South Australia gives 500 MW solar farm coupled with 250 MW battery go-ahead

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A massive solar+storage project with a $1.17 billion price tag has been waved through by the South Australian government. The facility will feature 500 MW (AC) of solar PV collocated with 250 MW/1000 MWh of battery storage around five kilometers north-east from Robertstown.

The project proposal came from NSW-based consultants Energy Projects Solar (EPS). The proponents said they had received the state government’s approval after no objection was lodged by local council or residents.

The power station will be built in stages and be connected to the existing Robertstown Substation via 275kV transmission lines. Previous assessment has determined the facility could export energy to the grid without any significant restraints, but it will potentially incorporate synchronous condensers to support reliability and security of electricity supply.

According to EPS Energy, the Robertstown project is on track to break ground mid next year, and generate approximately 275 jobs during construction and around 15 full time jobs in the operation phase. Once commissioned, the facility will generate enough electricity to power 144,000 homes during its 30 year life.

As for next steps, EPS Energy Director Steve McCall says the company hopes to secure finance for the project within the next few 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 utilising the regional workforce and local contractors.”

For EPS, the Robertstown project is one of several large scale solar and battery storage projects  in its gigawatt-scale portfolio. The company’s South Australian pipeline also includes the Bungama Solar project – a proposed 280 MW PV and battery project nearby Port Pirie, and the Yoorndoo Ilga Solar project – a 200-400MW PV and battery project nearby Whyalla.

The Robertstown project is one of the two large scale solar and battery projects in the area, alongside the Solar River Project, which received the development approval mid last year. The facility comprises a 200 MW solar PV and 120 MWh of battery storage, and is likely to add another 200 MW of solar and 150 MWh of battery storage in a second stage if the proposed high-voltage transmission line to Victoria goes ahead.

This connection to Victoria would be added to the proposed $1.5 billion electricity interconnector between Robertstown in South Australia and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. It appears both projects in the Robertstown area are developed in line with the proposed interconnector.  On the other side of the line for instance, Australian-Chinese renewables developer Maoneng said it was preparing an additional 500 MW of solar to be added to the 255 MW Sunraysia project and commissioned in line with the proposed SA/NSW interconnector, together with additional energy storage.