Work has officially begun on the 212MW Lincoln Gap wind farm and 10MW battery storage project in South Australia, adding to the host of new renewable energy and storage developments around the industrial centres of Whyalla and Port Augusta.
Independent power producer Nexif Energy officially broke ground on its $450-million Lincoln Gap project near Port Augusta during a visit by premier Jay Weatherill, who has been travelling the state highlighting the huge investments occurring in renewable energy.
This week he officially opened a 6MW solar farm near Whyalla, and the opening of an office in Port Augusta for SolarReserve, the US firm which is to build a 150MW solar tower and molten salt storage facility in Australia, the world’s largest.
Another 220MW solar farm, Bungala, also near Port Augusta, is also under construction, as is a 100MW solar project at Tailem Bend, while SIMEC ZEN has plans for 1GW of solar and storage to help power the Whyalla steelworks and a possible new electric vehicle manufacturing plant near Adelaide.
All these projects are being added to a state which already sources half of its demand from wind and solar, and increasing amounts of storage, including the Tesla big battery next to the Hornsdale wind farm – also the world’s biggest of its kind.
Lincoln Gap plans to add 10MW of battery storage initially, but could significantly lift that amount of storage depending on the outcome of proposed rule changes that could encourage more storage into the energy grid.
“We’re delighted to be bringing this long-planned project to fruition,” said Matthew Bartley, the founder & Co-CEO of Nexif Energy.
“Nexif Energy is committed to building something which will make a significant contribution to the renewable energy target while helping grid stability and reliability in South Australia.”
The Lincoln Gap Wind Farm will include up to 59 Senvion wind turbines, built on farmland on a raised plateau next to the Eyre Highway. It is expected to be commissioned in late 2018.
The average construction workforce will be 110 – 130 people, with more than 50 per cent hired from South Australia.
Weatherill said South Australia is now world-renowned for its leadership in renewable energy and “it’s great companies like Nexif Energy are choosing to invest in our great state.
“This is also an exciting development for Port Augusta, which is moving beyond its past as a coal town to a clean renewable energy future.
Nexif Energy is also at an advanced stage of development of its 90MW wind farm in the Waterloo Ranges, approximately 15km west of Glen Innes in the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales.
It will add to the suite of wind and solar projects in the electorate of deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, one of the most trenchant critics of schemes supporting such investments.
Meanwhile, the Kiata wind farm in Victoria was also formally opened on Wednesday by state energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.