Oil supermajor Shell further boosted its footprint in the Australian renewables sector by taking a half-share in a major hybrid energy project that is set to supply green power to mining and other industrial consumers.
Shell joined infrastructure investor Foresight in a 50/50 swoop for the 375MW Kondinin Energy project in Western Australia, acquiring development rights from local player Lacour and Chinese wind giant Goldwind – which is in line to equip the plant – for an undisclosed sum.
Kondinin plans to deploy up to 235MW of wind, 80MW of solar and 60MW/120MWh of battery storage at its site about 250km east of Perth. A first 121MW wind phase is due for construction in 2024 once a final investment decision is made.
Shell has reportedly earmarked Australia as a key market for its growing renewables and green energy operations. The UK-based supermajor made its first wind power investment in Australia in March by taking a 49% share in local player WestWind Energy.
Shell Australia Country Chair, Tony Nunan, said: “We believe Kondinin’s location in Western Australia and late-stage development phase means it is strategically placed to support decarbonisation of the mining and resources sector, as well as the growing number of commercial and industrial customers seeking low carbon energy.
“We will need a diversity of renewable sources to meet growing demand for energy at the same time as reducing emissions. Kondinin’s combination of onshore wind, solar and large-scale battery storage strengthens our significant investment in building a low-carbon power business in Australia in recent years.”
Helping to green operations of Australia’s vast mining sector is one of a clutch of positives attracting the global green power sector Down Under. Others include a supportive national government since this year’s elections, ambitious state targets to retire fossil fuels and wide-open spaces for development of plants large enough for renewable hydrogen production.
Challenges remain, however, especially in getting the nation’s grid in a fit shape to handle increased renewable generation.
Shell’s global renewables strategy has seen it make significant moves into offshore wind – including floating, where it is involved in several pioneering technology and project ventures – as well as making acquisitions such as this year’s $1.55bn deal for Sprng Energy, one of India’s fastest-growing wind and solar developer and operators.