December 18 (Renewables Now) - The government of South Australia has struck a contract with local energy retailer SIMEC ZEN Energy that will help it meet more than 80% of its power needs before a large solar park goes online in the state.
As part of the “bridging” deal, SIMEC ZEN Energy, now owned by Britain's GFG Alliance, will supply the government's entire power demand in 2019 and 80% of it in 2018, the government announced on Monday.
The pact, which makes the state government SIMEC ZEN Energy’s first electricity customer, is seen to bring “much needed competition” to the power retail market and drag prices down, the government said. Further details, including negotiated prices under the contract, which the government says are competitive, were not provided.
In 2020 a 150-MW concentrating solar power (CSP) complex by SolarReserve LLC is scheduled for completion at Port Augusta. Once up and running, it will meet all of the government’s power needs. After November 1, 2020, when the Aurora complex will be available, SIMEC ZEN Energy will provide ongoing retail services to South Australia for five years.
The Australian firm was set up in September following the acquisition of a stake in Australian solar and storage firm ZEN Energy by GFG Alliance of steel entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta. The joint venture was formed by GFG’s energy division SIMEC Energy and is involved in several large-scale photovoltaic (PV), battery storage and pumped hydro projects.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.766/EUR 0.651)