Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan still confident of solar thermal in Port Augusta

POWER: Tesla is set to install the world's biggest lithium ion battery at the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown. The decision may lead to Zen Energy shelving its proposal for a solar plant with battery storage in Port Augusta.
POWER: Tesla is set to install the world's biggest lithium ion battery at the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown. The decision may lead to Zen Energy shelving its proposal for a solar plant with battery storage in Port Augusta.

STATE Shadow Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has reiterated the priority to get the ‘best deal possible’ for solar thermal in Port Augusta, following the announcement that Tesla will build the world's biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia.

With state government backing the Tesla-Neoen project near Jamestown, Zen Energy may shelve its proposal for a $100 million solar plant with a 100 megawatt battery in Port Augusta.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said it is only logical that the new 129 megawatt-hours battery at the Hornsdale Wind Farm would have an impact on Zen’s proposal.

“I think it is a little bit more difficult for Zen Energy because they are specifically talking about installing a battery, but I don’t believe it should diminish the chance of a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta,” he said.

“I think the most important opportunity for solar thermal is still the state government's tender.

I think the most important opportunity for solar thermal is still the state government's tender.

State Shadow Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan

“The state government should be looking at awarding its electricity tender to a new solar thermal power plant in Port Augusta.”

Zen Energy is now assessing whether there is room for two battery storage projects in the state.

The Port Augusta-based plant was expected to create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase.

Zen Energy Chairman Ross Garnaut said that while the state government’s decision is disappointing for Zen, it is a ‘magnificent outcome’ for SA.

“To have beaten us in a competitive process, the Tesla project must be even better,” he said.

“The Zen big battery at Port Augusta is designed for the special features of the wholesale power and frequency control ancillary services markets in SA.

“Over the next few weeks, Zen will assess whether there is still room in the SA market for our own Port Augusta battery based grid energy solution.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has an agreement with state government to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery in ‘100 days or it’s free’.

State government’s electricity supply tender closed in January, with the award expected to be announced in August.