Vena Energy Australia announced today the completion of its 95 megawatt (MW) Tailem Bend Solar Project at an official opening ceremony attended by the Member for Hammond, Adrian Pederick.
The opening follows the $200 million project achieving “first generation” in February this year, when the first batch of more than 390,000 photovoltaic solar panels were switched on as part of a staged testing and commissioning process.
Vena Energy Australia’s managing director, Mr Anil Nangia, said achieving full commercial operation at the site and its connection to the national grid followed years of hard work.
“It is very satisfying that this has come together like we planned and it’s a great demonstration of what can be achieved after lots of hard work by our staff, landowners, consultants, contractors and regulators, including many local suppliers who have been with us from the start,” Mr Nangia said.
A significant partnership for the project, that was formed quite early on, was with Snowy Hydro Limited who signed a 22-year offtake agreement for 100 percent of the project’s energy output.
Snowy Hydro’s CEO Mr Paul Broad said it was great to be working with Vena Energy Australia and that Tailem Bend was the first solar project that the company contracted with.
“Through our retail energy brand in South Australia Lumo Energy, we can supply solar energy to our customers right across the State.” Mr Broad said.
A peak construction workforce of more than 250 and a fleet of excavators, bulldozers, graders, cranes, trucks and trenchers have taken 12 months to transform close to 280 hectares at Tailem Bend, 100km south-east of Adelaide in South Australia.
Mr Nangia said nearly half the workforce was from the local region while most of the work shirts and heavy machines on site sported the names of local businesses including Rivercity Excavations, Mosel Surveyors and Moore Cranes.
“We’ve found the best project outcomes are delivered when you involve local contractors and suppliers wherever possible,” he said.
Wayne Gerlach, owner of Murray Bridge-based Rivercity Excavations, said he was pleased to have been involved in the project.
“Any big project is always good for any company and what’s more it was close to home,” Mr Gerlach said.
“The project has done wonders for Tailem Bend because they used local people, that was the best part about it.”
Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick said the project would help deliver affordable, reliable and cleaner energy to South Australian households and businesses.
“Tailem Bend is a great spot for this project and highlights the region’s natural advantages,” Mr Pederick said.
“I’ve certainly appreciated the extra jobs and money going into businesses near Tailem Bend,” he said.
Tailem Bend joins Bungala Solar Farm near Port Augusta as the first large-scale solar projects to begin production in South Australia. The project will deliver in the order of 200,000 MW hours of renewable energy per year, which is predicted to meet the annual needs of approximately 40,000 homes.
In Australia, Vena Energy is progressing over 2,400MW of renewable energy projects across the country including Tailem Bend Solar Project Stage 2, which is similar in size to Tailem Bend Solar Project, and a Tailem Bend Battery Energy Storage Project.