Renewables developer Amp Energy has signed a land deal with an aboriginal community group in Australia, allowing the development of a utility-scale solar-storage project.
Amp has signed the deal with Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BADC) for the site, located in Whyalla, South Australia, which is to house the 388MW Yoorndoo Illga solar farm and hybridised 150MW battery energy storage system (BESS).
The lease agreement relates to land recently secured by BDAC in accordance with the terms of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the South Australian Government, which followed the recognition of the Barngarla People as native title holders of large parts of the Upper Spencer Gulf and Eyre Peninsula.
The Yoorndoo Ilga Solar Farm is one of three sites announced by Amp with the establishment of the Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia (REHSA) in May 2021.
Total investment in the Whyalla region of South Australia would exceed $500 million.
The BDAC Board is overwhelmingly supportive of this deal, stating: “This is a history making deal and we look forward to Amp developing these projects on our traditional lands, which we now own in fee simple.
“We look forward to the benefits of this project to our members and to the broader community of Whyalla overall. Barngarla are proud to be part of the renewable energy revolution in Whyalla and could not think of better partners than Amp and EPS to bring this project to fruition.”
Dean Cooper, executive vice president and head of Amp Australia, said: ”Amp recognises the significant history and culture of the Barngarla People as traditional owners of the land and sincerely appreciate the support and trust bestowed upon Amp.”
Amp’s expansion in Australia will include the implementation of Amp X, a proprietary digital energy platform owned by Amp, which provides a disruptive and interoperable grid edge digital platform.
Amp X includes an artificial intelligence powered virtual power plant capability, which enables real-time autonomous management and optimised dispatch of BESS assets across the grid.
It comes as the appetite has been growing in Australia for utility-scale solar and storage, with a plan to establish Australia’s largest renewable energy zone (REZ) in the state of New South Wales (NSW) receiving an overwhelming level of interest, with projects representing 34GW of capacity submitted.