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ZEN’s Sanjeev Gupta spies ‘great future’ in South Australian C&I sector with 1GW plan

By Amanda Lennon
Entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta, who founded the Liberty House industrial engineering and metals supply group at the age of 20. Image: Liberty House Group.

ZEN Energy’s newly appointed chairman has said he believes there is a “great future for energy-intensive industries in Australia,” as his company approved a 1GW plan for dispatchable renewables aimed at South Australia’s commercial and industrial sector.

Sanjeev Guptar was talking about the latest commitment from ZEN, which specialises in solar and battery storage systems and project development, targeting C&I energy users in an effort to expand industrial capacity and support industrial-sized energy loads.

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The large scale project will support long-term electricity supply contracts with South Australia’s industrial users with reliable, low cost, low emission energy.

The development plans include 200MW of Solar PV, a 100MW / 100MWh battery, 100MW of demand response, a 120MW/600MWh pumped hydro storage facility and 480MW of solar capacity which will be installed later to support the expansion of industrial capacity.

The plan was secured following GFG Alliance’s purchase of 50.1% share in ZEN; GFG Alliance, founded by the British Gupta Family, integrates different business models such as mining, energy generation and metals and engineering.

South Australia’s national electricity policy remains an unresolved crucial element in the political party debate before the March 2018 state election. While the main political arguments are still being played out and the opposing parties’ plans have focused for the most part on the residential or utility-scale potential for solar-plus-storage, private businesses like Zen appear to have spied potential in the commercial market.

Entrepreneur Gupta, said: “Naturally we are watching developments in policy closely. In the meantime, we are proceeding with the first 520MW of capacity based on positive interactions with relevant stakeholders.”

The Gupta Family Group focuses on modernising the steel industry and is estimated to be worth USD$9.4 billion. Gupta is also executive chairman of the Liberty Home Group which is worth USD$6.7 billion.

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