300MW solar farm begins construction near Port Augusta

300MW solar farm begins construction near Port Augusta

Written by admin , April 11th, 2017   // Construction

The first two stage of a 300MW solar farm – Australia’s biggest – has begun construction near Port Augusta in South Australia after its developers last Friday reached financial close on the project, and agreed to sell it to two of Europe’s biggest investors in renewables, Italy’s Enel Green Energy and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

The first two stages, totalling 220MW, of the Bungala project is being built around 12kms from Port Augusta, where the state’s last coal fired generator closed last May. Ironically, project developer Reach Energy is headed by Tony Concannon, the former head of the owners of the Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria which closed late last month.

The two first stages of Bungala will be completed late in 2018, and will be built by Spanish company Elecnor, which recently completed the 57MW Moree project in NSW and the smaller 21MW Barcaldine project in Queensland.

tony concannonBungala will be built “battery storage ready”, and will also likely be the first major solar farm to participate in Australia’s FCAS market (frequency control and ancillary services), using SMA inverter technology to provide voltage control for the grid.

Concannon says the remaining 80MW of capacity could be built – along with battery storage – should the company win a South Australian government tender for 25 per cent of its electricity needs with “dispatchable” renewables.

Reach has submitted proposals for both 20MWh of battery storage and 100MWh, although it did not participate in the other tender for a separate 100MWh battery unit. If the tender is not successful, there are also discussions with other potential off-takers in train.

Concannon’s company, which is looking to develop 1,000MW of solar in Australia, has secured off-take agreements for the output of Bungala 1 and Bungala 2 with Origin Energy, raised $320 million of project finance debt, and found equity buyers for the $450 million project in Enel Green Power and DIM. And all without government grants.

It is one of a number of large scale solar projects proposed for South Australia, but the first to actually begin construction.

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