Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and French President Emmanuel Macron today [2 May] witnessed the signing of landmark agreements between leading French and Australian businesses – NEOEN and GFG Alliance – designed to dramatically reduce energy costs to industry in Australia.
On the occasion of President Macron’s visit to Australia, leading French renewable energy producer, NEOEN, and British-Australian renewable energy enterprise, SIMEC ZEN Energy – part of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance – signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to develop, operate and supply renewable energy at a far lower cost than has been achieved before.
As a first step, NEOEN CEO, Xavier Barbaro, and GFG Alliance Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for SIMEC ZEN Energy to take most of the output from NEOEN’s Numurkah Solar Farm in northwest Victoria. This 100 MW renewable energy project is owned and developed by NEOEN and already supported by a 38 MW Green Certificate Purchase agreement by the Victorian Government. Through its repeated support and innovative approach to renewable energy, the Victorian Government has enabled this project which will deliver even more benefits to Victoria.
“We believe renewable energy is a game-changer and both agreements reflect a shared commitment to deliver low-cost, sustainable energy solutions into the market,” Mr Barbaro said.
“The switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is the revolution of this century, transforming our economies and our impact on the environment. Such major change demands sustainable, effective solutions.”
Mr Gupta said the purchase agreement would help to lower energy costs at GFG’s Laverton steel works in Victoria, placing the operations on the path to GFG’s well-known GREENSTEEL model. In addition, he said the MOU was an exciting opportunity for the companies to work together to find global renewable energy solutions of even greater scale.
“These agreements reflect GFG and NEOEN’s shared commitment to the goals of economic and environmental sustainability that are strongly advocated by President Macron and Prime Minister Turnbull,” Mr Gupta said.
“Renewable energy is at the heart of our GREENSTEEL and GREENALUMINIUM strategies, designed to make metal production and engineering competitive again in developed countries. We see Australia – with its incomparable energy resources – as the natural home for expansion of energy-intensive industry, with renewables to play an integral role.”
NEOEN and GFG are already major global producers of solar, wind and hydro energy, and large investors in energy storage through batteries and pumped hydro storage. In South Australia alone, NEOEN has taken significant steps to offer residents long-term, sustainable energy alternatives through the innovative Hornsdale Power Reserve, which is home to the biggest lithium-ion battery in the world; while SIMEC ZEN Energy has announced plans for a 120MW battery nearby at Port Augusta as part of a broader 1GW renewable energy and storage plan, adding to GFG’s ambitious renewable energy targets of numerous gigawatts globally.
Founded in 2008, NEOEN is an independent electricity producer from renewable sources, with current capacity of more than 1.8 GW already in operation or under construction, and a further 1 GW of projects formally awarded.
NEOEN operates in Australia, France, Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Zambia, Jamaica, Portugal, Mozambique and the USA. NEOEN runs Europe’s most powerful solar PV installation, in Cestas, France, and the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in Hornsdale, Australia. NEOEN’s main shareholders are Impala (owned by Jacques Veyrat), the fund Capénergie II (managed by Omnes Capital) and Bpifrance.
NEOEN aims to attain a 4 GW capacity by 2020. See www.neoen.com for details.
About SIMEC ZEN Energy
SIMEC ZEN Energy is a new electricity retailer in the National Electricity Market (the ‘NEM’) committed to delivering affordable, sustainable energy solutions to its customers. In late 2017 it was awarded a contract to supply all of the South Australian Government’s electricity requirements.
The company, which is part of the global energy, metals, engineering and financial services group the GFG Alliance, aims to lower electricity prices by using new technologies and Australia’s exceptionally high quality renewable energy resources. The company supplies energy to GFG’s rapidly growing portfolio of mining, metals and industrial companies, as well as the broader customer market.
Red Agency – Fleur Maxwell-Garrett
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