Solar farm, battery up for sale

BATTERY ON THE BLOCK: The Playford Utility Battery could be sold by GFG Alliance with SIMEC Energy retaining an interest.
BATTERY ON THE BLOCK: The Playford Utility Battery could be sold by GFG Alliance with SIMEC Energy retaining an interest.

Fresh after clawing their way out of the hole of debt left by Greensil's collapse, GFG Alliance are now looking to either sell or form a partnership over its Cultana Solar Farm and Playford Utility Battery.

The two projects, located near Whyalla and Port Augusta respectively, are part of GFG Chairman Sanjeev Gupta's renewable energy investment in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

In a statement, GFG subsidiary SIMEC Energy said global accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY) had been engaged to look at sales or partnership options for Mr Gupta's projects.

"The SIMEC group has developed the Cultana Solar Farm to a shovel-ready status with relevant approvals and licenses in place, while a site near Port Augusta has been secured for the Playford Utility Battery and planning is well advanced," they said.

"The projects have been designed to supply and store renewable energy to power GFG's Whyalla Steelworks, as well as supply renewable energy to the national energy grid.

Partnership and sale options under consideration will include SIMEC retaining an interest and GFG retaining priority access to this energy for its Whyalla development plans.

"This is a practical step to explore ways to power our Whyalla operations with low cost renewable energy sooner, which is key to our future ambitions," a spokesperson said.

"These projects are not only important for GFG's own needs but all also contribute clean and green energy back into the national power grid."

The Cultana Solar Farm was announced at GFG's big reveal back in 2018, and construction was anticipated to start by the end of 2020, though it appears progress has since stalled.

The 280MW solar farm was tipped to to produce 600GWh of energy per year, powering the Whyalla Steelworks and a range of key government and commercial customers.

SIMEC recently secured development approval for the Playford Battery, which has a nominal capacity of 100MW/100MWh with the capability to provide a peak response of 135MW when demand is at its highest.