NSW Farmers recently launched their Wind Farm Guide for Host Landholders. (see link below)
NSW Farmers recently launched their Wind Farm Guide for Host Landholders. (see link below)
Thankyou for your support in 2012. We wish you a Merry Christmas & safe holiday period.
We are hoping Santa will bring the industry increased electricity demand, security & direction of govt policies and better conditions to obtain PPAs and project finance.
Although the news room has been quite, EPi has been busy undertaking civil works for a NSW windfarm, supplying bulk products to QLD solar and CSG projects and continuing with its support for its current renewable customers.
Wind Energy Facility Planning Scheme Amendments
Yesterday the Victorian Government gazetted Amendment VC82, which changes all Victorian planning schemes relating to the development of wind energy facilities.
The planning scheme amendment gives effect to the Liberal National pre-election wind farm policy on all matters except the establishment of a shared payment system for landowners whose properties are within one kilometre of the nearest turbine.
Overview: The main changes to the planning scheme are to implement the government’s policy that a turbine must not be located within 2km of an existing dwelling without the owner’s consent. In addition, the changes prohibit wind energy facilities in a number of other locations, including whole municipalities such as Macedon Ranges Shire and Yarra Ranges. Further detail about the policy is set out below.
Amendments to clause 52.32 make a wind energy facility prohibited where any turbine that forms part of the facility is located within 2km of an existing dwelling unless evidence of the written consent of the owner of that dwelling is submitted with the permit application. The amendments do not specify the form of consent required. It is important to note that the consent only has to be provided by an owner of an existing dwelling, and consequently does not apply to tenants or dwellings that are planned or approved but not yet constructed. We anticipate that a wind energy developer would only be able to obtain the consent of an owner by entering into some form of commercial agreement. The terms and form of those agreements will need careful consideration of a number of issues, such as whether the agreement should be registered on title to bind future owners and whether it could include provisions on amenity, the ability to object to the project, and requiring owners to obtain the consent of tenants. We can assist to develop a list of criteria and a form for such agreements and consents if you wish.
In the absence of obtaining an agreement with all dwelling owners the only way around the prohibition would be to amend the planning scheme to include the wind energy facility site within a special purpose zone, such as a special use zone. These zones are frequently used for land uses such as power stations and other utilities. This could be an avenue for projects which have obtained the majority of dwelling owner consents but have been unable to obtain the consent of one or two landholders.
Furthermore, a new 5km setback will now be enforced for land within 5km of a residential zone, industrial zone, business zone or special purpose zone in an urban area of major regional cities and centres. Those towns affected are: Ararat, Ballarat, Benalla, Echuca, Colac, Bairnsdale, Bendigo, Portland, Geelong, Shepparton, Horsham, Moe, Morwell, Traralgon, Mildura, Hamilton, Swan Hill, Wangaratta, Warrnambool, Wodonga, Sale. There is an exception to the 5km setback where the wind farm is ‘integrated as part of the development of the land.’ We assume that exception applies to small scale development such as a single turbine associated with a residential or industrial use to provide power to that land.
Prohibition of wind energy facilities
Amendment of existing permits: The transitional arrangements set out in clause 52.32-7 of the planning scheme do not assist holders of permits issued by the Minister for Planning. If an amendment is required to such a planning permit, then the new planning scheme requirements apply to that amendment, which would require the developer to obtain the consent of owners of any dwellings within 2km of a proposed turbine. The provisions of the planning scheme that applied before 15 March 2011 only continue to apply to applications for amendments of permits issued by the local council or the tribunal.
Extension of time applications
The extension of time provisions are similar to the previous transitional arrangements. The planning scheme in force before 15 March 2011 continues to apply to an application for extension of time under section 69. However, the extension of time must specify an expiry date for the commencement of the development no later than 15 March 2012.
For a better interpretation of the amendments follow the following Freehills link.
Hansen Transmissions, which manufacturers gearbox parts for wind turbines, almost doubled in market value after saying it agreed to a 444.8 million-pound cash offer from ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a German manufacturer of auto-parts and agricultural machinery,
Hans-Georg Haerter, chief executive officer of ZF Group, said the acquisition of Hansen, whose plants in Lommel, Belgium, Coimbatore, India and Tianjin, China have an annual production capacity of 7,600 MW for wind turbine gearboxes, “represents a natural extension of our strategic decision to enter the growing and exciting field of wind energy.”
Hansen’s two largest shareholders, Suzlon Energy Ltd. and Ecofin Ltd., which hold 38.4 percent of the company, gave “irrevocable undertakings” to accept the offer, according to the statement. Suzlon Energy is said to get about 115 million pounds from the deal.
First Solar has sold a 9.9 MW project in northwest Spain to an investment fund managed by KGAL GmbH & Co. First Solar will supply panels for the plant near Zamora, which is currently being built by Gehrlicher Solar Espana.
KGAL’s European Solar Power Fund paid about 35 million euros.
Nordex, will supply 21 turbines to Norway’s Statkraft AS for its 52.5 MW Baillie wind farm on the north coast of Scotland. Nordex will install the 2.5 MW machines at the site near Thurso in August 2012. Nordex has already installed about 800 MW of projects in Britain and Ireland, U.K.
Siemens said it received an order for 63 2.3-megawatt wind turbines spread over five wind parks from Florianopolis, Brazil-based utility Tractebel Energia SA.
Gamesa has said it agreed to supply Aldesa with 80 megawatts of turbines for two wind farms in southern Spain.The deal will include supplying 25 G-97 2-megawatt generators and 15 G-90 turbines with the same capacity. The equipment is due to be delivered in the final quarter of this year.
Repower Systems rose last week in Frankfurt trading after Indian parent Suzlon Energy offered to buy the 5 percent in the wind turbine maker it doesn’t already own.
AGL Energy signed A$1.2 billion of loans last week. One revolving facility of A$400 million matures in July 2016 while another term facility of A$600 million matures in July 2014, the data show. Proceeds of both will be used to refinance debt.
Separately, the company signed a A$200 million term loan due July 2031 to help fund its 50 percent interest in the Macarthur wind farm, the data show.
Alstom has said its quarterly orders rose 44 percent, boosted by the acquisition of a power-transmission business and greater demand for gas and coal turbines.
Orders for thermal-power equipment such as gas and steam turbines rose 77 percent to 2.81 billion euros in the quarter, and orders for renewable energy systems such as wind turbines and hydroelectric dams fell 9 percent to 328 million euros.
Renova Energia SA, a Brazilian renewable energy company, may become the nation’s biggest producer of wind power by 2016. Renova may develop as much as 1.3 GW of wind farms over the next five years
The new projects may catapult it to the top spot in Brazil’s wind market, ahead of its largest competitor CPFL Energias Renovaveis SA, with a newly formed joint venture that combines the renewable energy assets of utility CPFL Energia SA and developer ERSA-Energias Renovaveis SA.
Wind projects are, right now, the most competitive projects for Renova with the company receiving power contracts averaged 121 reais a megawatt-hour in a government-organized auction last year for new renewable energy projects.
General Electric will supply 18 turbines to two power companies that are building a 45 MW wind farm in northwest Estonia. GE is supplying their 2.5 MW machines.
Q-Cells has sold the Zerbst II solar power plant with a total output of 12 MW-peak to the Berlin investment group MCG Management Capital Group.
Siemens AG is set to commission its first solar-thermal power plant within two months and is seeking financing for projects that will triple its capacity, said the company’s head of solar energy for Spain.
Europe’s largest engineering company will start feeding power into the Spanish power grid from its 50-megawatt plant at Lebrija near Seville, a joint venture with the Spanish construction firm Sacyr Vallehermoso SA (SYV).
Siemens acquired its stake in the plant when it bought Israel-based Solel Solar Systems Ltd. in 2009 to boost its offerings in concentrating solar power. The Lebrija plant deploys 170,000 curved mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on pipes containing thermal oil that will reach temperatures of 400 degrees Celsius. Siemens plans to begin construction of two additional 50- megawatt plants at the site once Spain passes legislation to govern the next wave of solar-thermal plants.
The new plants will cost about 300 million euros each and include a heat storage mechanism to extend the amount of time that they will produce power each day, Moran said. Siemens has held talks with potential partners to help with costs of the project.
Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, plans to spend as much as $50 billion over the next 20 years to cope with 13.5 percent annual growth in electricity demand, the Energy Regulatory Commission said. Electricity demand is forecast to reach 16.9 GW by 2031 from 1.52 GW in 2012.
Under the plan, about 27 percent of electricity generated will be from geothermal sources by 2031, 24 percent from nuclear plants and 24 percent from coal-fired plants. Imported electricity will provide another 13 percent of power, while hydropower plants account for 5 percent, down from 50 percent at present. The plan also includes the construction of 10,345 kilometers of transmission lines.
AGL Energy will recoup A$164m ($171m) of costs and bank a development fee of A$38m from the sale of its 67.2MW Oaklands Hill Wind Farm south of Glenthompson Victoria to an unidentified corporate buyer, the utility says.
The sale is positive outcome for AGL, analysts say, and may indicate an upward turn for the Australian wind sector, given that the company’s development strategy has so far been hampered by weak wholesale electricity and renewable energy certificate (REC) prices.
The payments made by AGL under the off-take arrangements will reflect a sharing of the risks associated with the wind speed variability at the site.
The utility will retain until 2036 the rights to all renewable energy certificates from the wind farm, according to the statement sent to the ASX.
The development fee will be received from the Australian buyer when construction is completed with about A$30 million to be paid in the financial year 2011 and the balance in 2012.
The project, currently under construction by Suzlon Energy Ltd., is scheduled to be completed in early 2012. The buyer will fund all remaining development and construction costs.
AGL has said it expects the REC market to remain “soft and soggy” until at least 2014, but the Oaklands Hill deal suggests it sees a firming in the market post 2014. “An initial A$98/MWh off-take price, rising to A$115.50/MWh in 2014, shows the company’s confidence in the outlook for Large-scale Renewable Energy Certificate (LREC) pricing,” said an analyst for the Deutsche Bank.
Credit Suisse has upgraded its rating on AGL from neutral to outperform, after the sale news.
Dong Energy, the largest operator of offshore wind farms, is seeking to lower the cost of developing power projects by signing a long-term supply contract for turbine foundations that will be made by Bladt Industries.
The agreement gives the energy company the option to buy as many as 600 of the structures, the industry’s first foundation supply deal that covers multiple offshore wind farms, Skaerbaek, Denmark-based Dong said today in a statement. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson today announced the record funding to support construction of the solar projects at Chinchilla in Queensland and Moree in New South Wales. The projects were selected in accordance with the recommendations of the independent Solar Flagships Council.
Solar Dawn and Moree Solar Farm have been selected as the two successful consortiums to build the power plants under Round 1 of the Australian Governments $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program.
The Gillard Labor Government will contribute $464 million for the Solar Dawn project in Chinchilla worth an estimated $1.2 billion and $306.5 million towards the BP project in Moree worth an estimated $923 million.
Solar Dawn is a proposed 250 megawatt solar thermal gas hybrid power plant to be built near Chinchilla in South West Queensland by a consortium including AREVA Solar, CS Energy and Wind Prospect CWP. While Solar Dawn is designed as a standalone solar thermal power plant using Areva’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology, the site will have a gas boiler system to produce power without the solar field.
The Moree Solar Farm, being developed by BP Solar together with its consortium partners Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and Pacific Hydro will build a 150 MW single axis tracking photovoltaic power plant near Moree.
This solar flagship program news comes on top of the funding for the Kogan Creek Solar Boost project in April this year. CS Energy will spend $104 million installing solar panels at the Kogan Creek coal-fired power station near Dalby, north-west of Brisbane. Apparently the CS solar installation was the best way to correct for the incorrect sizing of the original boiler system for the coal power plant. The solar field once operational will pre-heat the feed water allowing the power plant to produce maximum power on the hotter days correcting the design fault.
Funding for the solar boost project includes a $70 million contribution from CS Energy and a contribution of more than $34 million from the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Demonstration Program. CS Energy has received support from the Queensland Government through a contribution of $35.4 million to CS Energy’s Carbon Reduction Program, which has enabled the company to direct funds to the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy approved the three turbine, 6MW wind farm at Chepstowe, west of Ballarat, and said the decision was ”consistent with the Victorian government’s wind farm policy”. The project was called in from VCAT by the Planning Minister.
Australia’s Pacific Hydro and Green Rock Energy plan to form a joint venture to combine their geothermal interests into a single portfolio.
The companies have signed a letter of intent outlining potential cooperation on 25MW of projects in the North Perth Basin and the Great Artesian Basin in South Australia, where they hold licenses.
Both resources feature conventional geothermal energy located in hot sedimentary aquifers. The companies say both resources have the potential to provide several hundred megawatts of power.
India’s Tata Power Co., and Origin Energy Ltd. have begun exploration in Indonesia aimed at producing power from underground heat. “Initial exploration has begun,” Sowmyan Ramakrishnan, executive director of finance, told reporters in Mumbai last week. “It will take up to 18 months to complete.”
Tata Power, Origin and PT Supraco Indonesia in Sept. 2010 won the Sorik Marapi concession in northern Sumatra, which may yield as much as 300 megawatts of geothermal generating capacity. If exploration is successful, the group plans to begin construction in late 2012.
Origin Energy is also buying 40% of Chilean geothermal exploration company Energía Andina SA (EASA) as it continues its strategy of acquiring geothermal operations in growing overseas markets.
“It is our view that geothermal can provide large-scale renewable base-load energy. Chile has significant potential from a resource and growing local demand perspective,” says Karen Moses, Origin’s executive director of finance and strategy.
EASA, which will continue to be 60%-owned by London Stock Exchange-listed Antofagasta Minerals, has established a portfolio of eight geothermal exploration projects in northern and central Chile, covering a total of 553,400 hectares.
According to Origin, preliminary assessment of the geothermal potential of Chile indicates a possible 16GW of resource available.
In addition to its investment in EASA, Origin has exposure to 290MW of geothermal generation and 364MW of development through its 52%-owned Contact Energy, one of New Zealand’s largest producers of geothermal electricity.
Origin also has an interest in Geodynamics’ Innamincka Deeps projects and also recently began drilling as operator of the Innamincka Shallows project, which is targeting geothermal resources in South Australia’s Cooper Basin.
CBD Energy says it has partnered with China’s second-largest state-owned utility to develop $6 billion worth of wind and solar energy projects in Australia.
CBD Energy says it yesterday finalised a joint venture with the China Datang Renewable Power Co and solar equipment maker Baoding Tianwei Baobian Electric Co.
The companies will form a new entity called the AusChina Energy Group, which aims to develop $3 billion worth of wind and solar power plants in Australia within three years and $6 billion over eight years.
Under the deal, the Chinese firms would provide equipment and funding for the projects, lowering project costs. CBD general manager Gerry McGowan has said that as a result of this structure, he was confident the company’s wind energy assets could reach grid price parity with coal-fired power within three years.
The cost of coal-fired power is currently around $45 per megawatt hour (MWh), Mr McGowan said, but wind power costs $95 per MWh, or $70 to $85 per MWh when renewable energy certificates are factored in.
AusChina will make a final investment decision this week on its first 100 megawatt wind farm project at Taralga in NSW. CBD Energy will project manage the developments, negotiate approvals and power purchase agreements.
A Victorian government incentive to encourage the installation of solar panels isset to be the latest scheme effected by the Federal governments extremely popular rebates for energy generators.
Acciona, agreed to sell two highway concessions in Chile to Italy’s Atlantia SpA as part of its plans to sell mature assets.
Acciona, based in Madrid, sold its stakes in Chilean concessions to Atlantia for 293 million euros ($418 million), the Spanish company said in a statement.
Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project
The Federal Government has announced funds to build the largest solar project in the Southern Hemisphere, called the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project.
Final approval has been given for the Kogan Creek Solar Boost project in southern Queensland, what’s believed to be the world’s largest solar integration with a coal-fired power station. Ms Gillard says she hopes it will be one of many projects under the new carbon tax scheme. She made the announcement while touring the Kogan Creek coal-fired power station near Dalby, north-west of Brisbane.
CS Energy will spend $104 million installing solar panels at the proposed plant which should generate an extra 44,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year.
CS Energy participated in the Solar Flagship Program as part of the Solar Flair Alliance includes CS Energy, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Siemens, John Holland, Infrastructure Capital Group, Marubeni Corporation, QUT and Curtain University.
Kogan Creek Power Station was officially opened in 2007. The 750MW coal-fired power station, located in the western Darling Downs near Chinchilla in Queensland. Coal is supplied to the power station from the adjacent Kogan Creek Coal mine, which is also owned by CS Energy.
The solar boost project will increase the amount of electricity Kogan Creek Power Station generates by up to 44 megawatts during peak solar conditions – enough to power an additional 5,000 homes per year. It will work by using AREVA Solar’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology to supply additional steam to the turbine, supplementing the conventional coal-fired steam generation process.
Funding for the project includes a $70 million contribution from CS Energy and a contribution of more than $34 million from the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Demonstration Program. CS Energy has received support from the Queensland Government through a contribution of $35.4 million to CS Energy’s Carbon Reduction Program, which has enabled the company to direct funds to the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project.
EPi Commercial and Industrial Solar Energy Services
Elemental Power now offers services to assist companies secure a revenue stream from large commercial or industrial roof area. EPi’s Solar division is a leasing and services business specialising in rooftop and land leasing for the use of solar Photovoltaic panels. EPi can act as an intermediary between landowners (commercial and industrial) and parties interested in utilising space for energy-generating solar PV panels.
• Site search and identification;
• Facilitate agreement between landowners and interested 3rd parties;
• Leasing agent services
• Site feasibility assessment, heritage assessment and approvals
• Installation project & construction management
Vestas, fell the most in more than four months. The shares dropped 4.9 percent to 213.40 kroner in Copenhagen, their biggest decline since Nov. 29. That reduced the company’s gains this year to 21 percent,
On March 30, Vestas introduced a 7-megawatt wind turbine designed to help the Danish company compete with Siemens for the largest share of the offshore wind power market.
New installations of offshore wind turbines may surge 70 percent this year, topping 2010’s record 51 percent gain, the European Wind Energy Association said earlier this year.
The Vestas V164-7.0MW, has a rotor diameter of 164m. Construction of the first V164-7.0 MW prototypes is expected in Q4 2012. Serial production is set to begin in Q1 2015 provided a firm order backlog is in place to justify the substantial investment needed to pave the way for the development.
Suzlon Energy, fell in Mumbai a day after announcing plans to buy the remainder of its German unit Repower Systems AG.
The Indian company, with four straight quarters of losses, dropped 1.2 percent to close at 49.1 rupees for its first decline since March 28. Suzlon said it plans to buy out minority shareholders in Repower Systems and may sell its stake in Hansen Transmissions International NV to fund the purchase.
Victorian Planning Changes
The proposed two-kilometre buffer zone for wind farms will not protect houses from excessive noise, according to Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber. Speaking to the Weekly, the upper house MP said the figure identified by the state government as part of changes announced last month was a “silly, arbitrary number”.
In the Baillieu government’s new wind farm policy, Victoria local councils have regained the power to issue planning permits for wind farms of all scales (not just under 30MW projects) and greater consideration is to be given to local amenity impacts, under amendments to Victorian planning schemes which came into effect yesterday.
While the changes which have been made may be welcomed by local councils and residents, it may cause headaches and delays for proponents of large wind farm projects. In particular, the burden of technically assessing wind energy facilities could be one which local councils are ill-equipped to bear.
Amendment VC78 modifies the way that wind energy facilities are dealt with under the Victorian Planning Provisions and under all Victorian planning schemes. Previously, the Minister for Planning was the authority responsible for assessing permit applications for wind energy facilities having a generating capacity of 30 MW or more. This responsibility will now reside with local councils, subject to any Ministerial call-in or referral by council of specific permit applications.
The changes seek to promote greater consideration of the effects of a wind farm development on the local community. However, locating wind turbines within 2 km of a residence is still possible even where the resident does not consent.
The Changes: Amendment VC78 amends the Victorian State Planning Policy Framework to require increased consideration of the impact of a wind energy facility on the local community when new proposals are assessed, and alters the application requirements for new wind energy facilities to require:
• submission of a plan showing all dwellings within 2 km of a proposed turbine;
• submission of a concept plan showing additional transmission infrastructure, electricity utility works and access roads; and
• the latest New Zealand Standard NZS6808:2010, for Acoustics – Wind Farm Noise must be used to assess noise impact noise of the proposed development.
The Wonthaggi desalination plant is up to 6 to 12 months behind schedule, with cost over-runs and big financial penalties now threatening to deny the builder a return on the multibillion-dollar project. The AGL Oaklands Hill wind farm is to supply power to the wind farm once operational.
In February, Leighton chief executive David Stewart conceded the project had lost ”30 per cent of time” due to rain and winds, while chief financial officer Peter Gregg said the cost of late completion penalties was ”frightening”. But he was hopeful of making up lost time.