South Australia’s energy future keeps getting sunnier.
Renewable energy giant RES has announced plans to build a 176-megawatt plant and a battery storage system at Pallamana.
The project would create 200 jobs during its construction phase, plus about 320 down the supply chain in the accommodation, hospitality, cleaning, trades and services and other industries.
It would generate enough electricity to power 82,000 homes, RES said, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 140,000 tonnes per year.
RES said proximity to the grid and main roads, the flattness of the land and the low risk of any environmental impact were among the factors which had attracted it to a site between Hillview Road and Monarto Road, south of the Pallamana airfield and four kilometres from Murray Bridge.
A handful of full-time staff members would look after the plant during its operational life of about 30 years, and sheep would be allowed to graze between the solar panels.
Should the plant be decommissioned after that, the land would be returned to its agricultural state.
The 730-hectare site is currently used for cropping.
RES said the project had gained "Crown sponsorship" in February.
The company expected to apply for development approval in the first half of this year, and hoped to begin construction in the second quarter of 2019.
Construction would not be funded by any level of government, but RES would receive a subsidy worth about $85 per megawatt hour once the plant began working as part of the federal government’s renewable energy target.
RES describes itself as the world's largest independent renewable energy company, and has links with solar and wind energy projects in New South Wales and Victoria as well as nine other countries.
The Pallamana plant would be the second in the Murraylands.
Vena Energy – formerly Equis Energy – is constructing another solar plant, with a capacity of up to 238MW, at Tailem Bend.
- More information: RES will host a drop-in session at Murray Bridge Town Hall from 3-7pm on May 29; otherwise visit www.pallamana-solarfarm.com or call 1800 118 737.