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Lyon plans another giant solar and storage plant in Australia with ground-breaking tender

Lyon has already announced two giant solar-plus-storage projects including the Kingfisher plant. Credit: Lyon Group

Brisbane-based renewable energy investor Lyon Group has launched an innovative utility-scale solar-plus-storage market services tender to cover 640MWh of storage across three major projects in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

As part of this tender, the company has also announced a AU$660 million (US$501 million) solar-plus-storage project at Nowingi in north-west Victoria. The 250MW of solar generation will charge an 80MW / 160MWh battery storage system.This would be one of the world’s largest hybrid solar and storage systems in the world, behind Lyon’s own Riverland Solar Storage plant announced in March.

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Construction at Nowingi will start in the next few months and is expected to employ about 250 workers.

The tender is open to electricity retailers and generators, heavy electricity users, and other sector participants. Lyon said in a release that the final design of the battery systems would be influenced by the outcome of the tender, and it claimed that such a model was a world-first.

Lyon Group Partner David Green said: “Lyon is able to offer multiple services from the same battery system, and flexibility in contract size to accommodate various users. Lyon will enter into commercial contracts for real services provided by physical assets. This is not a theoretical exercise.”

Along with Nowingi, Lyon is also tendering for projects at Cape York (Queensland) and Riverland (South Australia).

Credit: Lyon Group

Green said: “These projects are working through development consultation and approvals. The land has been secured, technology and other commercial arrangements are in place, and the required network capacity analysis and consultations are well advanced. Lyon’s projects are 100% equity financed.”

Green also cited the recent Finkel report into the future of Australia’s electricity market, which he said had shone a spotlight on large-scale battery storage and its key role in the energy transition. Under Finkel’s recommendation to introduce Energy Security Obligations for new large-scale renewable energy plants, storage would play a key role by delivering fast frequency response, Green added.

Lyon Group’s Australian project pipeline currently comprises more than 1,700MW of large-scale solar and 1,000MW of large-scale battery storage. The firm is also developing a number of new and innovative battery storage products that it will soon release to the market.

Green said: “As the cost of large-scale solar with storage has fallen, the interest of international investors has risen considerably.”

He also noted that large-scale battery storage systems can provide various services including energy price arbitrage, load shifting, renewable energy ramp control, frequency control and ancillary services, caps, network, control and system restart ancillary services, marginal loss factor services and firming capacity.

Queensland-based developer SolarQ is also planning to build a 350MW(AC) solar plant combined with a huge 4,000MWh of lithium-ion battery storage in the Gympie Region of Queensland.

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