Risen Energy signs renewable PPA with BHP’s Nickel West

Risen Energy (Australia) has signed a renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) with BHP for their Merredin Solar Farm to supply up to 50 per cent of electricity needs at BHP’s Nickel West Kwinana refinery.

The bundled PPA with BHP will run for ten years from 1 February 2021, with an option for further extension. The agreement will help BHP reduce emissions from electricity use at the refinery by up to 50 per cent by 2024, based on FY2020 levels. This will effectively displace an estimated 364,000 tonnes of CO2e between 2021 and 2031. This is the equivalent of removing 11,200 combustion engine cars from WA’s roads every year.

This is the first renewable energy PPA signed by BHP in WA and follows renewable PPAs covering BHP’s operations in Queensland in 2020 and in Chile in 2019.  The contract will contribute to BHP’s medium-term, science-based target to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. The competitively-priced clean power will be supplied from Risen Energy’s 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm, West Australia’s largest completed solar installation which has an output of 274GWh of electricity annually.

As owners of the Merredin Solar Farm, Risen Energy (Australia) progressed the project from funding, detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and operation.

“Risen Energy is very proud to sign this renewable PPA with BHP’s Nickel West. This agreement will bolster current and future Western Australian renewable projects.  We look forward to welcoming many more clean energy partnerships to power manufacturing, minerals processing and other Western Australian industries,” said John Zhong, Vice General Manager, Risen Energy (Australia).

BHP Nickel West, Asset President, Eddy Haegel said: “This contract will further increase the sustainability of the nickel produced by Nickel West. It will reduce the refinery’s electricity emissions by 50 per cent, diversify our energy supply, and reduce the refinery’s electricity bill by up to 20 per cent.

“Nickel is a future-facing commodity, and sustainable nickel production is essential to meet future demand. This contract, the sulphide nature of our nickel deposits, and our integrated value chain increases our position as one of the least carbon intensive nickel miners in the world,” said Haegel.

Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Bill Johnston said: “Congratulations to everyone at BHP Nickel West for taking this important step forward to reduce their operation’s carbon footprint.”

“BHP’s Kwinana nickel refinery is a key contributor to WA’s future battery industry, and is helping global efforts to decarbonise. The McGowan Government is supportive of mining and resources companies that embrace clean energy solutions,” said Johnston.

“The strength of our team brought this deal together including the dedicated work from Archie Chen, CFO, Risen Energy (Australia), Nomad Energy (specialised consultant) and Herbert Smith, Freehills. They worked hard to bring this opportunity to fruition by being very commercial, pragmatic and committed, establishing Risen Energy as a trustworthy partner to work with” said Zhong.

“We are steadily growing our solar projects and solar module supply businesses in Australia, and we see a bright future ahead as Australia continues to expand its renewable energy market,” explained Zhong. “Risen Energy has a long term plan to be a major independent renewable power producer within Australia.   The Merredin Solar Farm in Western Australia and the Yarranlea Solar Farm in Queensland are the first two steps in us achieving our goal to deliver 2GW of clean energy to Australia”, said Zhong.

Risen Energy’s Merredin Solar Farm Is Exporting 100% Capacity To The Grid

Risen Energy (Australia)’s 132MWdc Merredin Solar Farm is connected to the grid, generating 100% capacity straight into the Western Australian network. Merredin Solar Farm is West Australia’s largest completed solar installation and has an expected output of 274GWh of electricity annually, generating enough green energy to power approximately 42,000 Western Australian homes.

The Solar Farm is located on 460ha of former farming and grazing country adjacent to the Western Power Merredin Terminal and will connect to this facility at 220kV. Risen worked closely with network service provider, Western Power and AEMO through the staged live commissioning process and the solar farm is now exporting 100% capacity output, compatible with Western Power’s grid requirements.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Western Power and their smooth coordination with AEMO has enabled us to reach this milestone of achieving a fully operational solar facility which will supply green power.” said Eric Lee, General Manager of Risen Energy (Australia).

Fastest build of a large-scale solar facility and the importance of good stakeholder relations 

Merredin Solar Farm is one of the fastest builds of a large-scale solar farm seen yet.
Due to the close collaboration between WA’s Monford Group and Risen, mechanical completion of the Merredin Solar Farm was achieved in just 3 months. Risen’s large capacity to resource the project meant that they had all materials and resources on site at one given time, allowing it to be put together quickly and without delay.

Ciaran Shannon, General Manager of Monford acknowledged the good working relations between both companies and added that Monford “welcomes the opportunity to deliver further landmark renewable energy projects and support Risen’s commendable goal to deliver 2GW of clean energy to Australia”.

Mr Lee added that Risen’s EPCM team has continued this successful approach on future projects with several tier 1 and tier 2 construction companies, signalling that Risen is on track towards achieving their 2GW goal.

Risen Energy’s Merredin Solar Farm is powering on

Risen Energy’s 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm has completed all pre-commissioning testing on major plant and equipment and is now in the stages of starting the commissioning process. Western Power and Merredin Solar Farm are doing functionality checks and getting ready for the first back energisation to start the live commissioning process.

After all functions are checked and confirmed, Merredin Solar Farm will start exporting into the grid in four stages – Stage 1 will be at 20% capacity, Stage 2 will be at 50% capacity, Stage 3 will be at 80% capacity and Stage 4 at 100% capacity. This will happen over a pre-determined time as controlled by the Network Service Provider, Western Power.

On site, staff and contractors are undergoing rectification and adjustment works according to discoveries made during the QA process. The operations building has been installed on site and Risen are demobilising the temporary construction site offices and amenities.

Re-planning the resources and tasks to be completed on all work on site is being conducted within the current work guidelines to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for all involved. Due to the COVID-19 situation, Risen has adapted their operations and business. They have taken extra care to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for their employees and external stakeholders.

Notice on COVID-19

In these uncertain times, we believe in maintaining “life as per normal” as much as humanly possible. Risen Energy (Australia) has been monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation and we are continually adapting our operations and business.

The health and safety of our employees and external stakeholders are of utmost importance to us and we have taken extra care to ensure we maintain a safe and healthy work environment. Additionally, we are big advocates of “self-management”. We have encouraged our staff to manage any potential symptoms and to ensure proper care is taken to stay healthy and safe.

Over the past few weeks, we have taken various precautionary measures:

  • We have implemented a strict no-attendance policy for any staff who displays any symptoms of the virus
  • We have disseminated face masks and disinfectant wipes/sprays to staff in our 2 offices and 2 sites
  • We have encouraged the adjustment of seating where staff are required to be at least 1.5 metres working distance from one another
  • We have suspended interstate travels until further notice
  • We have encouraged social distancing by minimising face-to-face meetings with customers and instead recommend using online means
  • We are encouraging staff to work from home from the 23rd of March until the 31st of March (or until further notice)

Rest assured that Risen Energy (Australia) is diligently monitoring advisories from the Australian government and we will take further actions as and when they are necessary. We would like to use this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support and we will continue to work alongside you despite these challenging times.

Stay safe.

Risen Energy’s speedy construction of the Merredin Solar Farm is progressing well

Construction of the 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm is progressing well and at an extremely speedy pace.

The speed of the solar farm’s civil and mechanical construction has been enabled by good management of finances, great teamwork and strong cooperation between Risen Energy and partners.

They used innovative methods and organisational efficiencies to accelerate the completion of the civil and mechanical works of the solar farm in the span of 3.5 months, making it a remarkable feat.

Efficient procurement processes and Risen Energy’s large capacity allowed rapid delivery of equipment to the site.

Pilecom, a Western Australian company installed the last of the 46,563 steel post foundations on November 8th.  The tracking system and solar panels are mounted on these piles.By early December, the solar farm’s civil and mechanical works were completed

by the principal construction contractor, Monford Group.  354,452 PV panels and 4,249 torque tubes were installed, with approximately 60km of cable trenching laid and 22 inverters placed onto their foundations.  On-site labour peaked at 425 staff and the speed at which they completed the works was exceptional.Once the field assembly was complete, 300 labour staff demobilised from the site in early December.

Approximately 150 staff remain on-site to continue with electrical works and completion of the solar farm. From now to February 2020, the planned work will include the electrical installation, substation install, electrical testing, O&M Building install and connection to the existing high voltage system.

After completion, approximately 100 staff will be demobilised. The remaining staff will stay on to complete the final electrical installation and testing. This part of the work will continue through to Q2 2020.Throughout all stages of the project, Risen Energy has been working closely with the Merredin Shire Council, the Commander of the local police as well as the Merredin Fire Chief.

The Merredin Shire Council gave praise to Risen’s ability to manage such a large work force in their town.The construction staff have used just about every business in the town including the newsagent, bottle shop, butcher, hair salons, restaurants, gift shops, pharmacy and hardware.

Risen Energy’s construction of the Merredin Solar Farm set to peak from October

Construction works at the 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm site will hit their peak between October and December.

“We expect up to 300 construction workers on site over the coming months with about 100 of them locals from the Merredin area. Originally, we thought 200 workers would be needed, however delays due to the harder than expected ground conditions mean that more construction workers will be required to meet our timeline,” said Risen Energy (Australia)’s, Merredin Solar Farm Project Manager Patrick O’Neill.

“We have been getting three to four phone calls each day from interested workers as well as plenty of CVs. All of these are being passed onto our Perth-based primary contractors Monford Group,” said O’Neill.

Monford Group will be installing the panels, torque tubes, trackers inverters and building the new substation. High voltage conductors to connect the substation to Western Power’s Merredin Terminus have been strung and will be energised once the substation and solar farm are substantially complete.

There were project design changes when early civil works undertaken by Perth-based drilling and piling company, Pilecom, encountered more granite than forecasted by the original surveys. Pilecom adopted different methods to drill post holes into the areas of granite, with steel posts sunk to depths between 1.5m to 3.2m. These posts are for the installation of the tracker system which is required to mount the solar panels and allow them to follow the sun.

Over the past few months, the 360,000 panels and trackers have been delivered to the site in 550 containers.

The 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm will use Risen Energy’s 375W Mono solar panels. These panels will cover approximately 260ha of the 460 hectare farm leased by Risen Energy.

The major construction and movement of heavy vehicles is limited to daylight hours for safety reasons. “We’ve looked into the process of installing panels during the evening. It worked well on our other projects, especially in north eastern Queensland, where we worked a night shift. There was no noise – we were installing panels in well-lit areas with safety supervision on site, and people actually enjoyed working at night rather than in the heat of the day,” said O’Neill.

“We have approached the Shire of Merredin Council about our proposal to work night shift and they saw no issues with that. Noise will be kept to a minimum as there will be no heavy vehicle and equipment movement during the night – only personnel installing PV panels onto the tracker system by manual labour. The lighting towers will be restricted to direct overhead lighting and focus on the work area below. This will minimise any chance of the lighting being a nuisance to residents and motorists in the area. If any issues did arise, we will tend to the matter with absolute urgency,” explained O’Neill.

The site will be busy until March when Risen Energy aims to start commissioning its new substation. The Merredin Solar Farm staff have been working closely with the Shire of Merredin to deliver the approvals for the Merredin Solar Farm project and will continue to liaise with the council and government agencies to ensure any requirements are satisfied.

Risen Energy progressing construction of the Merredin Solar Farm

Construction works have commenced for the 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm. Bulk earthworks to prepare the site for installation of the solar panels and substation equipment are well under way.

The substation installation is progressing with equipment foundations being poured, the installation of the control room and erection of the gantry. High voltage wires to connect the substation to Western Power’s Merredin Terminus have been strung and will be energised once the substation and farm are substantially complete.

Fencing of the site has commenced. Site construction amenities and the solar farm road network are being established. Pile driving testing has resumed to check ground conditions for installation of the tracker system that is required to mount the solar panels onto their fixed structures.

Equipment delivery of the 360,000 solar panels and trackers is expected early July. This will be followed by pile driving from late July and then tracker assembly and mounting of the panels.

“There will be an increase in traffic with equipment deliveries from Fremantle.  With the location of the Merredin solar farm to the west of Merredin, it is anticipated there will be no increase in heavy traffic in the town as access to the site will be from Robertson Road.  There may be turning traffic at the intersection of Robartson Road and the highway” said Andrew Owen, Renewable Development Manager, Risen Energy (Australia).

The Merredin Solar Farm is working closely with the Shire of Merredin to deliver the approvals for the Merredin Solar Farm project and will continue to liaise with the Council and government agencies to ensure these requirements are satisfied.

 

Risen Energy commemorates the start of construction of the Merredin Solar Farm

Risen Energy commemorates the start of construction of the Merredin Solar Farm
To commemorate the start of construction of the 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm, Risen Energy (Australia) conducted a Ground Breaking Ceremony with Honourable Mia Davies, MLA, Member for Central Wheatbelt, Cr Ken Hooper, President, Shire of Merredin and Eric Lee, General Manager Risen Energy (Australia) on Friday March 15.

This ceremony reinforces the importance of the working relationship between the State, Council and Risen Energy (Australia) in developing such a significant project within the region. Risen Energy (Australia) is developing the Merredin Solar Farm, the largest solar farm committed to construction in Western Australia. Once completed the solar farm will have an expected output of 281GWh of electricity annually, generating enough green energy to power approximately 42,000 Western Australian homes.

The Merredin Solar Farm is located on 460ha of former farming and grazing country adjacent to the Western Power Merredin Terminal and will connect to the Merredin Terminal at 220kV. A diesel power station is also located adjacent to the Terminal on Robartson Road.

Initially construction will involve bulk earthworks to prepare the site for installation of the solar panels and substation equipment.
Full construction of the solar installation starts soon and will continue through to mid-late 2019. Merredin Solar Farm will commission and commence power sales in Q4 2019. As owners of the Merredin Solar Farm project, Risen Energy (Australia) will progress the project from detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and ultimately the operation of the solar farm. They will supply the latest PV panel technology to allow it to supply power to the grid. Ultimately, integrated battery storage will be incorporated in the solar farm to provide continuous power during periods of peak demand.

The Merredin Solar Farm will endeavour to use as many local resources as is possible including labour, equipment, contractors and accommodation. It is anticipated that around 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the plant which will have approximately 360,000 solar panels installed at the site. Once operational, the solar farm will require 3-5 full time workers to maintain the installation.

When completed the Merredin Solar Farm will supply power to homes, businesses and industries in the wheatbelt region and the South West. The completed facility has a projected life of 30 years. At the end of the facility’s useful operating life, all physical infrastructure will be removed, and the land returned to its former agricultural use.

The Merredin Solar Farm has worked closely with local government to deliver the approvals for the Merredin Solar Farm project. This has included focusing on planning consents at a local, regional and state level. The development approvals established certain conditions on the solar farm’s construction. These include sourcing permits for elements of the installation, the upgrading of identified roads potentially impacted by the development and compliance with environmental requirements. Merredin Solar Farm will continue to liaise with the Merredin Shire and government agencies to ensure these requirements are satisfied.

Merredin Solar Farm has worked closely with the State Government’s corporate entity, Western Power to determine the most appropriate connection to the local electricity grid. This connection will be into the existing high voltage Merredin Terminal Substation, which ultimately feeds into the Western Australian transmission network. Western Power is currently expanding its facility at the Merredin Terminal to enable the solar farm to connect.

Merredin council’s support of renewables has created a renewable energy hotspot for this Wheatbelt town.
Risen Energy (Australia) is one of the largest and most reliable suppliers of solar panels within Australia.

“Merredin Solar Farm is our second acquisition of a utility-scale solar farm which we will progress from detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and ultimately the operation. Our first acquisition was for the 100 megawatt (AC) Yarranlea Solar Farm in South West Queensland where construction is underway.” said John Zhong, Project Development & Investment Director, Risen Energy (Australia). “Risen Energy (Australia)’s long term goal is the establishment of 2GW of solar farms over the next few years. This reinforces our intention of becoming a key player in the national solar industry.” said Zhong.

Merredin Solar Farm construction starts soon

Merredin Solar Farm construction starts soon
Risen Energy (Australia) is developing the 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm, the largest solar farm committed to construction in Western Australia. Once completed the solar farm will have an expected output of 281GWh of electricity annually, generating enough green energy to power approximately 42,000 Western Australian homes.
The Merredin Solar Farm will be located on 460ha of former farming and grazing country adjacent to the Western Power Merredin Terminal and will connect to the Merredin Terminal at 220kV.
A diesel power station is also located adjacent to the Terminal on Robartson Road.
The solar farm will consist of approximately 360,000 Risen Energy panels mounted on a single axis tracking system and will generate and deliver clean, renewable electricity into the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) making a major contribution to Western Australia’s greenhouse gas reductions.
As owners of the Merredin Solar Farm project, Risen Energy (Australia) will progress the project from detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and ultimately the operation of the solar farm.
Full construction of the solar installation starts early 2019 and will continue through to mid-late 2019. Merredin Solar Farm will commission and commence power sales in Q4 2019. Risen Energy (Australia) will provide their global engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) experience to support the Merredin Solar Farm project and will supply the latest PV panel technology to allow it to supply power to the grid. Ultimately, integrated battery storage will be incorporated in the solar farm to provide continuous power during periods of peak demand.
The Merredin Solar Farm has worked closely with local government to deliver the approvals for the Merredin Solar Farm project. This has included focusing on planning consents at a local, regional and state level. The development approvals established certain conditions on the solar farm’s construction. These include sourcing permits for elements of the installation, the upgrading of identified roads potentially impacted by the development and compliance with environmental requirements. Merredin Solar Farm will continue to liaise with the Merredin Shire and government agencies to ensure these requirements are satisfied.
Merredin Solar Farm has worked closely with the State Government’s corporate entity, Western Power to determine the most appropriate connection to the local electricity grid. This connection will be into the existing high voltage Merredin Terminal Substation, which ultimately feeds into the Western Australian transmission network. Western Power is currently expanding its facility at the Merredin Terminal to enable the solar farm to connect.
The Merredin Solar Farm will support the Western Australian Government’s transition to a green energy future.
The Merredin Solar Farm will endeavour to use as many local resources as is possible including labour, equipment, contractors and accommodation. It is anticipated that around 200 positions will be created during the construction of the Merredin Solar Farm. The workforce on site at any one time will vary as the project cycles through various construction phases (civil works, foundations, assembly, electrical assembly, cabling, commissioning). Depending on the stage of the project, the labour force can vary between 20 to 150.
Once operational, the solar farm will require 3-5 full time workers to maintain the installation.
When completed the Merredin Solar Farm will supply power to homes, businesses and industries in the wheatbelt region and the South West. The completed facility has a projected life of 30 years. At the end of the facility’s useful operating life, all physical infrastructure will be decommissioned, and the land returned to its former agricultural use.
Risen Energy (Australia) is finalising details for the development assessment with the Merredin council before commencing work on the Merredin Solar Farm.
Initially construction will involve earthworks to prepare the site for installation of the solar panels and substation equipment.
Merredin council’s support of renewables has created a renewable energy hotspot for this Wheatbelt town.
Risen Energy (Australia) is one of the largest and most reliable suppliers of solar panels within Australia.
“Our first acquisition for the 100 megawatt (AC) Yarranlea Solar Farm in Queensland was completed in early 2018 and construction is underway. Merredin Solar Farm is our second acquisition of a utility-scale solar farm which we will progress from detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and ultimately the operation.” said John Zhong, Project Development & Investment Director, Risen Energy (Australia).
“Risen Energy (Australia)’s long term goal is the establishment of 2GW of solar farms over the next few years. This reinforces our intention of becoming a key player in the national solar industry.” said Zhong.