According to The Australian Financial Review, private equity-backed Lyon Group is launching a $660 million combined solar and storage project in north-west Victoria backed by Mitsubishi and others, the sort of investment it says will be at the heart of the future power grid.
To be built in the Sunraysia township of Nowingi the project is one of three ventures worth almost $2 billion that will be underpinned by what Lyon partner David Green describes as a "world-first" tender to utilities, retailers and energy users offering services from power-on-demand to frequency and network control.
Lyon will on Tuesday seek expressions of interest from electricity market participants - including generators, network owners and energy users - for contracts and other services to cover up to 640 megawatt-hours of storage capacity from the three projects across Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.
Lyon, a Brisbane-based partnership whose backers include Mitsubishi of Japan, US hedge fund Magnetar Capital and others, will finalise the design of the storage systems depending on which contracts are signed in the tender.
The tender will also offer products from two other Lyon projects, the already-announced Cape York venture in Queensland, costing up to $200 million, and the $1 billion Riverland project in South Australia. Services on offer include energy price arbitrage, load shifting, "firming" back-up power, and other "ancillary" functions.
Mr Green said the tender "turns the market on its head" by offering a range of potential services from batteries to networks, generators and energy users, instead of responding to a specific need of a market player.
The Nowingi project's 2.3 million solar panels, with a capacity of 250 megawatts, will charge an 80 megawatt battery storage system able to run for about two hours, making it the world's second-biggest after the Riverland venture, announced in March. Construction will start in June, involving 250 jobs, with the project to be running in December.
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