Infigen Energy is hoping to commence early operations at Australia’s largest combined wind and solar projects, near the South Australian town of Port Augusta, before the end of this year.
The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park will see around 100 MW of solar generation paired with 210MW of wind capacity, although its combined output will be restricted to a maximum of 270MW.
The Essential Services Commission of South Australia has published a formal application from Infigen Energy for a generation licence for the Port Augusta hybrid project, which will be located around 8 kilometres south east of Port Augusta.
The project is will be, for a time at least, Australia’s largest combined wind and solar facility, and will allow Infigen, now owned by Spain’s Iberdrola, to coordinate the supply of power from the respective wind and solar farms through shared infrastructure.
The application for a generator licence is a key step in the development of the hybrid project that will enable Infigen Energy to sell power it produces into the national electricity market.
Infigen Energy took over the development of the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park from Spanish firm Iberdrola – after Iberdrola acquired Infigen Energy last year. Iberdrola had already bought into the $500 million project which had been initially brought to the market by DP Energy.
Infigen already operates a portfolio of 278.5MW of wind farms in South Australia, across three stages of the Lake Bonney wind farm development, near Millicent in South Australia, and the neighbouring big battery.
In its application to the Essential Services Commission, Infigen Energy indicates that it is aiming to begin the energisation process for the project by mid-September, ahead a planned commencement of full commercial operations by mid-April 2022.
Port Augusta has been earmarked for a number of major renewable energy projects to bring new investment and employment in the energy sector to the region, including the Bungama solar farms, the Lincoln Gap wind farm and battery, and the proposed Cultana solar farm and Playford big battery.
The region was previously host to two of South Australia’s largest coal-fired generators, the 240MW Playford B and the 520MW Northern power stations, both of which have now since closed.
Port Augusta was also set to host a large scale solar thermal facility, but the project has since been cancelled despite substantial offers of financial support from both the state and federal governments, and a replacement project is being put together by the local storage company 1414.