Gupta’s 280-MW solar project for Whyalla steelworks wins govt approval

Solar farm. Author: iamme ubeyou. License: CC0 1.0 Universal.

May 14 (Renewables Now) - South Australia has given its nod to the construction of a 280-MW solar park near Whyalla, the first part of UK steel entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta’s ambitious plan to add 1 GW of dispatchable renewables capacity in the Aussie state.

The development approval was signed off by Stephan Knoll, South Australia’s minister for planning, with some conditions. Among those is the completion of an environmental plan related to the management of native flora and fauna, air quality and dust and Aboriginal heritage.

The photovoltaic (PV) park will be installed by SIMEC ZEN Energy, a unit of the Gupta group’s commodity conglomerate GFG Alliance, with construction slated to begin in the second half of the year and end 12-15 months later. The project is being supported through Gupta’s USD-1-billion (EUR 889.6m) fund for renewable energy projects in South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf, which are also planned to power his steel manufacturing business at Whyalla. Financial close is expected to be reached by end-June.

Planned to use 780,000 solar panels, the complex will have an output of around 600 GWh per year. The generated electricity is seen to be enough for nearly 100,000 average households and offset about 492,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.890)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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