ENI Australia, a subsidiary of Italian energy major ENI, has completed the acquisition of a construction-ready solar photovoltaic (PV) project near Katherine, in the Northern Territory of Australia, from Katherine Solar, a joint venture between Australia’s Epuron and the UK-based Island Green Power.
According to ENI, once completed, the project will be the largest PV farm in the Northern Territory, consisting of the installation of 33.7 MWp (Mega Watt peak) of ground-mounted PV panels, as well as a battery storage system with a capacity of 5.7 MVA/2.9MWh (Mega Volt Ampere and Mega Watt hour).
To ensure optimum operational performance, an innovative cloud coverage predicting technology will also be installed, ENI said, adding that these technologies would allow the plant to forecast and compensate for possible variations in solar irradiation by taking energy from a storage system so as to minimize the impact to the grid.
Epuron will have an active role in managing the PV farm once it is operational. Construction is expected to start in the next few weeks, with an expected commercial operation date in the fourth quarter of 2019.
This project will contribute to the Northern Territory’s government goal to procure 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, ENI said, adding that once operational, the PV farm will avoid around 63.000 tonnes/year of CO2 equivalent emissions.
ENI said this initiative marks the Italian company’s entry in the Australian renewables market and compliments the company’s existing assets in the region’s oil and gas sector.
ENI has been present in Australia through its subsidiary ENI Australia since 2000. It is the operator and 100% owner of the Blacktip Gas Project and has a non-operated interest in the Bayu-Undan gas and condensate field and in the associated Darwin LNG plant.