GREEN DEALS: TasWind test, thermal thump

Crunch time nears for the proposed King Island wind farm as another Australian solar thermal project sees funding offered and then taken away. Elsewhere, Dyesol, Pac Hydro and Carnegie Wave make progress on solar, wind and wave projects, respectively.

TasWind

Hydro Tasmania’s TasWind development in King Island is nearing a crucial juncture. The massive 200 turbine project, which would be Australia’s largest if given the go-ahead, is likely to move to the feasibility stage if a vote from residents clears the 60 per cent support threshold.

Surveys were delivered to King Island residents last Friday, with the results to be released June 24. Two days later Hydro Tas will hold a board meeting to make a call on the feasibility study, with the survey holding a fair bit of weight in a decision either way.

The future of the project is on a knife-edge after an anti-wind group gathered a few hundred signatures on a petition against the development. The Hydro Tas-commissioned survey’s main goal however, is not to assess support for a wind farm now, but instead analyse how many are keen for a feasibility study. For what it’s worth, Green Deals is willing to stick its neck out and say more than 60 per cent will support the company moving to a feasibility stage.

After all, why would you say no to a feasibility study? Particularly one that could show you are entitled to thousands in compensation.

Further boosting confidence is the fact the anti-wind lobbying group was already crying foul about the survey on Friday, perhaps a hint they think the vote is set to go against them.

Solar Oasis

The $230 million Solar Oasis project in Whyalla has received a major (possibly fatal) blow, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency withdrawing $60 million in Commonwealth funding.

The project was developed to demonstrate the potential of big dish concentrating solar thermal technology developed by ANU.

Around 300 dishes were to be used to generate 40MW of power.

ARENA moved for the exits after it said the project failed to meet several conditions set, but it has left Whyalla councillors shaking their heads.

“The initial $230 million investment had the potential to become a multi-stage project generating electricity and enabling applied research and development to piggy back of the major project leading to advances in energy storage and thermo-chemical processing,” Whyalla City councillor Eddie Hughes told Whyalla News.

“The decision means that 15 years of hard work to establish in Whyalla a major world first concentrating solar thermal power station using Australian technology has been flushed down the drain.”

He did, however, say the council would help the developers try to revive the fledgling development.

It’s the latest blow to solar thermal in Australia after the billion-dollar plus Solar Dawn project in Queensland saw funding promised to it through Solar Flagships left in Commonwealth hands after it failed to reach financial close.

Keyneton wind farm

The King Island wind farm isn’t the only one nearing a key decision, with Pacific Hydro’s Keyneton wind farm proposal now with the planning minister in South Australia.

Pac Hydro lodged an application with the Development Assessment Commission for the 42-turbine project last year and it has recently made recommendations to planning minister John Rau, who will make a final decision in the next few weeks, according to the ABC.

Dyesol

Australian clean tech group Dyesol Limited has informed investors that its solar-enabling technology has “exceeded a key international photovoltaic industry standard test for long-term durability by 400 per cent.”

It’s the latest bit of good news for the ASX-listed company after it announced a technological breakthrough in early May.

“Dyesol has tested its industrially scalable Dye Solar Cell materials and the material set maintained over 90 per cent of initial performance after an extremely stressful test of 5000 hours at a constant temperature of 85 degrees Celsius,” Dyesol chief scientist, Dr Hans Desilvestro, said.

So positive has the past month been that not only has Dyesol’s share price quadrupled, but it has also had so much demand for its share purchase plan that it has taken a lot longer than expected to process all applications. It will have to scale-back applications as a result, the company said.

Carnegie Wave Energy

Carnegie Wave Energy has purchased four of the 10 “key project elements” for its flagship Perth Wave Energy Project.

The purchases, at a cost of $3.5 million, are due for delivery over the course of the next three to eight months.

Carnegie’s chief operating officer, Greg Allen, said the remaining six purchases (of ‘key elements’) would be made in the next two months, with the project still on track for completion in early 2014.

Algae.Tec

All is not going to plan with Algae.Tec’s proposed capital raising, with the company last week extending the timeline for the share purchase plan “due to market conditions”. The market conditions to which it refers would be the 10 per cent correction on the Australian stockmarket in recent weeks. That has helped lead to a situation where it is offering shares to shareholders at 22 cents per share while its share price now sits just below this (21 cents).

Vmoto

ASX-listed Vmoto has launched six new two-wheel electric vehicles into China.

The company said the news was the culmination of nine months of development and testing. The new models are updated versions of Vmoto’s E-Max classic 80S and 120S electric scooters and newly developed electric two wheel vehicle models. They are specifically targeted for the Chinese market.

Vmoto said initial positivity from Chinese customers sees it hopeful the new models “will have a positive impact on the current financial year.” 

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