Under the contract, SIMEC ZEN Energy will supply more than 80 per cent of the Government’s electricity needs in 2018. This will escalate to 100 per cent in 2019 when it will be backed by local renewable energy projects.
In September ZEN partnered with global company GFG Alliance to launch SIMEC ZEN Energy to help large industrial customers in South Australia use clean renewable energy to meet their demands.
The South Australian Government, which has been a world leader in adopting renewable energy, will be SIMEC ZEN Energy’s first electricity customer. This is expected to help SIMEC ZEN Energy attract other customers, bringing much needed competition to the retail electricity market and putting further downward pressure on prices.
SIMEC ZEN Energy will also provide the State Government with ongoing retail services for five years from 1 November 2020, during which time the whole of the State Government’s load will be supplied by the Aurora solar thermal plant at Port Augusta.
In October, the Board of ZEN Energy approved a strategic plan to establish 1GW of additional dispatchable renewable generation assets to provide access to lower cost, reliable and low emission energy.
The projects in the Upper Spencer Gulf region about 300km north of Adelaide include:
- 200MW of solar PV, comprising 80MW in the Whyalla Council industrial area, expanded by 120MW on adjacent land owned by Liberty OneSteel;
- 100MW/100MWh battery at Port Augusta;
- 100MW of demand response at the Whyalla Steelworks and other South Australian sites;
- 120MW/600MWh pumped hydro storage facility at a disused iron ore mine pit in the Middleback Ranges.
Chairman of SIMEC ZEN Energy and the GFG Alliance Sanjeev Gupta said working hand in hand with governments to deliver solutions to real problems in the market place had long been the hallmark of GFG Alliance.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the contract would support the entry of home-grown renewable energy company SIMEC ZEN Energy into the retail market.
“It’s fantastic that we were able to secure the electricity to supply our hospitals, schools and electrified rail for the next few years while supporting the growth of a new retail business that will bring some much-needed additional competition into the energy market,” he said.
South Australia leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and rooftop solar with renewable sources accounting for more than 40 per cent of the electricity generated in the state. However, the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years has increased South Australia’s reliance on energy supplies from the eastern Australian states, particularly in times of peak demand.
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