GREEN DEALS: Infigen's retail optimism

Infigen sees electricity retailing as a key to growth, Origin keeps Stockyard Hill to itself, Musselroe achieves two milestones, Dyesol gets a speeding ticket and there’s royal backing for wave power.

Infigen Energy

ASX-listed Infigen Energy sees electricity retailing as a key part of its growth strategy, applying for a national retail licence through a subsidiary.

The application has been accepted by the Australian Energy Regulator, with the body inviting submissions on the application until February 8.

“Electricity retailing is an important part of Infigen’s growth strategy, which will allow it to secure a larger proportion of its revenue from contracted sources, allowing it to hedge its generation exposure from market price risk,” the company says in its submission to the Australian Energy Regulator.

The company, through another subsidiary – Infigen Energy Markets, already holds an electricity licence, which it applied for so it could enter into a long-term retail contract (20 years) with the Sydney Desalination Plant back in 2008. The deal sees the majority of Infigen’s output from the Capital wind farm used by the desal plant.

Infigen Energy Holdings holds ownership of the company’s wind and solar development pipeline as well as Woodlawn wind farm.

A number of leading renewable energy players in Australia have applied for retail licences over the past year after finding it challenging to get suitable deals done with the three major utilities – AGL Energy, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia. Others to take the plunge include Pacific Hydro and NZ-based Meridian Energy.

Like Pacific Hydro, Infigen will focus on large customers for its retail operations. Meridian, on the other hand, will use its online Powershop business to attract households.

Pacific Hydro and Powershop Australia were both granted an energy licence from the Australian Energy Regulator around the middle of 2012.

Based on the timeline for the granting of Powershop’s licence, the AER is likely to make a decision on the Infigen Energy Holdings application in early March.

Origin Energy, Stockyard Hill Wind Farm

Origin will push on with the 471 MW Stockyard Hill Wind Farm alone after an internal review confirmed the site has one of the country’s best wind resources.

“The review confirmed that Stockyard Hill is one of Australia’s premier wind farm sites and Origin has elected to retain the right to commercialise it at the best time for its portfolio,” a spokesman for Origin said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In November Origin said in a newsletter that discussions were likely to rage on for “several months”, but it seems “several” was in fact just two.

The decision comes just weeks after the final report from the RET Review was published, and it’s likely this was a factor in the decision given the large-scale renewables target wasn’t scaled back as the company hoped. It will, however, disappoint interested parties like Goldwind, GE and REpower.

There is still no news on the likely timing of the planned 157-turbine wind farm near Ballarat in Victoria, with a final investment decision yet to be made.

Origin acquired the site through the acquisition of Wind Power Pty Ltd in 2009.

Dyesol

Dyesol was this week issued with a ‘speeding ticket’ from the ASX after its share price surged from 13.5 cents last Thursday to as high as 18.5 cents early this week.

The company took the path most commonly trodden by companies issued with an ASX speeding ticket – confirm it is in compliance with continuous disclosure obligations and point to positive news of recent months as the probable reason. Many wonder why the ASX even bothers issuing speeding tickets. After all, a company is not exactly likely to say ‘oh yeah, sorry we forgot to mention we received a takeover offer last week – our bad’.

Back to Dyesol, and the company did reveal that it remains in “mature discussions” with “one or more strategic investors”. Nevertheless the company has organised nothing “with sufficient certainty to announce to the market at the current time.”

Closer ties with Tata Steel appears the most logical outcome of discussions and German investors seem to think so as well.

“Dyesol’s collaborative partner in steel, Tata Steel Europe, has recently been promoting its building efficiency products in the German market, although none directly relate to the photovoltaic technology being jointly developed by Tata and Dyesol in North Wales. There was strong buying and unusually high volume out of Germany (on Monday night),” the company said in its ASX release.

Hydro Tasmania, Musselroe wind farm

Hydro Tasmania’s 168 MW Musselroe wind farm in northern Tasmania has this week achieved two milestones:  

-- The arrival of the final international shipment of components for turbines; and

-- The erection of the first fully complete wind turbine on site.

The first turbines at the $395 million wind farm should be generating to the grid in March, with the site to be fully operational by July.

Wave power's royal backing

The Crown Estate is preparing to make a foray into the wave power sector, saying the technology is “now proven”.

The manager of the British monarchy’s property – quite a job – is keen to outlay £20 million on two tidal and wave energy schemes, alongside other companies and grant support from the government.

"Several wave and tidal stream technologies are now proven and it is timely for the industry to move on to demonstration projects,” Rob Hastings, Director of the Crown’s Energy and Infrastructure Portfolio, said.

The wave power sector is still in its infancy, but there is confidence among leading research bodies in Britain and Australia that it could produce a significant portion of electricity needs by 2050.

The British government believes it may contribute over 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs by 2050, while Australia’s CSIRO says it could provide up to 11 per cent of our power by 2050.

The Crown Estate has been active in offshore wind for a decade and says it is keen for Britain to have leadership in the wave and tidal power sector.

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