Renewable energy project to create jobs and lower carbon emissions

South Australia is set to be the home of one of the world’s largest grid-scale hybrid renewable projects, and ICN SA are working with the project owners to source local companies interested in becoming involved.

The Solar River Project will be built near Robertstown in the state’s mid-north and is expected to supply enough renewable energy to power 90,000 South Australian homes. It will connect to the Australian National Grid via a 275,000-volt transmission line.

The project is the brainchild of a company based at the University of Adelaide’s incubator, ThincLab and has the support of the Ngadjuri people and the Regional Council of Goyder.

The State Government gave development approval to the $480 million venture last year.

“The project is expected to generate 150 jobs in the development phase, 400 regional jobs in the 18-month construction phase and 25 regional jobs for the 25 year plus 25-year life of the facility supporting field operations and maintenance activities,” ICN SA Consultant Jeff Camburn said.

“The development includes the establishment of two community funds with the traditional owners the Ngadjuri people and the Regional Goyder Council for sports, education and the Arts. A conservation park for endangered species research and protection is also planned.

“This is an opportunity for job creation in regional communities whilst participating in the gradual change to a cleaner world eliminating millions of tonnes of pollutants emitted through conventional coal- and gas-fired electricity generation, whilst halving the price of electricity.

“The location of the project is 110km north of Adelaide, in a high solar region on large allotments of pastoral land well suited to board acre photovoltaic (PV) installation and operation.”

The project will include a 200-megawatt PV array, with more than 640,000 solar panels and large-scale battery storage.

In September 2019, the Solar River Project announced it had selected GE Renewable Energy to supply the 100-megawatt, 3-hour battery storage system. At almost 300 MWh storage capacity, this makes it one of the largest batteries in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world.

In a press release from GE Renewable Energy, Prakash Chandra, Renewable Hybrids CEO, said the project would be a “flagship for the renewable energy industry” and for GE’s role in building out renewable hybrid plants.

“Hybrid solutions have become a reality, driven by the demand for reliable and dispatchable renewable energy, which we can integrate using our proprietary controls technology to optimize asset and customer outcomes. We are proud to have been selected by Solar River to deliver this very important project that will benefit a large community in this part of the world.”

Solar River Project CEO Jason May said, “General Electric brings a cutting-edge technology to South Australia, by delivering huge energy transfer capacity with an intelligent operating system”.

Alinta Energy has signed a power purchasing agreement to buy 75% of the solar farm's output for 15 years.

ICN and the Solar River Project have collected registrations of interest through ICN Gateway and are encouraging local suppliers to  ensure their notifications are set up to receive relative work alerts.