BuildingIQ (ASX: BIQ) today announces that it has partnered with the Springfield Land Corporation (SLC) to implement its cloud-based platform for creating IoT-enabled buildings, at 6 Yoga Way Springfield Central which houses GE’s Queensland, Australia headquarters among other tenants. The 14,000-square meter, AU$72 million futuristic office, located in central business district (CBD), boasts a stellar reputation for sustainability with a 6 Star Green Star rating and the Current Performance with a 4 Star NABERS rating. The building is targeting a 4.5 NABERS rating performance. BuildingIQ’s 5i platform – built upon the five pillars of data capture and analysis, modeling, measurement & verification, control, and human expertise – is being used to add unprecedented transparency into the building’s operations, maximize occupant comfort and optimize energy usage.
Through ongoing analysis, the BuildingIQ 5i platform yielded immediate benefit. The platform has been used to identify high load within the building and has provided actionable, data-driven insights for the building manager to streamline operations. The moment BMS data begins to flow to BuildingIQ’s cloud, pattern and trend anomalies can potentially be identified and tracked. This approach also provides the benefits of scale that large portfolio owners require to manage energy across wide geographies. The same work that is being done at GE’s building can be replicated throughout numerous properties. BuildingIQ’s platform enables a portfolio approach to energy management, with building data from multiple structures and BMSs being pulled into one central repository or dashboard.
“We are excited about this strategic partnership to create a smart city solution using BuildingIQ’s technology,” said Paul Wyatt, Chief Digital Officer of Springfield Land Corporation. “There has been a large emphasis on the construction of Greater Springfield thus far, and creating a digital infrastructure to optimize operations is just as important. The data-driven approach that BuildingIQ provides to us through its 5i platform ensures that we continue to make informed choices that will benefit the fledgling city as it continues to grow.”
The scalability of BuildingIQ’s platform is significant as the building is just one structure within the Greater Springfield area. The development covers 2,860 hectares with 390 hectares dedicated to the CBD. The dedicated space provides a future employment base for an estimated 52,000 workers with an area of 2.6 million-square meter of office, retail, health and technology facilities. With BuildingIQ’s extensive experience in working to augment BMS’s from virtually any provider within commercial office spaces, education campuses, healthcare facilities and retail spaces, there is great potential for expansion within Springfield. In addition, to the benefits that daily energy optimization provides, widespread adoption of the 5i platform would also create the necessary foundation for the city as a whole to participate in demand response events.
“It’s inspiring to watch SLC execute on turning Chairman Maha Sinnathamby’s smart city vision into a reality,” said Michael Nark, president and CEO of BuildingIQ. “Incorporating our IoT-enabled, energy management platform will ensure that the city’s building infrastructure, such as 6 Yoga Way, lives up to its full energy efficiency potential. Without continuous monitoring and fine-tuning of controls and operations, even the highest performing buildings will drift into inefficiency. Incorporating BuildingIQ early in the building’s life will ensure the proper return on investment is reached.”
Malcolm Turnbull has defended the use of a federal fund to help Indian billionaire Gautam Adani build a vast coal project in central Queensland as Bill Shorten warns against offering a concessional loan to the project even though his Queensland Labor colleagues want it built.
The Prime Minister declared the coalmine would create “tens of thousands” of jobs and boost state and federal budgets for years and that the nation needed a $5 billion fund to open up the “economic frontier” of Northern Australia with big projects like Adani coalmine, rail link and connected port.
One day after Mr Turnbull met Mr Adani in New Delhi to discuss the mine plans, Labor sided with green groups who warn against the use of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to give the project a concessional loan.
Mr Adani has told the Indian media his project is eligible for a $900 million loan and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce yesterday warned the rail project was at a “tipping point” and needed the federal support. The Prime Minister did not repeat Mr Joyce’s warning but emphasised the broader gains from the project if it went ahead on commercial terms.
“The project, if it is built, will create tens of thousands of jobs,” he said. “It will generate, over the course of its life, an enormous amount in taxes and in royalties, revenues for state and federal governments. So plainly there is a huge economic benefit from a big project of this kind, assuming it’s built and it proceeds.”
Mr Turnbull compared the NAIF to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, another government agency that offers loans to energy projects and has made a profitable return.
“The Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund is an important part of our commitment to development of Australia’s north — that is our big economic frontier, a huge opportunity with far too little development, far too little infrastructure,” he said.
Mr Shorten said the mine and rail line needed to make sense commercially rather than requiring taxpayer help. “We need the Adani project to stack up. It needs to stack up environmentally and commercially,” he said. “I haven’t seen the case made for the taxpayer to underwrite a $1bn loan.”
Adani has estimated its project will create 10,000 jobs over time, but this is based on economic modelling that goes out to 2030 and was disputed in a court hearing on the environmental approvals for the mine. With the rail link added, it could be 13,000 jobs. The mine would create 1464 jobs including indirect jobs according to consulting firm GHD, which was commissioned by Adani.
With the Nationals strongly backing the Adani project, Mr Joyce yesterday argued the federal loan was needed to ensure the plans survived a “tipping point” that could halt everything. “I know the greenies will go off their heads and they’ll be ringing me up and tweeting me and they’ll be ringing me up and tweeting me right now, but I can deal with that,” he said.
While Mr Adani has called for more federal help to remove regulatory barriers, Mr Turnbull said it was up to the company to overcome any commercial barriers.
“The obstacles or the challenges for Adani in this project are commercial ones. He is very confident basically because he is building a vertically integrated project — he is going to be producing coal, most of which he will be buying himself to fuel his own power stations in India,” he said.
Asked about whether he was confident the Adani mine would go ahead, Mr Turnbull said: “It’s a long time since I gave commercial appraisals on projects for a living. I’ll leave that to Mr Adani.”
A measure of Australian business conditions jumped in March to highs not seen since before the global financial crisis with sales, profits and employment all at levels that bode well for a pick up in economic growth in coming months.
National Australia Bank's <NAB.AX> monthly survey of more than 400 firms showed its index of business conditions climbed 6 points to +14 in March, well above the long-run average of +5.
The survey's measure of business confidence, however, dipped a point to +6 which was in line with its long-run average.
The major services sectors and wholesale reported the strongest conditions, while retail continued to suffer. Mining brightened considerably on the back of higher commodity prices.
NAB chief economist, Alan Oster, cautioned that Cyclone Debbie may have flattered the survey by limiting responses from the affected area in northern Queensland.
"Even so, conditions have improved almost across the board to levels that suggest a strong economy in the near-term," said Oster. "That includes Western Australia, which has been looking better of late and suggests the worst of the mining downturn may be behind us."
The economy grew a faster-than-expected 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, underpinned by strength in consumer and government spending and home building.
That improvement encouraged the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to hold interest rates steady as it kept a wary eye on the risk of overheating housing markets in Sydney and Melbourne.
The NAB survey's measure of sales enjoyed the biggest gain in March, rising 10 points to +22, while profits rose 3 points to +13. The employment index held steady at a relatively firm +5, which implies a healthier labour market than that shown in the official jobs data.
Forward orders also added 2 points to +4, suggesting the acceleration in activity may have legs.
The survey's measure of capacity utilisation edged up to 81.9 percent in March and business speeding intentions rose to a firm +13, pointing to a better investment outlook.
There was still little sign of inflationary pressure in the survey, albeit wage growth was firmer in mining.
Growth in purchase costs and final product prices was tepid while retail prices actually fell 0.1 percent at a quarterly rate, suggesting some downside risks for consumer price inflation in the first quarter.
The first two stage of a 300MW solar farm – Australia’s biggest – has begun construction near Port Augusta in South Australia after its developers last Friday reached financial close on the project, and agreed to sell it to two of Europe’s biggest investors in renewables, Italy’s Enel Green Energy and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.
The first two stages, totalling 220MW, of the Bungala project is being built around 12kms from Port Augusta, where the state’s last coal fired generator closed last May. Ironically, project developer Reach Energy is headed by Tony Concannon, the former head of the owners of the Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria which closed late last month.
The two first stages of Bungala will be completed late in 2018, and will be built by Spanish company Elecnor, which recently completed the 57MW Moree project in NSW and the smaller 21MW Barcaldine project in Queensland.Bungala will be built “battery storage ready”, and will also likely be the first major solar farm to participate in Australia’s FCAS market (frequency control and ancillary services), using SMA inverter technology to provide voltage control for the grid.
Concannon says the remaining 80MW of capacity could be built – along with battery storage – should the company win a South Australian government tender for 25 per cent of its electricity needs with “dispatchable” renewables.
Reach has submitted proposals for both 20MWh of battery storage and 100MWh, although it did not participate in the other tender for a separate 100MWh battery unit. If the tender is not successful, there are also discussions with other potential off-takers in train.
Concannon’s company, which is looking to develop 1,000MW of solar in Australia, has secured off-take agreements for the output of Bungala 1 and Bungala 2 with Origin Energy, raised $320 million of project finance debt, and found equity buyers for the $450 million project in Enel Green Power and DIM. And all without government grants.
It is one of a number of large scale solar projects proposed for South Australia, but the first to actually begin construction.
“That’s the difference with some of the others,” Concannon told RenewEconomy in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Some of them have had lots of publicity, but are going nowhere. They don’t even have grid approvals.
“But with us, there are no “ifs” and no “buts”, it is definitely happening. We’ve done that deliberately (to keep a low profile) – Port Augusta has had a number of false dawns.”News of the Bungala project comes as a big wind project, the 212MW Lincoln Gap, located 15kms west of Port Augusta, signed a power purchase agreement with electricity retailer ERM, with construction likely to begin later this year.
On prices, Concannon says that solar is currently “viable” in the mid $70s/MWh, and believes that within a few years, the combination of solar and storage will be “way under” $100/MWh, making it even cheaper than gas-fired generation. (He recently said the combination of solar and storage was already cheaper than gas power).
That, he says, will bring major changes to the grid. “I have no doubt that it (battery storage) will be the future, but I do think there is a lot of other stuff that existing plant can do.”
South Australia is already nearing 50 per cent wind and solar, but Concannon does not see any major threat to grid stability or reliability.The new plant, he says, will be designed to provide FCAS – even at night, after the sun has gone down. “What a number of people don’t realise is that you can design ancillary services for solar plants to operate at night time.
“We can draw in power from the grid at night, and use the inverter technologies to regulate voltage, and that helps stabilise the system, even when the sun is not shining.”
Unlike battery storage in households, which he describes as mostly “passive” and focused on converting the output of solar panels from DC power to AC power so it can be put into the grid, utility-scale inverter technologies are able to shape voltage and current very quickly and in a very flexible manner. Modern wind farms are also using the same technologies.
“The inverter changes phase between the voltage and current … inverters can pull the current in, and change the phase to what grid wants.”
Concannon, a power engineer, says it is a tricky subject to try and explain, but says a lot of the articles he has read in the media – about wind and solar not being able to provide grid services – are wrong.
“Some of the articles I have read in the press are wrong. It is a tricky area, but what you can get with fast-acting inverter technology – they can definitely assist in managing the grid. They can react on frequency, in particular, much faster than gas and coal-fired plants.”
Reach has a 1,000MW solar pipeline, with the remaining project focused around NSW and Victoria. And the former executive of a major fossil fuel focused company is enjoying the focus on solar
Concannon left the “big corporate” world after a family illness and says he “personally felt that large-scale solar was something I could do on a start-up basis.
“The risk allocation was right. I couldn’t say that I had been totally green for the last 25 years, but I did have experience in bringing complex structured deals, and could figure out how to make solar competitive with wind, and how to do it without grants. We are pleased we have done this with no taxpayers’ money,”
Origin Energy chief Frank Calabria also stressed the importance of big solar in Australia, and particularly South Australia, as a counter-balance to wind energy as the shift to renewables accelerates.
“Energy markets around the world are in transition and Australia is no different,” Calabria said in comments on Tuesday. “We must make sure our energy supply is secure, as Australian homes and businesses rely on it. At the same time, we must make sure energy continues to be affordable as we move Australia towards a cleaner supply.”
India and Australia on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in combating international terrorism and transnational organised crime — an “overarching security understanding” expected to allow links between law enforcement, border and intelligence agencies of both nations to grow to combat security threats
The agreement was signed after bilateral talks between PM Narendra Modi and visiting Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull Monday
This was one of the six agreements, including one pertaining to “civil aviation security”, which were signed in the presence of the two PMs at Hyderabad House
After the talks, PM Modi said, “Our bilateral mechanisms on counter-terrorism and transnational crimes are functioning well. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to conclude an MoU on security cooperation during this visit.
Turnbull said “strategic and security cooperation” was taking place through regular engagements
The joint statement said, “Recognising that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and stability, the two Prime Ministers reiterated their strong commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever. They asserted that the fight against terrorists, terror organisations and networks should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.
To counter radicalisation, the two leaders emphasised the need for urgent measures to counter terrorism and expressed their determination to take concrete steps to step up cooperation among law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations.