French renewable energy and storage developer Neoen has begun work on the first 412MW stage of what will likely be the country’s biggest wind, solar and battery storage project.
The company announced on Monday that it had commenced “early works” on the Goyder South wind farm, the first stage of a massive project near Burra that could grow to 1200MW of wind, 600MW of solar, and 900MW and possibly 1,800MWh of battery storage.
The 412MW first stage will – at least for a while – be the biggest wind farm in the state and another important element in propelling South Australia towards the state government’s target of reaching net 100 per cent renewables by 2030; a world leading landmark it is likely to reach well before then.
Neoen, which already owns and operates the 315MW Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia (pictured above) and the neighbouring Hornsdale Power Reserve, aka the original Tesla big battery, has already contracted 100MW of the capacity of Goyder South to the ACT government, and is seeking other off-take deals.
Louis de Sambucy, the head of Neoen in Australia, described the Goyder South renewable zone as the company’s “most competitive giga-project” and confirmed that solar and battery storage would be added in the future to deliver “firm 24/7” renewable energy.
“We would like to thank the South Australian and ACT governments for their continued support and renewed trust,” he said. “With this world class project, we are privileged to be supporting South Australia’s ambition to be a renewable energy exporter and contributing to the ACT’s target of net zero emissions by 2045.”
The first stage of Goyder South will be complete by 2024 and will connect to the grid near the Robertstown substation, where the proposed new transmission link to NSW, known as Project EnergyConnect, should be complete by early 2025, paving the way for the expansion of the Goyder South renewable zone.
As part of its contract with the ACT, Neoen agreed to build a big battery in the Canberra region and has already begun construction of a 100MW/200MWh BESS, which will be bigger than planned because of the rapidly expanding market opportunities for storage.
The battery planned for Goyder South promises to be even bigger, with 900MW and two hours of storage, although the duration of that storage could change as different market opportunities emerge.
The extent to which Goyder South will be built out to its full envisaged capacity will depend on the success of Project EnergyConnect and the delivery of some of the major green hydrogen projects being discussed.
“This project is possible because of the Project EnergyConnect interconnector with New South Wales, a transformational project that will secure the South Australian grid and allow us to export our abundant renewable energy,” South Australia minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said in a statement.
“The Goyder South Project highlights South Australia’s world class renewable energy capacity, helping to deliver cheaper, cleaner electricity and hundreds of jobs and billions of dollars in investment in the state.”
South Australia has averaged more than 62 per cent wind and solar power over the last 12 months (as a percentage of local demand), but this has jumped to more than 73 per cent in the past month after constraints on output were relieved following the commissioning of four synchronous condensers.
These syncons – big spinning machines that do not burn fuel – provide system strength to the local grid and allow the market operator to maintain grid security with only a very small amount of gas generation (sometimes less than 5 per cent) in support.
Shane Rattenbury, the ACT minister for climate change and sustainability, said the construction of the Goyder South first stage would ensure the ACT continued to deliver 100 per cent renewables in future years, even with the electrification of transport and buildings.
“This will allow us to accommodate a growing population, support renewable energy initiatives such as electric vehicles and transition our economy off fossil gas,” he said.
Neoen is also building the Western Downs solar farm in Queensland, which at 400MW will be the biggest in Australia, and recently completed the biggest battery in the country, the 300MW/450MWh Victorian big battery near Geelong in Victoria.
The Goyder South first stage project will feature 75 GE 5.5-159 Cypress turbines, with major works to begin in the second quarter this year, and will create over 400 construction jobs and 12 full time permanent positions.