Meeting the demand for clean energy

FOR renewable energy company Pacific Hydro, powering a cleaner world and addressing climate change is paramount to its purpose.
With a portfolio of assets comprising hydro, wind, solar and geothermal projects at varying stages, Pacific Hydro works to produce clean power from natural resources.
The company was founded in 1992 and is owned by the Industry Funds Management Australian Infrastructure Fund.
It endeavours to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting growing global energy needs; its three core markets are Australia, Brazil and Chile.
“As these three economies grow, so too will their demand for clean and secure energy supplies. Pacific Hydro will play a significant role in meeting that demand for new clean energy,” the company stated in its 2011 to 2012 annual report.
According to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Australia had some of the world’s best wind resources, and the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any continent.
Through the implementation of its Renewable Energy Target scheme, the Australian Government is working to ensure that at least 20 per cent of electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020.
As a clean electricity retailer, Pacific Hydro helps organisations meet their sustainability and carbon reduction objectives.
In the 2011 to 2012 financial year, Pacific Hydro produced more than 1.8 million megawatt hours of renewable energy, resulting in the abatement of more than 1.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
It also achieved a 29 per cent rise in revenue to $197 million, mainly due to the start of operations at its run-of-river Chacayes hydro plant in Chile’s Alto Cachapoal Valley.
Representing an investment of more than $450 million, Chacayes has an 11 megawatt capacity and produces enough energy to power 300,000 local homes.
It is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 340,000t per year.
In another overseas milestone for the year, Pacific Hydro signed a consortium agreement with the world’s second largest miner Vale to jointly build and operate two wind farms in northeast Brazil. Pacific Hydro reported that it regarded the deal as “a crucial strategic step” toward its continued growth in South America.
As a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, Pacific Hydro supports a framework of 10 principles advocating responsible business practices in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
Launched in 2000, the initiative aims to align the objectives of the international community with those of the business world.
Continuing to celebrate more than 20 years of clean energy, Pacific Hydro’s main targets for the 2012 to 2013 financial year were to achieve above-benchmark economic returns for shareholders; continue to bring new clean energy supplies to each of the markets it serves; and to influence legislation and market mechanisms favourable to clean energy investment.
Projects in Australia
WA is home to one of Pacific Hydro’s longest running assets: the Ord hydro plant.
Beginning power generation in 1997 as Australia’s largest non-government renewable energy project, Ord provides electricity to Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine and to the towns of Kununurra and Wyndham.
The project provides base load power delivered through its own 132 kilovolt transmission network, and remains the largest generator of renewable energy in WA, producing more than 210 gigawatt hours of emission-free energy each year. According to Pacific Hydro, the plant has contributed more than $12 million in royalties to the State Government.
In Victoria, Pacific Hydro has both wind and hydro power generation assets.
The Codrington wind farm, which opened in July 2001, was the company’s first wind development; it was also Australia’s largest wind farm with 14 windmills and a combined generation capacity of 18.2MW.
Codrington is ideally situated, in southwest Victoria near Port Fairy, to catch strong winds blowing off the Southern Ocean.
East of Ararat in western Victoria, the 52.5MW Challicum Hills development surpassed Codrington to become the largest wind farm in Australia when it was completed in 2003.
The project generates enough electricity to power 26,000 homes each year, and will reduce greenhouse pollution by more than 3.5mt during its 25-year life.
In southeast Victoria, the Cape Nelson South wind farm is part of Pacific Hydro’s Portland Wind Energy Project (PWEP) near Portland: one of the largest wind energy projects in the southern hemisphere.
The 22-turbine wind farm will contribute 44MW of electricity to the national grid, which is enough power to supply the annual electricity needs of 22,000 Victorian homes. This will result in the wind farm abating 141,000t of carbon emissions every year.
Completed in 2007, the 30MW Yambuk wind farm was the first stage of the PWEP with 20 wind generators, while the 58MW Cape Bridgewater wind farm built in 2008 was the second stage, comprising 29 wind generators.
A final stage of the project is yet to be completed at Cape Nelson North and Cape Sir William Grant.
Pacific Hydro’s Victorian hydro plants, which were built in the mid 1990s, have an installed capacity of 9.9MW.
The company stated that the Lake Glenmaggie, Lake William Hovell and Eildon Pondage irrigation dams were a perfect fit with its policy to use existing irrigation dams for run-of-water flows, as opposed to building new ones. Their combined output has abated more than 450,000t of greenhouse gas emissions.
Pacific Hydro’s first project in South Australia, the Clements Gap wind farm, opened three years ago and has a generation capacity of 56.7MW
The wind farm – the state’s 11th – is 20km northeast of Port Broughton along the Barunga Ranges. It has 27 turbines with a 56.7MW capacity and is estimated to abate 154,000t of greenhouse pollution every year.
Pacific Hydro has proposed the construction of a wind farm at Keyneton in South Australia. The project site is 6km west of Sedan and 10km southeast of Angaston, running about 15km north to south along the Mount Lofty Ranges.
In 2012, the company lodged an application to the South Australian Development Assessment Commission for the approval of a farm with 42 turbines, each with a maximum height of 145.5m.
The proposal was met with mixed community responses, and the process for approval is ongoing.
Pacific Hydro’s Drop hydro plant in NSW was Australia’s first hydro-electric power scheme built on an irrigation channel.
Opened in 2000, it generates 2.5MW of energy without affecting the water flow to farms supplied by the canal.  The project now generates about 10,000MW hours of pollution-free energy each year, and prevents 11,000t of greenhouse gas emissions reaching the atmosphere.

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