Victoria renewables auction won by 623MW solar projects with 600MWh of batteries

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The second Renewable Energy Target auction held by the government of Victoria in Australia has been won by six solar PV projects, four of which include battery storage.

Supporting the state’s target of reaching 40% renewable energy by 2025, Victorian energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced the wins yesterday, claiming the projects will support the creation of 920 jobs and stimulate AU$1.48 billion (US$0.95 billion) investment into the local economy.

The new solar and solar-plus-storage projects will be used to power public sector infrastructure – along with the 2025 statewide target and a longer term 50% by 2030 goal, the state’s ruling Labor administration has pledged that 100% of energy consumed by government operations will be from renewables by 2025.

The six winners will add a total of 623MW of solar PV capacity, as well as 365MW/600MWh of battery energy storage systems (BESS), with the batteries helping to add dispatchability to the output of the four solar farms they will be paired with.

Sungrow, Octopus Investments and Total Eren were among successful international bidders, alongside three Australia-headquartered investors or developers.

The auction’s bidding conditions included a requirement for the use of local content, which the government claimed means that around AU$1 billion of the total investment will go straight into local supply chains.

Meanwhile a total of about 200 companies from Australia and New Zealand will work on the projects. Programmes for sharing benefits with local communities must also be implemented by winning companies.

The six projects will be sited across four state Renewable Energy Zones (REZ), which are in the Western Victoria, Murray River, Central North and Gipsland regions of Victoria.

“We’re powering every Government building with cheap, clean renewable energy – boosting investment in the state by over a billion dollars and creating hundreds of jobs as we combat climate change,” D’Ambrosio said.

“Victoria is the nation’s clean energy powerhouse – cutting emissions by more than any other state, tripling the amount of renewable energy and creating thousands of jobs.”

The previous, first Victorian Renewable Energy Target auction (VRET1), had seen two solar PV plant projects from Enel Green Power Australia and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures with a combined generation capacity of 133MW win, as well as 674MW of wind capacity across three projects.

The government launched the second round in September 2021, originally seeking up to 600MW of renewables capacity and adding stronger network requirements to ensure easier connection to the grid.

The winning projects in round two (VRET2) are as follows:

Project nameSolar PV capacityBESS output/capacityBidding companyLocation
Derby Solar Project95MW85MW/100MWhSungrow Renewable Energysouth-east of Bridgewater on Loddon
Fulham Solar Farm & DC-Coupled Battery80MW80MW/100MWhOctopus Investmentswest of Fulham
Kiamal Solar Farm – Stage 2150MW150MW/300MWhTotal Erennorth of Ouyen
Frasers Solar Farm77MWN/ASouth Energynorth of Traralgon
Horsham Solar Farm118.8MW50MW/100MWhESCO Pacificeast of Horsham
Glenrowan Solar Farm102MWN/APacific Partnershipssouth-east of Glenrowan

The battery storage will contribute to the state reaching its target of deploying 2.6GW of energy storage by 2030, and D’Ambrosio noted that the 600MWh of capacity is equivalent to 1.5x that of the 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery, currently both the state and country’s biggest BESS.  

However, as reported by sister site Energy-Storage.news in September, the Labor Party, campaigning to get re-elected in late November under the leadership of state Premier Daniel Andrews, has pledged to up the energy storage target to 6.3GW by 2035 if it stays in office. In doing so, the government also announced financial support for two large-scale standalone BESS projects equipped with grid-stabilising, or ‘grid-forming’ advanced inverters.

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