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ZEN Energy gets US investor Stonepeak on board for 290MWh BESS with South Australian government contract

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ZEN Energy has raised financing from US infrastructure investor Stonepeak towards a 111MW/290MWh battery storage project in South Australia.

The deal is worth up to around AU$70 million (US$46 million) and is for ZEN Energy’s Templers Battery Energy Storage System (Templers BESS) project, about 60km north of Adelaide, the state’s capital. ZEN Energy supplies large energy users, such as corporates and government.

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Stonepeak said yesterday (18 March) that it will be making the investment through Peak Energy, a renewable energy development platform in its portfolio. The government of South Australia will be an off-taker for the Templers project’s stored energy through a long-term renewable energy contract with a retailer, and Stonepeak said this is what will enable construction.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported last night that French investment bank Natixis is also financing the project through a debt deal. AFR said ZEN Energy had confirmed financial close has been achieved and start of construction is imminent, with the media outlet citing the cost of the project at AU$200 million.

As reported by Energy-Storage.news in March last year, ZEN Energy acquired the project from developer and independent power producer (IPP) RES. At that point it had already received approval to connect to the South Australian grid, which has very high shares of renewable energy feeding into it, largely from rooftop solar PV and onshore wind, but also from utility-scale solar PV.

The capacity was given at 270MWh at that time, although the power output has remained the same.

According to ZEN Energy’s website, the project will be equipped with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and it will store power generated from renewable energy for outputting to the grid to help manage peak demand, as well as participating in grid-balancing ancillary services markets.

It is currently one of two large-scale BESS projects to have a dedicated page on the company’s site, along with Solar River, a solar-plus-storage project that would feature a 230MWdc solar array and BESS of up to 8-hour duration (although initial duration is planned at 2.5-hour with an output of 650MW), capable of exporting around 256MW into the South Australian grid. The company is understood to be at the stage of seeking development approval for Solar River.  

In 2022 it was reported the utility was working to develop an asset of between 600MWh and 800MWh capacity in Western Australia.

Templers will be ZEN Energy’s “first substantial asset” in South Australia where the company was founded, ZEN CEO Anthony Garnaut said.  

Peak Energy works on projects across Asia-Pacific, signing a joint venture (JV) agreement late last year with developer TOPINFRA to work on 500MW of renewable energy and energy storage projects in South Korea, where Peak Energy said it already had a 170MW solar portfolio.

Together with Skip Essential, another infrastructure investor, Stonepeak in 2022 made a bid to acquire Australian renewables developer Genex Power, which is working on projects including large-scale solar and battery storage, as well as the country’s first new large-scale pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) plant since the mid-1980s.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Australia, on 21-22 May 2024 in Sydney, NSW. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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Join Energy-Storage.news and energy storage market experts at GridBeyond for a discussion on the evolving landscape for energy storage in Australia’s National Electricity Market, and the challenges faced in optimising the value of battery assets in an evolving market.
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