Renewable energy opportunities still blowin' in the wind
Over the next couple of decades, wind and solar power looks set to overtake coal and gas-fired generation in Australia, and ICN NSW is working to ensure local suppliers stay ahead of the change.
According to RenewEconomy, over the next 20-30 years, some 27GW of large scale solar plants and 19GW of large scale wind farms will be added to the Australian electricity grid.
In good news for local suppliers, ICN NSW has worked with a number of windfarm developments in the state since 2009 and has a significant understanding of the local capabilities for potential projects or projects that have been parked due to the recent industries downturn.
ICN NSW Southern Regional Manager, Wally Hirsch, said 'Over the past seven years, ICN had been impressed by the number and scale of opportunities in the renewable energy, including wind farms.'
'Some of the state’s largest wind farm projects, including the nation’s most visible turbines - The Capital Wind Farm - on the far shores of Lake George, have relied on ICN to help to source local suppliers.'
‘Opportunities for Australian manufacturers and suppliers have come from tower construction and installation, cabling, electricity conversion systems and substations, associated construction, and complementary industries such as heavy haulage and components.’ Wally said.
The Capital Wind Farm (commissioned in 2009) produces 140 megawatts (MW) of green energy a year, has an installed capacity of 140.7MW reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 390,000 tonnes annually.
The wind farm was built by the international contractor Suzlon for owners Infigen Energy Australia. They approached ICN to help find Australian suppliers for the 67 turbine towers and their electrical transformers, as well as the local engineering capabilities to support their installation. ICN was in touch with the project team from the outset to advise on the local companies that could help to successfully complete the project.
The attached neighbouring Woodlawn Wind Farm, located near Bungendore is a 48.3MW wind farm with 23 turbines. The energy produced by this wind farm can power approximately 32,000 Australian households a year, saving 138,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This $55 million project created 150 jobs at the peak of its construction in 2008 until completion in 2011.
Meanwhile, the Cullerin Range Wind Farm, owned and operated by Energy Developments Limited, located near Gunning became fully functional in 2009 and can produce enough renewable energy to power more than 15,000 homes. ICN worked with original owner Origin Energy and the main contractor, Catcon, on this project and advised them on sourcing local supply of civil works, heavy haulage transport and high voltage electrical works.
However, this was all before the 2013 change in Australian Government Policy which brought the renewables industry to a rapid slow down, with the best prospects coming from the ACT reverse auction process described by the industry as the only game in town. The ACT’s 100% by 2020 Renewable Energy Target has spurred the development of 640MW of renewable energy generation capacity including five wind farms and three solar farms.
SERREE, an initiative to develop the renewable energy sector in the ACT and surrounding NSW region, has established itself as a dynamic stakeholder network thanks to the strong support from industry including founding members ICN NSW.
Led by Regional Development Australia (RDA) ACT, SERREE, is currently funded and supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the NSW and ACT Governments, RDA ACT and Southern Inland and SERREE Corporate (Business and Industry) members.
The initiative recognises the abundance of natural renewable energy resources and the need for jobs in the NSW region, and the industry investment potential of the ACT’s renewable energy policies and its wealth of world-class research capacity.
In 2013, ICN Gateway hosted a membership drive event for SERREE, which now boasts more than 800 stakeholders, drawn from the renewable energy industry across the south-east NSW and ACT regions and includes a diverse range of the sector’s business and industry, three levels of government, education and research and community groups.
ICN Gateway has recently hosted the following projects:
- Ararat Windfarm for RES Australia.
- The ACT reverse Auction bids expressions of interests for Goldwind and Infigen Energy bids.
- White Rock Wind Farm for Goldwind.
Potential upcoming projects include the Sapphire Wind Farm near Glenn Innes, and Crookwell 2 and 3 in the south east of NSW.
Solar Energy is another niche that requires a range of suppliers for construction and maintenance.
In Barcaldine, ICN Qld has helped local suppliers – in transport, fencing, earthworks and more - win contracts for a solar energy project expected to generate approximately 53,500 megawatt hours of clean, renewable power each year. The Barcaldine Solar Farm is due to be commissioned next year and is expected to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 50,000 tonnes per annum.
Across in South Australia, expressions of interest are being taken for the $250 million Whyalla Solar Farm, with project owner Adani Infrastructure expecting to begin construction early in 2017.
For more information on potential opportunities in the NSW renewable sector, please contact Wally Hirsh on 0427 000 719, or email email@example.com.
For information on the Whyalla Solar Farm, please contact Eddie Ivar on (08) 8303 2170, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.