A new renewable energy park in South Australia has been granted approval for its second stage, allowing it to offer most of the services of a traditional fossil fuelled power station – powered by renewables – by the time it’s complete.

Approved by the State Government in June 2018, Stage 2 of the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAREP) will allow up to 500MW of solar photovoltaic generation, 400MW of battery storage and 3000MW seconds of synchronous condenser capacity to be built.

This infrastructure will add capability to the existing project, further improving the generation output to match the South Australian demand profile. It also provides the added benefit of actively supporting additional electricity network system stability through the use of synchronous condenser technology.

The addition of batteries and synchronous condensers to the renewable generation capacity gives the project the ability to react to fluctuations in both voltage and frequency, which can help stabilise the grid and assist the network in reducing potential blackouts.

The project being developed by DP Energy has successfully completed 13 renewable energy projects around the world totalling 400MW, with a further eight totalling over 1000MW currently under development. The projects incorporate wind, solar and tidal energy technologies, with Port Augusta selected as the site for the first hybrid renewable facility due to the region’s unique wind profile and consistently strong solar resource.

DP Energy Business Development Manager, Catherine Way, said the power station represented the next step in renewable technology.

“Renewable energy projects are becoming increasingly mainstream, driven by continual technological advances that deliver greater efficiencies and reduced costs.

“However, the missing piece has always been the ability to provide full grid support and controllable power to match energy demand with energy generation. The unique renewable energy capability of Stage 2 minimises this previous limitation, making this a power station of the future,” Ms Way said.

DP Energy CEO, Simon De Pietro, said Stage 2 approval represented another successful step in the process.

“We’ve now received all the necessary government approvals for the project, which is very encouraging. This latest development will contribute to Port Augusta becoming the renewable energy capital of Australia, now there is no longer coal generation,” Mr De Pietro said.

DP Energy is nearing financial close for Stage 1 of the PAREP, which is a hybrid wind and solar plant. The Stage 2 approval will also allow for battery storage and synchronous condenser to be built on to Stage 1.

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