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US$1 Billion Renewable Energy Program Launched in Whyalla, South Australia

SIMEC ZEN Energy – part of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance – has launched its landmark US$1 billion, one‐gigawatt dispatchable renewable energy program in the Upper Spencer Gulf today, unveiling details of its first project – the exciting Cultana Solar Farm project.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer, and SIMEC ZEN Energy Chairman Sanjeev Gupta were on hand to launch the first of many renewable energy projects planned for the region by SIMEC ZEN Energy, including cogeneration at GFG’s Whyalla Primary Steel plant using waste gas; the world’s largest lithium‐ion battery; and trailblazing pumped hydro projects at GFG’s Middleback Ranges mining operations.

Mr Gupta believes there is a great future for energy‐intensive industries in Australia, with this the first step in GFG leading the country’s industrial transition to more competitive energy.

“Today’s event is symbolic of our desire to develop and invest in new‐generation energy assets that will bring down Australia’s electricity prices to competitive levels again, as well as our commitment to local and regional Australia,” he said.

“In particular, this signals the beginning of our journey with a number of stakeholders to not only transform GFG’s operations in Whyalla, but also further enhance the appeal of this great city.”

The project boasts an impressive 600GWh of energy generation per year – enough to power almost 100,000 average homes – drawn from 780,000 solar panels across an area 550 times larger than Adelaide Oval.

Mr Gupta said this project – together with SIMEC ZEN’s second solar project, in development to be built nearby – will make this one of Australia’s largest solar farms, with even larger projects to follow in other states.

“All of these projects will not only improve reliability and greatly reduce the cost of electricity in our own operations, they will also provide competitive sources of power for other industrial and commercial users, while at the same time playing a key role in the market’s transition towards renewables,” he said.

“We have a strong conviction that traditional carbon‐intensive generation sources do not have a long‐term future as the predominant source of power in Australia and globally. We believe the world is undergoing a momentous transition to renewable power as the cost of renewables drops dramatically and quickly.

“It is, however, important that we acknowledge and also support the critical role that coal and other traditional fossil‐fuel‐based power must play in this transition.”

Mr Gupta said he had no doubt that generations to come would be powered mostly by renewable power, however this transition would take time and must be phased in carefully.

“Looking forward, we will therefore continue to invest in renewables, helping drive their market penetration and continual increase in affordability and reliability,” he said.

“At the same time, we will make use of traditional power sources supporting an orderly transition.”

Mayor Breuer commended Mr Gupta for his vision for the region, with council keen to partner with GFG in the rejuvenation of Whyalla over the coming decades, including leasing a portion of the land for the Cultana project.

“We’ve already seen Sanjeev invest tens of millions improving efficiencies and reducing input costs for his Whyalla operations, this now marks the beginning of his long‐term investment program,” Mayor Breuer said.

“Most importantly for Whyalla, this project signals to the nation that Whyalla is open for development, helping attract industries to our great city and further diversify and strengthen our economy.”

SIMEC ZEN Energy has commenced preliminary consultation discussions with the local community regarding the project, and will continue to engage closely with key stakeholders as it progresses through the remaining approval processes. Development approval is currently anticipated within the fourth quarter of this year, with construction commencing in the first quarter of 2019.

SIMEC ZEN Energy will also launch a number of ways to consult with the community on the project, including a 1300 phone number, project website, and consultation events throughout the local area. These events will commence with an information stall at this weekend’s Whyalla Show, and people can also request further information via the project email address CultanaSolarPS@zenenergy.com.au.

Cultana Solar Project – Fast Facts

  • 280MW capacity
  • 780,000 solar panels
  • 1100 hectares in size
  • 550 times larger than Adelaide Oval
  • 600GWh of energy generation per year
  • Enough energy to power over 96,000 homes
  • Offsetting 492,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year
  • 350 direct jobs during the construction phase; 10 ongoing operation and maintenance positions
  • Upskilling of the indigenous and local workforce
  • Construction expected to commence in early 2019

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, and in May 2018 awarded the electricity supply contract for the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy Joint Purchasing Group.

The company, which is part of the global energy, metals, engineering and financial services group of 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.

GFG Alliance

The GFG Alliance is a London‐headquartered international group of businesses, founded and owned by the British Gupta Family, with revenue of over US$15 billion and more than 14,000 staff. It combines energy generation, metal manufacturing, engineering, natural resources and financial services, working together to deliver a common business strategy. The Alliance comprises Liberty ‐  an integrated industrial and metals business –– SIMEC – an energy, resources and infrastructure group ‐ Wyelands –– a banking and financial services arm – and JAHAMA Estates ––the Alliance’s global property division. Through its GREENSTEEL strategy, the GFG Alliance promotes industrial revival based on low‐carbon and sustainable production methods.

For further information or media queries, please contact:
Sean Kelly: 0411 054 643; sean.kelly@gfgalliance.com

Image courtesy of reneweconomy.com.au 
Photo credit: David Mariuz

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