GREEN DEALS: Dyesol breakthrough

Dyesol sees a game-changing solar development that investors love, AGL firms its plans for Solar Flagships and the Silverton wind farm, Geodynamics ticks off another milestone and one Aussie player looks offshore to escape policy uncertainty.

Dyesol

ASX-listed Dyesol has announced a breakthrough in its Dye Solar Cell (DSC) technology that it says will be “game changing”. The company achieved a solid-state DSC efficiency of 11.3 per cent at full sun, a far cry from the 5 per cent level of 2010.

Investors responded positively to the news, lifting its shares up a staggering 127 per cent during Wednesday trade. It closed 109 per cent higher at 23 cents a share.

“The variation in technology, known as mesoscopic solar cells, meets the technical challenges of mass manufacturing Building Integrated Photovoltaic products and will allow Dyesol and its multi-national commercialisation partners to confidently address the multi-billion dollar global market,” the company said in a statement.

“At this level of module performance the technology will be grid competitive – the ‘holy grail’ for renewable energy technologies.”

It's this last sentence that has investors crowing. At efficiency levels above 10 per cent the company believes it is cost competitive with other sources of power.

Dyesol said the technology development would serve it best in solar markets where conditions are "sub-optimal", which could include prominent solar markets like Japan, Germany, China and parts of the US.

There's still a long way to go before it's declared a clean energy success story, but it's definitely on track. Now for commercialisation.

AGL, Silverton wind farm, Solar Flagships

AGL has put the Silverton wind farm out to tender.

At one point, Silverton was slated to be the country’s biggest wind farm. The project was granted approval from the NSW government in 2009 for the construction of 282 turbines, with concept approval granted for 598 wind turbines. Its projected operational capacity was set to be over 1000 MW, provided there were infrastructure upgrades. For now the company is focusing on a 250 MW development in the first stage, which would still make it the largest in New South Wales.

Originally stage 1 was to be a 282-turbine, 300 MW development, but given the fast development of turbine technology, such a high number of turbines would be incredibly unlikely.

Construction is slated to begin in 2014. It had been forecast by previous owner Conergy to begin in 2009/10, before AGL revised that to 2013 when it bought the project last year. This then looked like being pushed back as far as 2015, before the company came out last week with the latest timing update.

The frontrunners for a contract at the project are not known, though Vestas would be a lead candidate to supply the turbines given its 3 MW V112 turbines were installed at AGL's most recent project, the 420 MW Macarthur wind farm. Leighton Contractors worked on the construction of Macarthur and will likely also put its hand up to be involved with Silverton.

Meanwhile, in solar, the company is progressing with the biggest large-scale solar project in Australia. Spawned from the otherwise failed Solar Flagships program, the company’s partnership with First Solar will see the development of a 100MW solar farm in Nyngan, NSW and another 50 MW development at Broken Hill.

AGL said last week it expected financial close on the project before the end of the current financial year, with construction planned to begin around the middle of next year.

Windlab Systems

Australia’s Windlab Systems is staking out a spot in South Africa’s burgeoning clean energy sector, with power purchase agreements to be signed with the South African government today for two wind farms.

Construction on the two projects, which have a combined capacity of 226 megawatts, will commence immediately.

Windlab, whose biggest Australian wind farm is the 206MW Collgar wind farm in Western Australia, said it has turned its attention offshore due to local policy uncertainty.

“While the Australian wind industry continued to struggle against political uncertainty both past and present, South Africa has roundly embraced the benefits of renewable energy in meeting its long-term energy needs,” the company said in a statement.

Among the projects on Windlab’s books in Australia is the planned 700 MW Kennedy wind farm in Queensland, which remains up in the air. If it were built it would be the country’s largest.

Geodynamics

Geodynamics has achieved its biggest milestone yet, and indeed a landmark for Australian geothermal. The company’s 1MWe Habanero pilot plant has been successfully commissioned and produced Australia’s first Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) generated power.

A planned demonstration trial and testing program has commenced and is likely to run for around 100 days with completion in August 2013.

“The generation of power at our … pilot plant is a major milestone for Geodynamics, geothermal power in Australia and EGS technology globally,” Geodynamics Managing Director and CEO, Geoff Ward, said. “The commencement of the demonstration trial is the culmination of many years of hard work and the application of rigorous engineering and field operations.”

Australian EV tech

An Aussie designed charger could slash the time to charge electric vehicles. Brisbane-based Tritium says its Veefil can charge electric vehicles to 80 per cent capacity in under 30 minutes, an innovation the government says could be a “gamechanger”.

“Reducing the charge time of an electric vehicle from eight hours to less than an hour is a gamechanger and will be a major boost for the electric car industry,” Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation, Yvette D’Ath, said.

Mrs D’Ath launched the product in Brisbane earlier this week.

Cattle Hill wind farm

The 240 MW, $500 million Cattle Hill wind farm in Tasmania is moving forward after the investment of $US75 million from Denham Capital, according to The Mercury. Financial closure is now expected in 2014 with construction likely starting soon after.

The funding from Denham will see the creation of OneWind Australia, which will include Cattle Hill backers National Power, Enersis Australia and Kato Capital. OneWind will also be supporting wind developments in New South Wales and South Australia, specifically the 100 MW Glen Innes project and the 250 MW Lincoln Gap wind farm.

Carnegie Wave Energy

ASX-listed Carnegie Wave Energy has received a wave energy foreshore licence in Ireland.

The licence, applied for in 2011, relates to site investigation works between Freagh Point and Spanish Point in County Clare.

 “Carnegie Wave Energy is very pleased to receive this approval and looks forward to working with local stakeholders to develop a successful CETO Wave Energy Project off the West Clare coast,” CWE’s Executive Director, Business Development, Kieran O’Brien, said.

CETO Wave Energy Ireland expects to commence investigative activities during 2013.

Locally, meanwhile, Carnegie has received $142,692 as the first payment of its $1.27 million AusIndustry grant to support a CETO seawater desalination demonstration pilot plant in WA.

Gullen Range wind farm

It’s all systems go at the 165.5 MW Gullen Range near Goulburn in New South Wales with the delivery of the first Goldwind turbine components, according to the Goulburn Post.

There will be deliveries for the next seven months for what is Goldwind’s second project in Australia.

CBD Energy

CBD has initated a share purchase plan, providing shareholders the opportunity to buy up to $15,000 worth of shares at the price of 1.3 cents. It might struggle to raise what it is after, however, as the on-market price retreated to 1.2 cents on Wednesday.

Algae-Tec

Algae.Tec has received $1 million from corporate investors as part of a capital raising initiative. The company will issue 4,545,455 fully paid ordinary shares at 22 cents a share.

Algae.Tec will also offer shareholders access to shares at 22 cents through a share purchase plan. Like CBD, it may struggle to raise much as its current price is 21 cents.

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