Shell has pulled the trigger on a number of major announcements this week, clearly looking to develop its renewable energy arms and solidify its place in Australia’s rapidly changing energy landscape.
Shell & Ampyr’s mega BESS
As part of a joint venture with Singapore outfit Ampyr Energy, Shell is proposing to develop a 500 MW / 1,000 MWh battery in Wellington, central New South Wales near Dubbo.
The battery would be one of the state’s, and indeed Australia’s, largest and is seeking to store the energy soon to be produced at the Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone – the first REZ cab off the rank in New South Wales.
According to the companies, the Wellington BESS, as it’s called, has been under development for over 18 months and its Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released for public consultation later this month.
The project is being jointly developed by the two companies and, subject to approvals and finance, construction is set to begin by the middle of next year.
Once operational, Shell Energy says it will hold the rights to charge and dispatch energy from the battery.
Shell & Foresight acquire Kondinin Energy Development
As part of another joint venture, this time a 50/50 split with the UK-based asset manager Foresight Group, Shell has purchased the Kondinin Energy project.
Approximately 245 kilometres east of Perth, the project comprises various stages of 370 MW of developments across wind, solar and battery energy storage system assets.
The acquisition marks Shell’s first West Australian renewable development.
The Kondinin project is already in the advanced stages with land and development approvals in place, having been organised by former owner Lacour Energy.
The first stage of the project involves a 121 MW wind farm, with another 114 MW to be added in stage two. The project also has the potential to develop up to 80 MW of solar capacity over 125 hectares of land.
Finally, there is the possibility of fitting a battery system with up to 60 MW / 120 MWh total storage.
Located in what’s known as the WA Wheat Belt, Shell Australia’s chair, Tony Nunan, believes the project is “strategically placed” to support decarbonisation of the mining and resources sector ongoing in the state.
Pending its final investment decision, construction of the Stage 1 Wind farm is anticipated to occur in 2024.
In terms of how Foresight fits into the picture, the UK group manages the Australian Renewables Income Fund, which has acquired the 50% interest in the project. It’s worth noting that Foresight now operates the former Infrastructure Capital Group – it acquired that group and its assets back in July.
Foresight claims to be one of Australia’s largest private renewable generators, with over 1,150 MW of local operating renewable energy generation capacity – a status it has achieved through a series of acquisitions.
Under Infrastructure Capital Group, it acquired Meridian Energy Australia’s assets last year. It has also purchased Ginan solar and storage portfolio, Zenith Energy, and a majority investment in the Australian Renewable Energy Trust platform with Engie.
Kondinin Energy marks Foresight’s eighth transaction in Australia in the past 24 months.
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