Lyon begins sale process for solar storage projects

Lyon Group has shortlisted bidders for the first three projects in its Australian pipeline of integrated large-scale solar and large-scale battery storage projects.

The projects include a 55MW solar, 20MW storage project in Cape York, Queensland; a 250MW solar, 80MW storage project in Nowingi, Victoria; and a 240MW solar, 100MW storage project in Riverland, South Australia.

The transaction, which is expected to close by the end of 2017, is part of Lyon’s strategy to develop more than 2000MW of large-scale storage and more than 1000MW of large-scale battery storage within the next three years.

The names of the shortlisted bidders cannot be confirmed at this stage but Lyon will retain a stake as part of the transaction.

Following extensive processes with relevant development authorities, electricity transmission companies and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), these three projects are all on track for Notice to Proceed by February 2018.

Development approvals and offers to connect are either granted or imminent. Lyon has selected preferred EPC contractors and equipment suppliers.

Lyon Partner David Green said the transaction was one of the biggest M&A plays unfolding in Australia right now.

“Major global players are keen to purchase Australia’s only imminent dispatchable new renewables projects because they will deliver commercial returns, with no government funding,” he said.

“These are the world’s biggest integrated solar and storage projects. The purchaser will be a major new player bringing competition to the Australian market.

“These projects will undercut gas generation, which has commonly set the wholesale electricity price in recent times. The shift from 30 to 5-minute settlement will enhance their value.”

Mr Green said, despite wrangling over the National Electricity Guarantee, the market had already determined that the shift to more renewable energy and greater focus on system security and reliability were directionally settled.

“Most investors, energy companies and consumers are clear that the energy system will become increasingly clean and smart,” he said.

“Projects like these are central to energy transition. They enable substantially higher levels of variable, zero emissions generation, while strengthening the resilience of the system.”

“These projects are good for consumers and all other people who want to see downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, major new competition in the generation market, and a grid with greater stability and less need for costly augmentation.”