GREEN DEALS: ARENA's Flagships progress

ARENA's Greg Bourne details progress on the Solar Flagships program, AGL confirms the $1 billion Macarthur wind farm is "on track" for 2013 and Hot Rocks sees some progress with its JV partner.

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Solar Flagships

The chairman of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has given an outline of progress on the Solar Flagships program after control of the scheme was transferred to ARENA on July 1.

ARENA chair Greg Bourne said the candidates – Infigen/Suntech, Pacific Hydro/FRV, TRUenergy/First Solar and the Solar Dawn consortium – had been given a deadline for the submission of revised plans after their initial proposals failed to win first round Flagships funding (Solar Dawn and Pacific Hydro’s Moree Solar Farm of course won a grant, but then were sent to ARENA after financing commitments were not met in time). Bourne did not however, provide the date of the deadline.

“Those projects have been referred to us by the minister and obviously we are now in discussions,” he said on the sidelines of Clean Energy Week. “We are in talks at this moment in time.”

It is widely expected that the consortiums behind the proposals will scale back their proposals, perhaps by a third or a half in some cases, although Bourne did not say this was certain. He did confirm that the project operators would look closely at the potential for revisions of their initial plans.

“They’ve been encouraged to work through what best works and again the thing is with these things that when you have the opportunity to think again maybe, and again I don’t know… maybe you can tailor something much more accurate.”

Macarthur wind farm

AGL’s Macarthur wind farm is “absolutely on track,” according to the utility’s boss.

AGL chief executive Michael Fraser said the 420 megawatt, $1 billion wind farm in Victoria’s south-west was on schedule to be fully commissioned early in 2013, in line with the firm’s published timeline for progress. When complete, Macarthur will be the largest wind farm in operation in Australia. AGL expects to top it however, with its Silverton wind farm project near Broken Hill. The Silverton development, which has been delayed until at least 2014, probably 2015, could have a capacity of 1GW.

Hot Rocks

Field work programs will begin in August on two Peruvian geothermal projects for Hot Rocks Limited, with its JV partner Energy Development Corporation taking the lead role.

The ASX-listed Hot Rocks had a falling out with EDC earlier this month and while one JV plan has fallen by the wayside in Chile, the companies are at least moving forward on the Quellaapacheta and Chocopata projects in peru.

“We are pleased to be commencing exploration on our two joint venture Peruvian projects with the initial objectives of defining drill targets at both projects and commencing exploration drilling in 2013,” Hot Rock Executive Chairman, Dr Mark Elliott, said.

“In order to progress the Peruvian Joint Ventures, HRL has decided not to pursue any potential legal action against EDC for their withdrawal from the Longavi project in Chile,” the company said in a statement. “The project will now revert to being 100% owned by HRL and the company will investigate alternatives for its development.”

RWE

RWE has postponed a €3 billion offshore wind farm development in the North Sea. The development was expected to begin in the second half of this year but has now been put off until at least 2013. Offshore wind has been developing a position gradually in the energy market, mainly led by the UK and to a lesser extent, Denmark, however it is still “many, many years away” from coming to Australia, the Global Wind Energy Council’s Steve Sawyer said today at Clean Energy Week. Germany has also shown strong interest in the technology as it looks to phase out nuclear energy.

Panax Geothermal

ASX-listed Panax has confirmed the Indonesian government has raised feed-in tariffs for its geothermal projects in the country. The FiT will rise from $97/MWh to $120/MWh in Java and up to $150/MWh on the island of Flores, where Panax’s Sokoria project is located. Panax has four geothermal projects in the country, one in Java, two in Sumatra and one in Flores.

“The increase in tariffs for each of these projects will lead to a significant increase in the

economic returns for each of these projects,” the company said in a statement.

Torrens Energy, AGL

AGL Energy has raised its stake in Torrens Energy back to 9.99 per cent. The utility saw its shareholding shrink earlier this year when new shares were allocated to boost capital but AGL has now exercised its reclaim 9.99 per cent at a cost of $58,604.

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