GREEN DEALS: Silverton stoppage

Silverton wind farm decision delayed a year; CBD has a big announcement ahead; Dyesol reaches a new solar record; the Royalla solar farm could double in size and what's the thinking behind the CEFC's Macarthur loan?

AGL, Silverton wind farm

A decision on AGL’s massive Silverton wind farm project has been put off for another year.

Political uncertainties are behind the move to delay a decision on the project until 2014, with the election potentially heralding significant policy changes. If Labor were to win then current policies will largely remain intact, but if the Coalition claims power, as most expect, a scale-back of the Renewable Energy Target and a scrapping of carbon pricing will weigh on AGL’s decision.

Billed as Australia’s largest wind farm when first detailed some six years ago by Epuron, it has since been sold to AGL and seen various delays from the original planned operational date of 2009/10.

It has planning consent through to May next year for a 1 GW development, although stage one would be around 250 MW at a cost of close to half a billion dollars. This would make it New South Wales’ largest wind farm, but not Australia’s (that mantle is held by the 420 MW Macarthur).

"We will not be in a position where we can commit to half-a-billion dollars this coming year so we deferred that," AGL's head of generation development, Nigel Bean, told a meeting in Silverton on Wednesday, according to the ABC.

He added that the wind resource remained attractive – the company said in May that it was at the bottom of the cost stack of mainland Australian projects – and AGL remained enthusiastic for its development potential, pending another review of the RET early next year.

CBD Energy, Taralga wind farm

Fresh from reaching financial close on the Taralga wind farm (a JV with Santander) including receiving a $37.5 million loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, CBD Energy has entered a trading halt “pending the release of an announcement by CBD regarding the outcome of discussions between CBD and its financiers and major creditors in relation to a proposed restructuring of CBD.”

The progress at Taralga can only have helped negotiations for CBD but that doesn’t mean all is rosy. Its shares did, after all, most recently close at 1.1 cents – near a record low and valuing the company at just $6 million.

AGL, Meridian Energy, Macarthur wind farm

Meridian Energy has successfully palmed off its 50 per cent stake in Australia’s largest completed wind farm.

The 420 MW Macarthur wind farm, which became fully operational early this year, has been bought out by Malaysian interests after the rumoured loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation eventuated.

Meridian’s $659 million deal with Malakoff came as the CEFC confirmed a $50 million loan in combination with a number of lenders that altogether provided $529 million.

Macarthur is a good asset and this has people wondering why the CEFC bothered to step in at all to assist with refinancing. The optimists would say that given it’s a pretty safe investment, it’s not a bad way for the body to dip its toe in the water. It is also good to see some investment rather than grants that provide politicians with ‘announceables’ but never see the light of day.

Others may ask whether or not such investment sees public funds getting in the way of the private sector and consequently is more harm than good. Both sides of the debate have a case and I guess the other positive the CEFC could point to is that it frees up cash for Meridian to invest in more wind projects.

FRV, Royalla solar farm

The Royalla solar farm could be getting bigger.

The winner of an ACT government grant last year, FRV recently received approval for the planned 20 MW development at Royalla, but it could extend to 40 MW, according to a report in the Canberra Times.

The report said that plans lodged under Commonwealth environmental guidelines indicated a two-stage project (2 x 20 MW), with stage two beginning in February 2014. This has, however, not been approved by the ACT government nor committed to by FRV, the Canberra Times added.

Dyesol

Dyesol says it has established a new world record efficiency of 15 per cent for a solid-state Dye Solar Cell (DSC).

“The recent breakthroughs in solid-state Dye Solar Cell technology are truly astonishing,” Dyesol chairman, Richard Caldwell, said. “This is the dawn of a new age in efficient and affordable renewable energy.”

This independently certified efficiency result eclipses all previous certified public records, the ASX-listed Dyesol told investors.

The market responded positively, with Dyesol shares added over 10 per cent on Thursday.

Algae.Tec

Algae-to-biofuels company Algae.Tec has signed a deal with Biodiesel Industries Australia to refine algal oil from its carbon capture and biofuels production facility alongside a 2640MW coal-fired power station.

The oil, to be produced from the Algae.Tec facility planned for 2014 at Macquarie Generation’s Bayswater coal-fired power station in NSW’s Hunter Valley, will be refined by BIA then used locally by mining and industry in the Hunter region.

Macquarie, Theolia

An infrastructure fund owned by Macquarie Bank is set to buy French wind group Theolia. The deal, valued at around €356 million ($A495 million) according to Bloomberg, has the backing of the Theolia board and its major shareholders.

Theolia is the operator of 1269 megawatts of wind power.

Wind Prospect CWP, Golspie wind farm

Wind Prospect CWP has announced its 250 MW Golspie wind farm proposal may not go ahead, with a planning application allowed to lapse.

“We are actively monitoring the issues facing the further development of the project,” Development Manager for the project, Daniel MacDonald, said.

“As soon as it becomes clear that we can progress a wind farm in the area then we will resubmit a project application to the Department to seek approval for the project and further our community consultation work.”

CWP, Boco Rock wind farm

Work on Continental Wind Partners’ Boco Rock wind farm will begin this quarter after hundreds of millions in funding was secured.

 “$350 million of funding is now secured and we can move forward with the construction of Boco Rock, our first Australian wind farm,” CWP Australia’s Managing Director, Alex Hewitt said.

The wind farm, near Bombala in New South Wales, is a joint venture of CWP with Wind Prospect and the project will be managed on behalf of Thai-listed Electricity Generating Public Company Limited (EGCO).

Development of stage one of will involve 67 turbines, together generating up to 113 MW – and it is due for completion early in 2015.

Carnegie Wave Energy

Carnegie Wave Energy continues to place orders for the 10 key components required for its flagship Perth Wave Energy project. In the past week it has made decisions for the tether and piping and the last two components will be ordered sometime this month. 

Related Articles