Construction is underway on what will be Australia’s largest solar farm – the 20MW Royalla project, being developed near Canberra by FRV. Spain-based solar structure specialist, Mecasolar, began delivery of the project’s mounting systems late last month, after it was chosen for the job by Acciona Energy Oceania. Spanish group Acciona was appointed as the project’s EPC contractor and will build the solar farm using 295W modules from JinkoSolar, and a 1MW inverter from Ingeteam.
As first revealed by RenewEconomy in May, the Royalla solar farm is Australia’s first to get bank finance, after developer FRV selected ANZ and National Australian Bank over eight international and local candidates to provide non-recourse project finance for the $50 million project. It is only the second utility-scale solar farm to be built in Australia, but the first in the National Electricity Market – attracting a 20 year feed-in tariff under an agreement with the ACT government. This followed a “reverse tender”, where FRV bid $186/MWh, beating off a host of rival bids. A second auction announced last month resulted in another two projects being bid at the same or slightly lower prices.
Mecasolar, which has previously supplied 300kW of dual-axis trackers to the Australian market, expects to complete the Royalla supply contract installation in December. The previously EU-focused company names Australia as one of the strategic markets its is currently targeting, along with the US, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Brazil, South Africa and India. Construction of the entire Royalla project, which will employ 100 people, is expected to be completed in the middle of next year.
In other news…
Earthworks for Carnegie Wave Energy’s Onshore Power and Desalination Plants has commenced on Garden Island, Western Australia. Construction of the Perth Wave Energy Project commenced this week, with the levelling and compaction of the floor of the old quarry site for the Onshore Power and Desalination Plants. The project’s soakwells and tanks that will form part of the drainage and fluid storage system will also be installed, followed by the construction of the plant building and hardstand area.
The newly minted Australian Climate Council, headed up by Australia’s step-minister for science, Tim Flannery, has reportedly been “overwhelmed” by the response of Australians “ready and willing to ensure that Australians continue to receive unbiased and accurate information on the impacts of climate change.” The reincarnation of the Abbott-sacked Climate Commission says it has received over $420,000 from 8,500 donors, as well as thousands of supportive tweets, Facebook friendships and emails. “Climate change is not going away. The threats to our economy are not going away. And thanks to thousands of Australians, the work provided by Tim Flannery and the other councillors is not going away,” Climate Council spokesperson Amanda McKenzie. “We will not get on with providing a information that allows Australians to make informed decisions about their lives.”
Australia’s energy industry is reported to be lobbying against state government energy efficiency programs, claiming they are ineffective and unnecessary in the wake of federal initiatives. The Australian Financial Review quotes EnergyAustralia regulatory manager Joe Kremzer, among other industry heads, saying that federal energy efficiency programs delivered via the carbon price, the renewables target, and the product market meant “white certificate schemes in all jurisdictions, including Victoria, should be phased out as soon as practicable.” And the Energy Supply Association of Australia, representing power generators, has argued that smart meters and other measures meant people’s barriers to energy efficiency had fallen away.