Nexif hits go on final 86MW of Lincoln Gap Wind Farm, with close of CEFC debt deal

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Nexif reaches financial close on stage two of 212MW Lincoln Gap Wind Farm, near Port August in SA. The renewables hub will host the state’s third big battery, and possibly solar, too.

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South Australia’s 212MW Lincoln Gap Wind Farm – which is set to host the state’s third big battery, and possibly solar, too – is moving ahead with stage two of construction, adding the final 24 turbines and 86MW of generating capacity to the project.

Singapore-based project developer Nexif Energy said this week that the second stage of the $480 million wind farm near Port Augusta had been given the green light, after the close of a $160 million debt deal with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and infrastructure investment company Westbourne Capital.

Stage two will add to the 126MW currently under construction by wind turbine manufacturer Senvion, and will support more than 110 construction jobs for an additional 18 months at the site.

Once completed – it is expected to be operational by mid-2019 – the wind farm will have 59 Senvion 3.6M140 turbines and a total generating capacity of over 212 MW, producing enough energy to power 155,000 households in South Australia.

As we reported last month, plans to add storage to Lincoln Gap are also underway, with Siemens/AES joint venture Fluence signed up to deliver a 10MW/10MWh battery based energy storage system, targeted for completion in May 2019.

At the time, Nexif said it had partnered with Fluence after a “rigorous evaluation process,” to deliver an energy storage system to “reliably integrate” the wind farm’s output to the National Electricity Market.

All up, the project is being noted as one of the first hybrid renewable and storage projects to secure non-subsidised financing.

“This is a continuation of our investment in South Australia where we are incredibly excited to be investing, and to be at the forefront with the first unsubsidised battery storage project for the state,’’ said Nexif co-chief executive Matthew Bartley.

“There remains potential to further expand Lincoln Gap and we are now working on feasibility studies to determine how large that could be, as well as trying to bring technologies together to add solar to the wind energy and battery storage at Lincoln Gap to create a genuine hybrid energy hub.”

Nexif has also secured an off-take deal for the output of Lincoln Gap, via two long-term contracts with retailer ERM Power, that were locked in in April 2017, just a month after the company bought the wind farm from OneWind Australia.

“Through this path-breaking integration of renewable wind power generation with battery storage system, Nexif Energy and its financiers have a committed investment of over $480 million, making it among the largest investors in South Australia.” said Surender Singh, also a co-chief executive.

“We also look forward to working closely with construction partners Senvion and Fluence for on time completion.”

David Hardy, the executive director and CSO of Senvion, said his company was pleased to have secured the official go-ahead to deliver Lincoln Gap’s second stage.

“This is a great affirmation of the performance of our local team and we are very pleased about the ongoing cooperation with Nexif Energy,” he said.

“We are also committed to continue to work closely with the local community to provide opportunities for businesses and individuals to benefit from this important project.”

For Fluence, the contract to supply battery storage for Lincoln Gap follows up on its success with the recent installation and commissioning of the Ballarat Energy Storage System (BESS).

As noted above, Lincoln Gap will be the third big battery in South Australia, after the so-called Tesla big battery at the Hornsdale wind farm, and the Dalrymple North battery at the Wattle Point wind farm.

Large-scale battery storage is also planned for the Snowtown wind farm, along with a co-located solar farm, and for the Whyalla steelworks.

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