Neoen starts work on next Tesla big battery project in Victoria

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Neoen begins work on new Tesla big battery and 194MW wind farm that will provide 100% renewables to biggest glass-house in Australia.

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French renewable energy developer Neoen, the owner and operator of the Tesla big battery in South Australia, has begun work on the Bulgana green power hub in Victoria, again combining a major wind farm with battery storage.

The $350 million project will include a 194MW wind farm and a 20MW/34MWh battery storage facility using Tesla lithium-ion Powerpacks, and is being described as the first agribusiness partnership of its kind in the world .

The facility will provide 100 per cent renewables to what will be the largest greenhouse in Australia, to be built by Nectar Farms.

The greenhouse was going to be built in Asia because of high energy prices in Australia, but Nectar Farms changed its mind after being shown how electrifying the heating process, and using renewables and storage, could slash costs.

The $565 million project – for both the renewable energy hub and the greenhouse/glasshouse – would not have been built in Australia otherwise.

Nectar Farms will take around 15 per cent of the output from the Bulgana green hub, while the rest is put into the main grid. The Victoria government has signed a 15 year power purchase agreement for part of that output.

The project is located on the land of an old gold mine in Stawell in regional Victoria, and is being funded by equity from Neoen, as well as long term debt from KfW IPEX-Bank, French financial services group Societe Generale and Korean government-owned financial institution Korea Development Bank (KDB)

Franck Woitiez, the head of Neoen Australia, said the successful financial close is yet another significant milestone for the company, which is also about to complete three solar farms totaling 115MW in western NSW.

“We are excited to finally break ground on the Bulgana Green Power Hub and look forward to delivering affordable and sustainable energy to the State of Victoria,” he said in a statement.

“Our teams have worked tirelessly to reach financial close for the project, which will not only create a substantial number of jobs but also stimulate healthy economic activity in the local region, specifically in Western Victoria and Stawell.”

Stephen Sasse, the head of Nectar Farms, said the new $215 million glasshouse facility is strategically located close to the major distribution centres and wholesale markets.

“More importantly, the energy solution we have built with Neoen is a world-first for the horticulture industry, and we hope to see it replicated elsewhere in Australia.”

The project is Neoen’s biggest single-stage project in Australia – the 315MW Hornsdale wind farm was built in three stages, and the Tesla big battery, known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, added later.

The wind farm will feature turbines from Siemens-Gamesa, with full construction to begin in April and the wind farm targeted for delivery in August 2019.

The 30-hectare Nectar Farms greenhouse should be completed around the same time.

The wind farm will create 120 jobs in construction and 5 jobs once the facility is operational. The glasshouse will create around 300 jobs during construction and 270 full time direct and 151 indirect ongoing jobs for the life of the asset.

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

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10 Comments
  1. Joe 9 months ago

    “Jobs and Growth”, “Agile and Innovative” in action…andof course those famous words from the Two Tonguer Turnbull. And its happening on the back of RE! Any words of wisdom from Two Tonguer or his hand puppet, the Joshie?

    • John Saint-Smith 9 months ago

      Sure! We coulda dun it cheaper and dirtier with coal – and the CO2 would be good for the plants!

      • stucrmnx120fshwf 7 months ago

        Coal, newly constructed, is more expensive than renewable energy, plus storage, renewable energy is becoming so cheap. That it is cheaper than the maintenance over time, of coal fired powerplants, plus the coal input and it’s transportation. Solar will be half of today’s price per kWh, in 2023, a quarter of today’s price in 2028.

        Coal contains too much soot, to be safe for agriculture, however, natural gas, could supply a small amount of the power. Whilst the waste CO2, could be used for carbon dioxide enhancement, without dangerous soot, going into the food supply. Waste product O2, oxygen, the kind of waste, we’d all like to see.

  2. Tim Forcey 9 months ago

    HEAT PUMPS HARVEST THE SUN’S RENEWABLE HEAT FROM THE AIR OR FROM THE GROUND

    “Electrolyzing the heating process”? I think you mean heat pumps. No need to invent new terms. For some people the landscape is already confusing enough!

    Here is a link to my recent article on Renewable Heat. http://renew.org.au/current-issue/beyond-solar-pv

    • Mick 9 months ago

      Are they using heat pumps? (…probably are I guess, but I haven’t seen it anywhere).

      I personally think *electrifying heating* is more clear and generally more accurate than either “electrolysing the heating process” or “heat pumps”. Heat pumps are just one method of electrifying heating afterall… Not to mention that “heat pumps” is far from being a confusing term itself.

      • Tim Forcey 9 months ago

        Yes heat pumps use a bit of electricity – like most devices! My old gas heater even used electricity (for the air blower and controls), but that didn’t mean that my gas heater was a way of “electrifying heating”. With heat pumps, the key thing (i think) is that most of the heat you get with a heat pump is free renewable heat, another form of the sun’s energy, that can be extracted from the air (air source heat pump) or from the ground (ground source heat pump). The Aus Gov knows this, thus you can receive renewable energy credits when you purchase a heat pump that is used to heat water… I bang on about this quite a lot, I know… One of my points is that solar PV panels on the roof are not the only way a home or business can tap into renewable energy… For Australia, heat pumps are an even more significant way (than rooftop solar PV) in fact, as I published back in 2015. https://reneweconomy.com.au/the-cheapest-way-to-heat-your-home-with-renewable-energy-just-flick-a-switch-92274/

      • Tim Forcey 9 months ago

        Nectar Farms using heat pumps mentioned in this article. “Now, he says, his business doesn’t need gas at all. Heat can come from heat pumps…” https://reneweconomy.com.au/nectar-farms-on-100-renewables-why-would-you-do-it-any-other-way-79279/

      • Tim Forcey 9 months ago

        If you say that heat pumps are simply “electifying heating”, then you open yourself up to people saying that all the heat coming from a heat pump comes from a brown coal power plant somewhere. Whereas in reality, as I describe more fully below, most of the heat coming out of a heat pump is sourced from free renewable heat (air source or ground source) and never took the form of electricity at any stage… Make sense?

      • RobertO 9 months ago

        Hi Mick, Heat Pumps are as common as mud. Large numbers of Australians call them “Air Conditioners” or “Air Conditioning”!
        In simple terms you use one unit of electricity (Kw hr or more ) to transfer (pump) heat from one area to another at a rate of about 5 units of electricity (equlivant heat). So a 5 Kw heat pump can move 25 Kw of heat (operative word is “move” the heat).

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