The South Australian Government has approved DP Energy's Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park.
Once fully commissioned, the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park will generate approximately 1,000GWh of clean renewable energy directly into the national electricity grid per year, enough to power about 200,000 homes and save 470,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Located near the former Northern Power Station, the project will create much-needed employment in the energy sector for the Port Augusta region.
The development application was approved following significant consultation with the relevant government agencies, consideration of public submissions and detailed advice from the Development Assessment Commission, an independent statutory authority.
South Australia is recognised nationally as a leader in renewable energy, with about 35% of Australia’s installed wind-generated power. Approval enables delivery of one of the largest and most significant hybrid renewable energy projects in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the installation of some 59 wind turbines and almost 400 hectares of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays for a combined generation capacity of up to 375 MW.
This one project will make a material contribution to South Australia achieving its low carbon investment target of AU$10bn ($7.6bn) by 2025.
The project’s added significance turns on its unique generation profile: the wind resource is primarily driven by the temperature difference between the land and sea rather than by weather systems, and hence exhibits a regular early evening peak which is well aligned with the daily peak demand for electricity.
This effect is also strongest in the summer when temperature differences are at their greatest, meaning that annual energy generation also peaks when it is most needed. When this evening wind generation temperature effect is coupled with large-scale solar generation (which has a midday peak) a good match to overall demand can be achieved thereby supporting the electricity network and placing downward pressure on wholesale prices.
DP Energy CEO Simon De Pietro said: “South Australia stands out as an ideal investment destination for DP Energy. The state has great natural resources in both wind and sun coupled with a clear regulatory framework, an excellent case management service (through Investment Attraction South Australia), and a professional and independent planning assessment process (through the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the Development Assessment Commission). These factors have been invaluable in helping DP Energy to navigate the necessary approvals and bring this project to reality.”
De Pietro said: “The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park represents a new breed of renewable energy generation which will deliver the right power at the right time for energy consumers, and deliver economic benefit to the region and the State."
The project CAPEX is estimated to be approximately AU$680m ($519m), and will create 250 jobs over construction – peaking at some 600 over the height of that phase of the development, and 15-20 ongoing jobs.
The build will involve using local SA businesses wherever possible, an approach that DP Energy adopts across all the jurisdictions within which it operates.
DP Energy looks forward to working with the local community to find innovative ways in which to maximise the local benefits both through employment generation and by facilitating local supply chain opportunities.