CWP brings in Partners for 1,300MW of wind, solar and batteries

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CWP and Partners Group to develop 1,300MW of wind, solar and storage in NSW, saying it will beat coal and will be the future of large scale generation in Australia.

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Sapphire wind farm
Sapphire wind farm

Australian renewable energy developer CWP Renewables has joined forces with global private markets investment manager Partners Group to build a total of 1,300MW of wind, solar and battery projects that they say will beat coal power on price and reliability.

The commitment from Partners Group will see the 135MW Crudine Ridge project south of Mudgee begin construction soon, but Partners will inject a total of $700 million to ensure CWP’s entire 1,300MW portfolio of wind, solar and batteries goes ahead.

The investment is designed, and timed, to take advantage of the closure of Liddell, and is built on expectations that closures of other coal-fired generators will follow.

“We can, from this large portfolio, produce 24/7 baseload renewable power at very competitive prices,” CWP chief executive Alex Hewitt says. “This is the future of large-scale generation in Australia.”

These projects – dubbed the Grassroots Renewable Energy Platform – include the 230MW Sapphire solar farm and 70MWh battery storage, which will combine with the 270MW Sapphire wind farm near Glenn Innes (pictured above) that is nearly complete.

It also includes the 140MW Bango wind project, the Glen Ellen and Sundown solar projects, and the massive Uungula wind and the solar project that will total 400MW of capacity, along with other storage.

Hewitt says these projects will allow morning and evening wind generation to be combined with daytime solar generation and battery energy storage.

This will provide the ability to deliver “base-load” capacity or, at the very least, a “firm” supply of energy for business and other customers. The ability to firm is not just essential for business users, but could also be imperative under the new National Energy Guarantee.

“We see a massive transition away from fossil fuels over the next 10 years,” Hewitt says. “The transition is on. The economics are there, and the window is there now to move really fast.”

CWP is also involved in a huge project – along with Vestas and other international partners – to build 9GW of wind and solar in the Pilbara, to provide power to be exported via  a sub-sea cable to south-east Asia, and also to potential customers in Western Australia.

Its announcement follows big plans revealed by Sanjeev Gupta last week for up to 10GW of large-scale solar to underpin the supply of cheap electricity to Australian manufacturers and businesses. Already, 1GW is planned for the Whyalla steel works.

Significantly, the bankers to the $250 million Crudine Ridge project have attributed a zero value to renewable energy certificates, known as LGCs.

“The (futures) price of LGCs is dropping ….and these projects assume no value from those certificates,” Hewitt says.

Hewitt points to problems surrounding Liddell, and the decision of its owner AGL to close down the ageing and decrepit generator because the costs exceed alternatives. Hewitt says it is clear renewables and storage can beat coal generation.

“The cost of these coal plants is becoming way too expensive to continue running, but we are  constantly amazed how far solar is falling, and wind is also dropping, and now we have storage,” he says.

Hewitt says the combined cost of wind and solar and “firming capacity” is cheaper than the $100/MWh plus cost of keeping Liddell open, or for that matter building new coal generators.

“We applaud AGL’s stance (to close Liddell) against government pressure. One way or another that amount of generation will be replaced,” he says, noting also that CWP and Partner Group’s own portfolio amounts to 50 per cent of that capacity.

“These projects will help with the transition away from fossil-fuelled electricity in the State,” and Hewitt suggests that other coal-fired generators in the state were also likely to close earlier than previously flagged.

Hewitt says there is huge interest in wind and solar and storage projects from commercial and industrial groups, keen to lower their electricity costs and lock in that discount for long-term contracts.

Deals with energy retailers would also be sought.

Benjamin Haan, the head of private infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific for Partners Group, says its investment in the Sapphire wind farm was designed as an “anchor” to an Australian renewable energy platform.

The combination of 1.3GW of wind and solar under the Grassroots platform offered the scope to be selective and develop a “quality renewables platform of significant scale.

“We look forward to working with the CWP team to further support the generation of clean energy in Australia.”

The Crudine Ridge project has landed a $133 million debt facility provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Westpac and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

The CEFC says it is the 10th large-scale wind project it has supported – making up a combined total of 700MW.

“Large-scale wind projects such as the Crudine Ridge … continue to deliver new sources of revenue and jobs to regional and rural communities, enabling them to tap into the benefits of abundant and low-cost clean energy resources,” said CEFC Wind Investment lead Andrew Gardner.

Meridian Energy Australia has purchased 50 per cent of the estimated 400GWh to be generated by Crudine Ridge to  support the growth of its retail business Powershop.

The wind farm, located 45km south of Mudgee in NSW, will be constructed by GE Renewable Energy and Zenviron, who will install 37 x GE 3.63MW wind turbines. The transmission grid connection will be constructed, owned and operated by Transgrid.

The project was advised by ANZ, Deloitte and Norton Rose Fulbright. Partners Group was advised by KPMG and Clifford Chance. Lenders were advised by Aurecon and King & Wood Mallesons.

The Sapphire Wind Farm, which is the largest in the state, has already started delivering to the ACT government, which has contracted 100MW of capacity for its 100 per cent renewable energy target. The project is due for completion this year.

Partners Group is a global private markets investment management firm with over $100 billion in investment programs under management in private equity, private real estate, private infrastructure and private debt.

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46 Comments
  1. GlennM 6 months ago

    It is all about FUNDING….a famous line from the “Right stuff” “what makes the space craft fly…..FUNDING. The “pipeline” of RE is over 30GW and growing and could make the electrical supply 100% RE. The announcements like this where a Project has funding are the important ones so the 1300MW is the important part not the 9GW Pilbara.

    Now the COAG just needs to delay the NEG another 12 months and the game is all over…

    • RobertO 6 months ago

      Hi GlennM The COAG need to can the NEG (kill it completely). It will serve no useful function and delay of the NEG gives hope to coal and hence it could slow down the RE change that we have coming.

      • GlennM 6 months ago

        I agree that would be best, I am surprised how much the COAG ministers allow themselves to be bullied around…very wimpy of them

    • Rod 6 months ago

      I actually think the NEG is turning out to be an own goal by Mayhem Turmoil.
      The best way to ensure firming is proving to be hybrid farms with storage on site or contracted. As this and other projects are showing, the NEG requirements can be met without coal and with gas peakers for now.

  2. Shilo 6 months ago

    But this is simply not base load. The project as stated cannot actually deliver power at a constant amount 24/7. Its going to still be variable. How can the last ones into this kind of market get funded. Your going to have a situation where there will be massive over supply one day then massive under supply the next. So to fix that a system of energy with RE needs huge amounts of storage. Like HUGE.

    • GlennM 6 months ago

      Hi Shilo,
      fortunately the people that do projects like this and the people whom manage the grid AEMO use this secret trick called mathematics….that allows them to precisely calculate the amount of storage needed. It is not large, up to 60-70% RE needs almost none and over that it is Modest MODEST, only a little more than is currently needed to manage the unreliability of the coal plants….

      • Shilo 6 months ago

        Wow!!!!. Mathematics, can work out precisely the amount of storage needed, for a unknown demand, plus a unknown supply, plus a unknown return of energy from battery’s.
        As for unreliability of coal plants, why would RE, solar and wind be any different. You could not seriously think, they are not going to have problems with the odd, turbine, solar panel or inverter going bung. I will guess 10 to 20% will over a period of 20 years. Minimum.
        Everything comes down to how the product is made, and then maintained. Its heaps easier maintaining a few big things than heaps of things.

        • GlennM 6 months ago

          Demand is very easy to predict…using maths !
          Supply is known and on this website people have reported graphs of predictions for each half hour using years of historical weather and temp data calibrated for global warming estimated to be within 1-2%
          Battery return is known.
          When a solar panel fails you loose 300 watts when a Coal fails it is hundreds of MW. Last summer there were 17 times when the Coalers went down unexpectedly. Conversely the RE was predicted within a couple of % days ahead.

          Shilo, just because you are ignorant and cannot do statistical analysis does not mean everyone is as stupid as you are.

          • Shilo 6 months ago

            I think your missing the point, and overstating the actual. Demand is not known all the time within 1 to 2%, and battery return is for sure not known, there simply has not been enough running hours world wide across enough diffrent situations to understand that yet.
            To say one solar panel going down is what will happen compared to a whole coal unit, is simply crazy.
            Yes a coal unit can go down for a period of time, but the same will happen over a period of time for solar, due to the amount. So yes it may be one here or there, but it will be one here or there consistently all over the place any combined it will end up the same as one coal station. Once you have 100% renewables. Its actually normal.
            I would love to hear from some actual traders about supply and demand being known they would be rolling around on the floor.

          • solarguy 6 months ago

            Shilo, clearly is a coal troll Glenn. Up to you if you want to waste your time.

        • Chris Fraser 6 months ago

          You’ve turned your radio dial into Mr Frightenberg and his comedy sidekicks … I get that. But why is RE being diminished in your view because of an ‘unknown’ demand. Does this unknown also impact on the design of centralised energy ?

        • RobertO 6 months ago

          Hi Shilo From a simple engineering point Wind turbine Generators (WTG) are much easier to look after that a Coal Power Station and there is a loss less to lose when one fails from 250 kW to 8 MW, where as some coal power supplies are 500 MW or more.
          The reliability factor for coal power station is about 53%
          WTG have a reliability factor of 92%
          The capacity factor for coal is 90%
          The capacity factor for WTG is about 37% (newer units are better designed and some are in the 44% region with one in NZ claiming 57%)

          Here is a site that shows the last 5 days worth of demand and the reason that the usage is higher today is that they have had very cool weather the last 24 hrs (remember they are 2 hr in front of Australia)
          As a general rule the bigger population the more accurate the mathematics becomes (the load is predictable).
          Look at Lower North Island and a section tagged “Today Demand”

          http://www.em6live.co.nz/PlanningRegion.aspx?planningregion=usi

          • Shilo 6 months ago

            Thank you RobertO.
            I am not sure I would say looking after wind turbines is easier than a coal plant, lots of land and roads and blades. But maybe they are.
            Demand is generally as you say weather related and mostly they get the weather forcast pretty right.

          • Rod Hardagain 5 months ago

            The reliability factor for coal power station is about 53%

          • Rod Hardagain 5 months ago

            Also here is a link some guy posted a few weeks back. It shows the Australia’s most unreliable coal fired plant Liddel against the entire output of all the Windfarms and Rofftop Solar in South Australia. Do you honestly believe wind is more reliable than coal.

            https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204190712245742&l=5bac2d78a8

    • Rod 6 months ago

      NSW currently has 9% wind and solar.
      Let’s have this discussion when it reaches 50%. Of course by that time there will be so much storage BTM and grid scale as well as demand management that we won’t even need to discuss it.

      • Climatemonster 6 months ago

        Yes we are in a similar situation in the UK, approaching 20% wind generation.

    • Andrew Roydhouse 6 months ago

      The combination of existing pumped hydro and runof-river/dam hydro provide the ability for existing assets like the Snowy to produce electricity when the price gets above a certain trigger level.
      If you watch the daily NEM graph/table – there are times when the Vic and NSW sides of the Snowy produce just run-of-river (below 100MW) and other times when the produce well over 2GW.

      Then there are the existing gas peaker plants that turn on when the price is right and the demand is there.

      Add in future household batteries and businesses putting in their own storage and pretty soon there is more than sufficient to manage when the wind does not blow in part of Australia. It is always blowing somewhere.

      Then add in the mooted offshore wind farms that have much higher up time…

    • Chris Fraser 6 months ago

      You’ve nailed it … the magic of storage. For households, businesses, for industry, anything. Energy cant be stored inside a generator, but it can be stored and be very dispatchable for utmost convenience. And it doesn’t emit anything or have ongoing costs while in storage. Magic. I think we should look forward to more storage.

    • MacNordic 6 months ago

      Shilo,
      a quick look at existing wind& solar farms generation profile will show a rather good correlation. Of course not the complete nameplate capacity can be taken as “baseload”, but careful scrutinity will show a certain percentage of nameplate capacity to be always available – with the 1300MW let´s just say 20%, for the sake of the argument, giving 130MW “baseload” without additional storage.
      A further 10% will be nearly always available – around 80- 90% of the time. This generation capacity can easily be backed up with local storage, e.g. batteries, as in this instance.
      Additional 20% will give themselves to off- site backup – commonly done via contracted firming capacity, e.g. hydro.

      Percentage of course depends on local conditions and may well be higher – I just took above numbers to illustrate the case.

      Always worth to remember that “capacity factor” is an artificial number from the coal days and not well suited to variable RE – it basically summs up generated electricity and does a binary: Either the unit generates at full capacity or not in order to arrive at a percentage.

      Which of course is not the reality – at least not for RE and gas…
      (wind turbines average between 4000 and 6000 production hours per year onshore and around 8700 offshore, depending on the site)

      [would love to copy in a yearly production hour graph here, but there always comes up a fault message from Disqus, sorry!]

      • Shilo 6 months ago

        So your saying that on average 130mw will be avaliable 24/7 for a whole year? on average for over 30 years?. As base load power.
        Are they the kind of numbers that come out of these wind and solar projects, long term, on average world wide?.

        • MacNordic 6 months ago

          The numbers here were taken for illustration purposes only – the real world figures of combined generation types will be higher in most parts of the world.

          Below are the yearly production hours for German wind farms – green for onshore, blue for offshore (full lines). The graphic is taken from a Fraunhofer IWES study on regulation capacity from wind farms and their ability to provide ramping capacity, therefore the -10% dotted lines – not relevant for this case here.
          Production hours on horizontal, share of nameplate production capacity on vertical axis (sorry for the German language chart).

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2e5484a60a2048d7b02eedac99bd7d06866b0eb10c3ac460457df99fc352efd.jpg

          Chart shows average conditions for Germany, with the onshore fleet being >10 years old and older, inefficient turbines taking the premium ressource spots and resulting in an average CF of only ~24% – compared to 30-40%+ for new built generation in Australia.

          Add in the world- class, dependable solar ressource and you will have the required “base load” availability.

          NB: FF “baseload” generation assets are available only 70-80% of the time in most instances, when accounting for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance as well as outages.

          • Shilo 6 months ago

            How about i get Japanese coal fired and gas fired generation for a fair comparison?

          • GlennM 6 months ago

            Irrelevant….it does not matter if the RE capicity factor is only 10% and Coal 60% what matters is LCOE and predictability.

            Do you really believe that you know more than the teams of engineers and accountants that are pouring Billions into RE…

            Or are you paid to Troll ?

          • Shilo 6 months ago

            I suppose my point is with variability you need a flexible supply. Renewables for sure are great, but without a mixture for a long time now, the system will not work.
            If 100% renewables were to be installed today you would need a huge over supply to cover for the peaks. I cannot see anyone investing at that point, or anywhere close. It’s very easy to invest in them currently. But as the level of supply from renewables get above 50% the case becomes very hard.

          • GlennM 6 months ago

            They said RE could never go over 5% without “the system failing” then it went to 20% and they said “could never go over 25%” then many places went to 50% and they said “will never be over that without the system being unstable” then many places went to 70%…….

            So come back and have this conversation when AUS is at 70% and by then there will be solutions for 95% plus.

            P.S there is already a huge oversupply to cover the peaks that is why most coal plants only average 60% CF so RE is No different in that aspect.

            Remembers cars will never replace horses, the cellphone is a FAD, Man will never fly, and we will never get to the moon

          • Shilo 6 months ago

            Very true all you say. However it’s a matter of what the cost will be and eventually I believe you could very well be correct.
            We are just not there yet.
            When things are critical such as electricity I think you need over supply. In case.
            So you look at your peak and make sure you can cover it with monkeys running it, plus allowing for what the environment will dish you.
            To allow for that with RE for 100% is simply such a huge installed capacity. Remembering if the world is all doing the same, the materials for all the wind and solar will need to be produced. Except for steel I think you will have electric equipment mining coke to put into blast furnaces. (Cement for the foundations of the wind turbines could be done in electric kilns).

          • RobertO 6 months ago

            Hi Shilo Please go and find out what a straw man is.

          • Shilo 6 months ago

            I read it, very intresting, where do you propose to put all the dams in Australia?. (Useing 2007/2008, and other past known times of drought in this sun burnt island)

          • Shilo 6 months ago

            I have I idea, all the Desal plants that were built when all the experts said it would never rain again or was going to rain less. Could be used to fill the dams in drought periods and keep the lights on.

          • Rod Hardagain 5 months ago

            The system is failing in SA. Twice the price of NSW and QLD and for Q1 2018 they had a $500 Million dollar energy trading deficit with the Eastern States.

            Every jurisdiction that has gone above 20% renewable has done with Hydro OR they’ve had a a combination of interconnector capacity to other jurisdications and a large energy trading deficit with those jurisdictions.

          • Rod 6 months ago

            Yes please.

          • MacNordic 6 months ago

            Have found wind farm data for SA. Taken from AEMO´s excellent “South Australian Wind Study Report” from 2015, the CF of the existing fleet was 34- 38% from 2010-2014/2015. Production hours profile below; add solar and the picture will get even better. Installed wind capacity at the time was 1473MW.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/021546d7dbde1195755f9ae6c62ef66074b3d5aae49845122ca0481a00601fdb.jpg

      • Rod Hardagain 5 months ago

        Looking at the Actual Generation profile of the combined output of South Australia’s wind farms you can see that the 1620MW is on several occasions during the month producing 0MW and spends a significant amount of time below 5%.
        South Australias wind farms are capable of generating 0MW of baseload power, and are responsible for $14,000/MWh and -$300/MWH events. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d478e7cd35358409a14a5cb20d25dbff969041b88cd52b10b48811469992ce8.jpg

  3. michael nolan 6 months ago

    RE: concerns below about wind and solar PV being variable (but predictable note), Blakers et al from ANU / ARENA show that pumped hydro storage can firm RE for $5/MWh up to 60% penetration. That’s 0.5 c/kWh .

  4. Hugh Butler 6 months ago

    The fundamental issue is technology change. Electricity was producer driven. Produce it & then find a use. Baseload, cheap after-hours tariffs, building power stations for aluminium smelters to use that energy etc are all terms for this system. The world is changing to demand driven. But we are going through the pain of change. And with year on year 20% cost down of PV, smart systems, lion batteries, etc then in 5 years democratization changes everything. For my house solar panels would cost $3,000 & a 12kw battery $5,000. In 10 years $4,000 total. 2 year payback. So this discussion becomes irrelevant .

    • Shilo 6 months ago

      For houses is a great return. Aircon is the only serious problem, and potentially recharging your car regularly if you travel a long way to work each day. (I said regularly and meaning from solar and batteries at your house)
      ((Not buying it from the grid))

      • Hugh Butler 6 months ago

        Businesses have at least a 14% return right now – that is why Stockland and other corporates are piling on solar for their shopping malls. In reality, from home to large corporates (including Telstra or Sanjeev Gupta) there is no single individual or business today where PV is not economic! Let alone in 5 years. The world has changed.

        • Alastair Leith 4 months ago

          Where are shopping centres pilling on PV? In WA they get power so cheap from Synergy (being in the contested space) that we’re told by one shopping centre developer that PV not even close on price at this stage. Perhaps Synergy sells power below cost to maintain market share… some of their annal report top level numbers would seem to indicate that but it obviously doesn’t make business sense (even with the cross subsidy from uncontested domestic customers) when the government has said it’s going to stop the flow of top-up payments ($100s of millions in past years).

      • solarguy 6 months ago

        I have a total of 9.3KW and I can power the four split Aircons if needed and not use the grid at all. Using the battery we can run two deep into the night, without a even a picowatt coming from the grid!

        • Shilo 6 months ago

          Solaguy, thats very good and by your name i would say you are very handy around solar and Batts. But just a question. Have you done it for a whole year every day. You are fully disconnected from the grid?
          What % of houses and units around australia could disconnect from the grid and do what you have done?

          • solarguy 6 months ago

            Have done it for 16 months now, 24/7. Not disconnected from the grid as I sell excess power to the grid, up to $210/q credit after SAC charges have been paid. The grid is there as a back up and as stated as a vector to sell excess energy. I designed the system to go completely off grid if the need arises, like they won’t pay an FIT. But is becoming abundantly clear they won’t do that because they need our solar.

            As long as a household has the right roof with no or little shade issues and don’t waste power with crap appliances and by managing their loads, heaps could do it for $20k or under!

          • Shilo 6 months ago

            That is excellent, thank you for sharing

  5. RobertO 6 months ago

    Hi All, Most of the arguments below miss the main points, RE is coming, RE is cheaper, Storeage is not needed until we hit 50% (and maybe more than 50%, SA is looking at both batteries and a new interconnect and maybe other things which will improve the grid there). Some of our PHES is used, but not all the time (Wivenhoe and others), and some of out Hydro is used when we should be storing some of it (some may have irrigation requirements to fulfill). As for the argument it not baseload remember there is no such electron called baseload, so there is no baseload (Supply + Transmission Losses = Demand). The good point about Wind and Solar is that they can easily be curtailed if needed and Wind + Solar + Storage = Retirement of Fossil Fuels.

    • Glynn Palmer 6 months ago

      BNEF’s March 28 2018 report on the levelised costs of electricity, or LCOE, for all the leading technologies finds that fossil fuel power is facing an unprecedented challenge in all three roles it performs in the energy mix – the supply of ‘bulk generation,’ the supply of ‘dispatchable generation,’ and the provision of ‘flexibility.’

      In bulk generation, the threat comes from wind and solar photovoltaics, both of which have reduced their LCOEs further in the last year, thanks to falling capital costs, and improving efficiency.

      In dispatchable power – the ability to respond to grid requests to ramp electricity generation up or down at any time of day – the challenge to new coal and gas is coming from the pairing of battery storage with wind and solar, enabling the latter two ‘variable’ sources to smooth output, and if necessary, shift the timing of supply.

      In flexibility – the ability to switch on and off in response to grid electricity shortfalls and surpluses over periods of hours – stand-alone batteries are increasingly cost-effective.

      BNEF’s analysis showed particularly low levelised costs of electricity for onshore wind and photovoltaics in Australia.

      https://about.bnef.com/blog/tumbling-costs-wind-solar-batteries-squeezing-fossil-fuels/

  6. Solar Tech Solution 4 months ago

    Solar and windmill is one of the best way to scrape electric plus this technology is safer to our surroundings and help to fight global warming. Thanks for sharing and keep it up. Cheers!

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