Renewables projects ramp up Down Under

Source: press release, 9 October 2020

Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm (photo: Neoen)

Construction work has begun on two major renewable energy projects in South Australia.

DP Energy and Spanish energy company Iberdrola are spending AUD 500 million on a hybrid wind and solar plant at Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park in South Australia, while Singapore-based Nexif Energy has already begun the AUD 170 million stage two expansion of its Lincoln Gap Wind Farm, also near the outback town of Port Augusta.

The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park project will consist of 210 MW of wind generation from 50 turbines and 110 MW of solar PV generation from 245,000 solar panels.

The Lincoln Gap Wind Farm will ultimately consist of 464 MW of wind turbines. The 126 MW stage one of the project, featuring 35 turbines, achieved full commercial operation in May while the 86 MW second stage will include 24 turbines. The project also includes a 10 MW grid-scale battery storage.

A construction timeline for a further 252 MW is still being developed.

South Australia leads Australia in the uptake of wind energy and roof-top solar with renewable sources accounting for more than 70% of the electricity generated in the state.

South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, turned the sod on the two projects near Port Augusta worth a combined AUD 670 million. “During the construction phase of the DP Energy and Iberdrola project, there will be 200 full-time construction jobs and 20 full-time ongoing jobs once the project is complete,” Marshall says.

“Nexif’s expansion will generate 110 jobs during the construction phase and 10 ongoing jobs once operational. These projects provide a critical boost to South Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery, and are encouraged by the SA-NSW interconnector which provides them with new export opportunities.”

South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan says the mix of wind and solar at DP and Iberdrola’s project would showcase a new generation of renewables designed to provide predictable power more uniformly across the day.

“The project’s combined solar and wind generation output is expected to closely match South Australia’s electricity demand profile which will help place downwards pressure on electricity prices while also assisting with the security and reliability of the grid,” he says.

Meanwhile, construction of the 280 MW Cultana Solar at nearby Whyalla is expected to begin in the coming months.

The project on a 1,100 hectar site north of Whyalla on Eyre Peninsula is the first large scale project in billionaire industrialist Sanjeev Gupta’s plan to generate one gigawatt of dispatchable renewable energy in South Australia.

The state is also home to the world’s largest lithium-ion battery (100 MW/129 MWh), which was established in late 2017 at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm in the state’s Mid-North.

By Andrew Spence