PV Tech reported DP Energy of Northern Ireland has received approval to develop a $680 million renewable energy park in South Australia that involves 375MW of solar and wind capacity.
The South Australian government gave the go signal to the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, which will power the equivalent of 200,000 homes. The project will be located on land that is situated on a coastal plain south-east of Port Augusta. It has 59 wind turbines providing 206.5 megawatts and 400 hectares of solar arrays providing 168.5 megawatts. The application was submitted last December.
DP energy stated that the park would include 1.6 million PV modules measuring 1.2×0.8 and 150 PV inverters. It would also have 40km of solar PV site tracks as well as three solar PV interconnector substations containing switchgears and transformers.
A DP Energy press release said the wind projects will be driven mainly by temperature differences between the sea and the land instead of weather systems. So this means they will have a regular evening peak in line with common evening peaks in electricity demand. They also peak in summer when demand is bigger, as stated by DP Energy. This will be implemented by midday peaks in solar generation. This project will create 250 jobs during construction and will peak at 600 jobs, with 15-20 for some ongoing jobs.
The project approval comes in shortly after a major national debate over whether renewables have caused very high electricity price hikes in South Australia, which newly appointed energy minister Josh Frydenburg later put to rest by saying that the major cause was the increase in fuel prices, interconnector maintenance and a cold snap, while adding that renewables still played a small role in the price increase.
DP Energy chief executive Simon De Pietro said that the state has a great natural resource in the sun and wind together with a clear regulatory framework. They also have a clean, excellent case management service and a professional and independent planning assessment process.