June 29, 2021 Read More →

Alinta plans WA solar+battery farm to set new benchmarks for Australia

Renew Economy:

Energy utility Alinta has unveiled plans for a 90MW solar farm and a four-hour big battery near Port Hedland in Western Australia, part of a major new power play that will set new benchmarks for solar and battery storage   in Australia.

The plans are for a 90MW solar farm near Port Hedland and a 30MW/120MWh big battery adjoining the existing gas generator in the same area, and both will be the largest of their type away from a major grid in Australia, and the battery may end up being the first four-hour installation in the country.

The plan, first unveiled by Alinta at the Pilbara 2021 regional conference last week, heralds the rapid growth of renewables and storage in the major mining region in the remote north-west, an area that until a few years ago saw little alternative to their complete dependence on expensive and heavily polluting fossil fuels.

Alinta has already built a hugely successful big battery at Mt Newman, and is just completing the finishing touches to its 60MW Chichester solar farm (pictured above) that will help power the huge mining operations of  Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue iron ore group.

Fortescue is also looking to add large scale solar and big batteries at its new mines, as are Rio Tinto and BHP and even Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill at their respective mining operations. The miners’ plans go well beyond just providing power for mine sites, however, with Fortescue and others looking for massive multi-gigawatt scale projects for renewable hydrogen.

Alinta’s strategy at Port Hedland is to use the new solar farm and the four-hour big battery to respond to demand from its corporate customers for cleaner energy.

[Giles Parkinson]

More: Alinta plans big solar farm and four hour battery in Port Hedland grid play

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