One of Australia’s largest utility scale solar arrays – and thebiggest energy storage facility – has secured approval.
A massive solar-plus-storage project with a $1.17 billion price tag (US$822 million) has been waved through by the South Australian government. The facility will feature 500 MW (AC) of solar PV generation capacity collocated with 250 MW/1,000 MWh of battery storage around five kilometers northeast of Robertstown.
The project proposal came from New South Wales-based consultant Energy Projects Solar (EPS) which said it had received the South Australia state government’s approval after no objections were lodged by the local council or residents.
The power station will be built in stages and connected to the Robertstown substation via 275 kV transmission lines. A previous assessment has determined the facility could export energy to the grid without significant restraint but it will potentially incorporate synchronous condensers to support reliability and security of supply.
According to EPS Energy, the Robertstown project is on track to break ground in the middle of next year and generate around 275 jobs during construction and 15 or so full time jobs once operational. When commissioned, the facility will generate enough electricity to power 144,000 homes during its 30-year life.
EPS Energy director Steve McCall said the company hopes to secure finance for the project within months.“We’re working with equity and finance partners right now and that’s looking all very positive,” he said. “We’re also committed to utilizing the regional workforce and local contractors.”
For EPS, the Robertstown project is one of several large scale solar and battery storage schemes in its gigawatt-scale portfolio. The company’s South Australian pipeline includes the Bungama Solarproject – a proposed 280 MW generation capacity and battery project near Port Pirie – and the Yoorndoo Ilga Solar project, a 200-400 MW solar capacity and battery facility near Whyalla.
The Robertstown plant is one of two large scale solar and battery plans in the area, along with the Solar River Project which received development approval a year ago. That facility comprises a 200 MW solar generation plant plus 120 MWh of battery storage and is likely to add another 200 MW of solar and a further 150 MWh of battery storage in a second stage if a proposed high-voltage transmission line to Victoria goes ahead.
The connection to Victoria would be added to a proposed $1.5 billion electricity interconnector between Robertstown and Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales. It appears both projects in the Robertstown area are being developed in line with the proposed interconnector. On the other side of the line, for instance, Australian-Chinese developer Maoneng said it was preparing an additional 500 MW of solar to be added to the 255 MW Sunraysia project, to be commissioned in line with the proposed South Australia/New South Wales interconnector together with additional energy storage.