Electricity grid supply and the power market in South Australia has been topsy-turvy, escalating to crisis level recently. Besieged by shifts in weather patterns, more in the way of extreme weather events and entrenched industry interests battling to maintain their traditional margins and market positions, the state has become a magnet for large-scale battery energy storage and renewable energy systems and project developers.
Having recently inked a deal with Tesla to build what's expected to be the world's largest lithium-ion battery-based energy storage system, the state government announced it had signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to off-take all the electricity produced by a 150 MW solar thermal power plant at Port Augusta.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $650 million. The molten salt-based solar thermal power system expected to come online in 2020 and produce more than enough electricity to meet all the state government's needs, as well as create more than 700 Australian jobs, State Premier Jay Weatherhill highlighted.