Italian oil giant invests in Australian solar

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Eni Australia, a subsidiary of Italian oil and gas firm Eni, which has been active in Australia since 2000, has acquired a 33.7MW construction-ready solar-plus-storage project in the Northern Territory of Australia, from Katherine Solar, a joint venture between Australia’s Epuron and the UK-based Island Green Power. 

Once completed, the project near Katherine will be the largest PV farm in the Northern Territory and will include a battery storage system with a capacity of 5.7MVA/2.9MWh. A cloud coverage predicting technology will also be installed. 

Construction is expected to start in the next few weeks, with an expected commercial operation date in Q4 2019. Epuron will help to manage the PV farm once it is operational. 

This initiative marks Eni’s entry in the Australian renewables market. Eni Australia is already the operator and owner of the Blacktip Gas Project and has a non-operated interest in the Bayu-Undan gas and condensate field and in the associated Darwin LNG plant.

The hybrid project will contribute to the Northern Territory’s government goal to procure 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. 

Algerian state-run company Sonatrach and Eni recently inaugurated a 10MW solar PV project to power an oil field in Bir Rebaa North (BRN) in Algeria, with plans to open an R&D hub for desert-based solar.

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