The 212MW Lincoln Gap wind farm, located near Port Augusta in South Australia, has exported its first energy generation as project owner Nexif Energy said it had intervened to keep the project on track while Senvion sorts out its financial problems.
The Lincoln Gap wind farm is one of the biggest new renewable energy developments in the state, and one of a bunch of new projects that will likely take the share of renewable energy to around 70 per cent within a few years.
Lincoln Gap will combine the wind farm with a 10MWh battery storage installation, which could be expanded over time. The first of the Fluence batteries arrive tomorrow, and the installation will be complete by the end of May, project manager Andrew Houston told RenewEconomy.
The wind farm – due to be complete in May next year – is one of two major renewable energy projects under construction in the area, with the first stage of 220MW Bungala solar farm complete, and the other still being completed.
The 95MW Tailem Bend solar farm recently reached its full output for the first time, while other solar farms are being proposed by Sanjeev Gupta’s Simec Energy (280MW at Whyalla), with a number of other projects dependent on new grid connections.
The future of Lincoln Gap, however, was thrown into doubt when Senvion put itself into a form of administration because of financial problems. It landed a €100 million loan facility last week, that should provide enough cash flow as it re-organises itself.
Nexif Energy, however, says it has made interim arrangements to ensure the payment of contractors at Lincoln Gap while Senvion addresses its financial difficulties and requirements.
“These arrangements will be implemented over the coming days and include the provision of funding for Senvion’s on-site subcontractors through direct payment of amounts owing to continue work on the project, which is quickly taking shape,” it said in a statement.
The company did not return calls asking for further details.
Nexif said in its statement that the first of the wind farm’s turbines began exporting its “first meaningful generation” to South Australia’s electricity grid last week and since then, another two wind turbines have commenced operations.
It said work on the project is proceeding and a second such crane is due on site in early May to substantially increase the rate at which the turbines are established and generation output over coming months.