Iberdrola highlights potential for green recovery in breaking ground on Australia’s largest hybrid wind and solar farm


Spanish giant Iberdrola has entered the Australian market with a bang, getting down to business on its 317 MW Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAREP) in much the same way Real Madrid would if they suddenly found themselves at Cooper Stadium playing Adelaide United FC. 

This week saw construction begin on the $500 million project, which is set to be Australia’s biggest hybrid wind and solar farm. Iberdrola is joined by fellow Spanish giant Elecnor to build the plant’s transmission line and substation when it’s not building 700km of the SA-NSW Interconnector with Clough Group. 

PAREP will combine 210 MW of wind with 107 MW of solar to generate enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 180,000 Aussie homes annually. Iberdrola has signed major contracts with Vestas for the supply and installation of 50 wind turbines each with a 4.2 MW capacity, and Longi for almost 250,000 solar panels. 

It’s a mammoth hybrid project is one that Iberdrola Australian Country Manager, Fernando Santamaria, told pv magazine Australia is perfectly calibrated to South Australia. “The combination of wind and solar technologies is a trend we are seeing globally,” said Santamaria. “The wind profile matches very well with demand in South Australia, and the solar provides the perfect complement. South Australia has perfect conditions for both technologies, and when combined, the generation profile matches very well with the demand profile in the region.” 

At the ground-breaking event at Port Augusta last week, attended by South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Santamaria stressed Iberdrola’s belief and commitment to a green economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Santamaria told pv magazine Australia that “Australia has great potential to expand its renewable energy generation capacity and the market share of renewables in the mix is increasing with major investments. We believe that clean energy has a big role to play in creating employment and supporting local economies globally as we recover from Covid-19.” PAREP alone will support 200 jobs until the project is fully commissioned in 2021. 

Indeed, with potential like Australia has without hardly trying, it is harder still to imagine just why the Morrison Government would not be actively encouraging more global investment of the Iberdrola stripe. Must be old money in high-places, money so old it’s fossilised. 

Nevertheless, Iberdrola and Santamaria remain positive about the growth in renewable energies in future years and are currently analysing a number of opportunities in the National Electricity Market (NEM). Iberdrola is betting on renewables in Australia, they want to increase their renewable footprint, and one wouldn’t want to bet against the feet of Spanish giants reaching the goal. 

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