Largest DC-coupled hybrid project in Australia acquired by Spanish company in major expansion strategy


Via its subsidiary Global Power Generation, a joint venture with Kuwait Investment Authority, Spain’s Naturgy Energy Group has purchased the Cunderdin project which boasts 125 MW (DC) of solar coupled with a 55 MW / 220 MWh battery.

The project was originally developed by Perth-based Sun Bred Power and its construction is slated to begin by the end of the year, with commercial operation anticipated in the first quarter of 2024. 

Naturgy described the acquisition of its first solar project in Australia as a “milestone,” saying its vision is to reach a renewable portfolio of 2.2 GW by 2025 in Australia as part of its strategic plan.

A major Spanish company, Naturgy began investing in solar in the Spanish speaking world in around 2017, soon after rebranding from its original name Gas Natural Fenosa to today’s Naturgy.

The company now appears to be honing in on Australia, noting it wants to expand its portfolio in Western Australia to add to existing projects in Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Its newly acquired Cunderdin project is located about 150 kilometres east of Perth, and will connected to WA’s islanded grid, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).

Naturgy says the project will be the largest DC-coupled solar and battery project to be built in Australia, adding this configuration will improve energy conversion efficiencies and “contribute to drive down solar-plus-storage costs in comparison with the conventional AC-coupled facilities.”

The Cunderdin project’s battery system will come from Chinese brand Sungrow.

Global Power Generation, of which Naturgy holds a 75% stake while Kuwait Investment Authority holds the remaining 25%, currently owns a number of wind farms in Australia. 

Its Australian portfolio has 276 MW of operational capacity from the with the Crookwell 2 Wind Farm (96 MW) in NSW and the Berrybank 1 Wind Farm (180 MW) in Victoria. 

A further 109 MW from Berrybank 2 Wind Farm is under commissioning and will be operational in Victoria this year in conjunction with a 10 MW / 20 MWh Battery Energy Storage System located in the ACT.

Global Power Generation also owns a 417 MW portfolio of projects under development in Victoria, it says.

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