GREEN DEALS: CBD gridlock

CBD Energy has seen a merger with Westinghouse Solar go up in smoke, but it has more pressing issues. Elsewhere, AGL nears a big solar announcement, Geodynamics toasts a good news month and King Island hits 100% renewables.

CBD Energy, Westinghouse Solar

Westinghouse Solar has cancelled a proposed merger with Australia’s CBD Energy after repeated delays in the finalisation of the deal.

“The uncertainty has resulted in a disruption in the company’s supply relationships, leading to a significant decline in the company’s revenue and the implementation by the company of significant cost reductions including the layoff of employees,” Westinghouse Solar said.

“Given the continued delays and uncertainty of whether and when the closing conditions for the merger as set for in the Merger Agreement will be satisfied, the company terminated the merger agreement with CBD effective July 18, 2013.”

The deal, originally announced in the first half of 2012, was due to be consummated in the third quarter of that same year.

CBD Energy’s problems go far beyond the Westinghouse deal however, with the company’s ASX-listed shares currently in suspension as it looks to shore up a restructuring deal with creditors and financiers.

The latest update on this, provided Monday, was far from reassuring for investors.

“CBD Energy Limited advises that negotiations with its financiers and major creditors in relation to a proposed restructuring of CBD are ongoing and is not in a position to provide any further update at this time,” the company said in a statement.

The company added that it hoped to have more details by the end of the month.

This meant its reaction to the cancelled merger was muted, to say the least.

“CBD advises that the merger agreement signed with Westinghouse Solar Inc has been cancelled. CBD continues to proceed with its application for a NASDAQ listing, and this process is not impacted by the cancellation of the Westinghouse Solar Inc merger agreement,” its full statement read.

Short, not sweet.

AGL, Solar Flagships

Big news on AGL’s Solar Flagships developments in New South Wales appears imminent, with the company’s CEO telling Climate Spectator that financial close is expected shortly.

“We anticipate financial close on that project in the coming weeks, so that project will go ahead and obviously there are funds available from ARENA and also from the New South Wales government for that project, so that project will be going ahead,” AGL’s Michael Fraser outlined.

Fraser also confirmed that a decision on the oft-delayed Silverton wind farm will be on hold until there is clarity around the Renewable Energy Target. The hope is that will be forthcoming in 2014, but in reality early 2015 may be more likely. Then again it was thought there was certainty after the last RET Review, but somehow that certainty lasted all of a week or two.

Geodynamics

Geodynamics is hoping to have customers for its flagship South Australian geothermal site within the next year, according to The Age.

Representatives from Beach Energy, Santos and Chevron were all present at a site visit with energy minister Gary Gray this week, and it was reported that talks with these three firms had already started.

"We've had initial discussions with [the three energy companies] and they are very open to acting as our foundation customers," Geodynamics CEO Geoff Ward said, according to The Age. "We think our resource is a pretty natural fit with their long-term gas operations."

The news comes as the ASX-listed group said the operation of its 1 MW Habenero trial plant had so far met or exceeded all planned operational parameters.

“We are very pleased with the performance of the plant during the trial and in particular the performance of the Habanero-4 well, the most productive well yet drilled by Geodynamics,” Ward said.

“The trial is the culmination of ten years’ work and is attracting significant interest in Australia and overseas.”

The plant, commissioned on April 30, produced Australia’s first Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) generated power.

In a further dose of good news, the company triumphed at the Clean Energy Awards this week, claiming the Innovation Award.

The steady flow of developments has been well received by investors this month, with the company’s share price lifting around 50 per cent.

Hydro Tasmania

Hydro Tasmania has achieved sustained periods of 100 per cent renewable energy penetration on King Island for the first time.

The major milestone in the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project is not a one-off, with zero diesel operation to now occur for extended periods overnight when customer demand is lowest, and in daylight hours under high wind conditions.

“The aim of KIREIP is to reduce diesel consumption for power generation on King Island by more than 65 per cent and provide for the ability to generate all of the island’s power needs using renewable energy when conditions allow,” Project Director Simon Gamble said in a statement.

“Achieving 100 per cent renewable energy penetration in large off-grid systems has remained elusive until now, and is very difficult to achieve given the need to maintain reliability and security of power supply under highly variable wind and solar conditions.” 

Carnegie Wave Energy

The completion of ‘milestone 2’ of Carnegie Wave Energy’s flagship Perth Wave Energy Project has seen the group receive just shy of a million from the federal government.

The milestone involved the completion of the detailed design and approvals for the project. This takes the total funds received to date to $1.1 million, with eight further milestones to be ticked off.

Tidal Energy Australia

A controversial tidal energy plan in the Kimberley region has received state government approval.

Tidal Energy Australia’s proposal for a tidal energy plan near Derby in WA had received Howard government backing in 2000 but was partly thwarted by none other than then WA energy minister Colin Barnett, according to the ABC.

Barnett found himself on the side of environmentalists and the Greens as they were concerned that the project was more akin to hydropower than tidal power.

That viewpoint has not changed in regard to the 40 MW power station, but it has not stopped environmental approval being forthcoming.

The big challenge for Tidal Energy Australia will be finding suitable customers and reaching financial close. The long story is far from reaching its final chapter.

Flat Rocks wind farm

A proposed 150 MW wind farm in southern WA has received conditional planning approval, according to the ABC.

Moonies Hill Energy, the developer of the project, expects the wind farm to be operational in 2016 with the project likely to take 18 months to build.

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