Two new massive solar and battery storage projects have been proposed for South Australia, continuing the momentum in new investment that will likely see the state produce the equivalent of 100 per cent of its electricity needs through wind and solar as early s 2025.
One of the new projects – a $1.2 billion proposal for 500MW of solar PV to be accompanied by 250MW/1000MWh of battery storage – has broken cover in the state’s planning approval process.
The application was filed by consultants Energy Projects Solar Pty Ltd, and is proposed for a site just east of Robertstown, about 115 kms north east of Adelaide.
The same company is also proposing a 280MW solar farm and battery storage facility near Port Pirie, known as the Bungama solar project.
It says the Robertstown Solar project – subject to financing – is likely to be built over four stages, and the battery storage facility will also be built in stages. Synchronous condensers may also be installed if required by the grid and market operator.
The Robertstown Solar project is a rival to another proposal in the Robertstown area known as the Solar River project, which is for 200MW solar PV and 120MWh of battery storage, and which could add another 200MW of solar and 150MWh of battery storage in a second stage.
The two projects join another dozen or so solar and storage proposals in the state that are in various stages of construction and proposal.
These include the Bungala solar project, which has complete the first 120MW stage and is nearly finished the second 120MW stage, the 110MW Tailem Bend solar project still not completed, and the 280MW Cultana solar project proposed by Whyalla Steel owner Sanjeev Gupta and Simc Zen Energy.
South Australia has already reached more than 50 per cent share of wind and solar in its grid, mostly through large scale wind (44 per cent) and rooftop solar (7-8 per cent).
That share is growing as more projects come on line. Gupta himself proposes some 1GW of solar and storage in the state to help power Whyalla and other big energy users, and AEMO has predicted enough wind and solar could be built by 2026/27 to generate more than is consumed in the state.
AEMO, and local network operator ElectraNet, want to build a new connector to NSW to facilitate the flow of electricity to and from South Australia and other states.
Both the Robertstown and then Solar River projects appear to have been proposed with that in mind. The link favoured by AEMO and ElectraNet will begin near the Robertstown sub-station and go through to Wagga Wagga. Numerous other projects are being proposed for the other end of the line in NSW, and in between.
In South Australia, apart from the significant amounts of battery storage proposed, about five different sites are being considered for pumped hydro facilities, and SolarReserve is still working on its solar tower and molten salt storage proposal near Port Augusta.
The Robertstown solar project is proposed for cropping and grazing land. Calls made to the project developers and consultants for further information were not returned. Robertstown envisaged completion of its project within 6 years of approval, while Solar River is looking to begin construction this year and finish in two years.