Dutch renewable energy developer Photon Energy plans to build a 300 MW solar power plant in South Australia with a 3.6 GWh energy storage system (the world's leading energy storage capacity) ), the program has made solid progress and has won State Government Crown Sponsorship for development approval.
This means the project becomes part of the public infrastructure development and the approval process will be carried out directly by the South Australian Department of Energy. Photon Energy, headquartered in the Netherlands, is using technology from Australian energy developer RayGen to carry out the project.
"The proposed development complies with the requirements of the technical regulator for the safety and stability of the nation's electricity system," Photon said in its first-half results report.
"Meanwhile, Photon Energy has submitted a grid connection application for the project to South Australian grid company Electranet and has engaged a grid connection consultant to manage the grid connection operation and conduct grid connection performance studies, which will be submitted for approval."
The project was included in the South Australian development plan in November 2021, when Photon Energy revealed it had secured 1200 hectares of land, which it said would be the largest solar + energy storage project in the world.
According to the latest progress of the project, Photon is still sticking to this statement, pointing out that the target storage capacity of 3.6 GWh is equivalent to 24 hours of operation at full load, more than the solar power plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco. 3 GWh of energy storage capacity – currently the world’s largest energy storage capacity (excluding pumped hydro).
However, it could miss the title depending on the pace of progress on the Northern Territory's Sun Cable project, which aims to develop up to 20 GW of photovoltaic systems and up to 42 GWh of battery storage energy system.
RayGen's technology, which uses mirrors to reflect sunlight to high-performance photovoltaic receivers and water-based long-term energy storage systems mounted on a central tower, has also been supported by AGL Energy, Equinor, Schlumn Backed by Schlumberger and U.S. fossil fuel giant Chevron.
RayGen's "solar hydroelectric" technology is currently being used in the first grid-scale test of the Karwapu project in western Victoria, where the solar-producing components were connected to the grid just a week ago.
The Karwapu project, backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has a solar tower with a capacity of 4 MW. The commissioning of the water-based storage section, which has a capacity equivalent to 17 hours of production at a rated power of 3 MW, or 50 MWh, has been delayed until early 2023.
In a statement to RenewEconomy on Monday, RayGen chief executive Richard Payne said the company was "excited" with Photon's progress on the South Australian project, which will be located in the central Eyre Peninsula Yadenari, near Cliff, will bring world-class energy storage capacity and inertia to the grid and create new local jobs during construction and operations. We will continue to maintain a close working relationship with Photon Energy on this and other projects. "
Photon said it also held community consultation sessions for the project in South Australia and had a "very positive response" from the community and local councils.
"The local council is very supportive of the project and has expressed interest in working with Photon Energy on accommodation and local supply chains in areas that benefit both the local community and the project," the report said.