South Australia has announced plans to hold a tender for the “next generation” of renewable energy technologies, including projects that provide “firming” for current and pending wind and solar projects, bulk energy storage, and bio-energy.
Premier Jay Weatherill says developers will be invited to apply for a share of the $150 million Renewable Technology Fund, or at least the estimated $130 million that is left after the commitment to the Tesla big battery to be built in Jamestown by December 1.
The projects being sought by the government have been stripped down to three different categories, although it is not clear how much is reserved for each.
Firming renewable generation, such as providing storage, synchronous inertia or fast frequency response to existing or pending wind or solar developments to increase system security:
Bulk energy storage, such as pumped hydro, compressed air, thermal storage (including solar towers) or virtual power plants;
Bioenergy, such as that produced from agricultural wastes or by-products.
“South Australia is now firmly positioned as a world-leader in renewable energy technology,” Weatherill said in a statement.
“Now we’re looking for the next generation of renewable technologies and demand management technologies to maintain our global leadership.”
The first category is designed to incorporates technologies to firm-up intermittent renewable generation an and contribute to making South Australian renewable energy available on demand; and will lead to lower costs for similar subsequent investments in the industry.
The second category is focused on “substantial energy storage” and is looking for projects that can add at least 400MWh of new energy storage and/or substantial synchronous inertia capability to the South Australian electricity network.
This might include solar tower and storage proposals such as that promoted by John Hewson, or the pumped hydro plants currently being contemplated by EnergyAustralia and by the new owners of the Whyalla Steel plant, among others.
The third category is focused on bioenergy, and is looking for projects that can provide “synchronous inertia” and a minimum of 15MW of generation capacity, and are in advanced stages of development.
“Our solar and wind resources are extraordinary,” Weatherill later told a news conference in Adelaide. “We are now moving to the next stage …. and there are a range of other technologies just behind the (Tesla big battery and the Aurora solar tower and molten salt storage plant).
“Everyone knows the future lies in renewable energy,” he said. “The big question was storage. Storage is now here and is capable of being unlocked.”
He said some of the projects that bid into the government’s two tenders for its own electricity needs would be expected to bid into this new tender, and presumably that would be the case for those pipped by Tesla and Neoen for the 100MW battery storage tender.
This suggests that of the projects that could be eligible include the Bungala solar project, which is looking to add solar, the numerous storage projects proposed by Lyon Group, Zen Energy, Carnegie Energy, the 1414 silicon storage project, as well as the Yorke biomass project.
Applications are open until 5pm on Thursday September 28, 2017, with successful applicants expected to be advised before summer, and the Investment Guidelines and call documents are available at www.ourenergyplan.sa.gov.au/opportunities.