Plans for a 280 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the industrial town of Whyalla, South Australia, have been approved by the state government.
The Cultana solar farm is part of a proposed $1 billion renewable energy initiative launched in 2018 by Simec Energy Australia, part of steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance.
The Cultana project will use 780 000 solar panels and will support the energy requirements of GFG’s Whyalla steel plant. It will also supply electricity to the national grid.
The South Australian government awarded consent for the project on the provision that the developer reduces the impact it might have on native vegetation in the region. Simec says it will continue to work towards achieving financial close for the project ahead of an expected construction start date in the second half of 2019.
It has also been working with Australian environmental groups to study ways in which the environmental impact of the solar farm can be minimised.
“Securing Development Approval is an important step in SIMEC Energy Australia’s work to deliver this important solar farm and provide globally competitive energy to Australia business and industry,” said Marc Barrington, CEO, SIMEC Energy Australia. “Delivery of this new sustainable energy generation asset will also contribute to emissions reductions, sustainability objectives, and increase the overall reliability and security of electricity supply for users across the Upper Spencer Gulf region.”