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Amp Energy gets grid connection for BESS at AU$2 billion Renewable Energy Hub in South Australia

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Developer Amp Energy has made a grid connection agreement for a large-scale battery storage project in South Australia which has been welcomed by ministers in the state’s government.

Amp Energy Australia, the regional arm of the Canada-headquartered renewables, storage and hydrogen project developer, said it has secured the agreement to connect to South Australia’s high-voltage network with grid operator and owner ElectraNet.

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The battery energy storage system (BESS) to be installed in Bungama, a locality in the Mid North region of the state will have an output of 150MW and storage capacity of 300MWh, and is expected to be ready to charge and discharge energy by early 2025.

Given the self-explanatory monicker of Bungama BESS, its construction represents the initial phase of a major Renewable Energy Hub development that Amp Energy is working towards. The news announced by the company this morning represents the first transmission network connection agreement (TCA) for the hub, Amp said.

The hub is set to comprise a number of large-scale solar PV power plants as well as further standalone BESS installations. These will be split across three locations including Bungama, with assets also to be deployed in the localities of Robertstown and Whyalla.

Meanwhile, the developer is also establishing a hydrogen production facility – Spencer Gulf Hydrogen Energy Ecoplex – within the hub.

According to Amp Energy, delivering all of the planned resources and associated infrastructure for the Renewable Energy Hub will require around AU$2 billion (US$1.28 billion) investment.

“Transmission is fundamental to a renewable generator being able to deliver energy to the customer. It’s pleasing to see Amp Energy overcome this barrier by reaching this deal with ElectraNet, which will unlock investment and job creation,” Tom Koutsantonis, South Australia’s energy and mining minister said.

As Koutsantonis’ words imply, and has been seen playing out in Australia and elsewhere in the world, access not only to grid connections, but also the presence of adequate transmission networks to transmit power, are a challenge for the renewable energy sector.

South Australia is targeting reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and currently has one of the highest per capita installed capacities of rooftop solar PV anywhere in the world. However, it also has a dispersed population often at far reaches of the transmission network.

These are among the drivers for the state becoming one of Australia’s hotbeds for large-scale BESS development: in the first half of this year, 1187MW/2864MWh of battery storage projects were financially committed to in South Australia. That ranked it second among the states, after New South Wales (NSW) with 3,126MW/8166MWh, according to recent figures from the national Clean Energy Council (CEC) trade group.

Amp Energy has also made an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Agreement for Bungama BESS, as well as a benefit sharing agreement with Nukunu Wapma Thura Aboriginal Corporation

“South Australia’s world-leading renewable energy reputation continues to attract significant investment into the State, especially in our regions,” South Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment Nick Champion said.

“Projects like these not only create highly skilled jobs, they demonstrate our global standing as a leader in the green energy sector. Amp Energy joins a growing list of developers committed to South Australia’s multi-billion dollar pipeline of projects – backed by the Government’s dedicated global and national investment agency, Invest SA.”

Energy-Storage.news has reported on a handful of Amp Energy’s projects in other regions to date, including its development of two of what would be Europe’s largest grid-connected battery storage facilities if built today. The two projects of equal 400MW/800MWh sizing will be in Scotland, UK, the company said in early 2022.

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