Lyon Group says it strikes solar and storage deal with China Huadian | RenewEconomy

Lyon Group says it strikes solar and storage deal with China Huadian

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Lyon Group says it strikes a deal with leading Chinese group as it seeks to bring its solar and storage proposals to market.

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Australian solar and storage hopeful Lyon Group says it has inked a new deal with major Chinese power generation company, China Huadian Corporation, in the latest attempted reboot of the company’s ambitious plans to build “dispatchable solar peaker” projects in Australia and abroad.

Lyon Group said on Monday that it had signed an agreement with China Huadian to co-develop and invest in power generation with integrated battery energy storage systems (BESS) in China, Australia and other Asian markets.

It said the agreement brought together previously announced “alliance” with Japan’s Jera to co-develop Lyon’s renewables plans – including a solar and storage project near Cooktown in north Queensland, and other projects in Victoria (Nowingi) and South Australia (Riverland).

In a statement, Lyon chair David Green suggested China Huadian was just one of a number of major global utilities seeking to work with and invest alongside Lyon, due to its attractive project design philosophy.

Lyon’s approach to renewable energy and storage, he said, “leads to flexible, dispatchable power stations that supply valuable clean energy, enhance grid stability, and address connection/curtailment risks.

“Lyon’s integration of long-duration battery storage with power generation creates flexible, stable power stations that deliver predictable, dispatchable clean power. This reduces investment risk.”

The statement makes no mention of any progress or otherwise on the administration of three of the company’s units – including Lyon Infrastructure Investments – which entered into voluntarily administration in May this year, after legal troubles with previous investors.

As reported here, Lyon has been involved in two major legal spats – one with US solar module manufacturer and solar farm developer First Solar, and the second with investor and US hedge fund manager Magnetar.

Magnetar owns 25 per cent of Lyon Solar, one of the units put into administration, buying the shareholding two years ago as part of a deal to help finance Lyon’s plans to build at least 1GW of large scale solar and battery storage in South Australia and Victoria.

Lyon has said the dispute was over failed efforts to negotiate the exit of Magnetar because of a “lack of alignment” on business strategies.

Lyon had also been sued in late 2017 by First Solar, that also sought the winding up of a Lyon Group unit. That dispute has since moved to confidential arbitration.

In a market update published late last week, however, Lyon said that creditors resolved that the entities should execute Deeds of Company Arrangement (DOCAs) proposed by the directors, and that the directors would now complete the sale of the Cape York, Riverland and Nowingi integrated solar and battery storage projects.

In a separate statement to RenewEconomy, a Lyon spokesperson confirmed that the company’s creditors had accepted Lyon’s proposal, which would see them all being paid in full.

The company also confirmed that China Huadian’s commitment to co-develop, purchase, finance and construct those same three “tranche 1” projects, with China Huadian acting as lead EPC contractor via subsidiary China Huadian Engineering.

Lyon said the China Huadian agreement would also focus on specific BESS retrofit opportunities in China and “two other Asian countries,” based on detailed plant specific assessments.

The company spokesperson said Lyon was currently formalising the specific arrangements around the initial retrofit projects it would undertake with China Huadian at existing China Huadian plant, and could not say which plants at this point. “It will include at least one project in China as well as other Asian countries,” the person said.

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