Big solar boom kicks off in SA with completion of 6MW Whyalla project

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South Australia’s first completed utility-scale PV project officially opens next week, marking the start of a big solar construction boom in the state.

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Source: SSE Australia

South Australia’s is set to make its big solar debut this month, when the state’s first utility-scale project to be completed – a 6MW solar farm in the rapidly greening steel city of Whyalla – will be officially “switched on.”

The Whyalla Solar Farm – which will be formally opened by SA Premier Jay Weatherill on January 23 at 3pm – is stage one of what will ultimately be an 18MW battery-ready PV project, developed by SSE Australia in the Whyalla industrial zone.

The opening marks one small step in what is set to be a massive year for large-scale solar in the state, which, as Giles Parkinson noted here, has led the world on the integration of wind and PV into the grid, with the notable exception of large-scale solar farms – it’s all been made up of wind farms and rooftop solar to date.

All that is set to change however, starting next week. Following on from the Whyalla Solar Farm will be a raft of large-scale solar projects, including a 4.9MW project in Peterborough, north of Adelaide; and the first 220MW of the 300MW Bungala solar farm, which is currently being built by Spanish company, Elecnor, near Port Augusta.

In the development pipeline are a 140MW solar farm north of Whyalla that has been approved for construction by Indian energy giant Adani Group; the 100MW Equis-Snowy Hydro joint venture,  Tailem Bend, about 100km south-east of Adelaide; the solar farm being built to power Whyalla steel; and DP Energy’s wind-solar hybrid hub, among others.

“While South Australia has led the country in policy and support for renewable energy, this is the first utility scale solar project to commence construction and be commissioned,” said SSE Australia major projects director Colin Gillam in comments this week.

“We are delighted to have the Premier back again to see us deliver on our promise to be part of the solution to South Australia’s energy future.”

SSE’s project is located will combine 17,280 solar panels and 180 SSE solar inverters, and will export power direct to the South Australian electricity network.

SSE said it expects the plant to generate 10GWh, enough to power 1,400 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 7,500 tonnes per annum.  Space on site has been allocated for a battery expansion in the future.

“We now look forward to continuing construction of the next projects in Whyalla and SA,” added Gillam. “By the end of 2018 we plan to complete another four similar projects in the region.”

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26 Comments
  1. Patrick Comerford 2 years ago

    What further motivation do South Australians need in ensuring Premier Jay and his Labor government get re elected at the upcoming state election. They can choose progressive politics moving society to a sustainable future or do a Trump and blow it all up. The decision rests with them. I’m confident they won’t blow it.

    • john 2 years ago

      With the prevailing press being Murdoch continuing to publish disinformation all the time, I would expect that Jay yes has a lot of head wind to beat trough to get reelected.

    • Rod 2 years ago

      I wish I shared your confidence.

      • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

        What effect do you think will the Xenophon factor have? Election Dude over at the ABC thinks he could be premier.

        • Rod 2 years ago

          I don’t trust Mudrake’s newspolls but the one I saw had a three way split. I’m not sure Xenophon has enough candidates to win outright but I can see him being kingmaker. Given he usually voted with the COALition Federally, probably a coalition with the State Libs, which would not be good for renewables. Marshall has said he will sell the TM2500s and Xenophon doesn’t like wind turbines (this week).

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Could set the course for a slanging match turf war between the Xenophons and the Libs. Those two parties trash the snot out of each other and then Labor cruises home Bradbury style? Not the full Bradbury though, Weatherill has quite a few runs on the board – Tesla Battery, Port Augusta CST plant, TM2500 backup units, just to name a few.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Unfortunately a lot of voters don’t appreciate the stuff he is doing in energy will benefit them in the near to mid future. Fingers crossed he does a Bradbury.

          • mick 2 years ago

            i think the premier was smart to stay out of the property council debate(spell as stitchup) he can accurately paint sub specie libs cannibalising each other

  2. john 2 years ago

    Every day yet another RE story.
    With out a doubt no company is going to invest in a FF Generator.
    Meanwhile the Murdoch press will continue to publish total rubbish about the terrible costs of this energy.

    • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

      It could be “last fart of the ferret” stuff John!

      In other words, the desperate gyrations of a political king-maker whose peak irrelevance will soon be apparent.

      • john 2 years ago

        It would seem so Barri

  3. trackdaze 2 years ago

    The breeze across the SA – VIc interconnector just got a bit more westerly.

  4. Rod 2 years ago

    It would be really handy if it were plugged in for the next two days.
    41C forecast and if the wind don’t blow our emergency generators might get their first call up for the Summer.

    • Brian Tehan 2 years ago

      Luckily SA has a large amount of rooftop solar and enough gas generation to supply most of the states demand – and the AEMO has twisted their arms to turn them on when required. I doubt very much whether diesel will be required no matter how hot it gets. Looks like a reasonable amount of wind too. No need to worry – unlike Victoria and NSW where the coal generators keep breaking down in the heat.

      • Paul McArdle 2 years ago

        Brian, when you say “looks like a reasonable amount of wind too”, can you tell me what data you are looking at.

        The forecasts we can see from AEMO indicate that they have been revising their forecast contribution from wind tomorrow (Thu 17th) at the time of peak demand in SA down to < 150MW as noted here:
        http://www.wattclarity.com.au/2018/01/tight-supplydemand-balance-forecast-for-sa-vic-and-tas-on-thursday-and-friday/

        Image attached here (I hope). https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8789813bb24733a342820cc9c2d23b69f054f4aeb675057240266a1d6f0bfb36.png

      • Rod 2 years ago

        Yes, but that mainly North facing rooftop PV has now pushed our evening peak out to 6:30pm ish as that is when the PV drops off. SA has about 3300MW total of fossil fueled generation. From memory, last Year’s maximum demand was around the 3200MW mark. If Victoria has none to spare and the wind is low I do get a bit concerned.
        SA has some very expensive generators when you start scraping the bottom of the barrel. When you start seeing plumes coming from Dry Creek, you know things are getting close.

        • Michael Murray 2 years ago

          Just look for the dark purple on here.

          http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-13/energy-regulator-trigger-to-shut-industry-prevent-blackouts/9255434

          AEMO also has some demand management in place. I mean the demand management for people who have agreed in advance before you get to the actual load shedding by suburb.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Is that the correct link Michael? Takes me to the ABC demand management story.
            Agreed, demand management will kick in before load shedding and maybe before the highest cost generators.

          • Michael Murray 2 years ago

            Ah no sorry Rod I meant the NEM-watch page.

            https://reneweconomy.com.au/nem-watch/

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Ah yes, know it well. I see liquid fuel occasionally but I assume they are only testing.

          • Michael Murray 2 years ago

            Running at 90 MW at the moment.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Thanks saw that. What I’m not sure of if they are the TM2500s or other fuel oil plant.
            Hallett has a 52MW non conformance ATM. That can run on diesel when gas is unavailable.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Speaking of demand management. AEMO have a LOR2 for Vic for Friday but must be hearing crickets, so this happened:
            AEMO Intervention Event, Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT)- VIC Region- Friday , 19 January 2018
            Refer to AEMO Electricity Market Notice no 60795
            AEMO
            has entered into a reserve contract and may implement a AEMO
            Intervention Event by dispatching that reserve contract to maintain the
            power system in a reliable operating state during the following period
            of time;
            1430 hrs to 1830 hrs. 19/01/2018
            AEMO will issue a further advice if the reserve contract is activated.

            Manager NEM Real Time Operations

      • Michael Murray 2 years ago

        If you look at the NEW watch widget during really hot weather in SA, like yesterday, the wind often drops away to nothing. So even with lots of gas running we are pulling power from the east coast. Yesterday we were pulling the maximum 600 odd MW the interconnectors could supply. So lots of reason to worry if the east has generation problems. Of course we have the diesel generators for maybe 200 MW and AEMO has plans in place to ask various groups to turn of demand.

        This is quite different to the not so hot weather when the wind is blowing and we export to the east coast.

        This analysis is based on random looks at NEM-watch over summer at different times of the day. I’ve not look at the actual data.

  5. Paul McArdle 2 years ago

    Alas we’ve not seen a DUID or data for this (admittedly small) station, so it might not be able to be visible on the upgraded NEMwatch Supply & Demand Widget.

    • Kevfromspace 2 years ago

      Paul that’s awful news!!

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