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World's Biggest Solar + Battery Farm Coming to Australia

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Photo credit: Lyon Group

A massive solar and battery farm is being built in South Australia's Riverland region.

If everything goes to plan, the plant will be running by the end of 2017 and will be the largest such system in the world, Brisbane-based renewable energy developer and investor Lyon Group announced.


The Riverland plant consists of 330MW of solar PV and a 100MW/400MWh battery storage system, or 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries.

The new project couldn't come sooner. A major gas shortage is looming and the country's decades-old coal plants are shutting down, sparking potential price hikes and putting the nation's energy security at risk.

The $1 billion (US $767 million) project was announced amid South Australia's recent spate of blackouts.

Interestingly, the ball really seemed to roll after an intriguing tweet from none other than Elon Musk.

You may recall that earlier this month the Tesla CEO offered to build a 100MW battery storage farm for the Australian state. To up the ante, he said he would provide the system for free if it was not commissioned within 100 days. Musk's audacious bet led to an eventual conversation with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Days later, the South Australian government announced an open, competitive tender for a 100MW battery storage project.

"The battery will modernize South Australia's energy grid and begin the transformation to the next generation of renewable-energy storage technologies," the government office stated.

According to Australia's ABC News, Lyon Group partner David Green said the company will build its new plant, along with a similar plant near the town of Roxby Downs, regardless of the outcome of the government's tender:

The Lyon Group has already signaled its intention to bid for a SA government tender to build a battery storage system with 100-megawatt output.

The tender arrangement would give the government the right to tap the battery storage at times of peak demand, but allow the project owner to sell energy and stability into the market at other times.

An expressions of interest process closes on Friday.

Other companies, including Carnegie, Zen Energy and Tesla, have all suggested they could be interested in bidding.

Green said the outcome of the tender would not determine whether or not Lyon's projects were built, but would influence the final storage configuration in terms of the balance between optimizing grid security and capturing trading revenue.

Green said the project was 100 percent equity financed and construction would begin within months, requiring 270 workers, ABC News reported.

"We see the inevitability of the need to have large-scale solar and integrated batteries as part of any move to decarbonize," Green added.

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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