Canadian investor Amp Energy bets big on Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia

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Toronto-based clean energy investment firm, Amp Energy (Amp), has set out an investment in excess of $2 billion for the creation of a 1.3 GW Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia (REHSA), including the Spencer Gulf Hydrogen Energy Ecoplex, which forms part of the South Australian Government’s Hydrogen Action Plan. 

The hub would include large-scale solar, wind, and battery energy storage assets in South Australia, inlcuding three solar projects at Robertstown (636 MW), Bungama (336 MW) and Yoorndoo Ilga (388 MW), supported by a total energy storage capacity of 540 MW. 

Two of the projects form part of a plan to generate hydrogen for both he domestic and export markets from the Spencer facility to ports in Asia where Amp is already in operation. South Australia set out its plans for green hydrogen hubs in November last year, hubs centred on Port Bonython, Cape Hardy/Port Spencer and Port Adelaide; and a blue-hydrogen hub, using natural gas extracted from the Cooper Basin, processed in the vicinity of Moomba, and exported through Port Bonython.

The Port Bonython green hub assumes 2.3-6.5 GW renewable energy development to feed electrolysers of 1.2-2.5 GW; and Cape/Hardy Port Spencer green hub assumes 1.1-61 GW of generation to feed 0.6-2.6 GW of electrolyser capacity — at 75% of electrolyser utilisation to allow for intermittent supply.

The Canadian outfit is wasting no time with this massive investment, having already secured development and land approvals for both the Robertstown and Bungama projects, and setting an energisation date in late 2022. Amp says these two projects alone will create 550 full-time jobs during the construction phase. 

Robertstown, the location for the 636 MW project, is ideally placed for the planned NSW-SA Interconnector. The 900km, 330kV PEC is set to connect the SA and NSW power grids for the first time, linking Robertstown to Wagga Wagga in New South Wales (NSW) and Red Cliffs in Victoria. 

”The strategic value of the South Australian portfolio is significant in a jurisdiction which is undergoing one of the most rapid energy transitions in the world”. said Dean Cooper, executive vice president and head of Amp Australia.

The SA Minister for Trade and Investment, Stephen Patterson, welcomed the prospect of the REHSA, saying “South Australia has significant land mass and world-class wind and solar resources, with aspirations of reaching net 100% renewable energy generation by 2030.”

“We’ve seen over $7 billion invested in projects with another $20 billion in the pipeline,” Patterson continued, “The Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia will be fundamental in integrating our state’s renewable energy storage assets and building our capability and supporting the fast-moving energy transitions we’re experiencing.”

This new strategic expansion continues from Amp’s existing presence in Australia which currently sits at 158 MW of operating or under construction solar assets in NSW, such as the 39 MW Molong Solar Farm, near Orange. 

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