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Nexif Energy to begin construction on first stage of A$450mn Lincoln Gap wind farm

Germany’s Senvion SA confirmed today it has received a notice to proceed under a contract to implement the 126MW first phase of the Lincoln Gap wind project in South Australia.

The turnkey contract for the construction of the Lincoln Gap wind farm has been given to Senvion Australia and it is expected to start operations in the first quarter of 2019.

Senvion will install 35 units of its 3.6M140 EBC turbine as part of this phase. It noted that this would be the first time for a machine from its 3-MW platform to be erected in Australia.

The turbine is equipped with the load-reducing pitch control system Eco Blade Control (EBC) technology

that optimises load management, and also has a newly-designed steel tower and a larger rotor diameter of 140m.

The construction phase will produce an average workforce of up to 130 employees, with more than half to be sourced from South Australia.

Snowy Hydro and ERM Power are supporting the first stage of the project with their offtake agreements.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has lent up to A$150mn (US$115mn) for construction, while Investec has provided facilities totalling A$39mn for working capital and letters of credit, after coming to an agreement with independent power producer, Nexif Energy.

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CEFC wind sector lead Andrew Gardner praised the move to integrate more renewable energy into the National Electricity Market.

“This project demonstrates how we can move to the next phase of the clean energy transition, delivering a cleaner, reliable and affordable energy supply, by incorporating the latest technology at the greenfield development stage to create a stronger, more integrated grid,” Gardner said.

Part of the financing will go towards a 10MW battery energy storage system, capable of producing up to 10MWh of fast response storage capacity.

The facility will be one of the country's largest private sector-initiated and owned grid battery systems not supported by a government contract or benefitting from government grants.

It follows the Tesla big battery (100MW/129MWh), next to the 315MW Hornsdale wind farm, and the 30MW/8MWh battery to be put next to the 96MW Wattle Point wind farm.

“Large-scale battery technology is developing rapidly, and we expect costs to fall significantly, as we have seen with wind and solar,” said Gardner.

A further stage will add another 86MW in wind power delivering enough electricity to power around 155,000 homes once the project is fully operational.

The entire complex, consisting of 59 turbines, is expected to generate over 800,000 MWh of electricity annually.

It will feed electricity into South Australia’s power grid via the ElectraNet transmission network.

The second stage is likely to come with additional battery storage, probably another 20MW/20MWh, although the size and configuration – and whether it focuses on FCAS, or time shifting, or both, will depend on the results of the first stage.

The wind farm will be located near Port Augusta.

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