South Australia gov’t welcomes approval for AU$3 billion wind-solar-storage project

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The Victoria Big Battery: a 300MW battery storage project Neoen is developing in Australia. Image: Neoen.

South Australia’s government has welcomed the granting of planning approval for the first phase of a AU$3 billion (US$2.32 billion) large-scale hybrid renewable energy project in the state’s Goyder region.

Developer Neoen is building what it has dubbed the ‘Goyder Renewables Zone’ project in Goyder South; which could include up to 1,200MW of wind generation, 600MW of solar photovoltaics (PV) and 900MW of battery energy storage. Perhaps what is most significant about the project is that, if paired with a planned interconnector, it could enable the benefits of that renewable energy to be shared with neighbouring New South Wales.

“This approval means hundreds of jobs can be created in regional South Australia, boosting the economy as we recover from the global coronavirus pandemic,” South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said in a statement sent to Energy-Storage.news.

The first phase of the “landmark project” will be up to 400MW in size and the company is “optimistic” that it will be able to start construction early next year, Neoen Australia’s managing director Louis de Sambucy said in a statement sent to media including Energy-Storage.news.

The France-headquartered company is developing a number of other large-scale standalone battery storage projects around Australia as well as renewables and batteries paired with renewables: these include the Victoria Big Battery 300MW project for which a AU$160 million debt financing deal was recently closed with Australia's national Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the 500MW / 1,000MWh Great Western Battery in New South Wales. Regarding the Goyder project, Neoen will now shift its direct focus to obtaining grid connection with transmission operator ElectraNet and regulator/market operator Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), its regional managing director said.

De Sambucy said however that subsequent stages of adding capacity ay Goyder will require approval for the Project Energy Connect interconnector, which would take power around 560 miles to and from rural South Australia into NSW. The 330kV interconnector is being developed by transmission network operators TransGrid and ElectraNet.

“The Goyder Renewables Zone is a landmark project that will not only provide a significant boost to the South Australian economy but will also support its transition to a renewables-led future. We’re very appreciative of the support that the project received from Goyder community, local Council and the South Australian Government,” Neoen Australia’s Louis de Sambucy said.

“Goyder South will not only support South Australia in reaching its goal of net 100% renewables by 2030, it will deliver income security to farmers, as well as jobs to the Goyder region.”

South Australia’s government, led by Premier Andrew Marshall, welcomed the multi-stage renewable zone project as “ground-breaking,” calling the granting of planning approval a “massive vote of confidence” in the state government’s energy policies, which it said had already resulted in AU$269 per year in energy costs savings for the average bill payer. Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan had unveiled the project, including its progress being closely linked to that of the interconnector, back in September 2019 as development work gathered pace

Minister van Holst Pellekaan’s statement strongly stressed how important the South Australia government believes the interconnector project will be in enabling the increased use of renewable energy at the lowest possible cost, pointing out also that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has described Project Energy Connect as a “critical, no-regrets solution” to keep the lights on in the region.

Minister van Holst Pellekaan said that his government is “working with industry” to deliver the interconnector and said it “will deliver cheaper, cleaner electricity and regional employment”. The interconnector is “also critical to secure projects such as Goyder, which can only grow to its AU$3 billion potential with the SA-NSW Interconnector,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

“If you want investment, lower bills, and action on climate change, you need to support the interconnector.”

The Marshall government recently also approved a solar farm in the state proposed by energy retailer Origin Energy that would pair 150MW of solar with large-scale battery storage. This adds to an existing development pipeline of a variety of renewable energy and energy storage projects in the region.

“It’s time everyone got on board with Marshall Government’s plan for lower bills and stronger action on climate change,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

Our sister site PV Tech recently reported meanwhile that Neoen is targeting having 10GW of renewable energy projects either installed or under construction by 2025.

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