Green light for more big PV as South Australia’s wind and solar pipeline swells to 10 GW

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Following a string of development approvals for big solar+storage projects, South Australia’s large-scale wind and solar pipeline has grew to 10 GW. As it moves further than the previous target of 75% of its electricity generated by renewables by 2025, SA aims to hit “net” 100% renewables by 2030 and become a major energy exporter to other states.

“The fact SA currently has some 10,000MW of solar and wind generation on the drawing board highlights the state’s potential to be a energy powerhouse,” Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan told The Advertiser. According to the minister, the state’s “unrivaled portfolio of renewable energy projects” would further boost the economic and environmental credentials of the $1.5 billion 800 MW SA-NSW interconnector proposed by Electranet.

SA has long been the nation’s renewable energy front runner. According to a recent report from Green Energy Markets, the state is on track to generating renewable energy equal to 73.5% of its consumption by 2030, up from 53% in 2018. To achieve the government’s target of 100% renewables it roughly needs another 1,300 MW of capacity, the report found.

With a number of development approvals for massive solar and battery projects in the recent period, SA is taking major strides towards its target. In a matter of weeks, the state government has waved through 500 MW of solar PV collocated with 250 MW/1000 MWh of battery storage around five kilometers north-east from Robertstown and the 280 MW Bungama Solar Farm coupled with a 140MW/560MWh battery storage facility proposed by EPS Energy, while another massive project – the Solar River Project, which comprises a 200 MW solar PV and 120 MWh of battery storage and potentially another 200 MW of solar and 150 MWh in the second stage, inked a power purchase agreement with Alinta Energy.

As reported by the daily, the latest project to receive the government’s tick of approval is a $200 million solar+storage facility at Murray Bridge. Proposed by developers RES, the 176 MW Pallamana Solar Farm coupled with 66 MW/140MWh lithium-ion battery will be located on 730 hectares of land around 60km south-east of Adelaide.

According to the project website, construction could start next autumn and create around 200 direct jobs. Once commissioned mid 2021, the project is expected to employ four full-time staff members during the plant’s lifespan of 25-30 years.

For RES, the Pallamana project is a new addition to its Australian solar portfolio, which already includes the 72 MW Emerald (QLD), the 22 MW Dalby (QLD) and the 100 MW Tarleigh Park (NSW) PV projects. Globally, the developer has delivered more than 16 GW of renewable energy projects. Its utility-scale solar pipeline includes 1.5 GW in development and 430 MW constructed or under construction.