Originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorrath
Darwin is set to play host to Australia’s very own – and mostly likely it’s first – solar powered battery “giga-factory,” after local renewables outfit Energy Renaissance said it had received support from the Northern Territory government for its proposed 1GWh lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant.
Energy Renaissance said on Friday that it had reached an agreement on support from the NT government, helping to “seal the deal” – foreshadowed here in June – to site the facility in Darwin.
The company, which has offices in the ACT, Sydney and Darwin, claims the factory will be the Southern Hemisphere’s first facility producing semi-solid state lithium-ion batteries, which it says are uniquely optimised for warm climates.
The plant, to be named ‘Renaissance One’, is expected to have seven production lines – due to become operational in late 2018 – and looks likely to include rooftop solar panels, although no details on this aspect of the plant have been revealed.
According to the Energy Renaissance website, the company has an “exclusive partnership with the world’s leading semi-solid lithium-ion specialist,” and the financial backing of founding shareholder UGL Limited, and now the NT government.
It also claims the batteries produced at its Darwin plant will have the ”lowest cost of ownership in the market,” a long calendar and cycle life, and the capability to be tailored to client specifications.
“With planning for the facility heating up, reaching an agreement on support from the Northern Territory Government could not have come at a better time,” a statement from the company said on Friday.
“Renaissance One will be a large and highly innovative manufacturing facility, and aims to become an employer of choice for the local workforce.
“Local industries will benefit directly from engagement with the manufacturing supply chain, and indirectly from increased cash-flow within the local economy,” it said.
NT chief minister, Michael Gunner, said his Labor government’s support of innovation’s like the battery manufacturing project would secure jobs for the Territory, while helping it to reach 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
“Battery storage will be an important element in future renewable energy propositions and it is exciting Energy Renaissance has identified Darwin as their preferred site,” Gunner said.
“Darwin is the capital of the north and we provide strategic advantages with our proximity to market. Projects such as this will help the Territory’s economy grow over the long term, creating exciting local job and career opportunities for Territorians.”
Reprinted with permission.