Australian CBD Energy partners with Chinese firms for $6 billion renewable energy joint venture
Written By: John Shimkus
Sydney, Australia-based CBD Energy has finalized a joint venture with the China Datang Renewable Power Co. and solar company Baoding Tianwei Baobian Electric Co. The venture will form a new company called AusChina Energy Group.
AusShina Energy Group seeks to develop $3 billion of wind and solar power plants in Australia over the next three years, targeting $6 billion within eight years.
CBD General Manager Gerry McGowan believes the partnership would push wind energy into a grid price range competitive with coal power within three years. “We expect interest rates will be lower than what we can get domestically and the gearing can be higher than we can achieve in Australia, so it will lower our cost base. Also, the cost of manufacturing is coming down significantly and the output of turbines is going up significantly.”
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McGowan notes the joint venture as CBD Energy’s first big push into the renewable energy sector. ''We're not one of the big players in this area yet, but we have a desire to grow our business in the renewable space,'' McGowan said. CBD will serve as project management as well as negotiate approvals and power purchase agreements. The Chinese firms involved will provide equipment and funding for projects, lowering project costs.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.