The former coal town of Port Augusta continues its transformation into a major renewable energy hub with the “powering up” of the 212MW Lincoln Gap wind farm, one of the biggest new developments in a state that already sources more than 50 per cent of its demand from wind and solar.
Lincoln Gap, about 12kms from Port Augusta, joins the 220MW Bungala solar farm, as two major clean energy replacements for the two coal fired generators – Northern and Playford – that dominated the city’s economy, and its environment – for decades.
The second stage of the Bungala facility is nearly finished, and more clean energy projects are planned for the town and its surrounding areas, including the 160MW Aurora solar tower and molten salt storage project, DP Energy’s huge wind and solar and storage project, and Sanjeev Gupta’s big battery associated with the “greening” of the Whyalla steelworks.
Singapore-based Nexif Energy says the successful “energisation” of the Lincoln Gap project’s major sub-station and associated network infrastructure is a major landmark and will enable the project to begin commissioning the first of the wind farm’s 59 Senvion turbines by August.
A 10MW/10MWh battery – provided by Fluence, which also built the Ballarat battery storage installation in Victoria and is signed up for a new solar and battery project in north Queensland, will be installed by the end of May, when it will begin the commissioning process.
Nexif has said it could double or triple the size of the battery project and is believed to be still considering its options. That will likely depend on the development of markets to recognise the capabilities of this and other batteries.
The remainder of the wind farm will be complete by the middle of the year.
Lincoln Gap has signed a long-term off take agreement with Snowy Hydro and will deliver large scale generation certificates to ERM Power, but will sell a significant portion into the open market. The project employs 110-140 people during construction, with more than half sourced from the local region.
The project is owned by Nexif Energy and funded by the Denham Capital and the Clean Energy Finance Corp.