02/08/2016 - 12:31

Rambal in solar move

02/08/2016 - 12:31

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Fertiliser and property magnate Vikas Rambal is making a move into renewable energy, buying a 50 per cent stake in Enigin WA, which will build the state's largest built environment solar panel installation at his Northam Boulevard shopping centre.

Rambal in solar move
Perdaman chairman Vikas Rambal (left) and managing director Dominic Da Cruz (photo: Donna Cole).

Fertiliser and property magnate Vikas Rambal is making a move into renewable energy, buying a 50 per cent stake in Enigin WA, which will build the state's largest built environment solar panel installation at his Northam Boulevard shopping centre.

Energy consultants Enigin, which had originally been formed to distribute energy analysing systems, will be renamed as Perdaman Advanced Energy and led by Enigin founder and managing director Dominic Da Cruz.

Perdaman is echoing the name of Mr Rambal’s Perdaman Industries group, which had planned to build a urea fertiliser plant in Collie.

Mr Rambal had previously been involved in the Burrup fertiliser plant project, now owned by Yara, with Pankaj Oswal.

The solar installation at Northam will be one of a series Perdaman is planning, with future works to include other shopping centres and aged care facilities.

It will include rooftop solar panels across the facility’s existing bitumen carpark, and overall capacity will be 665 kilowatts.

Work will start in September.

The shopping centre was bought by Perdaman in 2014 for $14 million.

Mr Rambal, who will chair the newly renamed entity, became involved in the company to ensure there was action in the renewable space.

He said he was pleased that the approvals process had been undertaken at a rapid pace, and was grateful for the input of Western Power.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan said there had been dramatic growth in household solar installations since 2008, from close to zero to 500 megawatts.

He said the next big area of growth would be in the commercial space.

It was unlikely Western Australia would manufacture the components used in these microgrid installations, but would develop a comparative advantage in the expertise putting them together.

That was something that could be exported overseas, with Mr Rambal saying he planned to export the company’s expertise to Asia.

Western Power

Asked about the impact of the continued trend towards disruptive technology in the energy sector on network manager Western Power, Dr Nahan said it would need to be fleet of foot.

“In one sense, it erodes Western Power’s need at the edges,” he said

“In the other it enhances it because people are buying and selling (electricity).

“So the jury is out.

“It will change the way Western Power is used.

“It might enhance it some ways, erode it in others.

Western Power needs to be much more flexible in the future about its tariffs, about its structure, about its responsiveness.

“They’re doing a good job, but it will change fundamentally, Western Power.”

Dr Nahan said the Perdaman launch this morning was the third recent event he'd been to with a focus on local energy innovations, with others including a microgrid in White Gum Valley.

Urea

Mr Rambal said he still wanted to pursue the multi-billion dollar Collie urea project.

That was stopped because the company had been unable to negotiate usage of coal for feedstock, partly because of pricing issues.

"We're talking to the government to see if we can resolve the coal issue," he said.

"The moment the coal issue is resolved, we'll be up and running in one year's time."

 

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