Northern Ireland-headquartered renewable energy firm DP Energy has received approval to develop a AU$680 million (US$519 million) renewable energy park in South Australia involving 375MW of wind and solar capacity.
The South Australian government greenlighted the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, which will power the equivalent of 200,000 homes. The project will be located on land situated on a coastal plain south-east of Port Augusta.
It will contain 59 wind turbines (206.5MW) and 400 hectares of solar arrays (168.5MW), according to a company spokesman.
When the application was submitted last December, DP Energy said the park would include 1.6 million PV modules measuring 1.2×0.8m and 150 solar PV inverters. It would also have 40km of solar PV site tracks as well as three solar PV interconnector substations containing switchgear and transformers.
A DP Energy release said the wind projects will be driven mainly by temperature differences between land and sea rather than weather systems, which means they have a regular evening peak in line with the usual evening peak in electricity demand. They also peak in summer when demand is greater, claimed DP Energy. This will be complemented by midday peaks in solar generation.
The project will create 250 jobs during construction, peaking at 600, with 15-20 ongoing jobs.
The approval comes shortly after a major national debate over whether renewables had caused extreme electricity price hikes in South Australia, which newly-appointed energy minister Josh Frydenburg later put to rest by saying that the major cause was increased gas prices, interconnector maintenance and a cold snap, while adding that renewables still played a small role in the price hikes.
DP Energy chief executive Simon De Pietro said: “The state has great natural resources in both wind and sun coupled with a clear regulatory framework, an excellent case management service (through Investment Attraction South Australia), and a professional and independent planning assessment process.”
Victoria consults on renewbales policy
In other news, the Victorian government is consulting on the design of its renewable energy auction scheme. The state is targeting 25% renewables by 2020 and 40% by 2025
The consultation paper seeks feedback on the design of the overall scheme structure, as well as on specific scheme components including payment structure, contracting elements, scheme administration and cost recovery mechanism, and auction evaluation principles.
A series of workshops will be held throughout August for key stakeholders and interested members of the public to provide verbal feedback on the consultation paper.