Wind Farm in Coast

A report from the Weekly Times stated that the five farms being built and the 16 which still needs the approval to be fully operational will be more than double the current 18 wind farms in the state. One of the primary reasons for the boost in the construction of wind farms is the renewable energy target of 25 percent of Victoria’s power by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025 by the Victorian government.

According to the environment group Friends of the Earth (FoE), Liberal-held rural districts are the ones who will benefit the most from this renewable initiatives. Leigh Ewbank, the Spokesman for FoE, said, “Ripon, Polwarth, and South-West Coast are three Liberal electorates most likely to be the greatest beneficiaries of VRET.” He also added that the wind farm projects would generate job opportunities, pay rates, supply power to homes, and provide income to farmers.

In Ripon, four approved wind farms with over 300 turbines would yield nearly half a million dollars in rates to the local councils. Ewbank also confirmed that the wind farm projects have already created around 780 construction jobs.

He further added that the two more proposed wind farms, with a total of 93 turbines, in South-West Coast electorate would open 228 jobs in construction and pay over $180,000 in rates.

On the other hand, FoE’s analysis from Polwarth revealed four farms in different stages of approval with a total number of 486 turbines would make way for 1,367 jobs and more than $600,000 in local council rates.

However, Liberal Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay shoots down the VRET, claiming it would alter the landscape of Western Victoria forever. He said, “The once tranquil hinterlands and pastures of food production land will be churned into a setting mass of industrial machinery.”

But Energy and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio stated, “Simon Ramsay needs to explain to the people of Western Victoria why he is against VRET when it will drive down power prices, bring on more supply, and create thousands of jobs in regional areas.”

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Australia’s Grid Challenged by Increased Security Risk – AEMO Report

Electric Meter

As Energy Matters reports, the “2017 Electricity Statement of Opportunities” report published by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) states that the grid “does not have the energy reserves it once had.” Therefore, grid stability must come outside the conventional frequency response security from the coal-fired turbines.

Purpose and Scope

According to the report, the purpose of the study is to give details to market participants to aid them in making informed decisions related to investment potential in the National Electricity Market (NEM). The latest Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) is based on the previous ESOO and patterning renewable generation builds to satisfy the proposed and present renewable energy targets in the NEM.

Furthermore, the report examines the possible generation outage events that may affect the supply reliability. This helps in determining the limitations which the short-term plans and solutions can do to solve supply shortage and find out various market opportunities in order to increase generation.

Generation Assumptions

According to the report, there are three paths for renewable generation builds in the NEM in the 2017 ESOO:

* Committed and existing generation – This assumption integrates all existing generation in the NEM and new generation that meet the commitment criteria of AEMO. Advice on commitments and retirements is founded on present industry advice.

* Concentrated renewables – This scenario presumes possible additional development after 2020 are centered specifically in Victoria due to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET).

* Dispersed renewables – This premise assumes developments are determined by national targets that deliver a more balanced geographic spread of renewable generation across the NEM, which results in a greater penetration of renewables than is achieved if they are centered on a specific location or region.

The analysis published by the AEMO establishes that renewable generation can render essential support in order to maintain reliability even without firming capability. “However, if this renewable development was to lead to the earlier retirement of existing thermal generation, the risk of USE would increase without additional firming capability,” the report states.

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Newcastle Solar Farm Expected to Drive Council’s Renewable Energy Generation Capacity

Solar Farm

In a press release published on the Newcastle City website, the solar farm will cover an area of approximately five football fields on a capped landfill site which was formerly a part of the Wallsend Borehole Colliery. With nearly 16,000 photovoltaic solar arrays, it will aid the city in lessening the $4 million yearly cost of electricity.

Furthermore, once the new solar farm project is completed, it will also support the council in achieving its 30 percent renewable energy target, which was under the council’s 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan.

Jeremy Bath, the Newcastle City Council Interim CEO, stated, “With energy costs soaring and the cost of solar photovoltaic technology falling, the business case is now clear for councils to increase renewable energy use and take control of their energy costs.”

He further continued, “We are seeing a boom in construction of solar farms across Australia and local councils will be one of the key beneficiaries from the experience the solar sector has developed. It is also important for our community that we build sustainability into the way we do things, which is why we have moved quickly to increase renewable energy capability and find smarter, more energy-efficient solutions for our city’s needs.”

Following a feasibility study and manifestation of interest process in 2016, a bid will be given to eight qualified respondents for the design, construction, and operation of the new solar farm. The project will then be reported to the council for approval and funding.

With a 2.2MW landfill gas generator and a small wind turbine installed at Summerhill, the solar farm will not only continue the development of one of the most innovative renewable energy installation at a waste facility but also paves the way for battery storage.

To know more about the project, visit this website.