The South Australia based, Sanjeev Gupta-owned Simec Energy has been granted a licence to retail in Victoria, extending its reach across all of the states of the National Electricity Market to offer its “baseload renewable energy” product to businesses and large energy users.
Simec – formerly Simec Zen Energy – said on Wednesday that it has been granted a Victorian retail electricity licence by the state’s Essential Services Commission, allowing it to deliver competitive energy solutions for Victorians and to “face up” to the challenges of the low-carbon economy.
It’s a significant win for the company that has grown from a small solar storage-focused outfit called Zen Energy in Adelaide, to a major force in the generation and supply of low-cost renewable energy for major energy users, majority-owned by the billionaire Gupta’s GFG Alliance.
And it’s all the more significant considering the newly re-elected state Labor government in Victoria has committed to 50 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030.
Already in South Australia, the then Simec Zen was a major part of the former Labor government’s renewable energy plans, through a contract with the company to supply renewable energy to fill the gap until the Aurora 150MW solar tower and molten salt storage project is built.
That contract in turn has helped to underpin SIMEC Zen Energy’s plans to build 1 gigawatt of solar, storage and demand management to power the Whyalla Steelworks, which is switching to renewables and expects to cut its costs by 40 per cent in doing so.
Simec is also putting part of those plans into the federal government’s proposed tender for “24/7” power, arguing that disaptachable power can be delivered more cheaply, cleanly and reliably through solar and storage than through coal.
“Simec Energy Australia is now growing its presence in the Victorian electricity market in an assertive move designed to shake up the market and deliver intelligent solutions for large Victorian energy users,” a company statement said on Wednesday.
“As a member of the GFG Alliance, Simec Energy Australia is an aspirant generator, retailer, renewable energy project developer and vertically integrated as an energy provider to GFG’s Liberty Steel and other business units that are amongst the largest consumers of energy across Australia,” the statement said.
“This extensive coverage coupled with our market knowledge and experience, means the company understands all sides of the energy market like few others.”
Gupta, who is chairman of Simec Energy, added that the high cost of electricity in Australia was “debilitating” for industry, “and alarming for a country with some of the best sources of renewable energy in the world.
“We clearly see a need for industrial groups and energy generators to work together,” Gupta said. “With our partners, we can deliver a step change in the power industry, bringing innovative solutions and new projects to dramatically reduce the cost of dispatchable power.”