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Neoen announces project completion

Neoen, owner of the DeGrussa 10.6MW Solar Station, the largest Australian off-grid Hybrid power plant, announces project completion.

Leading French renewable energy firm Neoen, announced the DeGrussa Solar Hybrid power plant is now generating at full capacity. This 10.6MW solar PV farm which is coupled with a 6MW battery facility has been commissioned in May 2016 at the off-grid DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine, owned by Australian mining company Sandfire Resources (ASX: SFR). Neoen, who acquired the juwi-developed project, has provided the construction equity and is the long-term owner-manager. The Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Operation and Maintenance functions are provided by juwi.

The installation, worth $40 million, based on single-axis trackers and a 6MW battery, is spread over 20 hectares and is the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility in use by the mining industry in Australia, and reportedly, in the world.

The DeGrussa Solar Hybrid project is expected to reduce the medium and long-term power costs of the mine, demonstrating the integration of solar PV with the diesel power station, providing a base-load power supply to the mine, designed to provide the majority of Sandfire’s daytime electricity requirements, cutting annual diesel consumption and more than 15% of Sandfire’s reported CO2 emissions for the 2015 financial year.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided a $20.9 million recoupable grant. ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht declared: “This is a profound example of renewables providing substantial, reliable and cost effective results for one of Australia’s largest industries”.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is committing up to $15 million in finance. “This project demonstrates the financial, health and environmental benefits that moving towards renewable energy solutions can provide” CEFC CEO, Mr Yates said.

Sandfire’s Managing Director, Mr Karl Simich, said “This project has already attracted a significant amount of interest from within the mining industry in Australia with Sandfire receiving inquiries from several of our peers interested in adopting this technology at their mine sites. I would not be surprised to see more facilities like this built over the next few years, as the benefits and potential of solar power become increasingly recognised across the resource sector.”

Franck Woitiez, Managing Director of Neoen Australia, commented: “Neoen is thrilled with this major success and recognizes that Australia is a tremendous place for the development of such innovative projects.

ARENA and the CEFC are valuable partners and we are eager to work again with those organizations and deliver cost effective and reliable power from our Solar plants.”

Neoen already has a proven track-record of strong project management to deliver its assets on time and budget. It is currently building two 100MW stages of the Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia and is ready to deliver its 125MW Solar projects in New South Wales. Building on its expertise and develop-invest-hold approach, Neoen has a portfolio of more than 1,000MW of projects across Australia and aims at owning and operating 600MW by 2020 in the country.

Source: Neoen Australia Press Release

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