Total Eren, the partnership between Total, one of the world’s fossil fuel majors and renewable energy company EREN RE, has stated that it’s recently announced 200 MW Kiamal solar farm project in Victoria, Australia has also received approval for an enormous battery energy storage system (BESS).
The BESS and solar facility, which will be located in the north-west of the state, close to the town of Ouyen. The local authorities, Mildura council, have given approval for a 100 MW/380 MWh storage facility.
Kiamal solar farm, once completed, will be the largest solar facility in Victoria and one of the largest in Australia. The announced 200 MW is intended to be the initial stage of the project, with expansion to up to 350 MW being possible in the future. While approval for a battery storage system with large capacity has already been received, it is unclear at this stage how much of that capacity will be installed in the near future.
Michael Vawser, the head of operations for Total Eren Australia, states that the company is likely to be a key player in the Australian clean energy sector. Paris Mouratoglou, the company founder, had already founded EdF Energie Nouvelles (EdF, the giant public French utility, and David Corchia now have full ownership of the renewable energy organisation). Vawser himself has previously been involved with many previous Australian renewable projects. In September 2017 Total acquired a 23% stake in the company with a €237m investment.
Total, the fourth largest fossil fuel company in the world, have stated it wants to be a “responsible” energy giant. “They have big ambitions in the renewable energy space, very big ambitions and they want to expand ownership over time,” Vawser says.
Previous projects by Total Eren have mostly been located in developing markets such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“The economics of projects here are not as good as in emerging countries …. but that is offset by the stability of this market, the rule of law, and investors are comfortable taking lower returns,” Vawser says.
Vawser continues. “We have built projects in Latin America, and Africa, and we bring to Australia our experience of cost improvements. We have efficiencies internally that we can bring – that is one of our competitive advantages.”
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