Alinta Energy has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for its $180 million Port Hedland Solar Battery Hybrid project which will see an initial 45 MW solar farm and 35 MW, one-hour battery energy storage system installed alongside its existing gas-fired power station site near Port Hedland on Western Australia’s north coast.
Engineering firm UGL, part of the Sydney-headquartered Cimic Group, has been appointed to deliver the battery energy storage system while SEPD Monford, a collaboration between Chinese engineering firm Shanghai Electric Power Design Institute and Perth-based construction specialist Monford Group, will deliver the solar component.
The solar farm will comprise an estimated 100,000 PV panels to be installed on a 100-hectare site about 500 metres east of Alinta’s existing gas-fired Port Hedland Power Station, located about 14 kilometres southwest of the Pilbara tow. The battery will be built adjacent to the existing power station.
Alinta said it expects contractors will be on site from July with the facility predicted to be operational by late 2024.
“We’re excited to bring these EPC partners on board to help us deliver the project for BHP and look forward to a safe and successful construction phase,” Alinta Chief Development Officer Ken Woolley said.
The large-scale solar and battery hybrid project underpins a power purchase agreement with BHP that’s expected to halve emissions from the generation of electricity used to power the mining giant’s iron ore port facilities in Port Hedland.
Once completed, the solar farm is expected to supply 100% of the average daytime energy requirements for BHP’s iron-ore operations in Port Hedland, with the remaining power requirements to be met through the integrated battery system and Alinta’s existing gas-fuelled power station.
The 45 MW solar farm and 35 MW battery is expected to form the foundation for a much larger renewable energy generation and storage facility at Port Hedland with Alinta having already secured development approvals for the sites that could facilitate a future expansion to a 60 MW two-hour battery storage system and 90 MW solar array.
Alinta’s strategy is to use the new solar farm and the big battery to respond to demand from its corporate customers for cleaner energy.
The appointment of EPC contractors for the Port Hedland project comes as Alinta continues to assess the sell-down of its WA operations.
The Sydney-headquartered company, owned by Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, is reportedly seeking to offload an 80% stake in its generation and transmission assets in WA with bankers Goldman Sachs appointed to oversee the transaction.
Alinta’s Pilbara assets include the existing Port Hedland Power Station, the 60 MW Chichester Solar Farm, and the 178 MW dual fuel (gas and distillate) Newman Power Station and associated 35 MW/11 MWh battery energy storage system. Alinta also owns and operates transmission infrastructure in the region including high-voltage power lines and gas pipelines.
It is expected a formal auction for the assets will be launched later this year.
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