Preferred suppliers appointed for hybrid renewable power station

DP Energy has appointed preferred suppliers to develop stage one of its Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, which will be Australia’s largest hybrid renewable power station.

The power station will be fuelled by a combination of wind and solar power, with wind-energy leader Vestas selected as the preferred supplier for the wind turbines, and engineering firm Downer the solar energy component. Vestas will also be responsible for the control system to integrate the energy production of the solar and wind energy components.

The Energy Park is scheduled to be completed in two stages with the first stage delivering a 375 megawatt (MW) facility, comprising around 220MW of wind power and 150MW of solar power. Stage two includes additional solar capacity as well as battery storage capacity of nominally 300MW and 400MW respectively.

Once complete the power station will connect to the national electricity network via the nearby Davenport substation and is projected to produce 1,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) per annum, enough to power 200,000 South Australian households each year, with an emissions saving of approximately 470,000 metric tonnes of CO2 annually.

The wind component of the Port Augusta power station will be largely driven by thermal winds, which result from temperature differences between land and sea. The significant advantage of thermal winds is wind strength increases throughout the day, which means energy production peaks early evening when demand for power is greatest. This effect is stronger during summer when seasonal demand is greatest. The power station will also be supported by solar energy.

Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2018, creating 250 jobs during the construction phase, peaking at 600 at the height of the development. DP Energy estimates the cost of the project at approximately $600 million, with a significant proportion to be spent in the regional economy of Port Augusta.

DP Energy CEO, Simon De Pietro, said the company had been working on the project for several years.

“Up until now we’ve been focused on proving the viability of the concept. The appointment of our preferred key contractors, Vestas and Downer, represents a significant milestone in the progression of the project. We’ve also secured the support of a lead infrastructure investor, which is very encouraging and further ensures the development of the facility,” Mr De Pietro said.

“A critically important component of our power station is the thermal wind generation capacity. The wind farm will be producing at maximum strength at the peak of local electricity demand. This will be further complemented by high levels of solar power generation. Matching supply with demand ensures maximum efficiency and reliability.”

DP Energy Business Development Manager, Catherine Way, said the power station would deliver reliable 21st century clean energy.

“Renewable energy projects have become mainstream now, with prices cheaper than new build gas and coal stations helped by lower operating costs as the resources are free,” Ms Way said.

“When the facility is fully complete the end result has the potential to be a game changer for energy production and provision in Australia.”

Stage two of the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park includes the option for synchronous condensers; when coupled with the battery storage capacity of stage two will ensure the facility can provide not only dispatchable renewable energy, but also fulfil many of the network stability functions normally associated with conventional coal and gas generation.

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