Neoen unveils massive wind, solar battery project in South Australia

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Neoen unveils massive wind, solar and battery project, taking total pipeline in South Australia to more than $20bn, and keeping state on track for Liberal government’s “net 100%” renewables target.

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Neoen Australia has unveiled a massive new wind, solar and battery project for South Australia, adding to its suite of renewable and storage projects in the country, and taking the total pipeline of renewable and storage projects in the state to more than $20 billion.

The Goyder South project is earmarked for Burra, in the state’s mid north, and will comprise up to 1200MW of wind, 600MW of solar, and up to 900MW of battery storage (the number of hours of storage is yet to be determined).

The first stage, comprising about one third of the capacity, and totalling around $1 billion, may begin construction this year, while the second and third stages will depend on the timing of the proposed new inter-connector between Robertsown in South Australia and Wagga Wagga in NSW.

Even the first stage will be the biggest of its type in the country, and while the overall project would easily be the biggest in the state, its country ranking will depend on the fate of other projects also on the drawing board, such as 4GW Walcha project in NSW.

There are even bigger projects planned for Australia’s north, such as the 15GW Asia Renewable Energy Hub in West Australia’s Pilbara region, and the 10GW solar farm for the Northern Territory, although these are “off-grid” and may not be completed for some years.

The final size of Goyder South will also likely depend on the fate of other projects in the same region. These include its own Crystal Brook wind, solar, battery and hydrogen hub, also proposed for the mid north, as well as four different solar and battery projects.

Elsewhere in the state, Sanjeev Gupta also has a 280MW solar farm, a 100MW battery and a proposed pumped hydro facility in and around Whyalla, while at least three other pumped hydro projects are competing for funds from ARENA and/or the federal government’s Underwriting New Generation Investment program, while Nexif is also looking at doubling the capacity of the Lincoln Gap wind farm near Port Augusta.

There are numerous other projects also in the state, which now seems sure of meeting the state Liberal government’s target of “net 100 per cent renewables” well before the advertised date of 2030, particularly if the new inter-connector goes ahead.

State energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the Goyder South project highlighted the importance of the new interconnector, which he said would provide a “freeway for renewable energy” from South Australia to the eastern states and turn South Australia into an energy powerhouse.

“Neoen’s plan for the enormous Goyden South project is a resounding endorsement of the interconnector and the Marshall Government’s policies for cheaper, more reliable and sustainable power,” van Holst Pellekaan said in a statement.

“Four more large solar farms worth billions of dollars are also planned along the interconnector route which runs from Robertstown in SA’s Mid North and Wagga Wagga in NSW.

“The SA-NSW will help deliver our aspiration of net-100% renewables in the 2030’s, lower power prices and delivering a higher growth future for all South Australians.”

Van Holst Pellekaan said modelling shows that small and medium businesses with significant electricity consumption will save many thousands of dollars each year when the interconnector is energised, and households will also save an average $66 a year, and it will ensure greater reliability.

Neoen, which operates the Tesla big battery – still the world’s biggest lithium ion battery – and the adjoining Hornsdale wind farm (pictured above), is holding an open day in Burra on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the plans with local residents.

The company’s new head of operations in Australia, Louis de Sambucy, said it was vital that the local community “is taken on the development journey with us.” The company faced  some vocal resistance from the Crystal Brook project.

Goyder Council Mayor Peter Mattey said he remained “neutral” on the project but noted the region was increasingly becoming home to huge energy projects.

“We’ve got a lot of wind turbines but we’ve never had community fuss about them because we’ve managed it in a way they’ve been respectful of the community,” he told the Adelaide Advertiser. Goyder South would create about 300 construction jobs for each stage, and 20 ongoing jobs for the next 25 years.

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