The South Australian government has made a deal to buy power from SIMEC ZEN Energy until the commissioning of the 150MW Aurora solar thermal power plant at Port Augusta.

SIMEC ZEN Energy is a new electricity retailer in the state which has agreed to supply more than 80% of the power needs of the South Australian government in 2018. The company SIMEC ZEN Energy is part of GFG Alliance owned by UK-based billionaire Sanjeev Gupta.

In 2019, the company will provide 100% of the power requirements of the government after it will be supported by the commissioning of local renewable energy projects during that year.

SIMEC ZEN Energy and the GFG Alliance chairman Sanjeev Gupta said: “This is the beginning of a journey that will see SIMEC ZEN Energy redefine the energy landscape of Australia, bringing down costs dramatically and making globally competitive energy a key advantage for Australian industry.

“Australia deserves a competitive energy industry. This will drive jobs and growth, it will encourage the private sector to invest and entrepreneurs to take more risk, not only in South Australia but across the country.”

Additionally, SIMEC ZEN Energy has agreed to provide ongoing retail services to the South Australian government for a period of five years, beginning from 1 November 2020. During this time period, the government’s entire load will be covered by the Aurora solar thermal plant.

The A$650m ($498m) Aurora plant, to be developed by SolarReserve, will break ground in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2020.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said: “Earlier this year, we used our power supply requirements to underwrite the entry of the Port Augusta solar thermal plant to the market, which will put downward pressure on power prices for all South Australians, but also create hundreds of jobs for locals in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

“Now, we have been able to use this bridging contract to support the entry of home-grown renewable energy company SIMEC ZEN Energy into the retail market, which will support high skilled local jobs.”

Image: SIMEC ZEN Energy to supply 80% of the power requirements of the South Australian government in 2018. Photo: courtesy of ZEN ENERGY PTY LTD.